A Man’s Best (Shoe) Friend
Today we are going to talk about the 14 Best Black Oxford Shoes.
With tons of options and even more cheap alternatives, this realistic guide will help you in any budget.
Whether you are looking at entry ($200), mid-range ($300-500), high-end ($700-1000) or luxury ($1000+) there is an option.
In this guide, you will find the appropriate choice based on quality, value and aesthetics.
What Is An Oxford Shoe?
The Oxford shoe is a tale as long as time itself.
It is part of the modern man’s suit of armor since the early 18th Century.
Reportedly, the Oxford received its name from the students of the famous eponymous institution in the UK.
There is a long history going all the way back to Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s era defining this shoe.
A descendant of button and balmoral boots, it presented an easier, formal alternative to lace up boots.
Compared to the Derby, it has a closed lacing system giving it a very refined, uniform look.
There are many types of Oxford shoes depending on the design and details.
I recommend reading my Ultimate Guide to Dress Shoes if you want to learn more about them.
The Best Black Oxford Shoes Guide
Before we begin, I should mention that there is no “definitive” guide on the best shoes.
However, there are tons of misleading articles from famous website that promote bad quality shoes for profit.
I will focus on established or emerging brands with demonstrated value and quality for their price point.
Another condition is that those shoes have to be RTW (Ready To Wear) and fairly easily accessible.
Where it pertains, I will also offer alternatives or other recommendations.
Any affiliation with certain brands in the list through The Noble Shoe will be openly discussed.
1. Best Budget: Meermin ($195)
For just under $200 you can get a good entry level shoe with a Goodyear Welt Construction.
Meermin is a budget brand out of Spain which produces the shoes in China.
They have a solid construction, average leather and notorious break-in period.
Meermin also sports different elegant lasts for all tastes and width with a wide choice of colors and leathers.
However, compared to the rest of the pack they are the most reliable choice in this price range.
If you are a student on a budget or rarely wear dress shoes I would invest in a classic Cap-Toe such as the 101198.
If you ask me, I would say save $100-150 more and get in the next bracket.
For those of you looking for an everyday, budget beater shoe that will look good and presentable, look no further.
Alternatives: Bridlen (Review)
Avoid: Suitsupply, Lethato (Review), Beckett Simonon, Undandy, designer brands
2. French Value: Septieme Largeur ($295)
Septieme Largeur is a fantastic brand coming out of France.
Known for handpainted custom patinas, it is easy to forget that they also offer classics as well.
For excellent prices, you get quality leather and construction.
I personally own 2 pairs of Septieme Largeur and can attest to their quality.
My pick for a classic black oxford would be the Eugene on the 206 Last.
Elegant, classy and the perfect companion for a business meeting.
3. entry handwelted: Yearn ($419)
If you are looking for a great design, handwelted construction and affordability in exchange for some minor details Yearn Shoemaker is a good choice.
The first entry from Asia, Yearn is a small Chinese workshop that produces mostly handmade shoes for a good price.
Their designs are excellent and modern while the construction is very solid.
However, I found them difficult to fit for those with wider feet and certain parts lacked a bit of quality.
Still, I consider them worthy of an entry here.
For a Black Oxford, I like their 713 with broguing details and a soft square last.
If you can find the right fit it is worth taking a look.
You can read my Review Here.
4. Elegant Design: Carlos Santos ($430)
Here we up the ante both in price, but also presentation.
Carlos Santos is a heritage brand from Portugal, which I am honored to retail at The Noble Shoe.
The Carlos Santos 9899 is a Black Cap-Toe Oxford from the Handgrade Collection.
Other than the aesthetically pleasing 445 Last, which is a blend of modern and classic it has another unique feature.
It has reversed stitching for the seams, giving it a folded, extremely clean and beautiful look.
Bias aside, you will not only support a small business but also get a great shoe with quality leather and construction.
Also, my customer service is unparalleled!
For those looking for a more chiseled affordable shoe, there is also the 8627 (Buy Here).
5. Features: TLB Mallorca Artista ($440)
There are a lot of great brands that come out of Spain and TLB Mallorca is one of them.
TLB’s Artista Range offers fantastic overall quality and features including an excellent city sole or fiddleback waist.
For $440 it is a very sensible choice for someone looking for a balance of everything.
I have no personal favorite, as their model range is extensive with beautiful wingtips, balmorals and quarter brogues.
Here I chose a lovely Quarter Brogue with a punched Cap-Toe and a rounder last.
You can even customize your own shoe through their extensive MTO Program.
For the best experience, I recommend buying through Skolyx or TLB Mallorca directly.
6. Great Adelaide: Cobbler Union ($450)
A Georgia based company, Cobbler Union produces shoes in Spain.
I previously owned their Suede Chukka (Review) and it was a good experience.
With a solid construction, leather and price point their Adelaide Oxford stood out to me in Black.
Their shoes also have a great sole and unique looking quilted insole that stands out.
A little more busy due to the broguing and with an excellent soft square last it’s worth a look.
A negative was the abrupt end to communications twice now but as a reviewer, I am used to it.
Cobbler Union has frequent sales and clearances, so it could turn out to be an even better deal for you.
7. Dolce VIta: A. Meccariello ($500)
Antonio Meccariello is one of the best shoemakers of our time.
He also has a curated, small collection of RTW shoes, followed by mostly MTO and Bespoke.
Recently he launched the astoundingly low-priced handwelted Roma Range for just $500.
While I could urge you to try the higher end Argentum, for a Black Oxford it is a fantastic deal.
The Legate in Black Baby Box Calf has a punched Cap-Toe and all the markings of a modern, classic shoe.
His website is terrible and it might be a struggle to get an order in, but if you are patient I definitely recommend giving this a serious look.
I enjoy my Meccariello shoes immensely (Review Here).
8. English classic: Crockett & Jones ($725)
One of the most classic, quality brands out of the UK is Crockett & Jones.
An official partner of James Bond, Crockett & Jones has deep roots in the shoemaking industry.
Their shoes are quintessentially classic and evergreen with tons of options.
A brand for the contemporary man looking for British no nonsense style for both off-road and the office.
Choosing a single shoe is hard, with choices between their Benchgrade and Handgrade Collections.
I personally believe that the value lies in their Benchgrade with the Alex, Hallam and Westbourne all being viable options.
However, to spice up the list and bring something more I chose a Full Brogue, Wingtip Oxford.
The Westgate 2 is excellent and sports Crockett & Jones’ fantastic city rubber sole.
The calf leather they use is fantastic and ages wonderfully.
You can buy Crockett & Jones directly through their website, or check out The Noble Shoe.
I can source most of their shoes via request (e-mail at [email protected]).
9. Best Cordovan: Carmina ($795)
We are again in Spain, do you notice the trend?
Spanish Brands dominate the entry and mid-range bracket for a reason.
Carmina is a good brand, though starting at $495 and with their level of QC issues and customer service are not what you call value.
However, for their Shell Cordovan options at around $795 they are excellent.
Working with the best Tannery (Horween) they produced a good looking Wholecut Oxford.
If I was looking for Shell Cordovan for an accessible price I would certainly look at them.
Carmina offers good shoes with a plethora of lasts, customization and good fit.
10. Modern English: Gaziano & Girling ($1150)
The only English luxury shoe brand I would personally purchase is Gaziano & Girling.
Modern, with beautiful lasts and one of the best Bespoke departments in the world.
I must admit it shocked me to see how terrible the imagery and user friendliness was on the site.
Despite all that, their shoes are phenomenal with great leather and finesse.
I am a big fan of their soft square lasts, but their Black RTW Range is a little uninspiring.
So I chose nothing from their website and would either direct you to a retailer or their MTO Program.
Prices will vary depending on the shop and model, but expect to shell out anywhere between $1000 and $1500.
Great shoes that I hope to own in the future.
11. The Italian Way: Paolo Scafora ($1175)
My favorite shoemaker is Paolo Scafora from Napoli.
Innovative, daring and creative with his trademark sharp lasts, designs and Norwegian Construction.
They specialize on handpainted beautiful patinas, but even here Black is not out of the question.
The RTW offering is limited and I would urge you to consider a Norwegian Oxford MTO in Black.
But if you had to pick something right now, I like the Art 576,
A perfect blend of Italian finesse with a classic cap-toe oxford.
Paolo Scafora’s leather is exceptional and despite what many say, I find their lasts easy to fit.
The VOLA in particular is a wider last with generous space that I enjoy greatly.
You can order Paolo Scafora Shoes at their official website, or you can support me by commissioning an MTO Pair.
Since 2020, I am a proud official retailer and partner of Paolo Scafora.
12. Best Of Asia: Acme Shoemaker ($1500)
One of the best shoemakers I tried recently was Acme Shoemaker.
Coming out of Asia, they produce the highest quality luxury shoes using all the traditional methods.
I was so impressed, I ended up writing one of my biggest Review Articles ever about their shoes.
Genuinely fully handmade shoes using the highest quality leathers and some of the sharpest lasts and shapes on the market.
They truly shine with their MTO offering, but even their RTW selection is impressive.
The 8027 Black Oxford is the one that picked my interest.
A Full Brogue without a medallion toe with a gorgeous waist and square last.
For around $1500 it represents one of the best shoes you can buy on the market right now.
I highly recommend them.
13. High End: Stefano Bemer ($2050)
At the end of the “regular” range we find Stefano Bemer.
A legendary shoemaker that passed away in 2012, now his legacy lives through his brand.
Mostly a brand that works with MTO and Bespoke, they will produce the best possible shoes to your specifications.
To change it up, I chose the T6451 Oxford in Black Arlington Leather (Hatchgrain).
It ads a bit of subtle texture in a top construction and one of the best looking lasts on the market.
The fiddleback waist is excellent and measures just over 2 inches (5.5 cm) in width.
Actually, this is the place where I studied Bespoke Shoemaking for 6 months.
One of the best shoemakers in the world (Review Here).
14. Crazy Exotic: Altan Bottier ($6000)
Let’s round it up with a final trip to France.
French Altan Bottier usually sits lower in the price range.
They have a reputation for extravagant designs, flamboyant patinas and outrageous exotic leathers.
If you are looking for a god tier exotic shoe, why not go all out?
For $6000 you can by the Roc Wholecut with a chained Norwegian Stitching and Black Alligator leather.
This is obviously an MTO Shoe but you can contact them to paint it jet black.
I actually handled the Roc in person not so long ago (Review Here).
Good leather, construction and attractive models and lasts.
Definitely worth a look if you are looking for something extra and money is not an issue.
Bonus Brands To Consider
Since this is not a definitive list and depends on every person’s taste, there are many other brands to consider.
Here are a few of them with some comments:
- Loake: Classic English, safe choice, bit Bland
- J.Fitzpatrick: Usually more niche designs, good shoes
- Saint Crispin’s: Good shoes but I’d buy Acme
- Yohei Fukuda RTW: Top Tier, limited availability
- Cheaney: Classic British, but I’d buy Crockett
Brands To Avoid
There’s a whole list about brands to avoid.
I recommend you read my article about the Worst Dress Shoe Brands first.
Then I recommend to read the Best & Worst Dress Shoes Ultimate Guide.
Read those guides and expect humor and heavy criticism.
This brings us to the end of the 14 Best Black Oxford Shoes Article.
Hopefully it will steer your towards the right direction, that of quality and value based on your budget.
And even better, it might help you avoid certain pitfalls and low quality shoes found in commercial blogs.
As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives in all price ranges.
If you feel I omitted something or want to share an experience you had with a brand, leave a comment!
I will see you next week!
Thank you for reading,