Brogues – shoes with decorative perforation

Brogues are shoes that feature subtle to extravagant decorative perforation. When it comes to broguing, it doesn’t mater what type of shoe is used as a base; all of the basic types can feature this kind of decoration. There are half-brogues, full brogues, and longwing brogues.


Brogues are men’s shoes that feature decorative perforation. It doesn’t matter whether the shoe in question is an oxford, derby, blucher, monk strap or a boot. Each of these base types can be decorated with broguing. There are three types of brogues: half-brogues, full brogues, and longwing brogues.

Originally brogues served more of a functional than a decorative purpose

In the 18th century »brogs« (Gaelic for »shoe«) fulfilled practical rather than aesthetic needs. Farmers travelling through the Scottish Highlands (hence the commonly used term »Scottish perforation«) and Ireland used small holes in the shafts of their sturdy leather footwear to drain any water that might have collected in the shoes. Broguing also helped to speed up the drying process.

The British aristocracy quickly discovered these kinds of shoes for themselves and pronounced them socially acceptable. This led to gradual refinement over the years, until broguing was no longer punched all over shoe leather, but rather limited to decorative patterning on the shoe shaft.

There are two common forms of broguing: Lyra & Rosette perforation

Broguing emphasizes and embellishes the seams or the toe of a shoe. The portions of the shoe that run along its seams are usually punched with so-called Lyra perforation in shoe factories. This kind of perforation consists of two small holes positioned atop one another, on top of a larger hole. Usually, this pattern only varies in terms of hole size, not hole shape. »Rosette« perforation, on the other hand, refers to broguing on the toe cap that consists of large and small rows of holes.

An overview of various shoe production methods

Types of broguing

Find out more about interesting shoe terms in our shoe glossary.

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