The details on the classic loafer are masterful, with carefully shaped soles and quality stitching. For sizing, our Associate Editor Tyler Chin says he went true to size and the fit is perfect. However, the leather sole is fairly thin and wears out quickly. So if you’re looking to extend the life of your Guccis before having to take them in for a re-sole, you might want to consider having a cobbler apply a rubber sole at the start.
The Best Tassel Loafers
Tassel loafers are here, waiting, if you want something outside of a penny loafer that’s still got some showmanship. Alden’s signature version is absolute aces: handmade in Massachusetts from handsome shell cordovan leather (a.k.a the king of all leathers) on a deceptively comfortable leather outsole. You’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of shoes that’ll complement a pair of dark indigo jeans more effectively, or more instantly elevate a creamy pair of linen trousers to the realm of “gracefully aging Italian gentleman.”
From our experience, the shell cordovan does require more break-in than most leather loafers, but the way the material creases and patinas is unmatched. The shape of the last and toe box is sleek and narrow, which looks great with a slim suit. However, if you have wide feet, we’d recommend finding a wider width or possibly sizing up.
The Best Moodboard Loafers
For decades, loafers remained an unbeatable footwear option for every type of sophisticated gent, but it’s only recently that brands cottoned on to their appeal as canvas for their wildest designs. Case in point: Blackstock & Weber’s Safari loafers, a veritable Animal Kingdom in shoe form. (Tiger, and zebra, and leopard prints, oh my!) These loafers are sure to do two things: 1) Make you the most confident dude at any function you attend, and 2) Do massive numbers on the ‘gram. We’re not in the business of making triple-digit guarantees, but if there were ever shoes that promised some well-warranted timeline love, it’s these. Keep the rest of your outfit classic (think a navy suit, solid knit polo, and a sleek pair of aviators) to really let ’em roar.
In our testing, the Ellis is built like a tank. The double-leather sole gives the shoe a hefty quality and inspires confidence in its longevity. Sizing can be a bit tricky and B&W recommends to size down. They run a bit wide, so we’d also recommend sizing down half a size to a whole size.
Plus 7 More Loafers We Love
Your Loafer FAQs, Answered
Simple: Think about what you’re going to wear them with, and then refine your search accordingly. (For more styling how-to, see below.) Are you looking for dainty leather soles or do you need stompers with a little more heft? Are you jonesing to slip your dogs into classic-leaning penny loafers or are the freakiest, flyest loafers on the market? Once you’ve found a pair of that’s right for you and your wardrobe, slip ‘em on without a second thought, and claim your certified style god status at checkout. It really is that easy. What you should be asking yourself is: How do I choose only one?
Which brands should I turn to?
Thanks to the Great Loafer Boom of 2023, there have never been more options—from heritage menswear brands and big-name designers and tiny startup labels alike. You’ll always be in good hands (er, feet?) with mainstays like Alden, Dr. Martens, and G.H. Bass. But plenty of indie hard-bottom peddlers are making waves you might want to catch, too. When in doubt, dust off your favorite dress shoes, double-check who makes them, and then review their loafer selection; chances are they sell a bang-up pair.
What are the different loafer styles?
Loafers come in a handful of different styles and the loafer universe has only expanded into freakier territory. But for simplicity’s sake, we’ll outline the most basic styles.
Penny Loafer: This style of penny loafer features a leather strap that stretches across the vamp of the shoe. Often, the leather strap features a decorative cut-out. Ivy league college students would insert a penny into the slot as a fashionable accent. So if you ever thought to yourself, “what are penny loafers?”, there’s your answer.. Slight variations on the penny loafer include the beef roll penny loafer which featured a strap that was finished at the edges in such a way that resembled a tied-up beef roll.
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