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What Are Wingtip Shoes? Styling, History & Best Wingtips To Buy Online

Wingtip Vortices: Spinning Air And Adding Drag

What are wingtip vortices? They’re swirling tunnels of air that form on your wingtips. High-pressure air from the bottom of your wing escapes around the wingtip, moving up towards the lower pressure area on the top of the wing. This movement creates a vortex or tunnel of air, rotating inwards behind the wing.

They’re strongest when the air pressure difference between the top and the bottom of the wing is the greatest – which happens when you’re generating the most induced lift. This occurs when you’re at high angles of attack.

During takeoff and landing, you’re slow – so you’re at a high angle of attack and generating strong wingtip vortices.

When you’re cruising at high altitudes, like a jet in the flight levels, the air is thin. So, you need a high angle of attack to generate enough lift to stay level, even though you’re moving fast. Your wingtip vortices are stronger here, too.


Using Distributed Tracing to Help with Debugging Issues/Errors/Problems

If an application is setup to fully utilize the functionality of Wingtips then all log messages will include the TraceID for the distributed trace associated with that request. The TraceID should also be returned as a response header, so if you get the TraceID for a given request you can go log diving to find all log messages associated with that request and potentially discover where things went wrong. There are some potential drawbacks to using distributed tracing as a debugging tool:

  • Not all requests are guaranteed to be traced. Depending on a service’s throughput, SLA requirements, etc, it may need to implement trace sampling where only a percentage of requests are traced. Distributed tracing was primarily designed as a monitoring tool so sampling tradeoffs may need to be made to keep the overhead to an acceptable level. Google went as low as 0.01% sampling for some of their most high traffic and latency-sensitive services.
  • Even if a given request is sampled it is not guaranteed that the logs will contain any messages that are helpful to the investigation.
  • The trace IDs are pseudorandomly generated 64-bit long numbers. Therefore they are not guaranteed to be 100% unique. They are probabilistically unique but not guaranteed. The likelihood of collisions goes up quickly the more traces you’re considering (see the ), so you have to be careful to limit your searches to a reasonable amount of time and keep in mind that while collisions for a specific ID are very low it is technically possible.

That said, it can be extremely helpful in many cases for debugging or error investigation and is a benefit that should not be overlooked.

How To Wear Style Brogues

Brogues & Jeans

Brogues with denim is one of our favourite combinations. Take a slim pair of blue or raw denim jeans, pair them with brown, black or blue brogues and you have a winner. You can wear them with or without socks. Roll the cuff to add some personal style to your look.

A very gentlemanly way of wearing brogues is to pair them with your suit. Brogue boots and shoes will both work nicely. Once again, socks or no socks is acceptable.

A smart casual essential is the brogue and chino combination. White, blue, khaki and even purple chinos will all work nicely with a pair of brown brogues.

Lastly a killer combo for the warmer months is brogues and shorts. Ditch the socks and go for shorts just above or below the knee. Pair the look with knitwear, shirts and even a blazer. This is a great look if you’re heading to the polo.

Semi or Half Brogues

Semi or half brogues have a toe cap without extensions or wings and feature broguing both along the cap’s edge and sides. Finally, and have a medallion. This style was first designed by the famous London shoemakers John Lobb Ltd in 1937.

Half Brogue Cap Toe in an antique brown with a med
Half Brogue Cap Toe in an antique brown with a medallion

Today, you will find many variations of the semi brogue, including V cap, cap without medallion, and a second, recessed piece of brogued leather behind the cap.

So, are wingtip and brogue shoes casual?

In a word, yes. They are historically semi-casual dress shoes and with all the detail work they don’t often mesh well with the nice clean lines that we strive for in modern men’s style. They fall somewhere in the middle of casual and dressy.

Common Brogue Misconceptions

Mid-brown calf leather full brogue derby Wingtips
Mid-brown calf leather full brogue derby Wingtips by Ace Marks paired with houndstooth suit and brown and green shadow stripe socks from Fort Belvedere

Many people confuse the term Oxford or Derby with brogue. The term oxford is characterized by its lacing system or to be specific, by the shoelace eyelets that are attached under the vamp. This is called ‘closed lacing.’ On the other hand, a derby has ‘open lacing’ where the eyelets are attached to the top of the vamp.

A brown quarter brogue Oxford is a wonderful shoe
A brown quarter brogue Oxford is a wonderful shoe to have in one’s shoe closet

While initially Oxfords were plain formal shoes, they subsequently evolved into a range of styles both formal and casual. Some of these styles feature broguing or perforations along the edges of the individual leather pieces and thus can be called brogues.

Oxfords are not always brogues, and brogues are not always Oxfords. The lacing system and the absence or presence of broguing are the determining features.

Wholecut with side gussets by George Cleverly with
Wholecut with side gussets by George Cleverly with punched broguing

Usage in Reactive Asynchronous Nonblocking Scenarios

Due to the thread-local nature of this library it is more effort to integrate with reactive (asynchronous non-blocking) frameworks like Netty or actor frameworks than with thread-per-request frameworks. But it is not terribly difficult and the benefit of having all your log messages automatically tagged with tracing information is worth the effort. The Tracer class provides the following methods to help integrate with reactive frameworks:

  • Tracer.registerWithThread(Deque)
  • Tracer.unregisterFromThread()
  • Tracer.getCurrentSpanStackCopy()
  • Tracer.getCurrentTracingStateCopy() (not strictly necessary, but helpful for convenience)

See the javadocs on those methods for more detailed usage information, but the general pattern would be to call registerWithThread(Deque) with the request’s span stack whenever a thread starts to do some chunk of work for that request, and call unregisterFromThread() when that chunk of work is done and the thread is about to be freed up to work on a different request. The span stack would need to follow the request no matter what thread was processing it, but assuming you can solve that problem in a reactive framework then the general pattern works well.

NOTE: The wingtips-java8 module contains numerous helpers to make dealing with async scenarios easy. See that module’s readme and the javadocs for AsyncWingtipsHelper for full details, however here’s some code examples for a few common use cases:

  • An example of making the current thread’s tracing and MDC info hop to a thread executed by an Executor:
  • Or use ExecutorServiceWithTracing so you don’t forget to wrap your Runnables or Callables (WARNING: be careful if you have to spin off work that shouldn’t automatically inherit the calling thread’s tracing state, e.g. long-lived background threads – in those cases you should not use an ExecutorServiceWithTracing to spin off that work):
  • A similar example using CompletableFuture:
  • There’s a ScheduledExecutorServiceWithTracing that extends ExecutorServiceWithTracing and implements ScheduledExecutorService, for when you need a scheduler that supports automatic Wingtips tracing state propagation.
  • This example shows how you might accomplish tasks in an environment where the tracing information is attached to some request context, and you need to temporarily attach the tracing info in order to do something (e.g. log some messages with tracing info automatically added using MDC):
  • If you have a third party library that hands back a CompletableFuture when performing work (like a database call) but doesn’t provide hooks for distributed tracing, then you can surround that CompletableFuture with a child span using the wrapCompletableFutureWithSpan helper method (see the javadocs on wrapCompletableFutureWithSpan and OperationWrapperOptions for full details):
  • If you want to use the link and unlink methods manually to wrap some chunk of code, the general procedure looks like this:

ALSO NOTE: wingtips-core does contain a small subset of the async helper functionality described above for the bits that are Java 7 compatible, such as Runnable, Callable, and ExecutorService. See AsyncWingtipsHelperJava7 if you’re in a Java 7 environment and cannot upgrade to Java 8. If you’re in Java 8, please use AsyncWingtipsHelper or AsyncWingtipsHelperStatic rather than AsyncWingtipsHelperJava7.

What Are Wingtip Shoes?

The wingtip is, on paper, a member of the brogue fIf we had to pick the most commonly misused sartorial term ever, “wingtip” would likely take the cake. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.

The wingtip is, on paper, a member of the brogue family. Brogues are some of the most widely worn shoes in menswear, with broguing in some form showing up on everything from sneakers to monkstraps, from oxfords to derbies, and from chelsea boots to chukka boots. They can be found in leather and suede, custom or ready-to-wear.

They’re everywhere.

The thing is, we have an article on brogues as it is. Why address wingtips separately?

The term “wingtip” has been technically misused for a long time now. It’s understandable why this is the case, but we feel that shedding some light on the usage of these terms is in the best interests of anyone who wants to buy shoes without confusion.

Wingtips Versus Brogues: There’s A Difference?

Yes, kind of. We’re rewriting some rules here, but it’s for the greater good.

Let’s break down some terms we’ll be using, for clarity’s sake:

  • Brogue: A shoe with perforations in the leather. Often referred to as a “wingtip” by Americans
  • Austerity brogue: A shoe with nothing but a wingtip pattern on the upper. No perforations, pinking, or medallions. It’s technically not a brogue as there are no perforations.
  • Wingtip: A term used to describe a stitching pattern that’s in the shape of a bird’s wing. Often erroneously used by Americans to describe a full brogue, it’s actually more appropriate to use the word to describe an austerity brogue.

We have decided to use the term “wingtip” to refer to an austerity brogue. Yes, this bucks the industry standard, but the industry standard doesn’t make sense. “Wingtip” is already used incorrectly, and “austerity brogue” is calling something that isn’t a brogue a brogue, so we feel that it’s best to break the terms down and re-define them in a way that makes more sense.

Wingtips have nothing but a wingtip pattern. Brogu

Wingtips have nothing but a wingtip pattern. Brogues have perforations and pinking. Austerity brogue is a nonsense term, and we are throwing it out except to keep it around for historical reference.

When to wear with a sportcoat instead of a suit

So, if you have a big board meeting, you’re probably better off leaving the wingtips in the closet and instead slipping on your favorite pair of well-shined oxfords. But I think that most wingtips are just fine for many of your suits and sportcoats. And out here in the Colorado area, I think they are a nice nod to our more casual frontier attitude and work well for more traditionally dressy occasions than they would on, say, the east coast. Also, the less obvious the wings and the “quieter” the brogue detailing, the more dressy the shoe. Make sense?

However, if you wanted to wear more of a wingtip variety with heavy brogue styling (like in the image below), I think that you should wear them primarily with sporcoats and blazers and not an everyday suit.

One of the more interesting categories of wingtips

One of the more interesting categories of wingtips are “spectator shoes.” These shoes are identified by their two contrasting colors. Typically, the toe and heel caps are made in a darker color than the rest of the shoe, which is something lighter in color. Personally, I think these shoes are the perfect wingtips for Kentucky Derby Day!

Brogues FAQ

What makes a shoe a brogue? A pair of shoes is considered a brogue if it has decorative perforations (called broguing), as well as serration along the visible edges. Brogue shoes have uppers that are made of multiple pieces of leather. Are brogue shoes formal? In the past, brogues are considered an outdoor shoe and not acceptable for formal occasions. Today, you can wear brogues with business attire and other formal wear. How to choose brogue shoes? Full-grain leather brogues are the best. Choose a pair with a leather sole with stacked leather heels. Rubber sole is also good, but make sure it is good quality like a Ridgeway or Dainite.

Read Next

Do I Need To Buy Wingtips In Addition To Brogues?

In fact, you’re better off buying brogues, sThe wingtip is a derivative of the brogue, so our advice is to buy a pair of brogues before looking for a pair of wingtips.

In fact, you’re better off buying brogues, semi-brogues, and quarter brogues all before buying a pair of wingtips. These are much easier to find than austerity brogues, and as such you’ll spend less time looking and more time enjoying the shoes you bought.

If you’re a man just beginning to build his shoe wardrobe, a wingtip (if you can find one) is a great sixth or seventh shoe to add to your rotation. Its versatility is such that it can be worn with anything from jeans to suits, so if you invest well, you can have one pair that you wear for years.

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Blending Winglets Reduce Even More Drag

Older winglets attach to the wing at nearly a 90-degree angle, which generates interference drag.

Jose Luis Celada Jose Luis Celada

Interference drag shows up anywhere you have tight angles. Airflow at these angles mixes and becomes turbulent, creating drag.

With composites and new manufacturing technology, you can now blend winglets into the wing, eliminating interference drag and making the winglets even more efficient.

Michael Bludworth Michael Bludworth

And finally, here’s a great video to help visualize wingtip vortices.

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