Editor's pick

Our Picks for Versatile Summer Loafers

It seems as though everyone who’s interested in menswear is currently obsessed with loafers. That makes sense, for a few reasons. First, it’s no secret that for most menswear enthusiasts, their hobby is far from a necessity – we don’t live in a world that demands formal dress, and loafers come in enough shapes and sizes that, despite being a more casual option than a laced shoe it’s fairly easy to find something that suits your needs. Second, and more simply, they’re a good summer shoe. Third, and maybe this is just me, there’s something to be said for never having to worry about your laces.

Whatever the reason, spring is a great time to pick up a pair of loafers. You’ll be able to wear them straight through summer the autumn, and going sockless (don’t actually go sockless – wear loafer socks) with the breeze around your ankles feels great. You can wear them casually or with tailored clothing, with loose or slim silhouettes. In essence, you’ve got a lot of options. Loafers come in many shapes and silhouettes, from the soft and slipper-like to the robust and chunky, and most are ready for a loving place in your wardrobe. I could probably lay out a list of twenty pairs, but I’ll try to keep things simple and break them down into categories.  Enjoy, and remember – you can still join the Streetwear Loafer Challenge, which ends this weekend.


Lightweight

Minimally lined or unlined, these are soft and forgiving. They tend to look good with more casual outfits, though certainly there are exceptions – unlined tailoring, especially in light, summer colors, being one such.

1. Christian Kimber Positano

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Unfortunately, these are already almost entirely sold out, but you can still the navy version. They’re sleek and unlined, and easy to slip on and off – perfect for neighborhood use or your travel needs.

2. Res Ipsa Kilim

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Although these might not be the easiest to wear with tailored clothing, I can see them looking very nice both with odd trousers and a polo under a lightweight jacket, or with faded denim. They also come in plain suede, if you’re afraid of color.

3. La Portegna Travel Slippers

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

While these might seem too unstructured for daily wear, I have often seen José Urrutia, the brand’s founder, wearing them with white or neutral chinos at Pitti Uomo and they look great – relaxed and supple, with a great depth of color. Plus, they roll up so you can stuff them in your carry-on. Brilliant.


Belgian

These have been popular for a long time, and the late Glenn O’Brien was a well-known fan. Several companies make the style, at varying prices.

1. Belgian Shoes ‘Henri’

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

The classic version, favored by well-dressed men worldwide.

2. Baudoin & Lange ‘Sagan’ Tassel

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

A relative newcomer, and the ready-to-wear line offered by bespoke shoemaker Allan Baudoin. Again, available in many colors, with or without tassels.

3. Rubinacci ‘Marphy’ (available at Mr. Porter)

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Rubinacci offers these in a wide variety of fabrics, some not offered by the two brands above, so if you’re after a more adventurous color you may want to take a gander despite the higher price tag.


Midweight

Don’t google that – I just made up generic, catch-all term for the ‘category’ in which most loafers will fall. Here, I’ll include Penny loafers, Venetians, and most things with straps and a stacked leather sole. These are the sort that, depending on the style, may be better suited for your tailored wares.

1. J. Fitzpatrick Laurelhurst

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

J. Fitzpatrick makes a variety of loafers, all of which are quite handsome, but I particularly like this ‘Laurelhurst’ model. The wholecut silhouette with a toe medallion and a stacked leather sole make it a slipper that can go anywhere.

2. Rancourt Venetian Loafer (available at Brooks Bros.)

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Still a common sight on the East Coast, the Venetian Loafer is a bit stubbier and more casual than some of its ornamented counterparts, making it easy to wear on the weekends.

3. JM Weston 180 Loafer (available at Mr. Porter)

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Ah, the iconically French shoe, still worn all over l’Hexagone. Wear them with anything, of any weight and any color, at any time of the year.


Good for Suits

Just what it says – loafers that play well with tailored clothing, and less so with jeans or other casual outfits.

1. Ralph Lauren “Shanley” Tassel Loafer

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

A very classic American tassel, at home with a wide range of tailored outfits.

2. St. Crispin’s 539 Loafer (available at Leffot NYC)

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

As sleek and elegant as you could hope for, and fully endorsed by one of our contributors.

3. Alden Full Strap Slip-on (available at The Shoe Mart)

versatile summer loafers styleforum loafer buyer's guide

Alden is one of the most renowned brands on the forum, and this pair of loafers will be right at home with your business suits.

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Jasper Lipton

Jasper Lipton

EIC at Styleforum
Jasper likes indigo, flight jackets, and boots - but he likes his dogs even more. He dreams of buried cities and the spaces between the stars.

2 replies »

  1. I bought a pair of the Res Ipsa Kilim rug slippers after meeting the owners at the first Styleforum Proper Kit. I love them. I wear them to add a bit of color to jeans and a white shirt. Perfect for travel or heading off to my favorite coffee shop. The fact that each pair is unique adds to their appeal.