The Loafer is a staple in any man’s wardrobe. Worn with dress socks and a sharp suit, they’re a go-to for Monday Morning meetings. Worn with chinos and a polo, they’re your basic country club vibe. However, loafers have also become a standard piece of footwear for hipsters in recent years, and these casual-meets-formal dress shoes can be seen everywhere these days.
The most common type seen here, the penny loafers, actually took that name from the little saddle slit in front. Once upon a time, prep school students would keep a penny there for payphone calls home. Today, that’s no longer necessary, but the name stuck. Regardless of the particular style, the best loafers still look great while kicking your feet up to make a call on the latest iPhone.
But before we breakdown the best loafers for men, let’s discuss finding the best pair for you:
- Cost – As is the case whenever buying quality men’s shoes, it’s important to make a budget and stick with it. As you’ll see in our list, you can spend anywhere from $90 to $700+ on a single pair of shoes. Before you dive in and fall in love with a pair that’s out of your price range, figure out where you fit.
- Style – Where and how will you wear these shoes? If you’ll wear them to weddings and that’s it, it’s best to stick with something subtle and classy, like the Carminas. However, if this is a weekend summer shoe, you can’t go wrong with the Cole Haan loafers below.
- Material – Pay attention to what each pair is made from. While suede makes for a beautiful shoe, it’s also a pain to care for and is toast in wet weather. If you live in SoCal, you could probably get away with suede. But if you’re looking for a quality shoe that can handle more than just one season, opt for a sturdy leather.
Once you know what type of loafer you’re looking for, keep scrolling to find some of the best men’s loafers for 2020.
1. Bonobos Oxley Suede Loafer
Blue Suede shoes have had their place in the cannon of menswear for a very long time. They’re a great way to step away from the usual blacks or browns without going too crazy, and as most navy items in your closet, they go with a lot of different variations. This pair from Bonobos is a reasonably priced option to allow you to dip your toe into some more colorful loafer varietals. Wear these with stone-colored chinos, a grey polo, some tortoiseshell sunglasses, and a mojito.
2. Suit Supply Tassel Loafer
BEST FOR ITALIAN GENTLEMAN STYLE
Add a little “sprezzatura” to your wardrobe with these black tassel loafers from Suit Supply. Reasonably priced and well made, the vibe of these shoes goes quite well with Caprese salads and open collars. Try them with rolled cuff white jeans, a blue oxford cloth button-down and a navy jacket while zipping around town on your Vespa. Buongiorno!
3. Johnston & Murphy Alcott Penny Loafers
BEST DAY TO DAY
This classic penny loafer from Johnston & Murphy comes with a sleek leather upper and round toe. This slip-on shoe is just as easily worn at the office as it is on a first date. Because this loafer is lacking the tassels and detailing common to other loafers, it has less of that country club vibe that turns some guys off. The simple design (and $100 price tag), makes this an ideal budget pick.
4. Saks Flex Leather Penny Loafers
Occasionally, you want good looking shoes without worrying about the cost of replacement should things go awry. Groomsman at a beach wedding? Here’s your perfect summer beach loafer! Crafted in an unlined variation of “flex” leather, this will be extraordinarily comfortable right out of the box. They come in a very versatile medium brown/tan and will look great with all your linen suits while you walk that cute bridesmaid down the aisle.
5. Gucci Brixton Loafer
The Gucci Bit loafer is an iconic piece of footwear and has seen a resurgence in popularity recently. This particular iteration is crafted to allow for the wearer to wear them in the standard way or to fold the heel down and create a slip-on style for comfort and ease of wear. These are a great investment because, with care, they’ll last for a decade or more.
6. Carmina Penny Loafer
Carmina makes beautiful shoes that have gained a lot of popularity in the past five years or so. They’re made on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where they have been made for generations by the Albaladejo family. What is most wonderful about Carminas is that even though they’re Goodyear-welted and made with super high-quality leather, they still manage to be comfortable right out of the box. This pair in black is always a win when wearing with suits, jeans, and chinos, you name it.
7. GH Bass Layton 90’s Kiltie Weejun
BEST RETRO STYLING
The Bass Weejun is basically the first-ever loafer created. They had a bit of a heyday in the ’90’s, and this is perfect iteration of a retro style that has had a resurgence today. If you’re really laying on the nostalgia, this cool guy shoe is not for the faint of heart and should be worn with equally cool accouterments, including something like acid wash jeans or oversized outerwear. They should be worn a bit tongue in cheek, not as an actual dress shoe, and at this price, they’re cool to play around with without too much investment.
8. Saks Fifth Avenue Velvet Venetian Loafers
BEST FOR WEAR WITH TUXEDOS
A velvet loafer is a cool, Bond Villain styling that looks great with the trim cut tuxedos of today. Their subtle texture and sheen ads a little visual excitement and differentiate themselves from most standard shoes. What is great about the velvet loafer is they also can sort of be used as a slipper, and have been seen on the feet of many a stylish gentleman wearing them with skinny black jeans and a leather jacket, or with a trim charcoal suit and a crisp t-shirt. Pick up a pair at this reasonable price and see just how versatile you can make them.
9. Mulo Suede Loafers
BEST SUMMER LOAFER
However, not every occasion calls for a pair of sneakers, no matter how cool they may look. If you’re in a position where you’re in need of a dressier set of shoes, these suede loafers from Mulo will absolutely do the trick. The rich, caramel brown color matches well with pretty much everything, while their suede construction is very 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.
10. Common Projects Slip On Loafers
Though best known for their white sneakers, Common Projects is a trendy brand that will help you turn a head or two when you step out in their take on loafers. With a chunky sole, supple black leather and CP’s signature labeling on the inside, these are shoes to wear on a night out when you’re dressing to impress. They’re not nearly as loud as some as our other options (like Rone, for instance), but they’ll get nods of appreciation for those in the know. Plus, in all black, they’re easy to wear with just about anything.
11. Cole Haan Feathercraft Grand Penny Loafer
Cole Haan has gotten quite experimental since getting picked up by Nike. And while some of their experiments are major misses, others are right on target. Case and point: these tastefully crafted suede loafers. Though they come in several colors, the suede sand cannot be matched for a summer shoe. At all times both classy and stylish, these are the sort of shoes that can work with in any satorial situation, no matter the dress code. It’s all about how you wear them. But, as they are suede, it would behoove you to pick up some suede protection before dashing out the door.
12. Rone Thirty Six
Every shoe on our list has been, up to now, fairly conventional. Sure, we may have gone a little crazy with that navy Bonobos loafer, but it wasn’t a showstopper. If you want the showstopper, the shoe that you wear for the sake of being different and awesome, this is it. Allow us to introduce to Rone and their Thirty Six loafer in purple suede. Excuse us, pythom-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 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.
13. Tod’s Gommino Suede Driving Shoes
BEST FOR LOUNGING
Though far from cheap, for a truly 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 pennys, so we’re tossing them in the round-up. What sets these shoes apart from your typical penny is the studded rubber sole that wraps around the heal for extra grip. The idea is to give premium control while you’re 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, a pair of dark blue jeans and your coolest sunglasses.