The plain Oxford shoe was a welcome alternative. Regardless of where the shoe originated, the thing that makes an Oxford an Oxford is the method used to construct it. Oxfords are made using closed lacing, which means that the eyelets are sewed under the vamp, not on top of it. Oxford shoes are low heeled, leather lace-up dress shoes for men. The distinguishing feature from the similar derby shoes is that the Oxford shoes have closed lacing.