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The Best Casual Loafers

Last updated on November 29, 2023

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Our Picks For The Top Casual Loafers

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Bruno Marc Lightweight Breathable Men’s Casual Loafers

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Bruno Marc

Lightweight Breathable Men's Casual Loafers

The knitted faux leather material makes these relaxed loafers a great choice for business casual outfits, and the thicker, cork-surfaced sole provides plenty of all-day support. Added padding in the back helps keep the heel in place. These shoes are lightweight, breathable and shock-absorbent.

Overall Take

Every Day ShoesWork or play in these versatile and flexible faux-leather loafers.

 Runner Up

Skechers GOwalk 5 Stretch Knit Men’s Casual Loafers

Skechers

GOwalk 5 Stretch Knit Men's Casual Loafers

These casual Skechers are perfect for the active wearer. They're outfitted with a knitted mesh upper and lightweight, high-rebound cushioning. You get reinforced arch support for extended walking, and a fit that minimizes slippage. Even with all that, they're still easy to slip on in the morning.

Overall Take

Plenty of SupportThose on the go will love the soles of these comfortable loafers.

 We Also Like

VanciLin Leather Non-Slip Men’s Casual Loafers

VanciLin

Leather Non-Slip Men’s Casual Loafers

If you're looking for eye-catching but comfortable footwear, these hit all the marks. The leather material has a distinctive shine that keeps its luster even after plenty of wear. They're also very easy to step into and out of, along with being lightweight, non-slip, and impact resistant.

Overall Take

Stylish Leather LookThese classic loafers go on easy, and they're easy on the eyes, too.

 Also Great

Ablanczoom Cowhide Leather Women’s Casual Loafers

Ablanczoom

Cowhide Leather Women’s Casual Loafers

The rubber treads on these loafers help you stay on your feet even on wet, slippery terrain. Inside the shoe, there's ample memory foam cushioning. The distinctive leather look means you can pair them with daring summer outfits. These are foldable for easy transport, too.

Overall Take

Stability and ComfortKeep your feet cool and comfortable in these feminine-styled loafers.

Buying Guide

Those of us who love shoes have a go-to pair for every occasion. Sometimes even a few: boots or heels for a night on the town, sneakers for active days and flats or dress shoes for the office. But when it comes time to wind down, nothing beats a good pair of loafers.

MOREThe Best Chunky Loafers

You’ll see brands refer to low-profile shoes in a lot of different looks as loafers. The only real defining traits of these shoes are that they leave the ankles bare and have no little to no heels, with no functional laces or fasteners. As the name implies, these are comfortable shoes made for loafing around in — ones you can slip into and out of easily.

That’s not to say that they can’t be stylish. Even the most casual and comfy loafers can be part of a date night outfit if they’re paired well. That goes equally for men and women.

There are many different styles of loafers, and some are arguably more than a century old. There’s the iconic penny loafer with its strap across the top — such a staple of preppy fashion for decades that it’s now somewhat hip to wear them again. There’s the somewhat more formal tasseled loafer with its signature decoration, and the distinctive metal chain of the Gucci (or horsebit) loafer. All of these are great choices for a dressy yet carefree ensemble, but you’ll want to take care of the material properly so they last as long as possible.

Buying the right material in the first place will make that a lot easier. Polished leather or suede are the primary choices here, and leather is definitely the more formal of the two. If you want shoes that will last, look for top-grain or full-grain leather. These grades denote leather that comes from the topmost part of the animal hide, and they’re going to be the most resistant to rain and scuffing. On top of that, they’ll usually look a lot better right out of the box, but you’ll want to by some polish and use it periodically to keep them that way. Avoid leather that’s graded “genuine” if you can. It may sound acceptable, but this type of hide is a low-quality grade often cobbled together from leftover scraps.

Suede is a great choice that looks best with slacks or warm summer outfits. It has a very distinctive texture that evokes a comfy couch, but oddly enough this relaxed material needs a little more care. It’s thinner and not as water resistant as leather, so take care when wearing suede outdoors for extended periods.

Today, faux leather is also an option you’ll see a lot. Sometimes it’s called vegan leather or PU leather. These fake leathers are not as long-lasting as real leather, but can provide additional color options to match your style. Plus, faux leather costs less in general. Other tynthetic materials are also common in modern loafers.

If you just need slippers to wear around the house, the sole will be the main thing to consider. Rubber or polymer soles are especially good for traction if you have hardwood floors. Get something that fits snugly but is not tight in any particular area, with enough cushioning to keep your feet cozy all day. They are called loafers, after all.

What to Look For

How do you wear a loafer? As with most casual shoes, there aren’t a lot of “don’ts” when it comes to style. Loafers look smart with pressed slacks or jeans on men, and they’re a great fit with women’s dress pants or longer skirts. There is one fairly ironclad rule if you’re going to wear them out of the house, though: Leave the ankles bare. Loafers have that low profile for a reason, and socks usually have a pretty jarring effect. If you must wear something to keep your feet from sweating, go with ankle socks.

More to Explore

Most of us know what a penny loafer looks like, but how did they come to be called that? The original design was inspired by the functional shoes of Norwegian fisherman and the moccasins of Native Americans. Norwegian Nils Gregorisson Tveranger, who studied his craft in America, is credited with creating the slip-on shoe called the Aurland moccasin in the 1930s.

The style became popular in the period between world wars and came to the U.S. by 1936 as a result of footwear label G.H. Bass adapting it into the Weejun. This shoe retailed for $6.50 and became an instant hit, leading to copycats.

Penny loafers really took off when it was embraced by American students in the 1940s and ’50s. It became a staple on college campuses. Young people found the shoes as practical as they were stylish, since the tiny slots in the uppers could be used for storing emergency pay phone money.

Pay phones cost two cents in the 1930s, so wearing one penny in each shoe would provide enough money for one call at the time these shoes were introduced. By the loafers’ heyday in the ’50s the price of a phone call was a dime — another item that easily fit inside. The shoe has been known as the penny loafer ever since that generation “coined” the term.

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