The 18 Best Loafers for Easing Into Wearing Real Shoes Again

Let’s talk loafers, folks. A brief State of the Shoe address, if you will. Because for the last few years, a groundswell of support—coupled with some serious sneaker-related fatigue—pushed the loafer to the forefront of the national conversation on footwear and, man, this was supposed to be the loafer’s year.

Then a devastating pandemic, global lockdown, and across-the-board WFH orders threw a wrench in all that. The loafer’s meteoric rise was stymied by circumstances outside of its control. For months, even the style’s most ardent enthusiasts hunkered down at home, all but their comfiest slip-ons suddenly relegated to the back of their overstuffed closets. (For ardent loafer enthusiasts, overstuffed closets are an inevitable fact of life. Trust me.)

But the loafer didn’t go anywhere. Instead, it patiently bided its time, waiting for the right moment to reemerge and build on the goodwill it established before the world shut down this past spring. And when it comes to loafers I, for one, would like to pick up right where we left off.

It’s not that the shoes themselves have changed all that much—not really, at least. It’s how guys are wearing them that’s different. In other words, it boils down to attitude. Loafers aren’t precious, and they sure as hell don’t need to be coddled. No matter what type you prefer, from the classic Gucci horse-bit to the iconic G.H. Bass Weejun, wear ’em the same way you would a thrashed pair of sneakers—casually, and with reckless abandon—and you’ll be more than fine. (And for further guidance, emulate the attitude of labels like Aimé Leon Dore, a brand that routinely pairs its swankiest loafer styles with the type of retro-inflected elevated athleisure its devotees can’t get enough of.)

Sure, the loafer might not be the shoe-in (heh) candidate it was supposed to be this year, but I’m betting that at the end of all this it’s coming out a winner. And it’s never too late to get on board with the movement.

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Hayes Penny Loafer

Cole Haan colehaan.com

$69.95

Cole Haan’s lasted this long in the game for a few reasons, and the brand’s uncanny ability to churn out super-comfortable footwear that doesn’t break the bank is a big one. 

Oxley Loafers

Bonobos bonobos.com

$98.00

Shoes from the pants store (that sells way more than only pants, as it turns out). 

Logan Croc Weejun Loafers

G.H. Bass & Co. ghbass.com

$120.00

New-school color blocking from an old-school master of the style.  

Red Adrian Loafers

Dr. Martens ssense.com

$155.00

Handsome oxblood leather—with some sweet kiltie detailing up top!—rests comfortably on the brand’s signature cushioned rubber sole. 

Classic Loafers

Sebago farfetch.com

$218.00

The pair your pops probably wore when you were growing up, long before you were wisened up to how much swag the man had to impart. 

Penny Loafers

Aimé Leon Dore aimeleondore.com

$245.00

Sizes are (unsurprisingly) limited at the moment, but ALD’s take on the silhouette comes pretty close to the Platonic ideal of the form. 

Beaufoy Loafers

Horatio London horatio-london.com

£265.00

Talk a walk on the wild side. 

Peter Brushed-Suede Penny Loafers

Grenson mrporter.com

$350.00

Goodyear-welted goodness of an OG English brand.

Black & White Leather Loafers

Toga Virilis ssense.com

$440.00

Two-tone loafers with enough added hardware for half a dining-room tableware set. 

Reims Low-Heel Loafers

Paraboot farfetch.com

$450.00

When it comes to soles, sometimes bigger is better. 

Cut Out Loafers

A-COLD-WALL* farfetch.com

$450.00

The loafers we’ll all be wearing in the future, beamed in right on schedule from the forward-looking world of A-Cold-Wall*.

’70s Leather Penny Loafers

Yuketen mrporter.com

$480.00

Yuketen’s ’70s loafers are handcrafted in Italy and designed to look as good now as they would’ve in 1970 (or, hell, in 2070). 

Gavin Penny Loafer

SANTONI nordstrom.com

$495.00

Santoni harnesses decades of shoemaking knowledge to craft wearable works of art—this one in a mouthwatering shade of gradient brown you could plausibly refer to as “grown-up ombre.”

Collapsible-Heel Croc-Effect Penny Loafers

Loewe mrporter.com

$590.00

Not content to merely make the slip-on of the season, Jonathan Anderson added a collapsible back to an already beloved silhouette and just made Loewe a serious contender in the global loafer rankings. 

Polperro Suede Penny Loafers

Edward Green mrporter.com

$655.00

Suede so supple your feet will beg you to never take ’em off. 

Suede Driving Loafer

Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna endclothing.com

$695.00

A durable wedge bottom that could go, er, sole to sole with any of the best sneakers in your rotation. 

Bit Loafers

GUCCI nordstrom.com

$750.00

180 Moccasin Suede Loafers

J.M. Weston mrporter.com

$855.00

The iconic loafer-maker’s most iconic loafer. 

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Avidan Grossman is the Style eCommerce Editor at Esquire, covering men’s fashion, shoes, grooming, and accessories.

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Source : Esquire