When it comes to dress shoes, loafers are rather special. They’re unique looking and somewhat bold like monk straps, but aren’t easy to pull off like cap-toe Oxfords. For those not blessed with a style gene, the thought of having to rock loafers can be rather intimidating but style a good pair well and you’re in for a home run.
Believe it or not, loafers aren’t a footwear style to be confined to just the office. You can’t beat a pair of Italian loafers when on a summer holiday, for example, and some moccasins are perfect for those smart-casual affairs.
They’re comfortable, well-crafted and complement smart casual outfits better than most shoe styles. Most importantly, they’ve got a history that dates back to the 1930s, meaning you’re always sliding into an enduring pair of shoes with genuine heritage.
Whether you’re a style guru or just trying to stand out amongst a sea of Oxfords, loafers have a place in your wardrobe and we’ve curated the best brands for you to sink your feet into.
Of course, we also understand that not every man is familiar with the slip-on shoe, so we’ve put together a complete guide on how to wear loafers to provide a beginner’s crash course.
Men’s Loafer FAQ
Loafers are best for semi-formal events since they are not super casual nor super formal. Stylish and comfortable, they complement smart casual better than most shoes. For more casual outfits, like jeans or shorts, it is best not to wear socks. With trousers or chinos, wear with socks. Create contrast by wearing socks with varying hues for an injection of color. Yes. Dress loafers go well with suits since they do not give the casual vibe that casual loafers exude. Wear them with your two-piece or three-piece suit.
Are loafers formal?
Should you wear socks with loafers?
Can you wear loafers with a suit?
Loafers are best for semi-formal events since they are not super casual nor super formal. Stylish and comfortable, they complement smart casual better than most shoes.
For more casual outfits, like jeans or shorts, it is best not to wear socks. With trousers or chinos, wear with socks. Create contrast by wearing socks with varying hues for an injection of color.
Yes. Dress loafers go well with suits since they do not give the casual vibe that casual loafers exude. Wear them with your two-piece or three-piece suit.
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Price: From $199
Material: 100% Cow leather
Customer Reviews: “Love the quality, the finish, the comfort and look.”
You can always rely upon Hugo Boss to deliver clear, modern and clinical German style. The designer menswear label is synonymous with formal, sartorial style, so it’s no wonder the brand has an equally suave selection of loafers for you to pair with smart cocktail or business outfits.
Price: From $150
Customer Reviews: “The quality is of what is top-notch.”
Cole Haan was founded in 1928 in Chicago and ever since has been committed to producing shoes for anyone and everyone. This non-pretentious and all-loving attitude has been vital for its success, although, it’s obviously helped by a range of well-made and super comfortable footwear. Cole Haan’s loafer collection encompasses numerous styles, materials and colours, but all have a penchant for comfort and practicality.
Price: From $155
Customer Reviews: “They are a classic penny loafer, nice leather. The price was right.”
Founded in 1873, G.H. Bass is one of the most recognisable names in loafers. The company took great inspiration from the ‘Weejun’, a slip-on style shoe seen in Norway and “made it better” by integrating a cut-out for a penny, thus spawning the name ‘penny loafer’. With a reputation to uphold, G.H. Bass continues to produce its famous slip-ons to an incredibly high-quality, enabling them to last for years upon years, while remaining as stylish and on-trend as ever.
Johnston & Murphy
Price: From $99
Material: Nappa leather
Customer Reviews: “Extremely comfortable on day 1. Hoping they hold color well since they are suede, and I’m expecting they will.”
When you can claim to have provided footwear for pretty much all the US Presidents in history, you’re doing something right. That’s the case for Johnston & Murphy, a US shoemaker with a penchant for quality and selection. You’ll find a huge range of loafers and slip-on style shoes, from formal leather pieces to more casual options in a variety of colours and materials.
Duke & Dexter
Price: From $270
Material: Italian leather
Customer Reviews: “I’ve been looking for black penny loafers for a couple of years. Now I’ve found them. Perfect retro style, well made and matching the sizing guide.”
Duke & Dexter is a relatively new brand on the footwear scene having only been founded in 2015, but an unrivalled desire to succeed has already meant to brand is known worldwide for its premium pairs of shoes. It’s also caught the attention of famous faces including Ryan Reynolds, Eddie Redmayne, David Beckham and Snoop Dogg, all of whom appreciate British design and manufacturing.
D&D loafers make use of premium materials – including Italian leather – which are moulded into signature silhouettes.
Price: From $300
Customer Reviews: “An extremely neat shoe, in high summer in Med, you could go sockless to protrude the right amount of smart-casual.”
Scarosso is an Italian footwear brand that employs a direct-to-consumer approach so that its shoes can become more accessible to a wider audience, by cutting out the middle man to keep costs low. That means you can get yourself an incredibly well-made pair of loafers for a fraction of the cost of other equally prestigious brands. You’ll want to take a look at Scarosso’s range, too, since it’s made up of a great variety of styles and materials to suit both casual and formal occasions.
Price: From $273
Material: Vegano leather
Customer Reviews: “The sole is definitely hard and needs to be broken in, but they are not super-thick double soles, so it is doable.”
Spanish footwear brand Carmina can have its history traced way back to 1866, but it wasn’t until 1997 that this new family-run operation was officially founded. Carmina’s family owners continue to use their decades of shoemaking expertise to produce shoes, boots and loafers using traditional techniques, across both off-the-shelf and custom-made orders.
Price: From $158
Customer Reviews: “Just got these shoes today, and though I can’t tell you about durability or long-term comfort, I can still express my initial (and complete) satisfaction with these Camden Loafers.”
Outfitter to preppy kids everywhere, J. Crew can not only take care of checked shirts and chinos, but the mandatory loafers too. Black, brown, leather and suede options are all available, making the perfect accompaniment to formal looks and even those casual jeans and sweater ensembles on the weekend.
Price: From $295
Customer Reviews: “These are beautiful shoes. The lug sole is very quiet and has great grip even on wet floors.”
Allen Edmonds was one of the first shoe companies to attempt a new way of building shoes when they removed the instep and stopped using nails. Those same techniques are used today within the loafers collection, which encompasses various colours and styles (tassels and no tassels, for example) and exemplary build quality.
Price: From $350
Customer Reviews: “Their shoes are comfortable, the leather is good quality, they’re generous with the sizes especially if you’re wide footed.”
Another of the great Northampton shoemakers, Grenson has been churning out quality footwear since 1866. Turning to classic silhouettes – in the form of lasts – Grenson loafers are timeless, incredibly well made, luxurious, the list could go on. They’re fantastic.
Price: From $639
Material: Calf Leather
Customer Reviews: “The shoe is extremely well-made and hardly showcases the wear-n-tear I’ve put it through.”
Church’s is one of a small group of British footwear brands to be founded in Northampton, England – a shoemaking mecca – in the late 1800s. With its factory still in the north of England and well over a hundred years worth of experience, Church’s certainly knows how to put together an impeccable pair of shoes. You’ll also find Church’s making cameos on the feet of Daniel Craig in his run of James Bond movies.
Price: From $290
Customer Reviews: “I can unequivocally say their quality is beyond excellent. I find the materials used is of very good quality and the fit is comfortable.”
British menswear favourite Reiss was founded in 1971 with a clear direction to offer clothing and footwear that is premium in terms of both look and quality, timeless and easy-to-wear. The vast majority of Reiss’ collections use neutral colours and minimalist aesthetics, with the occasional print or pattern thrown in for good measure, its loafer collection, for example, features primarily suede and introduces less common colours to inject an extra level of flair into your formal looks.
Price: From $135
Customer Reviews: “Excellent throughout – very pleased with quality of jumper. Would definitely purchase again.”
Founded on London’s esteemed Jermyn Street, Charles Tyrwhitt is well-versed in helping guys up their sartorial game. Famed for its shirts but an equal dab-hand at suits and shoes, Charles Tyrwhitt’s loafer selection is as premium as you’d expect. What makes the brand more appealing is the low price point you pay for the quality you receive.
Price: From $595
Customer Reviews: “It’s a very unstructured shoe, it has no heel cap and no toe cap and is thus very comfortable to wear.”
Italian shoemaker Tod’s is one such company virtually synonymous with loafers, particularly driving shoes. Called the Gommino, Tod’s practically invented the driving shoe category when it bestowed an outsole comprising 133 rubber “pebbles” upon a pair of slip-ons in the 1970s. Continued to be made to an impeccable quality today, they’re the epitome of Mediterranean style.
Joseph Cheaney and Sons
Price: From $355
Customer Reviews: “Comfortable from the first wear, elegant, versatile, much admired. Beautifully constructed, as always – this is my 5th pair of Cheaney shoes!”
Joseph Cheaney & Sons was founded in 1886 and continues to operate out of the same factory that it moved to tens years later. Another shoemaker to hail from Northampton, England (and one that was eventually bought out by Church’s) Cheaney is a brand to turn to if you’re after high-end luxury, master craftsmanship and timeless style.
Price: From $325
Material: Italian calf suede
Customer Reviews: “The toe is comfortable, the insole is well-cushioned and the smooth all-leather lining is finely constructed.”
New York-based To Boot has an ever-rotating selection of quality footwear for men, which collections being updated in line with the season. For the summer months, that means an influx of loafers and moccasins, all of which are made in Italian factories from hand-selected and hand-cut French and Italian leathers. Casual and formal styles are both catered to, and we guarantee you’ll appreciate the classic silhouettes and exemplary construction.
Price: From $600
Customer Reviews: “If you want quality made shoes you’ve come to the right place. I now have 3 pairs and cannot fault the craftsmanship plus the customer service I’ve received.”
Founded in 1829, Tricker’s comfortably lays claim to being the longest-established shoemaker to hail from England. Famous for its range of ‘country’ boots, Tricker’s footwear continues to be made to incredibly high and exacting standards, while still falling back on traditional production techniques, such as Goodyear Welting.
Every single pair of Tricker’s boots, shoes and loafers are made from start to finish at the Northampton factory, which goes some way to explaining their higher price point. But for outright quality, comfort and longevity, they’re worth every cents.
Price: From $880
Customer Reviews: “They are made of heavenly soft and luxurious leather. It is very supple, thin and malleable so there is hardly any friction.”
Think men’s designer loafers and you can’t ignore Gucci. The Italian fashion powerhouse makes some of the finest leather loafers around, from more reserved pairs to those slightly more daring, whether it be through the use of excessive branding, fur, or removing the heel. If you find yourself sliding into a pair of Guccis, then you’ve made it.
Price: From $275
Customer Reviews: “Love them. Very comfortable. The normal size width is a little tight. But very beautiful and get a lot of compliments.”
Founded in 2014, TAFT is a men’s footwear brand specialising in unique, bold shoe designs. TAFT shoes are produced in Spain and Portugal with premium textiles ranging from suiting wool, to woven upholstery fabric, to Charles F. Stead leather. Meticulous in their work, intentional in their designs, and obsessive over what makes the cut, TAFT has become well-known for their extremely well-made unique men’s shoes.
TAFT has a huge range of extremely well crafted loafers, all made with premium leather, in a variety of unique styles that’ll make you stand out in a crowd.
Price: From $148
Customer Reviews: “They are sleek and beautifully cut, and the penny strap across the front is executed flawlessly.”
Founded in 2013, Jack Erwin was launched with one sole purpose: to create truly timeless men’s shoes. Partnering with the finest factories and artisans in the world, creating custom styles, and eliminating costly markups and middlemen that drive up the costs of other quality dress shoes, Jack Erwin produces some of the best men’s footwear available that’s surprisingly affordable.
Jack Erwin has a great range of men’s loafers that are minimal in design and elevated in construction.
Price: From $189
Customer Reviews: “One of the best shoe purchases I made in a long time.”
Founded in 2012, Ace Marks believes that men shouldn’t have to spend obscene amounts for a handcrafted world-class shoe. Using modern technology, to cut out middlemen and their markups, Ace Marks can directly deliver cleverly contemporary, utterly luxurious, and comfortable shoes (which rival those of the top luxury brands) all at an attainable price.
With a huge range of men’s loafers, available in multiple stylish colours, you’re sure to not only feel comfortable but also make a lavish powerful statement when rocking a pair of Ace Marks loafers.