Anatomy of a Dress Shoe

In order to understand a style, one must first understand the components that make up a men’s dress shoe. There are four main parts of a dress shoe: toe, vamp, facing and quarter. It is the placement or construction of these pieces that give the following dress shoes their unique style.

anatomy of dress shoe

Toe Styles

Plain Toe

Plain toe shoes are as simple as it gets. The vamp is left unscathed, providing a very clean and minimalist look.

Cap Toe

A cap toe looks like a horizontally stitched line that divides the vamp of a shoe at the toe. In most cases this will actually be a separate piece stitched as the toe on the vamp, like a cap. The oxford is most noted for the cap toe, however it can be seen on various types of dress shoes.

Split/Apron Toe

The split toe, otherwise known as the apron toe, features a seam that begins in the middle of the shoe, around the toe, and ending at the middle of the shoe on the other side. This toe style is more common in casual shoes.


Medallion is a plain toe and with hints of brogue decoration at the toe.


This toe style has a winged cap that peaks in the middle of the toe. This toe style often features broguing in the center of the toe and along the seam of the cap.