Also known as the full brogue shoe, wingtip shoes are shoes with a pointed toe cap. Falling in the center of the shoes, the toe cap extends from either side, creating a look of wings. When looking down upon the shoe, it appears that a bird has its wings fully extended. Originally created as a shoe for men, the wingtip design is now commonly found in women's and children's shoes.
The wingtip shoe design first appeared in Scotland and Ireland. The design was used for shoes that were created for the purpose of being sturdy and durable for long-term outdoor use. These original wingtip shoes were not intended for dress wear, but instead were entirely utilitarian in the way they were constructed.
Perforations along the wing are a common decorative element of the wingtip design. However, the original purpose of the perforations was not ornamental. Instead, the perforations were added to allow for drainage of water if the wearer happened to find that he had stepped in water. In Scotland and Ireland, this was a very common problem out in the country, where bogs are prevalent.
These sturdy leather shoes have largely evolved over the decades since their first use as an outdoor shoe that provided comfort and durability. Their work shoe origins have largely been forsaken over the years. Now wingtips are considered a fashionable shoe.
The fashionable wingtip shoes now worn still have the perforations that the shoes of yesteryear boasted. Their purpose, however, is now to augment the wings of the shoe and to further accentuate their shape and distinctive design quality. The edges of the wingtips of the shoe are now commonly serrated to further heighten the drama of their unique design.
Along with these leather works, a common element is the two-tone contrasting leather of the newer styles. The leather of the toe and heal are set in an opposing color to the main upper color of the shoe. These color contrasts can range from a simple difference in the shade of the hue all the way to two opposing colors. The stitching along the toe cap can be done in the same hue as the leather of the rest of the shoe, or it can be done in a standout color so that the craftsmanship is more apparent.
Wingtip shoes have largely changed from when they first appeared decades ago. These changes have reflected more upon their usage than their basic design. What has not changed about wingtip shoes over the centuries is their consistent and ongoing popularity.