Derby shoe

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A plain Derby shoe

A derby (UK: /ˈdɑːrbi/ DAR-bee, US: /ˈdɜːrbi/ DUR-bee; also called gibson[1]) is a style of boot or shoe characterized by quarters, with shoelace eyelets, that are sewn on top of the vamp.[2] This construction method, also known as "open lacing", contrasts with that of the Oxford shoe.[citation needed]

Senator J. Hamilton Lewis and attorney Joseph P. Tumulty pictured wearing "white bucks", 1917

In American English the derby shoe may be referred to as a 'blucher', although technically the blucher is a different design of shoe where only eyelet tabs (not larger quarters) are sewn onto a single-piece vamp.

In modern colloquial English the derby shoe may be referred to as 'bucks' when the upper is made of buckskin.[3] "White bucks", or light-colored suede or buckskin (or nubuck) derby shoes, usually with a red sole, were long popular among the students and graduates of Ivy League colleges.[4] By translation, these shoes also became associated with elite law firms in America's eastern cities, especially New York and Boston, giving rise to the name "white-shoe firm" used to describe these prestigious legal institutions.[5]

The derby became a popular sporting and hunting boot in the 1850s. By the turn of the 20th century the derby had become appropriate for wear in town.[6]

Detail of a man's derby-style dress shoe showing lacing eyelet tabs sewn on top of the vamp

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "definition of 'gibson' shoe?". Men's Clothing Forums. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  2. ^ Definition of Derby
  3. ^ "Dropping Knowledge: Bucks". GQ. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  4. ^ Safire, William (November 9, 1997). "On Language; Gimme the Ol' White Shoe". New York Times.
  5. ^ "New Jersey State Bar Journal". New Jersey State Bar Association. June 25, 1957 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Flusser, Alan. Dressing the Man HarperCollins, 2002, pg 195.