We know what you're thinking; loafers are grandpa's shoes. Well, not anymore, the best men's loafers have come back with a vengeance, and they are some of the most amazing shoes you can own. 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 shoes are synonymous with bourgeois leisure (and Wall Street bankers), they were initially worn by fishermen in Norway. 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.
G.H. Bass Larson Weejuns
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 retro or modern. 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.
Gucci Leather Bit Loafers
These instantly recognizable leather bit loafers have become a status symbol among investment bankers (and have inspired a legion of knockoffs). Still, 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.
Allen Edmonds Newton Penny Loafers
How do classic grey or navy blue suede loafers sound? Loafers, in general, are a timeless staple, and these are no exception to that rule. They feature a host of thoughtful additions like soft suede uppers, wonderfully comfortable rubber soles, and flexible construction. Allen Edmonds takes the same meticulous approach to these sleek loafers as it does with its durable dress shoes and boots. You can pair them with everything from a navy cotton suit to slim black denim and a white oxford shirt (think Alex Turner a la the Arctic Monkeys).
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.
Johnston & Murphy Gavney Slip-On
Very few shoe brands have the mix of affordability, quality, and brand recognition that Johnston & Murphy enjoys. While they have a wide variety of amazing shoes to choose from, these patent leather loafers will look great with everything from a sharp pair of jeans to a great evening suit.
Taft The Fitz Loafer
Taft is one of the country's most popular and fastest-growing shoe brands. They have become known for their unique colors and patterns on classic silhouettes. These beautiful brown check loafers dress up any denim in a casual situation and will look fabulous with a sport coat.
Artemis Design Co. Sumak Kilim Loafers
Artemis Design Co., an Istanbul-based footwear upstart, has rightfully gained a cult following for its 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.
While we may have grown up thinking the loafer is a grandfather shoe, it is undeniable that they have had the staying power needed to remain stylish since he was our age. Get yourself some of these nine best men's loafers and suit up with the same class as he and the rest of the most classically elegant men in history.
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