I don’t love warm-weather footwear, and just spent six months straight wearing sneakers: They’re the only shoes with coverage (I don’t like my toes) that don’t cause swampy soles. With the temperatures now in the 60s (and dropping), I have unleashed my fall shoe staple: loafers.
In general. loafers are my favorite shoe. They’re comfortable, versatile, and available in a vast range of styles. I find loafers to be interchangeable with sneakers—which is a relief, because I am very ready for a switch after so many months of my lace-ups.
Below, I’ve broken down my favorite loafers, by style and standout elements.
I have yet to find a classic loafer I love as much as G.H. Bass’ Weejuns. I have had several of their classic pairs (including this really cool two-toned pair I wear often) but last year, I acquired their Winter Weejuns style, which has a rubber sole. The rubber sole solves loafers’ main problems: slippability on the subway, instant ruin in the rain, and general stiffness. The Winter Weejun is as comfortable as a sneaker—and if this rave review hasn’t convinced you, call me.
The “What Are Those?!”
I love the brand Zou Xou (specifically, I love their Mary Jane flats, but this story is about loafers). It’s a sustainable, female, and Black-owned brand, founded in 2015, with shoes all handmade in Argentina. While the Pilar loafer has a classic body, the hand-cut leather link detail makes them a statement. Officially, they’re a loafer, but they’re also the kind of shoe that would make you take a double take. Hence the categorization: What are those?!
I Found the Platform Loafers
I assume you’ve seen these on Instagram before but maybe didn’t realize what they were: They’re the kind of loafer that makes an outfit look cool. I just recently became the proud owner of a pair of Vagabond platform loafers, and I can confirm they make you feel cool, too. Bonus: They’re also very walkable, with a chunky but sturdy rubber sole (no slipping!).
Chunky Rubber Sole
Talk about chunky! These loafers from CAMPERLAB appear in my saved tab on Instagram countless times. I’ve featured them on the site before, and I will certainly continue to do so. I personally love the rustic mustard colorway, but they also come in a deep red and a classic black. Camper shoes are generally extremely comfortable and these are no exception, with their OrthoLite® cushioned footbed and sweat-proof, part-cotton lining: features I copied and pasted directly from the product description.
I love this style for workwear: a flat loafer with a tassel. Boden’s shoes go up to size 12, and therefore are great for most feet. This style also features a “flexible sole,” which won’t make your feet ache during an 8+ hour workday. I enjoy the combination of materials on this loafer, and there’s a snazzy leopard-print option if you’re classic but fun.
The Downtown Tassel
This pair also features a tassel—but with their classic, Dr. Marten’s thick rubber sole, they’re a casual, everyday alternative to the brand’s beloved oxford. I love these with a pantsuit (think: cropped wide trousers + oversized blazer). The bonus is that they’re Dr. Martens! If you own a pair, you already know that after a few wears, they form to your feet and become an extension of your foot.
Forget Your Solids
I love Brother Vellies’ loafers (especially the python ones) because of the ethics involved: The female-and Black-owned brand partners with independent artisans to craft their products. I also appreciate the fact that these are not solid black. I love both the Troubadour style with the metal buckle and the Library style, which has a classic silhouette (and this one is on sale!).
No standard penny loafer here—the Scuola loafer by M.Gemi has a chunky buckle and square toe. It’s perhaps more of a hybrid between a monk strap and a brogue if we’re being technical, but I’m keeping it here because it satisfies all my dress loafer desires, with a smart look and crisp finish. This style comes in three colors but my favorite—especially for fall—is definitely the glossy brown.
A Pop of Color
Sebago makes loafers with a classic body much like G.H. Bass. I’m drawn to the yellow leather for fall, to add a little brightness if you feel like your colors are landing a bit neutral. Both styles fit true to size in my experience, and with a little ankle sock, take no time to break in.
I found Wal & Pai—a sustainable brand based in Los Angeles—two years ago, and to my delight, discovered their incredible comfort while bravely walking the Williamsburg Bridge in their footwear. The Bass has a bouncy rubber heel that puts a literal spring in your step but is supportive enough for long walks (see: Williamsburg Bridge). I also love that there is a heel, especially for those trousers you haven’t yet had hemmed. Special mention to these similar two-toned ones, which are on sale! I love their velvet-and-patent combo, and that’s a great discount, huh?.
Speaking of two-toned, these Mara Bini loafers are so incredibly chic they almost look like they’re from another, more elegant era. They’re also made in Italy, which is chic, too. I particularly love the two leather styles with horsebit buckles: the Gioia style (with a snake top) and this solid leather style (with contrast piping). The brand has several other styles and color combinations to choose from, too, many of which are on sale.
If you like a horsebit buckle, consider the original horsebit style with a pair of vintage iconic Gucci loafers, a style that originated in 1953. Che classico! I personally like the ones with the stitched rounded-square toe in patent, soft leather, or suede, but I also found these rare logo ones available on the Black-owned vintage shop Thrilling! (eBay also has quite the assortment.) Buying them vintage will cost you a fraction of the full price, and because it’s such an old style, I highly recommend going that route.
The Secret Slipper
This smart pair from Jack Erwin is noteworthy because the back heel can flap down to make it a slide (very wonderful for quick errands or urgent dog walks). What I love most about them, though, is their visible hand stitching and square toe. Their soft leather sole actually makes them feel a bit like a moccasin, making them secretly very, very comfortable. I wear them interchangeably with ballet flats because they are so lightweight and easy. And just to make it clear, I do not follow the No-White-After-Labor-Day rule.
Do you have favorite ones I’m missing? Walkable? Comfortable? Statement? Let’s chat loafers in the comments!