Two- and Three-Eyelet Derby



The black three-eyelet derby—known as blucher to the Americans—is worn by James Bond with his suits throughout Dr. No and From Russia With Love. In Goldfinger, Bond switches to a two-eyelet derby with his glen check suit. On derby shoes, shoelace eyelet pieces are sewn on top of the vamp. Daniel Craig wore this style with two eyelets (specifically the now discontinued John Lobb Luffield, pictured below) in Casino Royale with his dinner suit, in ordinary calfskin nonetheless. Derby shoes with two or three eyelets extend the vamp to give shoe long, sleek lines. This style can be found from most English shoemakers yet it is difficult to find in America. Bond’s shoes usually either have a cap toe or plain toe. In Diamonds Are Forever Bond wore a full brogue, wingtip three-eyelet derby with his black suit and blue pinstripe. Especially in a plain-toe style, it’s an elegant and minimal design well-suited to the James Bond character.



  1. "[The plain-toe, two-eyelet blucher] can be found from most English shoemakers yet it is difficult to find in America."

    For what it's worth…

    The "Andrea" from Ferragamo is remarkably similar to the one under discussion. Available at Bloomingdales for sure, possibly at Nordstrom too.

  2. It retails for $530, but if you catch a sale at Bloomies (like the one that just ended), you can get it for $371.

    So: not that bad.

  3. But for that price a lot of the English shoes are still better quality and Goodyear welted. I also prefer the English lasts, but that's a personal preference.

  4. the biggest problem I have always had with two eyelet derby has been that the laces seem to come undone faster than with regular oxfords (balmorals)!!! not something Bond would have appreciated in real life!!!

  5. The literary Bond abhorred laces. The style Bond wore in Goldfinger’s laser scene would be to literary Bond’s tastes.

  6. Matt, you said in your article that Bond’s derby shoes either have a cap toe or plain toe. I was only able to find cap-toe derbies in Spectre (Crockett & Jones Norwich), due to high-resolution photos. Do you by any chance know if Connery wore any cap-toe derbies?

  7. If Bond were to wear one pair of shoes, would these be the ones, Matt? I wonder what he wears most frequently in the series.

  8. Matt,

    Where does a shoe like this fall on the formality scale? All else equal, an oxford would be more formal than a derby. However the plain toe is more formal than a cap toe or wingtip. It would seem to me a shoe like this would be slightly less formal than a cap toe oxford, but would be more formal than a wingtip oxford. What say you?

    • It’s less formal than a cap-toe oxford and more formal than a brogue. But that’s not as relevant as much as whether or not the shoe works for the outfit and occasion. A quarter brogue is technically more formal than a two-eyelet plain-toe derby, but for black tie the derby is more appropriate because brogueing is traditionally frowned upon for black tie. The cleaner lines of the derby would make it preferable over the more historically formal shoe. With a suit, both shoes would be equally appropriate. With a blazer, the derby might be slightly preferable because it is a little less formal, but both would work.

  9. Revisiting this article at the end of 2021, I found myself at a marvel.

    Back in summer 2019, I had an MTO made with Joe Works of Japan; plain toe, two eyelet blucher, black Weinheimer smooth calfskin. I’ve always loved the simplicity of blucher, and Joe Works’ model had almost all of it, except one thing – a little too plain around the lace tabs. So, being the amazing folks they were, they agreed to sew a line there, and it was simply perfection (except the heels couldn’t be higher). Just imagine that it looks a bit more traditional than the Luffield, and you have the basic idea.

    The shoes kept me company through best and worst. But perhaps the best memory I had was that I wore them on Valentine’s day of 2020, and I enjoyed a ride home with her, my Battle Buddy, who drove me back after I was done with a major meeting. I dressed myself to the simplest attire possible – two piece navy suit, super light blue shirt, navy tie, and of course, the blucher – and the compliments were endless.

    Just now, (re)reading this article, and glancing over my shoes (they’re still kicking), I found myself at a marvel. They might be a pair of simple shoes, but the memories that they gave me, quite possibly, second to none.

    Get yourselves a pair of plain blucher in calfskin. Make it simple and traditional enough to go with a suit. You’ll thank yourselves later.

  10. Very old post but I personally prefer Bond’s 3 eyelet derbies, like the ones he wore in Dr. No and FRWL. My personal preference for Derby eyelets is either 3 for formal, 5 for casual and 4 as sort of an inbetween. 2 eyelets never looks right to me like there’s too little and 6 eyelets is just excessive (not that I know of any being made.) But I do love derbies. Depending on the leather, soles and whether it’s shoe height or boot height, they are possibly the most versatile style in the world.


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