Plain Toe vs Cap Toe Boots: Which Ones Should You Choose?

Wondering what the difference between plain toe vs cap toe shoes is? Discover their design, models, & when to wear them.

Workwear Guru is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

There are two types of people out there: those who love ornaments and colors all over their outfits, and those who choose to wear unembellished clothes and seem to only wear that one plain black t-shirt all the time (they have several t-shirts, they just all have the same style). When it comes to work or even casual clothes, especially shoes, you’re either the one wearing plain toe shoes or the one wearing cap toe shoes when it comes to style. Here is everything you need to know about both.

What Is a Plain Toe?

If you love simplicity, then plain toe shoes are your one pick. Such shoes do not have any decorations around or on top of them. They’re mainly one color and do not consist of any additional accessories. They have one single leather piece with a simplistic design. Another term for plain toe shoes is “round toe” and they are to be found in any kind of style or occasion. So, this will make you feel comfortable while rocking your outfit for the day. 

Types of plain toe shoes

Plain toe shoes come in several types, but the most popular ones are Oxford, Brogue, and Derby. 


Oxford shoes are chic shoes, designed first during the 1700s, which you can tighten with a closed laces model tucked at the top of the shoes. They can be made out of leather, suede, or canvas. Plain Toe Oxfords are considered formal shoes and you can wear them with a suit. It means that you can choose to wear Oxford shoes especially when you want to make a first impression. Back in history, they were worn only by men first, but now there are versatile models for women as well. Some of the characteristics of Plain toe Oxford shoes are the closed lacing, low heels, and exposed ankle. 


Borgue is another model of Plain toe shoes that came into play in the late 1700s. Well, to dig deeper, the word ‘brogue’, derived from the Gaelic word ‘brog’ that means shoe. They were initially designed for outdoor activities only and for those who had to work or marsh in the rain (that’s why they had the perforation design). Now, we can find Plain toe brogues in different colors and choose between the open and closed model of lacing. Also, there are around eight types of Brogue shoes: derby brogue, full brogue, ghillie brogue, longwing brogue, monk brogue, oxford brogue, quarter brogue, and semi brogue. You only need to be decisive on what truly is your style. 


Plain toe Derby shoes are what everyone needs to have in their wardrobe. Every once in a while, we all have to go formal for a day, and nothing can beat Derby shoes for that. You can match them with a suit and a tie, but also by wearing a casual style outfit. And, if you don’t want to contemplate which shoes match everyday outfits, Derby shoes are the ones for you. You can wear them nearly everywhere and every day. The defining characteristics of Derby shoes are the open lacing model, round or elongated toe, paneled design with three parts, and stitched leather sole. Derby shoes come in different types, but the plain toe model is the most suitable and practical one. 

When to wear plain toe boots

Plain toe shoes are designed to be worn daily. You can choose to wear these shoes almost everywhere: at work, motorcycling, at cafes, or when going out for a walk. What is even better, is that you can combine these shoes with any outfit you have inside your closet. They seem to match well with all types of pants, jackets, sweaters, and all kinds of socks. If you’re going formal for the day and have to wear a suit and tie, plain toe shoes add more to your classy looks. But, if you’re simply having a drink or getting dinner with some friends, plain toe shoes will surely complement your casual looks. Also, they’re the best option if you’re always in a hurry or don’t bother what’s trendy at the moment – they’re still going to match your outfit and are always in fashion.

What is a Cap Toe?

Cap toe shoes are shoes with horizontal stitching at the forefront lingered to the side and by so making it look like a cap. They contain an additional leather layer at the upper part for protection purposes.  They are mainly characterized by their seam, which makes them aesthetically pleasing. Cap toe shoes seem to be more ornamental and match more with less formal styles or working dress codes. So, if you want to hit a party looking stylish but classy, cap toe shoes will come to the rescue.

Types of cap toe shoes

Cap Toes Shoes come in different styles, but here are our favorite picks:

Goodyear welted

Goodyear welted shoes, whose name is derived from Charles Goodyear, are designed with a joint between the sole and the upper part (mechanical join). These shoes are constructed in such a way that you can replace the sole as many times as you want. Being designed with these qualitative materials and many options, Goodyear welted shoes can have last up to 20 years, or even more if you take good care of them. 

Blake welted

Blake welted shoes are designed with a simple seam and a leather sole, making for elegant and classic shoes. The design and construction of these shoes offer you the comfort you look for in shoes. They are light and flexible. They adjust the needs of stylishness as moccasins, Richelieu’s, buckles, or loafers shoes. 

Open-throat bluchers

Another type of cap toe shoe is the open-throat bluchers. These shoes are constructed with an open-throat lacing and they do not consist of sewed quarters downwards. The throat of the shoes is left open while the forefront of it is designed in one leather piece.

Closed-throat oxfords

These cap toe shoes have a closed-throat lacing system with quarters sewn to the instep. Having this model of stitching, closed-throat oxfords form a ‘V’ shape down the laces. You might find different eyelets and aesthetics in this model of shoes as well. 

Monk-strap shoes

Monk-strap shoes seem to be the most practical ones. They do not consist of a lacing system at all. They are designed with straps and at times with metal buckles as well. They are made of leather and also suede if you are seeking a casual look. They will give you a classy look, and what is important, they are easy to clean.


Cap toe boots are constructed with a seam around the toes and are a centerpiece for work attire. They will match your slacks, jeans, chinos, and blazers. They are comfortable and will complement your casual outfit as well. 

When to wear cap toe boots

The perfect way to wear cap toe shoes is during the day. Whether you have a business meeting or casual ‘go-outs’, cap toe shoes will help you make a statement. If you’re a fan of soft-woven fabrics or tweed, choosing the right shoes for the day won’t take much of your time once you’ve got cap toe shoes in your closet. You can combine them with day blazers and chinos when you want to add a more sophisticated look to your casual outfit. 

What Is the Difference between Plain Toe vs Cap Toe Boots?

The main difference between plain toe and cap toe boots is the design. Plain toe boots don’t carry any ornaments with different stitches around the forefront or around the boot. They are plain and suit any everyday outfit. Whereas, cap toe boots are constructed with a seam around the toes to create a cap look at the end. But, they also will be a great fit on multiple occasions.


There are days you want to go easy with your looks, classy, one color, and a little casual. But, other days you want to hit formal day meetings with a more stylish look. For this reason, it is important to have both your plain toe and cap toe shoes at home. You will never go out of style with them. 


* indicates required
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Article

Hard Hat Color Code: A Detailed Guide

Next Article

What Are Composite Toe Shoes: Characteristics, Safety, & Benefits

Related Posts