The best men’s loafers 2018: from New Romantic velvet to all-business leather

Get your loaf on with our list of the snappiest, sleekest, most stylish loafers in the shops

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If you’ve knowingly navigated to an article called “the best men’s loafers”, it’s likely that you already know this, but just to cover over the basics: what is a loafer? Basically, it’s a low, laceless shoe that exposes the ankle, with a mocassin-like construction up top and a separate sole down below, usually with a little bit of a heel, which is what typically separates them from mocs.

When you’re looking to buy a pair of loafers, they’ll pretty much always be leather, whether that’s patent, natural or suede – but rarely, as in the song performed by Mr Burns, gopher. 

High-shine leather is a great statement shoe to finish off a smart outfit, while suede has a slightly more laid-back feel, but can be more difficult to keep clean, and isn’t advised for bad weather.

A few velvet versions have also been popping up in the shops of late, so if you prefer to style yourself as more of a Lord Byron-type figure, these are a tactile and luxurious option for a dandyish look. Alternatively, consider loafers with thoughtful finishing touches like tassels or Gucci-esque snaffle bits to take things from boardroom to bar with utter, enviable ease.

Lastly, there’s the colour to think about. As with most men’s shoes, there are blacks and browns of various finish and depth, but why not take yourself out of your comfort zone? We’re talking blues (not just navy!), deep dark burgundies, and even hints of gold.

1. Magnanni Tassel Loafer

All tassel, no hassle

Specifications
Best for: Tassel loafer
Material: Suede
Colour: Navy
Sizes: 6-12 including half sizes
Reasons to buy
+ Great alternative work shoe + Sleek details 
Reasons to avoid
- No choice of colours 

If your heart says ‘boat shoe’ but your head said ‘work shoe’, why not meet in the middle with these smart tassel loafers by Magnanni? With personality and panache to spare, but with enough refinement that they wouldn’t look out of place in the average office, these suede loafers are a truly versatile pair. 

A narrow shape, fine suede construction and subtle stitching give them a sleek look, and the tone-on-tone navy makes a really nice change from black for everyday. For style points and wear-anywhere factor, these take our top spot.

2. Gucci Horsebit Suede Loafer

Snaffle up a real investment piece of footwear

Specifications
Best for: Designer classic
Material: Suede
Colour: Navy
Sizes: 6-12 including half sizes
Reasons to buy
+ Iconic design + New preppy twist 
Reasons to avoid
-Black option would be nice

Follow in the high-end footsteps of countless Wall Street brokers, legacy Ivy Leaguers and Sloane Rangers with these equestrian-inspired loafers. A preppier take (yes, it’s possible) on the original leather horsebit loafer that burst onto the scene some sixty years ago, this suede version takes that standout hardware, the snaffle bit, and puts it at the forefront of taut, neat navy suede. 

With a sleek almond toe and little in the way of texture except for a Ralph Lauren-esque contrast ribbon across the vamp, these are investment loafers that speak for themselves, great sockless in summer or at the office. 

3. GH Bass Larson Penny Loafer

Your classic penny loafer with a dose of dressiness

Specifications
Best for: Traditional penny loafer
Material: Leather
Colour: Navy, black, blown, red, grey, black/white
Sizes: 6-12 including half sizes
Reasons to buy
+ Dressier penny loafer option + Wide colour range 
Reasons to avoid
- Some found them a little narrow 

These Weejuns (after Norwegians) by GH Bass are the ultimate embodiment of prep school alumnus chic. The slight square-off at the toe retains that classic penny loafer look while looking a little dressier than a more distinct square, the moc-like stitching and tell-tale cutout vape are neat and refined, and the polished leather finish takes things up a notch. 

For that all-important meeting, or if you’re just the kind of man who likes to bring his fashion A-game every day, add these to your wardrobe to nail that tricky business casual code. Heck, why not get one in every colour? It’s not every day men get the choice of anything in more than two colours, so go nuts. 

4. House of Hounds Suede Allistair Tassel Loafers

A quirky toe-covering for the guy who likes to stand out

Specifications
Best for: Offbeat style
Material: Suede
Colour: Black
Sizes: 6-12
Reasons to buy
+Luxe embossed finish+Simple shape for a balanced look
Reasons to avoid
-A bit out-there for some

From the sublimely simple to the borderline bonkers, these embellished loafers from House of Hounds are quite the nifty choice if you’re looking to make a statement with your outfit. 

The collection’s aim to blend “authentic shapes with contemporary trends” is fully evident in this swanky shoe, in its simple lines, piped collar and narrow streamlined shape characteristic of a classic loafer, and of-the-moment additions like a patterned embossed upper and contrasting tassels.

5. Dune Pisa Smart Slipper Cut Shoes

Outlandish in the best way, play the eccentric millionaire with these velvet shoes

Specifications
Best for: Decadence
Material: Velvet
Colour: Black, navy, red
Sizes: 6-11
Reasons to buy
+Bright and bold+A real statement shoe
Reasons to avoid
-Maybe too bold?

For the man who wants to give that “I’ve only turned up to your party because my butler is on annual leave and there’s nothing in the pantry” vibe, these slipper loafers are it. 

Plush velvet with an opulent sheen, saturated jewel tones for richness, and all of that topped off with a crest embroidered in gold threat – that’s right, a crest. With a look that’s luxurious and a little louche, these loafers offset a little bit of the potential fussiness with a sleek slipper shape, making them surprisingly acceptable for semi-formal occasions.
 

6. Polo Ralph Lauren Mens Dustan Penny Loafer

Nail summer dressing with these light-coloured loafers

Specifications
Best for: Summer
Material: Suede
Colour: Beige, tan, navy
Sizes: 8.5-10.5
Reasons to buy
+Great option for the warm weather+Nice summery shades
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most formal

Summer events can be incredibly difficult to dress for (unless that event happens to be a water fight or mate’s barbeque, in which case we’ve typically got it licked), but a light-coloured loafer is always a good choice. 

With their moccasin-like construction, these loafers could run the risk of looking a little too laid-back, but the tone-on-tone stitching, traditional penny loafer design with distinctive cutout on the vape, and sleek one-part sole with low block heel bring it back to the realms of the refined. 

We especially love the choice of milky taupe or French navy, a nice change from brown and black that makes these our best loafers for summer.
 

7. Aldo Gunuert Loafers

The best wear-anywhere loafer

Specifications
Best for: Versatile style
Material: Leather
Colour: Brown, black
Sizes: 7-12
Reasons to buy
+Elegant, minimal style+Good for day or night
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most exciting

Fashioning themselves less after the favoured house shoes of the unbearably rich and more after the original Norwegian design, these Aldo loafers are sleek, simple and sophisticated. 

In a choice of black and chestnut brown satin-finish leather, they feature just the right amount of stitching and burnishing (that’s that subtle darkening of the leather at the toe, to us civilians) to add interest while staying as low-key as possible. Arguably the ideal low-key yet smart shoe for day and night.