Livin’ la vida loafer: step up your loafer game

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The loafer was a game-changer for both men and women’s fashion.  A pair of good quality loafers can instantaneously change your outlook, outfit and life for the better.

It has long been suggested that you can always tell a person by what shoes they choose to wear. In some extreme cases, if you’re not wearing what people consider to be the appropriate footwear, then you can be met with a frosty indifference. And I for one am extremely guilty of judging footwear (otherwise I wouldn’t bother writing this article).

In London 1926, The Wildsmith Loafer was first introduced as a bespoke shoe designed for King George VI to be worn inside. From here, the loafer design evolved to become a causal style for outdoor use. However, I will argue that it was in fact fashion designer Patrick Cox who ensured the loafer was a staple for our shoe collections. Cox’s Wannabe Loafer was the iconic shoe of the 90’s and caused both pandemonium and desperation for the public. Selling over 100,000 pairs per season, it sure is hard to imagine another shoe being that popular today.

But where to start, I hear you cry? With so many brands and styles out there, the choice may be a little overwhelming. So here is a selection of six of my favourite brands available to the discerning modern gentleman:

Weejuns Larson Penny Loafer, £135, G.H Bass

Based around the initial moccasin-like design exported from Europe in the early 20th Century, American shoemaker G.H. Bass launched the first ever ‘Weejuns’ model in 1936 and has been a classic ever since.

The Larson Penny loafer is the original slip-on and looks incredibly smooth with jeans, slacks, or a suit. Comfortable, lightweight and stylish, this classic shape is one of the best around. Still handcrafted to this day, and available in a range of colours, the penny loafer has endured the test of time thanks to its versatile status.

Edward Loafer, £395, Harry’s of London

If you are in the market for the traditional loafer with a modern twist then Harry’s of London has you covered. Influenced by technology and innovation, Harry’s creates contemporary footwear for the modern man. The soft suede of the Edward Loafer creates the perfect look for your Friday causal wardrobe or for a weekend stroll around town.

In collaboration with Technogel®, Harry’s has developed a full gel innersole offering the wearer a new level of comfort. You will be able to run after the kids in the morning, take a stroll during your lunch hour, and still have your feet feeling fresh for after work drinks!

Keeble 3 Tassel Loafer, £195, Russell & Bromley

Synonymous with expert artistry and specialising in luxury shoes (and handbags) since 1880 is Russell & Bromley.

The brand’s Keeble tassel loafer is made in Italy and crafted from black calf leather. A leather sole overlaid made from rubber for longevity ensures these loafers are made to last. The perfect bridge between formal and casual, these loafers are bound to become an integral aspect of your wardrobe.

Pembrey Loafer, £350, Church’s

Throw caution to the wind and inject some colour into your life with the Pembrey Loafer from Church’s. Made from castoro suede in cherry, this loafer is as bright as it is beautiful.

Ands part of Church’s historic collection, the Pembrey is a lightweight show with a small, gimped tongue and double-stitched apron. As this loafer is unlined, it the ideal shoe for warmer climates when you take the kids on holiday!

Classic Leather loafers, £398, Tod’s

The art of craftsmanship is not lost when it comes to Tod’s. Tantamount with the notion of the ‘driving shoe’ these leather loafers represent the heritage of handmade Italian traditions.

In smooth, semi-glossy leather, this Italian-made pair features the classic front bar and signature hot-stamped logo, perfect for a formal outing.

Canvendish Loafer, £410, Crockett & Jones

Made to be worn, Crockett & Jones was founded in Northampton (arguably the shoe capital making of England) in 1879. Still owned and operated by the founding family Crockett & Jones emphasises quality and timeless style above anything else.

As part of the Handgrade collection, Crockett & Jones’s Canvendish loafer has been hand polished and burnished to bring out the natural depth of colour. Available in six fashionable shades, these loafers are sure to be a statement as you stride through the streets.

Whether your go-to is a classic Penny or perhaps your partial to cheeky tassel here and there, loafers are both functional and fashionable. So no matter how casual your footwear collection may be, it always pays to have a proper pair of loafers to hand!