The Loake Royal: the best brogue in the world?



Skinhead fashion will always be associated with certain items of clothing: the Crombie coat, sta-prest trousers, Ben Sherman (or Brutus) button-down shirts and Doctor Marten’s boots. There’s no argument that this anything but a timeless look, but certainly as far as this magazine concerned, the slightly softer ‘suedehead’ variation is the one that really works for us. 

With more of an Ivy League influence at play – whether they knew it or not – the late- ’60s/early-’70s suedeheads preferred a little more formality in their footwear than their skin cousins, who'd moved onto Dr Marten's boots. The result was the appropriation of Loake’s Royal brogue, an American-style “wing tip” that looked perfect with narrow jeans or trousers. And only those in oxblood were acceptable. 

Re-released by Loake in 2000, the Royal differs from regular brogues in that its ‘wing cap’ goes all around the shoe rather than petering out halfway down, creating a distinctive 'sweep'. The rounded toe lends a further air of informality, which makes it perfect in a modern smart-casual outfit. The fact that wearers still receive approving nods from ageing suedies just adds to the appeal. 

While the current fad for white-soled work shoes will no doubt fade, the Royal will never go out of style – and these days you don’t have to be suedehead to sport a pair. Just don’t buy them in black.


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