Loafers for men have long been associated with preppy fashion, but in 2022, they’ve officially stepped out of the shadow of the Ivy league. That’s because stylish guys and gals have figured out that you can wear the best loafers with everything from distressed blue jeans to rugged work pants. In short, loafers can go toe to toe (pun intended) with sneakers as your everyday choice of footwear. And though they’re not as soft as your WFH slippers, loafers offer the convenience that only a laceless shoe can provide.
G.H. Bass was the first brand to widely market the penny loafer, and they still make some of the best loafers for men on the market. The brand was reportedly inspired by shoes worn by Norwegian travelers, dubbing the shoe “Weejuns.” In time, this shoe came to be widely known as the penny loafer. The prevailing story is that two pennies could be stored, one in each slit, and this was enough change for an emergency phone call. This story is quite possibly apocryphal, but it’s a charming idea nonetheless. Whatever you call them, the best loafers for men are an instant wardrobe upgrade that you can wear with anything (even shorts!).
The Best Loafer Styles to Wear in 2022
Though penny loafers are the archetype, there are quite a few other styles of loafer. Unlike an Oxford shoe, there aren’t rigidly defined rules on what makes a loafer a loafer other than that it must be a laceless slip-on. Even then, there are exceptions. Take the boat shoe, a closely related style with laces across the top.
Other styles include Horsebit loafers, which were popularized by Gucci and feature a decorative metal buckle across the top. Tassel loafers have tassels and are typically dressier than penny loafers. Venetian loafers typically have a more pointed silhouette, but the uppers are free from tassels, buckles and other ornamentation. Driving mocassins are another popular style, and they’re distinguished by a textured design on the heel that makes them ideal for (you guessed it) driving.
There’s no loafer style that’s objectively “best.” All of these styles could easily earn a spot in your closet, but if we’re forced to choose, we’d say the penny loafer is the best place to start. While most loafers skew either dressy or casual, the penny loafer perfectly straddles the line. You could wear a pair of burgundy Weejuns with a summer suit and wear that same pair with cuffed 501s and a knit polo.
Once you know what type of loafer you’re looking for, keep scrolling to find the best loafers for men.
1. G.H. Bass Larson Weejuns
You can’t list the best men’s loafers without the OG pair that started it all — in America, anyway. G.H. Bass put the now-iconic penny loafer on the map back in 1936 with its simple yet sophisticated, Weejun. The loafer style was initially designed to be worn by Norwegian farmers, but, once adopted by Americans, the penny loafer took over. When G.H. Bass launched its style, it was dubbed the Weejun, which is said to be a nod to the Norwegians who started it all. It was popular in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1990s and remains popular today. If you buy one men’s loafer, make it a Weejun.
2. Cole Haan Modern Classics Penny Loafer
G.H. Bass may have gotten penny loafers started, but Cole Haan has come close to perfecting them. Is this the Platonic ideal of brown penny loafers? They might be. The best loafers have a classic silhouette, clean lines and fine leather, and these shoes combine those qualities with Cole Haan’s signature support and longevity. New for 2022, they’re some of the best loafers men will find for sale this season.
3. Johnston & Murphy Hayes Tassel Loafers
BEST TASSEL LOAFERS
The tassel loafer will never go out of style, making it a great shoe to add to your growing collection of the best loafers for men. This handsewn loafer contains a full-grain leather upper and outsole with a sheepskin lining. They will pair well with a black pair of slacks and a nice collared shirt.
4. Dr. Martens Adrian Snaffle Suede Leathers
Dr. Martens is best known for boots, but the brand’s low-top shoes are arguably just as cool. Take these suede loafers, which have Dr. Marten’s distinctive ridged soles and yellow stitching. The shoes are crafted from soft tan suede and have a horsebit design on the top. The rugged sole clashes with the luxurious upper in the best way possible, making for a men’s loafer you can wear anywhere.
5. Vince Camuto Esmail Penny Loafer
In need of an everyday loafer to slip on when heading into the office? Then consider getting a pair of Penny loafers from Vince Camuto. The penny loafer is one of the most popular loafer styles among men because it resembles moccasins. It’s a classic shoe that can be viewed as casual or dress. They pair well with a polo and a pair of jeans or a well-fitted suit.
6. Gucci Horsebit Leather Loafer
Gucci is a brand known for its well-crafted leather, and this men’s loafer by the iconic Italian brand exceeds that. The shoe is a new iteration of a traditional loafer as its heel was designed to be worn folded down. Not only does this give you a slip-on shoe, but it takes your look up a notch.
7. Thursday Boot Company Handsewn Loafer
BEST BOAT SHOE
These are more like boat shoes than loafers, but they’re too stylish to leave off a list of the best loafers. The shoes are available with regular soles or lug soles, and we’re more partial to the beefy look of the lug sole right now. The matte black color gives this preppy staple an elevated, modern look, but the company’s classic brown loafers are also worth a closer look.
8. Blackstock & Weber The Ellis Penny Loafer
Blackstock & Weber might sound like a stuffy English brand from the 1700s. It’s actually a Brooklyn-born, Black-owned business helmed by a young (but experienced) designer named Chris Echevarria. The shoes have the silhouette of classic loafers, but Echevarria and co. reimagine them in odd prints and materials. These shoes are made from pebbled leather with a fuzzy zebra print on the vamp.
9. Amberjack The Loafer
For Amberjack, comfort is key. If you need to look professional but want the comfort of a sneaker, then pick up these classic brown loafers for men. The detail that sets these shoes apart is the heat-activated arch support; what that means is that as you walk, the foam inside the shoe molds to your foot. What that translates to is a much shorter break-in time than you get with the average leather shoe.
10. Tecovas The Monterrey
BEST VENETIAN LOAFER
We love Tecovas for their stylish cowboy boots, and it turns out the brand also excels at making loafers. They have a suede upper and a relaxed silhouette that puts them somewhere between a loafer and a slipper. In addition to suede, these shoes are also available in brown leather. Style-wise, they manage to be casual yet sophisticated.
11. Beckett Simonon Cohen Loafers
While many brands pride themselves on how much they can shrink the time between clicking “order” and your item arriving on your doorstep, Beckett Simonon does things a little differently. Each shoe is made to order, which helps reduce waste from excess production. These loafers come in a range of colors and have a dressy look, making them a good fit for wearing with a suit.
12. Cole Haan 2.Zerogrand Suede Venetian Loafers
Suede loafers can be a pain to take care of because they don’t mesh well with wet weather. So be sure to leave these bad boys home on a rainy day. The chestnut loafers are a great shoe to have because they can match anything in your closet. Not to mention, the suede canvas allows your feet to breathe and is very comfortable to wear.
13. Tod’s Gommino Suede Driving Loafer
BEST DRIVING LOAFER
Though far from cheap, for a genuinely casual take on the penny, a “Sunday driver” take, opt for these driving shoes from Tod’s. Yes, technically, they are “driving shoes,” but they look and act just like pennies, so we’re tossing them in the round-up. The studded rubber sole that wraps around the heel for extra grip sets these shoes apart from your typical penny. The idea is to give premium control while shifting into third on your way to brunch. And as a brunch shoe should be, these loafers are light and comfortable but can also pair with just about anything. For a classy summer look, rock with a plain blue tee, pair dark blue jeans and your coolest sunglasses.
14. GH Bass Logan Colorblock Weejuns
Bass could offer just a brown, black and burgundy loafer, and they’d still be one of the best loafer brands on the market. But we are glad they keep pushing the envelope, such as with these unique two-tone loafers. Instead of a contrasting vamp, the entire front of the shoe is black, and the back half is white, making it almost look like a pair of white shoes were dipped in tar. It’s a shoe that Two-Face would appreciate, we’re sure.
15. Mulo Suede Loafers
However, not every occasion calls for a pair of sneakers, no matter how cool they look. If you’re in a position where you need a dressier set of shoes, these suede loafers from Mulo will do the trick. The rich, caramel brown color matches well with everything, while their suede construction is breathable on your feet. The outsole has good traction, so no need to worry about slipping and sliding around like you might in a pair of hard-bottomed loafers.
16. Prada Monolith Lug-Sole Loafer
MOST HIGH FASHION
Prada’s Monolith loafer has been a fashion must-have among men and women fashion enthusiasts. The chunky black shoe has a ’90s style, meaning any outfit you wear with it will have a vintage aesthetic. While the shoe is one of the most expensive pairs on the list, it’s a great investment piece because it’ll last you for years and never go out of style.
17. Kurt Geiger London Hugh Eagle Head Quilted Suede Loafers
Kurt Geiger London is well known for its lavish and over-the-top designs, and these loafers do not disappoint. The black suede loafer features the brand’s eagle-head charm at the vamp of the shoe. These loafers would make the perfect prom or wedding day shoe for someone who wants something classy but edgy.
18. Rone Thirty Six
Every shoe on our list has been, up to now, fairly conventional. If you want the showstopper, the shoe that you wear for the sake of being different and extraordinary, this is it. Allow us to introduce you to Rone and its Thirty Six loafer in purple suede. Excuse us, python-embossed purple suede. Unless they’re literally wearing the same shoe, there is a 0% chance anyone else will be rocking a shoe even remotely similar to this one. It’s bold, brave and badass. Plus, it was designed by the professional skater Tony Ferguson. All of which is to say, if you feel like pulling them on and skating to the corner for the hell of it, you most certainly can.