Hats off (and shoes on) for Royal Ascot

Herring Balfour

With Royal Ascot galloping towards us on the social calendar, you will be all too aware that much of the media coverage focuses on the hats, especially on Ladies’ Day. It will come as no surprise that our preview will throw a spotlight on the shoes!

Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds in prize money. It is also an opportunity to socialise with family, friends, colleagues and clients adorned in all your finery as befits the occasion.

Described on the Royal Ascot website, as “synonymous with sartorial elegance”, there are levels of attire required to literally suit the enclosure you are heading to. While you are selecting your outfit, we would like to offer our advice on the shoes you may wish to consider for the occasion

The Royal Enclosure is where most of the paparazzi lenses will be pointing due to the royal family members and celebrities who frequent this area. There is a strict dress code. Gentleman must wear black or grey mourning dress, including a waistcoat and tie, a black or grey top hat, and black shoes worn with socks. 

The traditional shoe choice would be a black Oxford, but may we suggest a sartorial upgrade? Introducing the Herring Balfour. This is an extremely elegant, long-wing, semi-brogue with a swan-neck stitch. The crisp lines of the brogue pattern are deliberately not gimped to leave a sleek and clean appearance.  This shape is one of our most popular lasts giving a very elegant and bespoke appearance without compromising the fit. 

Handmade from start to finish in the home of shoemaking Northamptonshire, you could not get a more English shoe…perfect for a Royal Enclosure outing! 

Aside from the Royal Enclosure, the Queen Anne Enclosure requires a full-length suit with a collared shirt and tie. The jackets and trousers should be of matching colour and pattern, while socks must be worn and should cover the ankle. There is no guidance for shoes, aside from the outlawing of trainers, so patrons can be a little more expressive here.

In the Village Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure, the dress code is a little more relaxed again with jackets and long trousers, collared shirts and ties required or recommended.

So, that got us thinking about our top five footwear recommendations for Royal Ascot 2019. With the Balfour style already in mind for the Royal Enclosure, we have selected a sleek collection of shoes and boots that give a nod to the British brogue while tipping a hat to the fashion this prestigious event is famed for.

  • Rothwell II: This is a beautiful monk shoe with punch work integral to the upper, as opposed to the more usual brogued leather overlay. The punch work is highlighted by hand to enhance the pattern and define this feature. The 205 last shape is very popular, giving excellent fitting qualities and comfort with a slightly contemporary look from the squarer, chiselled toe.
  • Carnaby: This full wingtip brogue is made on the elegant 386 last and a great example of expert English shoemaking. These brogues are made from the finest calf leather with a Goodyear welted leather sole. The chestnut colour will add a summery note to a grey suit.
  • Carroll II: A toe-punch detail emphasises the sleek last shape of this gorgeous, plain-fronted Derby or Gibson. It has been hand-patinated in the Carlos Santos factory to show off a very elegant shape with a chiselled toe box giving a bespoke appearance.
  • Faringdon: We have added in a boot for people who simply prefer them. This gorgeous example is a two-tone brogue of navy soft suede and fine chestnut calf to create a unique design. 
  • Lewis: A contemporary interpretation of the brogue, sitting on a square-toed last with sharp lines giving it a very distinctive shape. The red laces and red midsole add drama to the shoe and highlights the handmade craft that is used to create it. A brown lace can be included in the box if you request it. 

However, all that said, you are most welcome to choose a classic Oxford! Herring has a full range of Oxfords to choose from and our customer service department is happy to give advice when needed.

Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Chris Clark

Author: Chris Clark

Chris is the Customer Service Lead at Herring Shoes. With over 10 years experience in the shoe trade, his expert knowledge is second to none.