9 Best Loafers for Men in 2021: The Gentleman’s Casual Shoe of Choice

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Here’s the truth—classy guys rock loafers. Want to be a classy guy? Check out our picks of the very best loafers for men this year.

Best Casual Loafer
  • Unlined suede makes for a light, flexible shoe
  • Complimentary exchanges and returns with M.Gemi
  • Available in four eye-catching colors
Best Black Loafers
  • Iconic penny loafer styling
  • Padded insole with arch support
  • Durable outsole, which is great for walking
Best Tassel Loafer
  • Made with Argentinian Vachetta full grain leather
  • Blake Stitched for a slim and lightweight construction
  • Made to order
Best Horsebit Loafer
  • Handmade in Spain
  • 360-degree Goodyear welt
  • Made with beautiful Italian calfskin leather
Best Summer Loafer
  • Unlined Italian suede is breathable and light
  • Soft leather heel so you can wear them like a slipper
  • Incredible arch support
Most Comfortable Loafers
  • Multiple suede options in rich color palettes
  • Padded insole for extra arch support and comfort
  • Gold and silver horsebit options for each color 
Best Penny Loafer
  • Modern update on the classic penny loafer
  • Blake stitching for true European style
  • True-to-size fit and great customer service
Best Driver
  • Italian suede and lined with soft calfskin leather
  • Arneflex micro foam insole is very comfortable
  • Excellent value for luxury level driving loafer
Best Designer Loafers
  • 1.4″ heel stands higher than most loafers
  • Top-notch Italian craftsmanship
  • Iconic Gucci branding

What’s the easiest way to dress up while staying dressed down?

Loafers.

They’re not just fancy slippers. They’re the gentleman’s smart casual shoe of choice.

At TAM, we think every guy should have at least one pair of loafers in their wardrobe. They’re our go-to when sneakers are too casual but it’s too hot for anything heavy.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know to pick out a great pair plus give you my thoughts on the best loafers for men.

The 9 Best Loafers for Men in 2021

Didn’t know there was so much to learn when buying your next favorite casual shoe, did you?

The world of loafers is enormous, so I put together a list of my nine favorites below:


Best Casual Loafers: M. Gemi The Sacca

Best loafers for men m.gemi sacca unlined loafer

Of all my loafers, the Sacca is my favorite.

Beyond the design and build quality of the shoes themselves, M.Gemi’s great customer service and complimentary exchange and return policy also impressed me.

What I Like

  • The unlined interior keeps the Sacca light, breathable, and flexible.

  • Due to the durable and easy-to-maintain suede, these are great shoes for travel.

  • The Sacca fits comfortably right out of the box.

  • I recommend you skip the socks and stay casual.

What I Don’t Like

  • Don’t let water near these puppies. Their single-vamp moccasin construction is a double-edged sword. While they’re perfect for staying cool in summer, you’ll need to run indoors if a storm comes along.

What Other Reviewers Say

Other reviewers noted that the Sacca doesn’t hold up well to consistent streetwear. We agree. You’ll get a better value wearing these just two or three times a week.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for an everyday shoe to get you through the workweek, the Sacca isn’t for you. But for an evening of cocktails in the summer twilight? Oh, yeah.

M.Gemi’s focus on Italian luxury design makes the Sacca a great choice for embracing the European late-night lifestyle, wherever you are.

Best Casual Loafers
M.Gemi The Sacca
(Get $50 off your first order with code FIRST50)

With its top-quality suede, stylish color options, and limited break-in period, The Sacca by M.Gemi is one of our favorite loafers. We especially love the unlined interior which keeps your foot both cool and dry.

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Best Black Loafers: G.H. Bass Weejuns

The G.H. Bass Weejun is the original, the OG, the classic, the icon.

Call it whatever you want, but this is the loafer that kicked off the casual craze through the 50s and 60s. They were out of style for a few decades (the cool kids listening to Nirvana thought they were grandpa’s shoes), but the style has come full circle.

If you’re looking for a classic pair of black loafers, the G.H. Bass Weejun is as far as you need to look.

What I Like

  • The Weejun is extremely comfortable, and it’s one of the better loafers you can get if you plan on walking a lot.

  • There are some really cool white and black color block leathers available.

  • The classic moccasin stitching and construction is very durable and breaks in evenly.

What I Don’t Like

  • Depending on how you style the G.H. Bass Weejun, it can look a bit “dated.”

What Other Reviewers Say

A comment that came up a few times throughout the reviews is that the Weejuns in production are the same quality as what G.H. Bass was pumping out decades ago. It’s rare to see a legacy company keep up their quality, but Weejuns prove to be an exception.

The Verdict

Sometimes it’s just hard to beat a classic. The G.H. Bass Weejuns in black leather are just as cool now as they were back in the 60s when all it took to become an executive at a top government space agency was the ability to smoke a pipe and do 25 pushups. Ah, the good old days.

Best Black Loafers
G.H. Bass Weejuns

These classic loafers in black leather look great matched with modern styling, but fit into office attire just as well.

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Best Tassel Loafers: Beckett Simonon Bernard

Beckett Simonon has an interesting model, but they offer some of the greatest value you can find. All their shoes are made to order, so it may take up to six weeks to actually get them. But the quality and construction is comparable to what you might find from a $400 shoe.

What I Like

  • These aren’t your standard tassel loafer. The leather detailing on the upper lends extra texture for a shoe that’ll make you stand out.

  • The Bernard can play well with casual outfits in lighter colors, or work straight into a formal outfit in black leather.

  • Beckett Simonon uses all Vachetta leather for this shoe and it both looks and feels incredible.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because Beckett Simonon’s shoes are all hand made to order, they can take up to six weeks to deliver. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Something I’ve seen come up time and time again every time I read through Beckett Simonon reviews is: first time buyers often talk about the next pair of shoes they’re getting from the brand. Comments on the Bernard tassel loafer aren’t  much different. 

The Verdict

If you have the patience to wait for a pair of hand made shoes, you’ll be pleasantly rewarded with the Beckett Simonon Bernard. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the brands loafers, but their tassel loafers are far and away the best in the industry when considering price and quality. 

Best Tassel Loafers
Beckett Simonon Bernard

Blake stitched with full grain Vachetta leather: you'll have a hard time finding this type of quality at such a low price elsewhere.

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Best Horsebit Loafers: Idrese Andre

The Idrese Andre plays on the same field as Gucci when it comes to quality, but they’re less than a quarter of the price.

You can also customize your loafers with Idrese, picking out the leather colors and details like the type of metal you’d like for your horsebit.

What I Like

  • The showy hardware loafer Gucci made popular has been copied, altered, and made affordable by many companies since. I like Idrese’s take on the hardware loafer with the Andre. The almond-shaped toe elongates the foot, so these are especially flattering for those with smaller feet.

  • Idrese also offers full customization, so you can change out the hardware, upper, and sole to get the exact look you want. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Because Idrese handmakes their shoes and builds them to order, they take several weeks to arrive.

What Other Reviewers Say

Idrese isn’t a widely popular brand. They’re a sleeper hit that only a few people know about—you can consider yourself one of them now, too. Folks seem love the customization options Idrese offers. 

The Verdict

Idrese nails the horse bit loafer style with the Andre. Choose to customize the hardware to your liking, or just get this beautiful handmade Spanish loafer as is. Either way, you can’t go wrong. 

Best Horsebit Loafers
Idrese Andre Horsebit Loafer

Idrese handmakes their shoes in Spain, and it's hard to find better quality than this. Made with a 360-degree Goodyear welt, these loafers shine with an Italian wide-lapel suit.

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Best Summer Loafer: Wolf & Shepherd Monaco

Wolf and Shepherd monaco loafers on model

Wolf & Shepherd makes some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve tried, and the Monaco is no exception. While I didn’t make it as the most comfortable loafer, it’s a close second.

But more importantly, the Monaco is my favorite summer loafer because of the soft leather heel, which allows you to wear it like a slipper if you’d like. Or you can stay traditional and wear the leather over your heel.

The Monaco is unlined and super breathable, plus it has excellent arch support, which isn’t common in loafers.

What I Like

  • The suede is weather resistant, and because it’s unlined, the Monaco is super breathable.

  • You can wear the heel folded down like a slipper, or keep it up like you would with a standard loafer.

  • The midsole is built more like an athletic shoe, so while it doesn’t show on the outside, there’s a lot of arch support in these. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I’d like to see more color options and standard leathers other than suede. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Comfort this. Comfort that. It seems all these reviewers want to talk about is comfort. Yes, these shoes fit well right out of the box and they’re a breeze to wear all day. 

The Verdict

If you want a lightweight, breathable loafer for the hot summer months, the Wolf & Shepherd Monaco is the way to go. I pounded the pavement through NYC in these for a few of the city’s hottest days and I kept as cool as a cucumber. 

Best Summer Loafers
Wolf & Shepherd Monaco Loafer

Made with unlined Italian suede, these are super breathable and ideal for warm spring and summer days.

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Most Comfortable Loafers: Jay Butler Millbank Loafers

Jay Butler Millbank Horsebit Loafers

Jay Butler specializes in loafers. Literally. They don’t make anything else. And the quality is superb. With added padding in the insole, these are the most comfortable loafers I’ve ever slipped on.

What I Like

  • The Vachetta glove lining feel luxurious and gives this suede loafer a little extra structure.

  • Four different suede options are all rich looking and fit the fall/winter palette.

  • If you’re feeling spendy, you can also find these in alligator and ostrich leather.

What I Don’t Like

  • These are made in the classic 50s American style, so they’re more chunky than their Italian counterparts. The style is at home in fall/winter, but it’s less sleek for spring/summer.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Millbank from Jay Butler has over 170 reviews averaging 4.8 stars. Quality and value seems to pop up in just about every comment, and we can attest to that, too.

The Verdict

The Jay Butler Millbank loafer has a ton of different suede and leather options that fit perfectly into a fall/winter look. Add a beautiful glove lining, and you’ve got yourself the best winter loafer on the market.

Jay Butler Millbank Bit Loafer

Ever tried a pair of suede loafers in the winter? There's something so sophisticated about a richly textured, glove-leather lined shoe when the temperature drops.

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Best Penny Loafers: M.Gemi Filare

I’ve had nothing but great experiences with M.Gemi, and while. I haven’t personally tried the Filare, I absolutely love my Volo Due’s, which are the same shape and built on the same last. Unfortunately, the Volo Due is discontinued, but I actually like the cross strap on the Filare better anyway.

Rather than your classic penny loafer keyhole cut, the Filare features a twisted strap of leather across the upper, which is both unusual and super classy looking.

What I Like

  • The Filare is a modern take on the classic penny loafer. The twisted penny strap turns these loafers from standard to stylish.

  • Blake stitching means the hand-burnished upper fits snug with the outsole, giving the Filare its signature, compact Italian look.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because of the way the shoe is constructed, these are a little more difficult to re-sole when the time comes.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers have only good things to say about the Filare. We couldn’t find much at fault with it either.

These loafers fit well right out of the box, and they break-in nicely. M.Gemi’s sizing guide is spot-on. While some reviewers said they went a half-size down, we didn’t think that was necessary.

The Verdict

The penny loafer is a classic. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be updated every once in a while. Even with a few bells and whistles, the Filare isn’t going out of style any time soon.

So go ahead, take your time sipping that cappuccino at the cafe.

You can get to Vespa’ing off into the sunset later.

M.Gemi Filare

The Filare puts a twist on the classic penny loafer style with a uniquely turned single strap of leather across the upper. The Filare has the shape and elegance of a penny loafer, but a sleeker and more modern sensibility.

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Best Drivers: Oliver Cabell Driver

Oliver Cabell is most well-known for their Italian made luxury-level leather sneakers. But they’ve been stepping up their variety with this incredible summer driving loafer.

Made with light 3 oz Italian suede, lined with calfskin leather, and constructed with a Arneflex micro foam insole, these drivers are some of the classiest and most comfortable loafer you can find.

What We Like

  • When we reviewed Oliver Cabell, we found their quality was outstanding considering the price.

  • This driver is lined with Italian calfskin and has the micro foam insole so its comfort first.

  • The light suede makes this an excellent summer loafer.

  • There are four handsome color options available.

What We Don’t Like

  • If you’re not familiar with the “sole” of driving loafers, it can be difficult to get used to the rubber studded walking surface.

What Other Reviewers Say

These drivers were just released as of this writing (Aug. 2020) so there aren’t many reviews up yet. But Oliver Cabell is a trusted brand and it seems that all the blogs that know anything about shoe construction fawn over them.

Read our Oliver Cabell review if you’re interested in learning more.

The Verdict

Oliver Cabell’s Driver is the most comfortable driving shoe we’ve tried. Similar to the M.Gemi Sacca, the premium suede and ultra-soft interior make for an excellent wearing experience. While the M.Gemi Sacca is super light and flexible (because it’s unlined) this Driver has a little more structure to go along with the iconic style.

Best Drivers
Oliver Cabell Driver
(Get $10 off with code THEADULTMAN10)

This suede slip on is constructed in Marche, Italy with Italian suede and lined with calfskin leather. The Arneflex foam insole makes for a supremely comfortable loafer.

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Best Designer: Gucci Loafer with Horsebit

If you want a designer label, there’s no better brand than Gucci when it comes to loafers. They invented the horsebit, after all.

There are a lot of excellent brands making the same quality level at much cheaper prices (see the rest of this list), so if you’re going designer, make sure the branding is visible. That’s why I recommend the classic Gucci Loafer with Horsebit.

The green and red striped band under the horsebit is iconic, but not overpronounced.

What I Like

  • The heel is a full 1.4 inches, which is higher than most brands and has a distinctive and classy look.

  • The red and green striped band hits a nice balance between announcing the designer, but not overdoing it.

What I Don’t Like

  • The designer branding makes up most of the price. You can find this level of quality for $200 from Beckett Simonon, Taft, or Idrese easily.

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t many reviews on the Gucci Horsebit loafer that aren’t absolutely gushing. It’s hard to believe that someone willing to spend over $800 on loafers would want to say anything negative about them.

The Verdict

As I said earlier, you can get the same level of quality from other brands on this list. But you can’t get that iconic red and green stripe. If a designer brand is what you’re after, the Gucci Horsebit Loafer is the benchmark.

Gucci Horsebit Loafer

The Gucci loafer is the platinum standard. While you can find comparable quality at a fraction of the price, you can't replace the iconic branding. Go big or go home.

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What Are Loafers?

Volo Due on Bench Feet Planted

Loafers became popular in the 1930s when the shoe company, Bass, created what’s known today as the penny loafer. Inspired by both Norwegian fisherman’s shoes and moccasins, the penny loafer stayed at the height of US fashion well into the ‘60s.

When Aldo Gucci caught on to the popularity of the style, he decided to bring his Italian class and flair. Thus the Horse-bit, or Gucci, loafers were born. From the ‘60s on, hundreds of shoe brands put their spin on the style.

Can You Wear Loafers With a Suit?

Yes, absolutely. Keep in mind that loafers are a casual shoe first, so you’ll be styling your suit in a casual manner. That’s totally fine for most wedding and office occasions, unless you need to adhere to a strict dress code. A fantastic combo is a navy suit with brown loafers and no socks.

question icon

Loafers began as casual shoes, but over time they’ve earned their spot among more formal attire. That balance of formal and informal has caught on with many Wall-Street bankers and punk-rockers alike.

Honestly, if I had to scream “buy, buy, sell, buy” in a room for twelve hours a day, I’d want to have a killer pair of loafers on, too.

What Socks to Wear with Loafers

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There are a few rules to consider when wearing socks with loafers. It’s certainly possible to pull it off in good style, but you need to make sure you have the right socks.

My favorite brand of dressy socks is Boardroom Socks. It’s crucial that you don’t have your socks pooling around your ankles, and of all the brands I’ve tried, Boardroom does the best job at staying hiked up throughout the day.

Boardroom Socks

Steeped in rich tradition and made in America, Boardroom Socks offer fine knit socks that are perfect for office attire and formal wear. The brand isn’t distracted by loud colors or current trends: instead, they’ve focused on crafting an over-the-calf sock that’s comfortable, durable, and stays up throughout the day.

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The key is to match the socks to your pants: don’t worry about the color of your loafers (unless you’re rocking a non-neutral color like indigo or red).

Gentlemans Box Classic walking down steps in brown suit purple socks

Boardroom also makes my favorite pair of no-show socks. They have a rubber tab on the inside which keep the socks from falling down throughout the day, so once you put them on, you don’t have to worry about them again.

Boardroom Socks No-Show 2-Pack

With a slip-grip tab in the back, these stay perfectly in place throughout the day.

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But not all no-show socks are created equal. For certain loafers like the M.Gemi Sacca and Wolf & Shepherd Monaco, you’ll want low cut no-show socks. I haven’t found a great brand for this style of sock as they’re quite difficult to keep in place, but I still prefer wearing low cuts to going sockless.

Joulli Low Cut No Show Liner Socks

Necessary if you're rocking a summer-style loafer.

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3 Things You Should Consider When Buying Loafers

1. Work or Play?

Sacca Walking Down Brick Steps

What’s the occasion? Since loafers bridge the gap between casual and formal, you’ll be able to wear them with a variety of outfits. Stiff leather loafers go well with a smart suit, while light suede loafers look fantastic paired with jeans.

If you’ll be wearing loafers to work, choose brown or black leather and keep the design simple. You’ll still be able to wear them in a casual setting, but you’ll have your formal bases covered.

2. Color and Material

M.Gemi Shoes Review - Top Down MGemi Sacca and Volo Due

If you’ve got enough Oxfords and Brogues to last you through the workweek, wearing loafers will give you an opportunity to show a little flair.

Can’t handle another brown leather shoe hoarding space in your closet?

Branch out with brightly colored suede. They won’t work for every outfit, but they become the focal point when you wear them.

3. Fit

Volo Due on Park Bench Legs Crossed

It’s OK if loafers are a bit snug on the first few wears. The leather will stretch to fit your feet. If you’re trying them in-person before buying, make sure you try with and without socks.

You don’t want to get stuck with an oversized pair of loafers because you tried them on while wearing your wool hiking socks.

The Different Types of Loafers Explained

Penny Loafer

M.Gemi The Feliare in Chestnut Product Shot

The penny-loafer started it all. Originally created by Bass in the ‘30s, these earned their nickname as young men began to stash pennies in the front square cut-out in case of an emergency. That, of course, was back when pennies were worth keeping.

Tassel Loafer

M.Gemi The Fiocco in Rosewood Product Shot 1

The tassel loafer as we know it was born in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. They’re based on a simple slipper design but dressed up with leather ornamentation on the front.

More and more, tassel loafers are breaking free from their casual roots and landing in more formal attire.

Driving Shoes

M.Gemi The Corso in Gray Product Shot 1

Driving shoes hearken back to the grandfather of the loafer, the moccasin. Designed with flexibility in mind, there’s no sole on a driving shoe—just rubber segments.

While they were originally meant for driving (who would have guessed) they’re massively popular in Europe during the hot summer months.

Belgian Loafer

You’ll know the Belgian loafer by the signature bow on its upper. Belgians fell out of style after they became associated with the infamous investment fraud and eleven-time felon, Bernie Madoff.

Thankfully, they’ve lost the bad rap. Belgian loafers are worn without socks and look great paired with jeans.

Gucci Loafer/Horsebit Loafer

Aldo Gucci saw the success of the G.H. Bass penny loafer and decided he wanted in on the loafer game. His design had all the comfort and casual ease of the penny loafer, but with a distinct Italian in-your-face touch.

Rather than the compact leather strap across the upper, Gucci added a metal bar designed like a horsebit.

Horse bit loafers (also known as Gucci loafers, even if they aren’t Gucci brand) are a favorite among law firm execs and the Wall Street upper crust.

Further Reading: The 10 Types of Shoes Every Man Should Own

How to Pick a Pair of Summer Loafers

Loafers are one of our favorite ways to dress up a summer outfit. While other shoe-styles like sneakers thrive in the hotter months, there’s no replacing the classic look of a solid loafer.

The key to picking an excellent pair of loafers for summer is breathability.

We put the M.Gemi Sacca at the top of our list because they’re unlined. Not only does this add extra flexibility, but it allows for airflow around the foot.

Sacca against white brick wall

While it’s always a good idea to wear a pair of low cut no-show socks, unlined loafers give you the ability to go completely sockless.

If you’re buying loafers specifically for late spring and summer, take the opportunity to pick up a bright color and add a pop to your wardrobe.

khaki trouser with green over the calf sock on white background

But if you want something that is versatile enough to fit into your wardrobe year-round, darker shades and neutral tones are your best bet.

Final Tips for Wearing Loafers

Sacca Taking Step

Socks, or no socks? Think you can go full Italian, or do you want to play it safe?

Certain styles like penny loafers pair well with brightly colored socks.

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M.Gemi The Sacca
(Get $50 off your first order with code FIRST50)

With its top-quality suede, stylish color options, and limited break-in period, The Sacca by M.Gemi is one of our favorite loafers. We especially love the unlined interior which keeps your foot both cool and dry.

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Other styles, like the Belgian or Gucci loafer, look better without anything underneath.

If you’re the kind of person who shudders at the thought of wearing shoes with no socks, pick up a pair of no-shows. These will reduce the amount of sweat your feet produce and will help you get through the break-in period.

FAQs

Are loafers in style in 2021?

Yes, loafers have been gaining popularity for their laid back casual look. The trend is toward premium loafers with materials like Italian calfskin lining and soft suede.

Can you wear socks with loafers?

Yes, you can wear socks with loafers. If you want to show your ankle, wear an extreme low-cut no-show sock. In the cooler months, textured socks look great with loafers. Just make sure that if you show your sock, it’s more dressy. A pair of cotton crew socks doesn’t go well with loafers.

Can loafers be worn with jeans?

Loafers and jeans are an excellent combination, especially in spring and summer. We recommend a light wash pair of jeans to keep with the super-casual style.

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