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Posted on 04 May, 2016


Thirty-year-old Goodwin CEO Tim Smith founded the British Brogue Association over a century ago. Check the math, it adds up. The aim of the exclusive and elusive club is to inform, educate and enlighten. It’s on BBA’s crest. Check it out. 

This blog is about our greatest product and your most prized possession…the brogue. 

But like a dirty stop out where on earth has the brogue come from. What’s the low down? What’s the history? 

Absolutely no idea. Bloody clueless. Well. Not so much as clueless but uncertain. 

One thing we do know is that the brogue was created for functional needs rather than for fashion – like most of menswear then. For example, the smoking jacket (we assume you don’t have one) was designed to serve two purposes. It kept the ash away from a man’s formal clothing underneath and also prevented him from smelling of smoke when he returned to the women. We’re talking about returning to a rah rah golly gosh dinner table not some posh orgy. 

The brogue - from the Old Irish word bróg meaning shoe – has its roots in both Ireland and Scotland. 

In the thirteenth century it’s believed brogues were initially made of untanned skin with fur. The fur soon faded out but these rudimentary shoes were worn by Irish peasants right up to the 1700s. 

Back then the decorative perforations (broguing) were done for a very practical reason –allowing water to pass through the shoe when wading across bogs, marshes or rivers. Imagine a strapping young Irishman traversing across swampy marshland while whistling a fine tune draining his treads. I’ll Tell Me Ma when I go home…my socks are fecking drenched. 

By the early 19th century they’d turned into a brown, outdoor walking shoe that were worn by working class men. They certainly wouldn’t have been donned for any other occasion. Don’t be silly.  

However, come the twentieth century and things took a turn for the popular when Scottish lords (lairds) began wearing brogues. The English naturally had to follow suit and adopted the trend. Of course, our overseas cousins were next to copy and by the 1920s brogues were being worn by both men and women. When the Prince of Wales was seen wearing them in the 1930s as a golfing shoe well the rest of us when ruddy bloody mental. 

The rest, they say, is history and over the past century brogues have popped up on a range of people from gangsters to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Presley.


And now…you.