Due to the pandemic, we’re all living in our best at-home slippers. However, there are other means to shake up the routine with some of the best loafers for men. That’s right: Should you be in the mood to dress up, we recommend slipping on some loafers—shoes designed exactly for the guy on the go or the guy at home. These low, laceless slip-ons look great with just about anything. But what are loafers to be worn with exactly? They are to be partnered with selvedge denim jeans, white T-shirts, oxford shirts, and more, they’re about as classic as it gets.
We mean that literally—loafers have a rich history that dates back almost a century, with roots in 20th-century Ivy League style. Although today these slip-ons are synonymous with bourgeois leisure (and Wall Street bankers), they were originally worn by fishermen in Norway, and the easy-to-wear silhouette made its way through Europe and eventually to America in the 1930s.
Today’s loafers are modern, fresh, and timeless. With that spirit in mind, we rounded up a guide to the best loafers, broken down by category. Shop away to your heart’s content.
In 1936, G.H. Bass was the first American brand to create a local interpretation of the slip-on, Bass Weejuns, a pun on — you guessed it — “Norwegian.” They are also referred to as the original penny loafer because legend has it that students would tuck a one-cent coin in the front slot of their shoes to use for payphones. Almost a century later, these loafers are still G.H. Bass’ bestsellers and can be worn in retro or modern style. Pair them with rugged jeans and a gray tee for a dash of devil-may-care attitude, or team them up with a khaki chino suit. To us, those sound like the best loafers overall … period.
These instantly recognizable leather bit loafers have become a status symbol among investment bankers (and have inspired a legion of knockoffs), but they look just as polished outside of Wall Street. Made to be worn with your sharpest suit or your simple shirt-and-jeans combo, these Gucci loafers can instantly elevate any fit for generations to come, and they’ll live up to your investment.
Artemis Design Co., an Istanbul-based footwear upstart, has rightfully gained a cult following for their intricately designed, head-turning shoes. Case in point: These gorgeous loafers are sourced from Turkish carpets and embroidered with red, white, and blueprints of animal iconography.
Ready to invest in the best leather loafers? Of course, you are—that’s why we’re here. Allen Edmonds takes the same meticulous approach to these sleek black loafers as it does with its durable dress shoes and boots. This means you can wear these handcrafted leather loafers with everything from a navy cotton suit to slim black denim and a white oxford shirt (think Alex Turner a la the Arctic Monkeys).
In general, our favorite loafers are much more comfortable than other dress shoes, but if you want an especially cozy slip-on to wear while on a work-at-home setup, you can’t go wrong with these Sperry Victura Loafers, which blend the iconic penny loafer silhouette with a well-cushioned, springy sole. Because these toes the line (pun intended) between dressy and casual, we recommend wearing them as part of a high-low combo of slim olive chinos, a white oxford shirt, and a navy blazer. Looking for that extra comfort? You might want to consider wearing no-show socks with them.
For the ultimate in luxury and refinement, it’s hard to go wrong with these handsome velvet loafers. They’ll perfectly accent your favorite evening wear or your sharpest summer suit, and the fact that they’re handmade in England is a nice bonus.
Nisolo Alejandro Slip-Ons
Nisolo makes its stylish loafers ethically at one of the world’s best shoe factories, and it helps that these fashionable slip-on shoes feature a laid-back silhouette and a design that’s just different enough to separate them from the pack.
Crockett and Jones Boston Loafers
Step right into a handsome pair of loafers made by this James Bond-approved British heritage footwear maker. While Bond needs something a little more functional than loafers, these sharp brown suede loafers are perfect for us mere mortals. Wear them with white jeans and a navy polo, accessorized with classic, must-have sunglasses—the Aviator sunglasses.
Florsheim Berkley Moc Toe Penny Loafers
We’re totally in favor of classic loafers that are a bit bold at the same time — take the eye-catching burgundy colorway found on these Florsheim penny loafers, and at a great price to boot.
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