Best Men’s Loafers: Effortlessly Stylish

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Blurring the lines between modern and timeless, the loafer is a staple dress shoe for men everywhere.  Able to be easily dressed up into semi-formal attire, or down to a more relaxed or casual look, the loafer is undoubtedly versatile.

As you are already keenly aware when it comes to selecting shoes, they aren’t created equally.  Not only is careful craftsmanship important, especially if you want a pair of loafers to last you a season or two, but one that strikes the right balance for style, as well as comfort, are all important considerations – perhaps none do this better than the Oliver Cabell Driver loafer.

Let’s take a look at some of the best loafers currently available:

Since you are buying new loafers, consider getting a pair of no-show socks to go with them. We recently reviewed the USA-made No-Show Socks by Boardroom Socks that we think you’ll love.

5 Tips for Buying Loafers

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when deciding on a new pair of loafers:

1. Style

Loafers come in many different styles. Here’s a quick summary of each:

  • Penny: Introduced by G.H. Bass in 1936, the penny loafer features a signature leather strap across the shoe’s tongue coupled with a small cutout (typically diamond).  With a rich ivy league heritage, these dress shoes are among the most popular.  This style is considered to be more formal and is best paired with dress pants or chinos.
  • Kiltie / Tassel: With two small tassels affixed to the leather band across the tongue of the shoe, the tassel loafers provide an old-school look that is a bit more versatile.  You can easily dress this shoe up or down.
  • Pump: This streamlined loafer is the most formal of the bunch and best suited for black tie events.  This shoe typically has a high polish exterior.
  • Slipper: The slipper loafer offers a preppy ivy league style perfect for casual or lounge wear.  Wrapped in a cloth or suede exterior, you should only consider wearing these for weekend use.
  • Espadrille: Similar to TOMS, the Espadrille strikes an old-school and super casual look. However, with a more Spanish European flair, the Espadrille is a perfect summertime loafer.
  • Driving: While their name suggests that these are worn when commanding your vehicle like James Bond, the driving loafer differs from others mentioned. It has extra rubber on both the bottom and heel to provide additional grip when driving.
  • Horsebit: Also known as the “Gucci” loafer as Guccio Gucci designed it in 1953, it features a metal clasp that wraps around the top of the shoe.  Gucci still sells the Horsebit.

2. Material

Loafers are made from many different materials.  Here are the more popular materials you will find in your research:

  • Leather: Available in several different grades: top-grain, full-grain, nubuck, calfskin, and genuine – the type of leather can have a significant impact on durability.  When possible, avoid genuine leather as it will display signs of wear within a year.  
  • Suede: Sourced from the underside of the leather, brushed suede provides a more casual look.  While this material may look good initially, you must treat suede carefully as it can quickly show signs of wear.
  • Canvas: Affordable, animal-friendly, and breathable, canvas is an excellent material for both casual and summer use.  While not as durable, canvas offers a distinct style that is perfect for the modern man.

3. Welt

Like most shoes, loafers can feature different welts.  Welts are how the upper and the sole are attached.  Here’s why this is an important consideration:

  • Goodyear Welt & Blake Stitch:  While these two welts are different and many fashion-forward men have written exhaustively about them, just know that these welts allow the shoes to be resoled.  Therefore, if you plan on wearing your new loafers extensively–if the uppers look good, but the bottoms are showing signs of wear, you can bring them to your local cobbler for a new sole.  It’s a great way to extend the value of your shoes.
  • Cemented: If a company doesn’t disclose the type of welt used, then it is likely a cemented sole (glued together).  Once the soles on these loafers have become worn, they must be thrown away.

4. Wearing Intent

How you plan on wearing your new loafers is important.  While you may be buying these pairs for a special occasion or for one specific use case, to prevent them from collecting dust in your closet, consider getting a pair of loafers that are versatile so you can wear them often.

5. Country of Origin

Certain countries are renowned for their quality craftsmanship and materials.  When buying loafers, if you want the best quality out there, consider a pair made in Italy, United States, Portugal, and select Central and South American countries.  

1. Cole Haan Men’s Pinch Tassel Loafer

Versatile and affordable – that about sums up the Cole Haan Men’s Pinch Tassel Loafer.  Available in three different colors including burgundy, black, and mahogany, these loafers are a classic.

While absent of a Blake or Goodyear welting, these penny loafers should be able to easily last you a couple of seasons before they need to be replaced.

Crafted from 100% leather, they are polishable allowing them to always look great.  

On the inside of this loafer, you have a stacked leather heel coupled with a fully padded lining that allows your feet to rest comfortably. Available in several sizes and widths, you should have no problem finding the right one for your feet.

Best for: men that want a classic tassel loafer at an affordable price.

What You Need To Know

While not as high-end as some of the others reviewed, these tassel loafers by Cole Haan are well-made and affordable.

2. Minnetonka Men’s Driving Loafer

Makers of quality footwear since 1946, Minnetonka serves up a soft and comfortable driving loafer.  With the trademark nub-bottom that extends up towards the heel, the Minnetonka Men’s Driving Loafer provides a confident step whether walking or driving.

By relying on a 100% suede leather upper, these loafers are a bit more casual than most – making them ideal for informal gatherings or weekend wear.  

Currently available in sizes ranging from 7 to 13.5, with no wide or narrow sizes available, they aren’t likely going to fit everyone.  However, if you are one of the lucky guys that can slide into these puppies, we think you will love their comfort.

With a lasting style, these driving loafers won’t go out of style when the season is over; just be sure that you treat the suede well.

Best for: men that want a timeless and casual loafer.

What You Need To Know

Blurring the lines between slippers and loafers, the Minnetonka Men’s Driving Loafer is a great casual companion.  The nub-bottom outsole gives you plenty of grip whether you are walking around the house or to the mailbox.

3. ECCO Men’s Classic Moc 2.0 Shoes

Respected for their comfort-focused design, the ECCO Men’s Classic Moc 2.0 Shoes is a top consideration if you are looking to prioritize comfort over all else.  What makes the ECCOs so special (and comfortable) is the proprietary ECCO Comfort Fibre System. 

This unique system relies on several layers of materials that rest below your feet.  Most notably is the uncompromising vegetable-tanned leather that gives your feet a nice soft bed.  But below this layer of leather is where the real magic happens.  With a comfortable synthetic foam cushion bed – with every step you take, the air is circulated throughout the shoe providing adequate cooling coupled with increased support for your feet.

Aside from comfort, these loafers provide a nice modern and minimalist look that won’t ever go out of style.  You can find the Moc 2.0s in two colors and several sizes (5 – 14.5) – making it easy to find the perfect fit for your feet.

Best for: men who demand ultimate comfort when walking.

What You Need To Know

These loafers are both extremely comfortable and sexy-looking.  While the sole is cemented, which limits their life, they will feel great to walk in no matter where your travels take you.

4. Oliver Cabell Driver Loafer

If you want the latest stylish men’s loafers, then you need to move Oliver Cabell Drivers to the top of your consideration list.  

Available in four modern colors including sand (pictured above), chestnut, slate, and navy – it’s easy to see why so many men are falling in love with these.   By relying on the finest Italian leather that has been sourced from Marche, Italy, you can rest assured that the quality here is top-rated.  

But the use of fine materials doesn’t end there – Oliver Cabell smartly relies on Italian calfskin leather for both the footbed and lining – demonstrating that they really cut no corners with this loafer.

With a classic (and proprietary) nub-rubber bottom and heel, these loafers provide that familiar grip that you are looking for.

Handmade in Portugal, one of the few countries that really knows how to make good dress shoes nowadays, you can expect that these loafers will never fail you.

Priced rather aggressively given the materials, these are a real steal on our list.

Best for: men who love well-made and uncompromising products.

What You Need To Know

It’s easy to see why men that value craftsmanship and fine materials above all else are drawn to these loafers.  They simply check all the boxes when it comes to quality – plus their aggressive price point almost makes these too good to be true.

5. Nisolo Chamberlain Penny Loafer

By owning their factories and paying their workers a livable wage, Nisolo is one of the rare companies that are invested in making quality products without compromises.

What makes the Chamberlain Penny Loafer so special, especially when compared to others reviewed, is the quality of craftsmanship that they exhibit.  It relies on a resoleable blake stitch (source) with a nice smooth leather exterior.

Given the safe design, these loafers can be easily dressed up or down to suit whatever occasion you may be wearing them for.

Available in select sizes (8 to 13) and only one width, these loafers are made in three colors including brandy, black, and oak – all of which offer a beautiful, timeless style.

Best for: men that want a nice leather penny loafer.

What You Need To Know

If you want a fine leather penny loafer, then these are a terrific pick.  Able to go seamlessly with most outfits, they are one of those rare shoes that you will always want to slip on everywhere you go.

6. G. H. Bass Co. Larson Liberty Weejuns

Attention men who want a nice, classic black penny loafer – you should consider the G. H. Bass Co. Weejuns.  The flagship Weejun design from G. H. Bass Co. is the original company that invented the classic penny loafer design that so many other brands have copied since.

Able to be paired with dress pants or even a nice pair of shorts, they are a wardrobe staple that can be worn in all four seasons (weather permitting, of course).  

When it comes to variety, G. H. Bass Co. is among the best in the business.  While we think the Larson Liberty Weejuns (pictured above) is pretty nice, know that there are a staggering 86 other varieties of the Weejuns available – so you can perfectly find one to match your style.

If there is any notable downside to the G. H. Bass Weejuns, it would be the leather grade.  Crafted from genuine leather, they will last a few seasons at most before needing replacement.

Best for: men that want a classic style loafer that is extremely versatile.

What You Need To Know

The G. H. Bass Weejun is the quintessential loafer that so many men have come to love.  It is timeless and can be paired with just about anything.  If you are looking for a classic black loafer – then this is the one for you.

7. To Boot New York Alek Black Loafer

A classic and refined loafer, the Alek Black by To Boot New York is a stylish and sophisticated shoe for the modern man.  Crafted from high-quality calfskin, these semi-polishable loafers are a great choice if you find yourself attending semi-formal events regularly – or even if you want to turn a few heads in the office.

Relying on a grippy rubber sole for the bottom, they give you a nice stable footing with every step you take.

Best for: men that want a nice, slick black loafer for semi-formal and workwear.

What You Need To Know

Made in Italy, these loafers by To Boot New York rely on some of the finest materials out there with a price tag to match.  Their modern design can elevate your style instantly.

8. Swims Penny Loafer

Gentlemen, meet your perfect travel companion for your next tropical trip – the Swims Penny Loafer.  Like you, this penny loafer is in a class all of its own.  While relying on that classic penny loafer design, these shoes are intended to get wet without looking or feeling like a pair of water shoes.  

With a grippy natural rubber bottom, they are great for walking along beaches and even some light hikes.

But what’s the real selling point to these loafers is that they are machine washable.  So if they are drenched in saltwater, you can simply toss them into the washer once you get back to your home base.

Best for: men that want a stylish travel or beach loafer.

What You Need To Know

If you have a trip planned to a nice luxury resort, then the Swims Penny Loafers are a great pair of shoes.  Perfect for walking on the beach or in a nice hotel, they look exceptional and are machine washable.

9. Gucci Horsebit Loafer

If you want a distinct, iconic look and have the funds to do so, then there is no better choice than the Gucci Horsebit Loafer.  These high-quality Italian loafers feature burnished-gold hardware across the top. 

The uniform style of these loafers makes them a favorite for men who are attending semi-formal to formal networking events, power lunches, and high stakes meetings.  

Available in black, dark brown, and light brown and available in UK sizes 5 to 13 (here’s a handy conversion chart from Zappos we found for you), they should suit most men’s style and foot measurements.

Included with the loafers is a dust bag to ensure that they are well protected when not in use.

Best for: men who want an iconic style.

What You Need To Know

Perfect for executives and those men that want the very best in Italian craftsmanship.  When it comes to iconic loafers, it doesn’t get much better than this.

10. Tod’s City Gommino Driving Shoes

Like Gucci, Tod’s is a premium men’s Italian footwear brand that is known for its distinct style and quality offerings.  With the Gommino Driving Shoes, you have a loafer that is expertly balanced between both casual and formal style.  With a textured, pebbled leather upper coupled with a rubber pebble outsole and heel, these shoes are distinct.

Made in Italy, these driving shoes come in several colors and sizes (including half-sizes) ensuring that you find the right pair to fit your style preference.

Best for: men that want a well-made Italian loafer.

What You Need To Know

If you want an Italian-made loafer but aren’t completely in love with the Gucci Horsebit loafer, then consider Tod’s – these loafers are a great alternative.

11. Brooks Brothers 1818 Footwear Leather Penny Loafers

Brooks Brothers is a reliable company to turn to when it comes to formal menswear.  Crafted in Italy from the finest Italian leather, the Brooks Brother penny loafers are a terrific pair of dress shoes that will quickly and effortlessly elevate your style.

The streamline and slip-on style of these loafers pair particularly well with dress pants.  Available in three classic colors–black, cognac (pictured above), and navy, you should have no problem extending their versatility with pieces from your wardrobe.  For suede options, be sure to check out the Brooks Brothers driving loafer.

The bottom of these loafers relies on traditional leather soles.  

Best for: men who want a nice pair of brown loafers for the office.

What You Need To Know

The Brooks Brothers 1818 Penny Loafers are a comfortable and classic dress shoe from a classic American brand with a rich history.