There’s nothing that seems to beat a really sharp shoe. Particularly if it’s in the dress/casual category, a sharp-looking shoe that’s well-crafted, smooth, and well-designed will beat almost anything that it’s compared with. Add patent leather? If it’s done tastefully, it’s a gem. Add a stacked sole? You’ve got something unique on your feet, and funny enough, all these describe one of the classiest forms of footwear you can find – straight out of Los Angeles, Royal Elastics’ Oxford model fits the description and then some.
The Royal Elastics Oxford – shown above and in greater detail here – is a head-turner; its all-patent leather upper reminds of a throwback Stacy Adams look from the early 20th century. The aforementioned construction is elegant, but not old; a mix of something classic and modern together. The stacked sole expounds on this, a feature of many men’s shoe from a century before, when stacked sole were all the rage for men’s fashion; it also gives the Oxford a softer feel, and makes it something of a true dress sneaker of sorts.
Finding myself fortunate to actually walk around and about in the Oxford, I find the fit to be more comfy than your typical dress shoe, in large part because of that thick sole, which brings elevated levels of comfort from it being a combination of EVA foam (the standard of all athletic shoes) and soft rubber, brings a dense, but forgiving feel underfoot. In this way, the Oxford resembles more of a sneaker. (Even better is that you don’t have to tie the shoe, courtesy of Royal Elastics’ elasticized laces, a signature feature of their footwear.)
As for its hybridized feel, it doesn’t neglect the trappings of a dress shoe totally; in fact, it feels more traditional than you might think, for better or worse.
The Oxford, as stylish and unique as it appears, requires some patience before it truly takes form (not unlike many traditionally-built dress shoes). The upper is very stiff, making toe flex somewhat of a nag during initial wears; that same patent upper also is very sharp at the edges of the ankle and tongue, which can cut into your ankle without thicker socks. With time, the edges get blunted and the wear is easier, again, not unlike a commonly-found dress shoe.
If you want something nice, classic, eye-catching (but not particularly ”showy”), and something that will last awhile (and that you won’t have to tie!), the Oxford by Royal Elastics is an exemplary model of choice footwear.