5 Best Loafers for Men in 2019: The Gentleman’s Casual Shoe of Choice

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by M.Gemi.

Psst. Want to know a secret?

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

Loafers.

They’re not just fancy slippers. They’re the gentleman’s 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, we’ll cover everything you need to know to pick out a great pair and we’ll even suggest some of our favorites.

Quick Summary

  • M.Gemi The Sacca in Navy Product Shot 2

    M.Gemi The Sacca

    • Unlined suede makes for a light, flexible shoe
    • Complimentary exchanges and returns with M.Gemi
    • Available in three eye-catching colors
  • Charles Tyrwhitt Chocolate Textured Tassel Loafer Product Shot

    Charles Tyrwhitt Tassel Loafer

    • Crosshatched leather texturing for a unique look
    • Six-month quality guarantee
    • Classic English style
  • Aldo-Hoilian-Black-Product-Shot

    Aldo Hoilian

    • Inexpensive Gucci style loafer
    • Requires break-in period
    • Frequently on sale
  • M.Gemi-The-Volo-Due-in-Tan-Product-Shot-2

    M. Gemi Volo Due

    • Modern update on the classic penny loafer
    • Blake stitching for true European style
    • True-to-size fit and great customer service
  • Boleone-Driving-Shoes

    Boleone Driving Shoes

    • Multi-panel sole for flexibility
    • Comfort, comfort, comfort
    • Unique crumpled leather upper for a dash of flair

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.

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.


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 5 Best Loafers for Men in 2019


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 we went ahead and put together a list of our five favorite loafers.

Check out our top picks below.

1. M.Gemi The Sacca

 

M.Gemi The Sacca in Navy Product Shot 2

We tested the Sacca ourselves and loved their relaxed vibe.

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

What We 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.
  • We recommend you skip the socks and stay casual.

What We 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.

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What We Like

  • These Charles Tyrwhitt’s aren’t your standard tassel loafer. The cross-hatched leather upper lends extra texture for a shoe that’ll make you stand out.
  • The tassel loafer is the pinnacle of casual elegance, and CT have really nailed the design with this one.
  • Charles Tyrwhitt guarantees the quality of these shoes, and if you disagree, you have six-months to say so. CT has one of the best quality-guarantees in the business.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited half-sizing. You can find half sizes for 9, 10, and 11’s, but nothing for the gent with larger or smaller feet. Same goes for the guy with wide feet.
  • Charles Tyrwhitt is a shirt company first and foremost. While their shoes are just as high-quality as their other offerings, they simply don’t have the stock to offer a robust selection of sizes and fits.

What Other Reviewers Say

We couldn’t find any reviews for this specific shoe, but reviews of other Charles Tyrwhitt shoes mention quality construction and genuine Goodyear welting. There are doubts these are made in England since there’s no “made in” stamp to be found.

The quality is there, backed by CT’s guarantee. But if the origin of your shoes is important to you, know that these are likely from China or India.

The Verdict

Charles Tyrwhitt has dapper English style down. These textured tassel loafers only drive that point home.

If you have an average foot size, you’re likely to find a good fit. If you’ve got larger or smaller than average feet, you may have trouble finding half-sizes that work for you.

Even if you’re not sure, Charles Tyrwhitt has no problem giving full refunds or exchanges for anything you’re not happy with.

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3. Aldo Hoilian

 

Aldo-Hoilian-Black-Product-Shot

What We Like

  • The showy hardware loafer Gucci made popular has been copied, altered, and made affordable by many companies since. We like Aldo’s take on the hardware loafer. The almond-shaped toe elongates the foot, so these are especially flattering for those with smaller feet.
  • See if you can catch Aldo during sales season. They often price their shoes at a discount, which makes these designer shoes even more attractive.

What We Don't Like

  • Aldo shoes require a break-in period. Wear thick no-show socks or put a few bandaids around the sides of your foot and heel. After a few wears, however, you can walk with comfort and confidence.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Hoilian’s are brand new as of this writing (September 2019), and there aren’t any reviews yet.

We took a look at reviews for other loafers from Aldo’s men’s line and they all tell a similar story. Beautiful look. Breaks in after three or four wears. Fits a bit small, so go a half-size up if you can.

That’s been our experience with Aldo, too. We have good reasons to believe those points hold true for the Hoilian as well.

The Verdict

Aldo is bringing high luxury fashion to the mainstream.

These loafers are showier than the other loafers on this list, but if you’re in the mood to strut your stuff, you ought to be wearing Hoilians.

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4. M.Gemi Volo Due

 

M.Gemi-The-Volo-Due-in-Tan-Product-Shot-2

We also ‘feet-tested’ the Volo Due. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our complete review.

What We Like

  • The Volo Due is a modern take on the classic penny loafer. The extended penny strap turns these loafers from standard to stylish.
  • Blake stitching means the hand-burnished upper fits snug with the outsole, giving the Volo Due its signature, compact Italian look.

What We Don't Like

  • Because of the way the shoe is constructed, these are a little more difficult to re-sole when the time comes.
  • If you find the right shoe repair shop with the proper tools, however, you won’t have any issue.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers have only good things to say about the Volo Due. 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 Volo Due 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.

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What We Like

  • The unique texturing on the upper set these Boleone Driving shoes apart.
  • We love the price. As the most affordable option on our list, these are a great option for an everyday loafer in summer and spring.

What We Don't Like

  • The sole is quite durable, but when it’s worn out, these loafers are kaput. There isn’t much you can do to re-sole these. We don’t expect you’ll want to repair loafers under $50, but it’s worth noting.

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 fine to wear all day.

Boleone’s Driving shoes earned 4.3 stars out of nearly 50 reviews. If you don’t find these comfortable, you may have to get new feet.

The Verdict

These aren’t your fancy Italian leather oo-la-la’s, but they’re a great option if you’re on your feet and need a comfortable, stylish shoe.

It’s hard to beat their price-point, but treat them gently. Once they wear out, you’re better off getting another pair rather than sending them to the repair shop.

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Last update on 2019-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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

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

SMYTHE & DIGBY Men's Black Patent Leather Belgian Loafers (10.5)

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

 

Steve Madden Men's Noris Loafer, Tan, 7 M US

 

Aldo Gucci saw the success of the Bass’s 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.

Horsebit 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:


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.

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.

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