Loafers have been enjoying what we in the industry call “a moment” for a while now, but the best loafers for men feel more hyper-relevant than ever. What other shoe, please tell, is better suited to this very time: laceless and comfortable like it slippers you have been relaxing for months; sharp and stylish enough for the post-wax life you’ve been dreaming of for the same months? (Sigh.) Convinced you need a pair—or five—in your regular rotation? Here’s what you should know.
How do I choose one?
Simple: think about what you’ll be wearing them with, then refine your search accordingly. (For more styling how-tos, see below.) Looking for gorgeous leather soles, or need stompers with a little more weight? Are you slipping your dogs into classic-skewed penny loafers, or are you into the freakiest, aviator loafers on the market? Once you’ve found a pair that suits you and your wardrobe, slip them on without a second thought and claim your certified style god status at checkout. It really is that easy. What you should ask 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 both old menswear brands and big designers to small startup labels. You will always be in good hands (uh, feet?) with mainstays such as Alden, Dr. Martens and GH Bass. But plenty of hard-bottom indie sellers are making waves that you might want to catch, too. When in doubt, dust off your favorite nice shoes, double-check who makes them, then peruse their range of loafers; chances are they’re selling a bang-up pair.
What should I wear them with?
Good news on this front: it’s almost impossible to find an outfit that a pair of loafers doesn’t look absolutely flying with. Jeans (strange or otherwise), trousers (with calf or without) shorts– especially shorts in the summer– and further. (In other words, almost everything.) Loafers obviously look right with chinos and a sweater vest, but they can also spice up your wildest 2023 looks with surprising pizazz. No matter what style you’re after, from classic penny loafers to smart tassel loafers, we’ve tracked down the 25 absolute best loafers for men—all well-researched, well-researched, and ready to roll.
The Best Loafers Shopping Guide
The Best Bang For Your Buck Loafer
Bass Weejuns have been an icon since the 30s, and when it comes to loafers – or any shoe – you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value. The brand’s relaxed style is a GQ-favorite loved by old-school preppy legends like JFK and contemporary loafer aficionados. The best way to wear them? Play down their stylish origins by pairing them with everything from cuffed Dickies to faded jeans with flowers and kids. For the bargain-savvy shopper, these are about as close as it gets to a near-perfect black loafer that doesn’t compromise on quality and doesn’t require a short-term loan to afford. In other words: as long as Bass keeps making them, we’ll keep recommending them.
The best grail-worthy loafer
The word “icon” gets thrown around really casually these days, but Gucci’s horseshoe loafer is the rare piece of design that’s actually worthy of the name. (There’s a reason the silhouette has barely changed since it was first introduced in the early ’50s.) Gucci loafers are still made in Italy, still adorned with the brand’s signature horsebit detail that hearkens back to its legacy as a small Florentine leather goods operation. It’s easy to explain their appeal: not only will they go with everything you already own, they’ll spice up every outfit you pair them with – from the casual everyday vibes you want to bring back to your reopened office, to woolly suit you want to go all out with a funky tie.
The best Moodboard Loafers
For decades, loafers remained an unrivaled footwear option for every type of sophisticated gentleman, but it’s only recently that brands have put cotton on their appeal as a canvas for their wildest designs. Example: Blackstock & Weber’s Safari loafers, a true 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 guy at any function you attend, and 2) Make massive numbers on the ‘gram. We’re not in the business of making triple-digit guarantees, but if ever there was a shoe that promised some well-founded timeline love, it’s these. Keep the rest of your outfit classic (think navy suit, solid knit poloand a slim pair aviators) to really let them roar.
The best Tassel Loafer
Tassel loafers are here and waiting if you want something outside of a penny loafer that still has some showmanship. Alden’s signature version is absolutely aces: handcrafted in Massachusetts from beautiful shell cordovan leather (aka the king of all leathers) on a deceptively comfortable leather outsole. You’d be hard pressed to find a pair of shoes that will complement a pair of dark indigo jeans more effectively, or more instantly elevate a pair of cream linen trousers to the realm of “gracefully aging Italian gentleman”.
The best Knockabout Loafers
Alden’s tassel loafers are great and all, but the cordovan leather and fine silhouette give them a scholarly, somewhat fuddy-duddy air that might not sit well with your streetwise sensibilities. It’s there, Dr. Martens enters. Its cult-beloved Adrian loafers are crafted in the brand’s notoriously tough smooth leather, then plopped on top of its surprising AirWair soles. For Doc lovers, details like a double tassel and kiltie fringe – placed around the signature cushioned sole – have helped loafer wearers look like counterculture icons since the 80s, and with a scuzzy cardigan and faded jeans, they’ll do the same for Doc lovers, you too.
The best Venetian loafer
Venetian loafers couldn’t be hotter right now and you should definitely learn what the fuss is about. In terms of construction, they are similar to the conventional loafers you know, minus a few crucial stylistic flourishes – namely straps, tassels and kilties that typically give the upper part of the loafer some flair. The style has exploded in popularity over the past year, which means it’s about time you discovered for yourself what all the fuss is about. Viberg’s durable, Goodyear-welded option is one of the best of the bunch. The brand’s eco veg slippers combine the lightness of house shoes you’ve been wearing the timeless style of those dress shoes you’ve been seeing forever for the past year. Strip away all the superfluous details and you’re left with a loafer that feels – almost paradoxically – even more elegant than its elaborately embellished counterparts.
The industry’s best Titan Loafer
If you’re looking for slip-on shoes that make you feel like you’re on top of the world every time you wear them, these loafers are for you. JM Weston’s most popular shoe is a tour de force of footwear design—insisting on the 180 manual operations required to assemble each pair might sound a bit excessive, but if you drop a rack on a pair of shoes, you expect that level of craftsmanship. Goodyear-welded for easy release and crafted in a rich shade of dark brown, these are loafers that will sync just as well with your most formal outfits as they will your most casual, from your finest “hostile corporate takeover” power suit to a pair of frayed 501s and your “weekend beater” Rolex.