How to wear them and what you need to know – Footwear News

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If you want a men’s shoe that takes itself seriously but can still hook up, look no further than the loafer. Like Goldilock’s mush of choice, men’s loafers are a “just right” mix of high and low style, perfect for casual or understated looks.

Men’s moccasins as a casual but not too casual shoe date back to the mid-1930s. fields “.” The resulting moccasin quickly became so popular that it caught the eye of the Gucci family – yes, this Gucci family. In 1953, Gucci released their version of the shoe, creating an “elegant Italian version on [the penny loafer] refining the lines, adding a horse bit out of respect for their saddle-making history, and most importantly, making it black,” according to a landmark New York Times article.

With the advent of these two styles, the moccasin was on the map. By the late 1950s, loafers were everywhere and countless brands began innovating on these two main silhouettes. Soon, several different genres of moccasins were introduced in the market, giving men a wide variety of footwear options.

When shopping for a pair of loafers, it helps to have an idea of ​​these different shoe styles, especially if you have something in mind. After all, the difference between a standard driving moccasin and a kiltie moccasin is quite striking. To help you get informed, check out the top nine types of men’s loafers below and find out what makes them so different.

1. Penny Moccasins

CREDIT: Nordstrom

It was the loafer that started it all: Penny loafers are a timeless style marked by a slit-like detail on the shoe strap, like these Saint Laurent loafers. Why is it called a penny loafer? The shoe is so named because university students would often place a payphone coin in the front slot of their moccasins. Penny loafers are known as a versatile style, lending themselves to casual looks or semi-formal scenarios.

2. Little loafers

different types of loafers for men, horsebit, gucci jordaan loafers, horsebit loafers, horsebit

CREDIT: Nordstrom

The horsebit loafer, also called horsebit loafer or Gucci loafer, is easily identified by the horsebit detail on the front, like on these Gucci loafers. First created by Gucci in 1953, the moccasin version is inspired by Gucci’s equestrian history. You wouldn’t wear a few loafers with jeans, so keep this style of shoe for more formal looks, but never wear loafers with a tuxedo. Always reach for your dress shoes for this.

3. Tassel Loafers

allen edmonds brown Grayson Tassel Loafer, different types of men's loafers, tassels, business casual shoes

CREDIT: Nordstrom

A classic loafer style, tassel loafers feature – you guessed it – a pair of tassels at the front of the shoe. You will often find leather tassel loafers, like these classic Allen Edmonds loafers. Tassel loafers are slightly more casual than horsebit loafers, perfect for business casual.

4. Moccasin Kiltie

Kiltie Loafer, johnston and murphy ARAGON II LOAFERs, different types of men's loafers


If you like size, the kiltie moccasin is for you. This style of loafer features a fringed leather detail on the top of the shoe, like these Johnston & Murphy loafers. Once at the peak of loafer popularity, you can associate kiltie loafers with your grandfather’s generation. But the business-casual style can still hang on, adding a certain vintage touch to your outfit.

5. Driving Moccasin

sperry brown Gold Meridian Driving Moccasins, different types of men's moccasins, driving moccasins

CREDIT: Nordstrom

The driving loafer has a grip-focused outsole that is both functional and easily identifiable, like these Sperry loafers. Driving loafers are more on the casual side of things, leading style points to jeans and even shorts. If you’re looking for an effortless shoe to slip on without socks, look no further.

6. Boat moccasin

Authentic Original sperry Boat Shoe, boat moccasins, different types of men's moccasins

CREDIT: Nordstrom

Boat loafers, more commonly referred to as boat shoes, are nautical-inspired loafers with sailing-inspired features. They often have a 360-degree lacing detail, grip-focused soles designed for slippery decks, and a lighter rubber sole created not to scratch a boat’s white deck. Often, boat shoes have loafer-like stitching, as seen on these Sperry loafers. Sperry is actually credited with creating the boat shoe in 1935 in New Haven, Connecticut.

7. Slipper loafers

christian louboutin Spooky Flat Calf Loafers, slipper loafers, different types of men's loafers, studs, spikes

CREDIT: Nordstrom

Slipper loafers look like classic slippers, but don’t think of them as your house shoes today. They’re more like those fancy house slippers that rich men wear in classic movies. Slipper loafers are smooth and stylish, often available in suede or leather, like these Christian Louboutin loafers. Style experts recommend wearing suede loafers with more everyday outfits and leather loafers for a casual outfit.

8. Belgian Moccasin

Belgian moccasin Ermenegildo Zegna, different types of moccasins for men

CREDIT: Neiman Marcus

A somewhat rare but distinctive style of men’s moccasin is the Belgian moccasin. Belgian loafers are a cousin of the slipper loafer, featuring a structured silhouette, a tapered box toe with a rounded toe, and substantial coverage across the top of the foot, like these Ermenegildo Zegna loafers. In a GQ article about the growing popularity of Belgian loafers, a designer and wearer of Belgian loafers described the shoe style as interchangeable with Converse Chuck Taylors or Vans.

9. Monk strap loafers

tom ford Monk Strap Loafer, different types of loafers for men

CREDIT: Bergdorf Goodman

Buckle loafers are perhaps the most elegant of all loafer styles, marked by a smooth top panel secured by buckled straps. You can find buckle loafers with a single strap or a double strap, like these Tom Ford double buckle loafers. The modern monk’s strap moccasin is said to be inspired by a similar shoe that was favored by monks around the 1000s to 1350s.

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