Loafers have been having what we in the business call “a moment” for quite some time, but the best loafers for men feel more hyper-relevant now than ever before. What other shoe, pray tell, is better suited to this particular moment: laceless and comfortable like the slippers you’ve been lounging in for months; sharp and stylish enough for the post-vax life you’ve been dreaming about for those same months. Thanks to the Great Loafer Boom of 2021, you’ve never had more options—from heritage menswear brands and big-name designers and tiny startup labels alike—to slide right into for summer.
Especially because there’s not a damn thing in your wardrobe that a loafer won’t work with. Jeans (weird or otherwise), chinos, pants with pleats or without, shorts—especially the shorts of summer—and beyond.
No matter the loafer style you’re after, from classic penny loafers to dressy tassel loafers, we’ve tracked down the 26 absolute best loafers for men—all exhaustively researched, thoroughly vetted, and ready to roll. Find the pair of loafers that’s right for you, slip ‘em on without a second thought, and ascend to verified style god status. It really is that simple.
The Best Bang For Your Buck Loafer
Bass Weejuns have been an icon since the ’30s, and when it comes to loafers—or any shoe really—you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value. The brand’s casual-leaning style is a GQ fan-favorite beloved by old-school preppy legends like J.F.K. and modern-day loafer aficionados alike. The best way to wear them? Play down their clean-cut origins by pairing them with everything from cuffed Dickies to flower-child faded jeans. For the bargain-savvy shopper, these are about as close as it gets to a near-perfect black loafer that doesn’t compromise on quality and doesn’t call for a short-term loan to afford. In other words: as long as Bass keeps making ’em, we’ll keep recommending ’em.
The Best Upstart Loafer
The best thing about the bona fide loafer boom? Every brand worth its weight in Goodyear welts wants in on the action, from stalwart shoemakers to up-and-coming loafer specialists looking to make their mark in an increasingly saturated space. Our preferred up-and-comer? Vinny’s, the Copenhagen-based brand founded by fashion-world vet Virgil Nicholas right before the onset of the pandemic. Each pair of Vinny’s loafers is a handcrafted riff on a classic silhouette you know and love—all at a price point that belies the level of labor involved. Right now, we’re digging these shiny croc-effect bad boys, finished with a high-quality rubber sole that’ll keep your dogs suitably comfy no matter where your post-lockdown plans take you.
The Best Grail-Worthy Loafer
The word “icon” is tossed around real casually these days, but Gucci’s horsebit loafer is the rare piece of design actually worthy of the moniker. There’s a reason the silhouette’s barely changed since it was first introduced in the early ’50s. Gucci loafers are still crafted in Italy, still embellished with the brand’s signature horsebit detail hearkening back to its legacy as a small-time Florentine leather goods operation. Explaining their appeal is easy: not only do they go with everything you already own, they’ll swank up every outfit your pair them with—from the casual-everydays vibe you’ll be bringing back to your re-opened office, to the suit you’ve been jonesing to bust out once the summer wedding circuit picks up in earnest.
The Best Titan of Industry Loafer
If you’re looking for slip-on shoes that’ll make you feel like you’re on top of the world every time you wear ‘em these are the loafers for you. That’s because J.M.Weston’s most popular shoe is a tour de force of footwear design. Insisting on the 180 manual operations necessary to assemble each pair might sound a tad excessive, but if you’re dropping a rack on a pair of shoes, you expect that level of craftsmanship. Goodyear-welted for easy resoling and done up in a rich shade of dark brown, these are loafers that’ll sync up just as well with your most formal outfits as they will your most casual, from your finest “hostile corporate takeover” power suit to a pair of frayed 501s and your “weekend beater” Rolex.
The Best Tassel Loafer
Tassel loafers are here, waiting, if you want something outside of a penny loafer that’s still got some showmanship. Alden’s signature version is absolute aces: handmade in Massachusetts from handsome snuff suede on a deceptively comfortable leather outsole. You’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of shoes that’ll complement a pair of dark indigo jeans more effectively, or more instantly elevate a creamy pair of linen trousers to the realm of “gracefully aging Italian gentleman.”
The Best Venetian Loafer
Venetian loafers are having a moment, and you should absolutely learn what the fuss is about. Construction-wise, they’re similar to the more conventional loafers you’re familiar with, absent a few crucial stylistic flourishes—namely, the straps, tassels, and kilties that typically lend the uppermost part of the loafer some flair. The style has exploded in popularity over the last year, which means it’s high time you discovered for yourself what the fuss is about. Viberg’s durable, Goodyear-welted option is one of the best of the bunch. The brand’s eco veg slippers merge the ease of the house shoes you’ve been wearing for the last year with the timeless style of the dress shoes you’ve been eyeing forever. Strip away all those excess details and you’re left with a loafer that feels—almost paradoxically—even more elegant than its elaborately-adorned counterparts.
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