Loafer Lovers, Rejoice! Here Are 18 Timeless Styles Worth Investing In

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Best Loafers for Women

Byrdie / Lecia Landis

Opinion: The loafer, a preppy staple that’s ebbed and flowed in trendiness through the years, is actually an undervalued wardrobe hero. Traditionally men’s shoes, they’re an easy style for women to wear because they toe the line between masculine and feminine, subversive and sensible. And whether you’re inspired by Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face" or coveting Gwenyth Paltrow’s brown leather ones in "The Royal Tenenbaums," wearing a pair of these shoes today exudes palpable sophistication.

From penny loafers to drivers in leather, suede, and velvet, there are plenty of loafer options to consider, which is why we took a deep dive into reviews and tested some of fashion’s most popular styles. We also spoke to designer and shoemaker George Esquivel of Esquivel Shoes, who says the best loafers are comfortable and easy to dress up or down.

Meet the Expert

George Esquivel is a Southern California-based designer who specializes in handmade shoes and accessories under his namesake brand, Esquivel Shoes. He is a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist.

Read on for our list of the best loafers.

Best Overall

G.H. Bass & Co. Whitney Weejuns

G.H. Bass & Co. Whitney Weejuns


G.H. Bass & Co.’s classic Whitney Weejuns are timeless, versatile, well-priced, and comfortable, reviewers say. What more could you ask for in a pair of loafers? They’re made from leather with traditional moccasin stitching, and they look good with everything from cropped denim to relaxed suiting.

Price at time of publish: $155

Colors: Black, Cordovan | Size Range: 5-11

What Our Editors Say

"My Weejuns accompany me just about everywhere. I wear them to work with dress socks, pair them with tube socks, jeans, and a sweatshirt for weekend errands, and have even worn them to the airport. They're not only comfortable but they make any outfit seem a bit more polished." —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor

Best Budget

Everlane The Modern Loafer

Everlane The Modern Loafer


The price of loafers can climb quite high, but this pair by Everlane is the best you’ll find for under $120. It’s a fresh take on the brand’s coveted original loafer style—made from supple leather and distinctive stitchwork. It sits on a slightly thicker heel than its predecessor, and the brand has added more padding for extra comfort.

Colors: Black, Camel | Size Range: 5-11

Best Heritage

Gucci 1953 Horsebit Loafer

Gucci 1953 Horsebit Loafer


Gucci’s classic approach to loafer design makes for no-fault shopping. This particular Horsebit style was introduced in the 1950s and offers just a touch of preppiness that’s reminiscent of the time, yet it's current enough to team with your favorite pair of jeans or trousers.

Price at time of publish: $920

Colors: Black | Size Range: IT34-42

Best Value

Gucci Brixton Horsebit Convertible Loafer

Gucci Brixton Convertible Loafers


For a well-crafted pair of loafers with maximum wearability, there’s Gucci’s convertible leather Horsebit loafer. It’s designed to be worn two ways—with the heel folded down as a backless slipper or up as a classic loafer. It also features a slimmer shape than the number above, like the brand’s Jordaan style, and half an inch in heel height. 

Price at time of publish: $920

Colors: Black, White, Red, +more | Size Range: IT34-42

Best Embellished

Louise et Cie Edoli Loafer



An upgrade from your standard penny loafers, this pair by Louise et Cie is bedecked with pearl-like studs and silver metal accents. The almond-shaped toe balances out the '90s chunky sole, allowing it to be the perfect work-to-weekend loafer. Plus, the shoe comes in three different colors to cover just about any outfit occasion.

Colors: Black, Tuscan Taupe, Azalea | Size Range: 5-11

Best Penny

Margaux The Penny

Margaux The Penny


Margaux makes a modern penny loafer that we can’t help but love. Made in suede or calf hair with an unlined construction and plush padding, these loafers look and feel super sumptuous. Reviewers say they crease quickly, though this is to be expected from suede. Nailing down your perfect size and width could involve some trial and error if you can’t visit the brand’s Bleeker Street location, but they’re well worth the small fuss.

Price at time of publish: $295

Colors: Emerald Suede, Leopard Haircalf, Chocolate Suede, Caramel Suede, +more | Size Range: 3-14 in Narrow, Medium, and Wide

Best Driver

Scarosso Ludovica Loafers

Scarosso Ludovica Loafers


Scarosso is a modern Italian brand with high-quality footwear. It’s so in-tune with what people want to wear, thus its lightweight loafer in a driver style is one you won’t want to take off all spring/summer. It features clean lines and a flexible rubber sole for the best form and most functionality you could expect in a pair of drivers.

Price at time of publish: $300

Colors: Light Grey, Light Blue, Beige, Blue, Pink | Size Range: 35-42

Best Vegan

Hunter Gloss Penny Loafers

Hunter Gloss Penny Loafers


A well-made pair of vegan loafers is admittedly hard to find, but the reviews for this pair by Hunter convinced us to halt our search. The slimline loafers are crafted from natural rubber in a glossy finish with a molded footbed that’s been lined in canvas for comfort and support. Since they’re naturally weatherproof, these shoes are perfect under almost any condition.

Colors: Navy, Black | Size Range: 5-11

Best Insulated

André Assous Phili Faux Fur Weather Resistant Loafer



André Assous' faux fur-lined leather loafers are as comfortable and warm as they are eye-catching. Made in Spain, the black leather upper and man-made rubber sole are supplemented with a chunky gold chain and cozy shearling for a look the brand says is "a luxe blend of rugged and chic."

Colors: Black, Dark Brown | Size Range: 6-11

Best Made-to-Order

Esquivel Liz Slip-On Loafers


Esquivel Shoes

Loafers should be casual, fun, and easy to wear, Esquivel says, and he makes a luxe loafer that checks all of those boxes, called Liz. You can order it in black suede straight away via the company’s website, or you can request that it be made custom with your choice of material, a service that is Esquivel’s specialty. To get started, you can book an appointment with the designer here.

Colors: Black Suede +more through the brand’s made-to-order service | Size Range: 6-10

Best Velvet

Margaux The Loafer

Margaux The Loafer


Margaux makes a classic loafer style in velvet that is as rich as it is timeless. It offers a supportive fit within a tailored velvet and grosgrain upper. For comfort, there’s a leather lining and plush foam padding, which reviewers say make them well worth the investment.

If you love the shape but aren’t sold on a velvet finish, which can be difficult to maintain long-term, the style also comes in suede and calf hair to accommodate a multitude of preferences.

Price at time of publish: $238

Colors: Pink Velvet, Sienna Velvet, Navy Velvet, Cognac, +more | Size Range: 5-12.5 in Medium and Wide

Best Handmade

Jack Erwin Ruby Loafer

Jack Erwin Ruby Loafer

Jack Erwin 

Jack Erwin crafts a loafer with a very artisanal look and feel. Handmade in Portugal, the loafer, which comes in leather or suede, has visible hand-stitching and an elongated square toe. The cushy foam insole and soft leather outsole maximize comfort and make for a truly lush loafer.

Price at time of publish: $220

Colors: Terracotta, Sage, Ivory | Size Range: 5-11

Best Chunky

GANNI Leather Lug Sole Loafers

GANNI Croc-Embossed Patent Leather Lug Sole Loafers


Chunky loafers like this black leather pair by Ganni elevate a look, both literally and figuratively, because, in addition to offering a few extra inches in height, they make an outfit look super cool. They’re also great for walking because the chunky outsole made from rubber adds both comfort and stability.

Colors: Black | Size Range: 5-11

Best Heeled

Totême The Kitten Loafer

Totême The Kitten Loafer


There’s nothing like a kitten heel on a pair of loafers for the perfect balance of polish and panache. This pair by Totême offers exactly that; we love its streamlined silhouette with a pointed square toe and leather laces narrowly crossing the upper. We’d jump at the opportunity to wear them with trousers to a business affair or dinner with friends.

Colors: Black | Size Range: 35-42

Best Backless

Gucci Leather Princetown Loafer Mule

Gucci Leather Princetown Leather Slipper


Yes, we’re big fans of Gucci, but do you blame us? Their products are best-in-class, with this mule style version of their classic Horsebit loafer (one of our go-to shoes) a favorite for everything from a trip to the grocery store to a swanky lunch with friends. It also comes in a lined version (view at Nordstrom), if you need a pair with insulation.

Price at time of publish: $850

Colors: Black, White, Red, +more | Size Range: 34-42

Best Color Options

Tod’s Gommino Driving Shoe

Tod’s Gommino Driving Shoe


Tod’s makes a classic driving shoe in any color our hearts could fancy, from silver to orange and light blue. Beyond that, the style is famed for its exposed hand stitching, penny bar, and rubber pebble outsole.

Price at time of publish: $595

Colors: Violet, White, Black, Red, +more | Size Range: 4-12

Best Sustainable

Rothy’s The Loafer



Rothy’s makes shoes and accessories that are good for the planet and extremely wearable. So, it’s no surprise that according to reviewers, its loafer style, which the brand describes as a modern take on a classic silhouette, is effortlessly chic and very comfortable. For this pair, you may choose from a large palette of colors and prints in the brand’s signature knit from plastic bottles.

Price at time of publish: $169

Colors: Navy, Olive Camo, Black Solid, Navy Double Stitch, +more | Size Range: 5-13

Best Weatherproof

Aquatalia Honora Loafer

Aquatalia Honora Loafer


Aquatalia makes fashionable footwear that’s also weatherproof. This pair, crafted from Italian suede, is impressive for its sleek silhouette, contrast-stitched welt, and serrated sole (which allows for great traction). It’s also lined in leather for an ultra-luxurious feel, and it offers a little lift—an inch and a half, to be more precise.

Price at time of publish: $395

Colors: Black | Size Range: 5-12

What To Look For When Buying Loafers


Loafers come in many shapes and with various levels of detail. The best silhouette depends on your preferences. Chunky loafers have an avant-garde feel and thus make a statement, while ones with a low profile and minimalist design details, like penny loafers, tend to be more classic and versatile. You can style a range of outfits with loafers to fit many aesthetics.


In any worthy piece of clothing, shoe, or accessory, craftsmanship is key. Regardless of style, the best loafers are known for their refined design, workmanship, and attention to detail, which is very important for shoppers to consider. Esquivel recommends looking for loafers that can be resoled and that have a full leather construction, i.e., a leather upper and a leather lining. “Leather is breathable, so it doesn’t cause as much sweating as other materials,” which is important if you’re going sockless since moisture creates friction and, therefore, blisters, Esquivel says.

Beyond that, ask yourself if the stitching is tight and relatively even (anything handmade won’t be flawless), and if the outsoles appear sturdy (i.e., they’re stitched, rather than glued, using traditional shoe-making methods, such as Goodyear welting or a Blake construction). If the answers are both ‘yes,’ these are good indications that your shoes are well-made.

  • What Are Penny Loafers?

    Penny loafers are the most classic style of loafers that originated in the early 20th century when G.H. Bass & Co. debuted what we know today as its heritage Weejuns line. The line was based on a style that was worn by 19th-century Norwegian fishermen, but it was only when young people began sliding coins in the notch at the top of the shoe that the term “penny loafer” stuck.

  • Are Loafers Business Casual?

    When paired with other business attire, like trousers or cigarette pants, blouses, and blazers, loafers can give any outfit a business casual look. This is perhaps because loafers are very versatile and can polish off any look; they can elevate cropped denim and leggings or blend seamlessly with more professional pieces. “They’re perfect for today’s trend of mixing high and low, dressy and casual [attire],” Esquivel says.

Why Trust Byrdie

This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the hunt for timeless styles to make getting dressed easier. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she spent upwards of 10 hours investigating the best loafers on the market.

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