You can’t call yourself a fashionista if you have never heard about loafer shoes before. In fact, this type of shoe is the hottest trend of the season, according to many fashion bloggers and designer houses. In addition, it is among the best and most versatile shoes which can be worn for various types of events, both formal and informal. A loafer can be worn in substitution for any other footwear including canvas shoes and sandals. Hence, this shoe is undoubtedly one of the shoes you should have in your wardrobe.
So if you are interested in this new trendy footwear of the year, follow me and I will guide you through some of the most interesting timelines of the loafer, what make up of this shoes and the most common types of loafers you can find on the market. Basically anything you need to know about this interesting shoe.
Characteristics Of A Loafer
The most distinctive characteristic of a loafer is that it comes with no lace. In addition, the length of a loafer is relatively low it leaves your ankle exposed. Many people consider a moccasin and a loafer to be of the same type since the seams on top of the vamp from both shoes look like the same.
However, a loafer features a separate thin sole instead with a low heel, which you can’t see in a moccasin. The sole is stitched, welted or glued to the body of the shoes.
Last but not least, when you wear a loafer, you also need to wear socks. This is a big characteristic to distinguish a loafer from a boat shoe. Keep in mind that loafer is not meant for barefoot.
To sum up, a loafer is:
- A slip on, slip off shoe
- Lace-less and buckle-less
- Lack of embroidered or beaded details
- Used to wear with socks and smart or casual outfits instead of double breasted and formal suits.
It also has
- An exposed ankle
- A separate thin sole
- A low heel
- A seam on top that looks like a moccasin
History Of The Loafer
Actually, no one can say for sure the exact origin of the loafer as well as the time when it is first made and worn. However, the most popular theory believes that the country where loafer was first invented and worn is Norway.
During a trio to America, a Norwegian saw the classic and iconic American moccasins, got inspired by the style, decided to bring the shoes back home and change it slightly with added sole to make into a new style. This is how the loafer was made. Other source says that loafer was invented by the English people for a new form of house shoes.
From then on, the loafer shoes get on a very interesting track of development. Different companies as well as individuals from different places in the world manufacture the traditional loafers as well as adding their own creativity to this style.
For example, the tassel loafer was developed by the Alden shoe company, the horsebit loafer was produced by Gucci or the Penny loafer was invented by G. H Bass Shoe Company in America.
Traditionally, loafer is slip-on shoes, which is kind of informal and casual. However, when many influential people such as the Duke of Winsor started to wear a loafer with his formal shoes, other people started to follow the trend and wear the shoes with their formal outfits as well.
Material Matter: Leather Or Suede?
2 most common types of materials which are used to make a loafer are leather and suede. The choices of which material to wear depend on various requirements as both would have their own pros and cons. Let’s consider them in more details.
First, in term of formality, leather always beats suede. Leather shoes are generally sleeker and classier. Hence, if you want to have a formal or smart look, you should always pair your suit and your smart shirt with a dark colored leather loafer.
In term of durability, you should think higher of leather than suede. Although caring for leather is quite hard, you need to clean and polish your leather loafer in a regular basis, it would last as long as you want. Also when the leather shoe wears out, it would leave a nice timeless patina.
Still, there are several things that suede loafer holds as its advantages. While leather is for formal and smart wear, suede is for casual wear. A shoe which is made from suede would bring more choices of colors for you.
You can have a suede shoe in original colors from a leather shoe such as black and brown.
However, you can still have many other colors including red, blue and grey, to name just a few. Wearing a colorful suede shoe will surely make you stand out. Last but not least, even the high quality suede loafer is cheaper than leather. If you buy your shoe closet in a budget, suede is kind of better for your wallet.
Types Of Loafer
1. The Horsebit Loafer
This type of loafer is also known as the Gucci loafer as the company started to develop this shoe in the 1950s. You can easily spot one horsebit loafer with its unique gold or silver horsebit on the top.
You can find this style of shoes in different materials including canvas and leather. You can also have a wide range of colors and patterns with this style as well. Not to mention that since the horsebit loafer is so popular, Gucci introduces new models of horsebit loafer every year. It means that you would never go out of fashion if you are a fan of this loafer.
This style is probably one of the most formal loafer shoes, especially when you buy the high quality leather genuine Gucci loafer.
Here are some of the best horsebit loafers I have ever come across:
Amali Mens Purple Plush Microfiber Loafer Driving Shoe with Silver Horsebit: Style Norwalk-049
This horsebit loafer is made from microfiber with synthetic sole. It features the classic loafer style with silver horsebit. It is available in the bright purple color.
- This loafer has one of the most unique colors I have ever seen on the market, which surely make you stand out when wearing this shoe.
- The shoe is well built with a solid and sturdy construction. The lines of the shoes are also finely stitched with no loose threads.
- Not to mention that the material of the shoe is quite soft and breathable.
- The shoe comes with a reasonable price.
- This shoe is not as durable as other shoes in my wardrobe.
Verdict: This shoe is worth buying for anyone who would like to have a very unique and outstanding shoe for their casual and street wear.
Gucci Men’s Dark Red Bushed Leather Horsebit Loafers Shoes
This horsebit loafer is made from brushed leather with polished leather upper shoe. It features the classic loafer style with the Gucci’s signature silver horsebit. It is available in deep red color.
- This loafer is made in Italy with a great craftsmanship and high quality material.
- The arch support of the shoe and the welted sole sufficient to keep my feet feel comfortable while walking all day long.
- This shoe goes well with both casual and smart outfit in my wardrobe. I receive a lot of compliments while wearing this style with just my t-shirt and chinos.
- One of the most expensive loafers you can find on the market.
Verdict: This shoe is suitable for anyone looking for a premium shoe with high quality material and great craftsmanship. Also if you have to walk a lot, consider this option.
Santimon-Men’s Comfortable Genuine Leather Driving Shoe Horsebit Moccasins Loafer Doug Shoes
This horsebit loafer is made from leather with sole made from rubber. It features the classic loafer style with moccasin seamed toe and traction pod outsole. It is available in many colors including yellow, green, brown, white and blue.
- With the breathable lining and cushioned insole, your feel would feel really comfortable while you wear this style of shoe all day long.
- The material of the shoe is soft and smooth as well.
- The heel stack is a little bit quite short.
- It is quite a challenge for me to pair the shoe with other pieces of clothing as it is quite unique in style and color.
Verdict: If you want something fun and outstanding, this shoe is worth considering. And also if you want to buy a shoe with a tight budget, check it out.
2. The Penny Loafer
After this style of loafer was invented, it was considered a trendy item for students of Ivy League in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Duke of Winsor also wore this style of shoes with his formal wear. There are many interesting stories related to this shoe. Some people say that back in the old day, you need to put a penny on top of your shoes in order to stand out from the crowd.
Some say that one man actually put two pennies, one on each pair of shoes so that he can make a phone call anytime he needs to. These stories might be the true origin of the penny loafer or the inspiration from the shoe’s name; I myself don’t and will never know for sure.
A Penny loafer is just a like a traditional loafer with a strap over the top of the shoe. There is a diamond shaped cut out in the middle of the strap (for men of the old days to put coins inside, maybe!).
Nowadays, the penny loafer is still able to remain its popularity. You can find one style of this shoe in many colors including red and brown. You can wear this style of loafer with many styles of clothing including chinos, tailored shorts, corduroys as well as flannel pants.
And why not pair it with your favorite slim Jeans and a bomber jacket for a more casual look?
For the top, you can combine the penny loafer with the varsity jacket, Oxford shirt and t-shirt. Put on your jumpers when it gets colder. It is more suitable for younger men than older men. If you like preppy style, this is definitely a style of shoe you should have in your wardrobe.
Here are some of the best penny loafers you can find on the market:
Rockport Men’s Classic Lite Penny Loafer
This penny loafer shoe is made from leather with synthetic sole. It is available in 6 colors including cognac, black and brown. The height of the heel is 1 inch.
- This is one of the best shoes I have ever had with a soft leather material as well s rigid and solid construction.
- The outsole if made with the shock absorbing PU. That is the reason why when I have to walk on this shoe for a whole day, I didn’t feel tired at all-and I mean I had to walk a lot.
- The black finish is not as shiny as you can find in other black leather shoes.
Verdict: It is a good choice for anyone who wants to buy a formal and smart penny loafer with high quality.
BRUNO MARC MODA ITALY HARRY-02 Men’s Dress Classic Leather Lining Slip On Casual Penny Loafers Shoes
This shoe is made from synthetic material with leather lining and latex cushioning footbed. There are 3 colors for your consideration including dark brown, black and tan.
- The foot bed is fully cushioned for your utmost comfort during a long walk.
- This product is available in a wide range of sizes and widths so you would always find the perfect fit for yourself.
- It is a very lightweight and flexible shoe.
- The construction is not quite solid with a few loose stitching lines.
Verdict: This is a good penny loafer for anyone who wants to buy cheap shoe with reasonable quality.
Rockport Men’s Shakespeare Circle Penny Loafer
This shoe is made of real leather with rubber shoe. The height of the heel is 1 inch. It is available in 3 colors including black, brown and burgundy.
- With the slip on styling, this shoe is super easy for me to take on and off.
- It is super flexible from the outsole to the upper material.
- The style of this shoe can complement my working outfit really well with its shiny fine burnished leather material and careful made structure. All of these bring a high quality feel to the shoe.
- The top of the shoe provides a narrow room for my toes.
Verdict: If you want a high quality shoe with high quality material and comfortable structure, consider this shoe. It is also made for walking.
3. The Tassel Loafer
Finally, we come to the last type of loafer I want to introduce to you. This type of loafer gets its name because it features some loosely tassels. These tassels can be attached to the top of the loafer.
You can also come across kinds of tassels attached to a braided leather line handing around the body of the shoe. Men of all ages could be spotted wearing this style of loafer. s. It gives you a very elegant yet unique and outstanding look.
Although it also depends on the choices of high quality leather or suede as well as color, the tassel loafer is considered more formal than other types of loafers.
You can wear this style of shoe to a business meeting provided that you choose a high quality leather black loafer with your formal wear- blazer on top and chinos for the bottom.
If you want to pair it with your smart outlook, go for traditional color and material. For a more casual look, you can try the suede one with t-shirt and Jeans.
Here is the review of the best tassel loafers:
Cole Haan Men’s Pinch Tassel Loafer
Its Main Features: This tassel loafer is made from leather with stacked leather heel and rubber sole. The height of the heel is 1 inch. It features a dressy tassel loafer style with a decorative tassel in the middle of the top of the shoe. There are 4 colors for you to choose from including black, burgundy, mahogany and saddle tan.
- This shoe is made with high quality hand-antiqued and brush off leather for a very classy and polished look.
- The padded fully leather sock lining adds more softness to the shoes, making you feel comfortable all day long.
- The heel of the shoe is a little bit too stiff for my liking.
- It takes me around 1 week to break in and gradually feel that the shoe snug fit and comfortably around my feet.
Verdict: This shoe is a great buy for anyone who is looking for a versatile shoe in both formal and casual wear. It is also worth considering if you don’t want to buy a product that will break the bank.
Nunn Bush Men’s Keaton Tassel Loafer
Its Main Features: This tassel loafer is made from leather with stacked leather heel and rubber sole. The height of the heel is 1 inch and the height of the platform is around 0.25 inch. It features a tassel loafer style with a tasseled vamp, a tassel in the middle on top of the shoe along with the moccasin-stitching lines. There are 3 colors for you to choose from including black, burgundy and saddle tan.
- The foot bed of this loafer is removable.
- The rubber outsole of this sole is very flexible and comfortable with the high quality leather and traction-detailed rubber.
- It features a comfortable gel construction for cushioning and shock absorption. When I wear this style of shoe and have to walk on a very stony and rough terrain, I feel nothing at all.
- After wearing the shoes for a long time, I would be able to see some of the loose threads and stitching lines coming across the top of the shoe.
Verdict: This shoe is an essential part of a traditional and business wardrobe. So if you are seeking for a shoe for formal and smart wear- suits and dressy casual clothes, you can consider this option.
Florsheim Men’s Brinson Kiltie Tassel Slip-On Loafer
Its Main Features: This tassel loafer is made from leather with rubber sole and synthetic rubber heel. The height of the heel is 1 inch. It features a dressy tassel loafer style with a stacked heel and decorative Kilty tassels. There are 2 colors for you to choose from including black and burgundy.
- The upper part of the shoe is made with easy to shine leather to bring a very polished and shiny look to the wearer.
- The outsole of the shoe is extremely sturdy and durable. Not to mention that it is quite lightweight so you find it very easy and comfortable to life your feet for walking.
- The cushioned insole is very soft yet supportive for the utmost comfort during a long walk.
- The fit across the top of the foot is quite tight.
- The foot bed is non removable. You might find this a little bit inconvenient as you can’t take it out to clean.
Verdict: This shoe is suitable for anyone who has to walk a lot.
Overall, a loafer is very stylish, comfortable and convenient to wear. With many choices of materials, designs and colors, it can help to compliment your styles and make you stand out from the crowd. Investing in a high quality loafer is definitely a thing that you need to consider. With the timeless style and versatility, you can wear your loafer for many years to come and still look classy and trendy.
I hope with all of the information above, you can learn more about this appealing style of shoes. Along with the reviews of the best shoes I have ever tried on, I also hope that you can buy the shoes that fit your styles and preference s the most. With a lot of styles, materials and colors on the market, all it need is a little bit of time before you can find your perfect match.