No man’s wardrobe should be without a good pair of loafers and yet, for many, the idea of slipping on a pair is almost unthinkable. Scarred by memories of ill-fitting, pie crust school shoes and summers spent forced into garish boat shoes, men who happily pull on a pair of lace-ups every morning won’t go near a loafer. But this is a mistake because, done right, a grown-up loafer is a thing of beauty. Easy to wear and versatile enough in design and fabric to go with everything from denim to black tie, a well styled loafer speaks of elegance and refinement - you just need to know where to find the best. Here’s our pick…
The penny loafer
As the inventor of the original penny loafer, American brand G.H. Bass & Co knows a thing or two about great slip-ons - its shoes, after all, have been worn by everyone from JFK and Paul Newman to David Beckham and Zoe Kravitz. And, since no good shoe collection is complete without a classic penny loafer, who better to turn to for yours? Crafted in a rich wine leather with black leather soles and the impeccable construction the brand is famed for, you can’t go far wrong with a pair of Weejuns Larson penny loafers.
The tassel loafer
The playful younger sibling to more formal loafer styles, the tassel loafer is suave and debonair while not taking itself too seriously. Eschew the office and save these for semi-formal weekend occasions - they look great with a lightly rolled chino or formal drawstring trouser. The more casual feel of a tassel loafer means it’s also a great shoe to play around with colour and texture. Why not try a patent tassel? Or perhaps something in a jewel tone? We’re also quite taken with New & Lingwood's suede version.
Tobacco Calf Suede Tassel Loafers
The suede loafer
There’s something about the velvety richness of a good suede that makes it a delight to wear. And, while British weather means they may only get to come out during the summer months, we’d still recommend you have a pair of suede loafers in your collection. Scarosso’s minimalist Stefano Moro design is universally flattering and incredibly versatile thanks to its low profile and goes-with-anything chocolate hue.
The driving loafer
No smart-casual wardrobe is complete without a pair of driving shoes - opt for a pair in a goes-with-anything hue and you'll wear them time and time again. Handmade from supple caramel suede, this pair from Aurélien are some of the best.
Caramel Suede Driving Shoes
The horse-bit loafer
This signature Gucci loafer, introduced by Aldo Gucci in 1953, has been so successful that for most this is what springs to mind when asked to picture a traditional loafer. Over the years it has spawned as many variations - including backless, fur-lined and embroidered designs - as it has imitators but, as with most things, we believe the charm of the original still shines. Opt for black leather and a gold horse bit for the ultimate in understated luxury.
The black tie loafer
Heading to a formal affair? Sure you could stick with the same pair of black patent lace ups you’ve been wearing for years but why would you when there are so many more interesting options available? Crockett & Jones' Albert slipper is crafted from soft velvet, with a quilted satin lining, on tanned leather soles for a tux-ready style that speaks volumes about your impeccable taste.
Want to hear more about the loafer? A short history of the driving shoe is available here...
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