You no doubt realize that loafers are a stunning, versatile footwear choice. But did you know there are quite a few different loafer styles to choose from? Diving deep into the world of loafers is fun and exciting - but it can quickly become overwhelming as you try and find the perfect choice among a sea of options.
Don't stress, though. We're here to help. As the #1 provider of Italian footwear online, we know a thing or two about loafers. And today, we're going to unveil all the different types of loafers for men and women alike.
From the classic penny loafer to more modern styles like the tassel loafer, your new favorite pair of shoes is here waiting to be discovered. We'll also touch on something many don't think about - the different types of loafer materials. Before we get into all that, let's provide a brief overview of loafers in general.
A Brief Overview of Loafers
Loafers have been around since the 1930s and have become iconic pieces of footwear for both men and women. They're slip-on shoes that look great casually or in more formal settings, depending on their construction and materials. We love this shoe because of its versatility. For example, you can wear loafers with suits or wear a tux with loafers - or you can wear loafers business casual. It's all in how you style loafers.
Across all the different types of loafers for men and women, what makes them all instantly recognizable is their design. Loafers are characterized by their vamp - a strip of material on the front of the shoe that runs across the top. That's why loafers have such a distinctive, low-profile look.
Now, while loafers do share quite a few similarities there are also many distinctions between the different loafer styles. So - with that said, let's get into the meat and potatoes of today's discussion: explaining the different types of loafers for men and women alike.
What are the Different Types of Loafers for Men and Women?
Ready to discover your new favorite type of footwear? Below, we'll detail all the popular loafer types currently on the market. We'll kick this list off with a tribute to the classic type of loafer: Penny Loafers.
Ah, penny loafers - the classic. This style has been around since the 1930s and is one of the most iconic types of men's loafers on the market today. It features a diamond-shaped slit in the vamp with a leather strap across it that looks like a tiny penny purse (hence the name). You'll often see these paired up with preppier styles such as khakis and blazers or even shorts and polos.
Also known as "tassled" or "bit" loafers, tassel loafers are another classic design. You can recognize them by the tassels at the vamp of each shoe, which are often made from leather or suede. These add a good bit of visual interest to an otherwise plain style. They look especially nice with dressy ensembles such as slacks and a blazer, but you can also wear these casually with jeans or chinos for more laid-back outings.
Horsebit loafers might appear similar to penny loafers at first glance - but upon closer inspection, you'll spot the difference. This style is characterized by a metal "horsebit" hardware piece attached to the vamp that looks like two semicircles connected in the middle. You'll frequently see this style in more formal settings, like with suits.
Kiltie loafers feature a small tongue of leather and fringe beneath the vamp (similar to what you'd find on a kilt). This adds an extra bit of decoration to the shoe, making them stand out even more than penny or tassel loafers. The main advantage here is that these look great in casual settings, such as with jeans or chinos.
If you're looking for something comfortable that you can wear all day long, driving loafers are your best bet. These have moccasin-style construction (which makes them incredibly flexible) and they often come with rubber soles. This means you can wear them on the go with no issues, hence their name.
Also known simply as deck shoes, boat loafers are primarily intended for marine activities like sailing and fishing - but they look good enough to work in casual settings (especially if you get a pair made from leather). They typically feature a thicker sole than other types of loafers and often come with detailed stitching around the vamp area.
Monk Strap Loafers
Monk strap loafer styles feature two buckled straps attached to either side of the shoe, instead of laces or elastic. This gives them an extra bit of visual flair that can really make an outfit stand out. These are usually dressier than your regular loafers but can also be worn casually.
Pump loafers feature a low-cut heel and a rounded toe, which give them an elegant look that works best in formal settings. You can recognize these easily by the small button on the side of each shoe, which is often decorative in nature - providing an eye-catching contrast to the leather or suede of the loafer.
Espadrille loafers provide a unique take on classic loafer styles with their woven fabric upper and jute trim along the outside edge. These are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, perfect for summertime looks such as shorts or sundresses.
Which of the Different Loafer Types is Right for You?
There you have it - all the different loafer styles. You should now have a better understanding of which style is right for you. However, which of the different loafer types is best for you? When it comes to choosing the right type of loafer for your style, you'll want to consider both the occasion and your individual tastes.
For formal events, more traditional styles such as penny or monk strap are usually best. If you're looking for something dressier but still with a bit of flair, go for tassel or kiltie loafers. Lastly, if you're after a comfortable everyday style then driving or boat loafers should be at the top of your list.
Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference and which style you envision yourself wearing more often. And frankly, there is nothing stopping you from grabbing more than one style - they all have a time and place in your wardrobe! And before you pull the trigger on your new loafers, here is one more thing to consider…
Beyond the Different Loafer Styles, Consider the Types of Loafer Materials & Colors
One last thing to keep in mind when choosing the best loafers for men or women is the materials & colors.
No matter what type of loafer you choose, you'll want to pay attention to the material it's made from. There are two options here: Leather or Velvet. You'll also find suede loafers, but the former two styles are the most prominent in modern times.
Leather is usually the most classic and timeless option, but other materials such as suede and velvet can also look great for more casual occasions. With that said, velvet allows you to add a bit more flair to your feet and stand out in a crowd - perfect for when you want to command attention in any room you walk in.
There's no right or wrong answer as to which type of loafer materials are right for you. The key here is to find a loafer that looks good with your outfit and also adds an extra bit of visual interest.
Similarly, determine whether you want a basic loafer color like brown or black, or something more eye-catching - like birch, cognac, sage, petrol, navy, and more. The possibilities are endless. Especially when you shop at Del Toro…
For the Finest Italian Loafers Online, Look No Further Than Del Toro
Of all the different loafer styles online, you can count on one brand to consistently exceed your expectations in terms of comfort and aesthetics: Del Toro. We have both men's Italian loafers and women's Italian loafers. And, once you lay eyes on these masterpieces and get to feel them on your feet, you'll understand why our customers consider us to be the best Italian shoe brand.
We still craft our shoes using the time-honored traditions of Italian shoemaking. Our shoes are brought to life using high-quality materials and unparalleled attention to detail. That means you can rest assured you're getting the quality you deserve when you shop at Del Toro. And, we've got a whole lot more than just loafers. Shop our other Italian classics, like our men's velvet slippers or velvet slippers for women.
Final Thoughts on the Different Loafer Types & Styles
That concludes our breakdown of the different loafer types and styles. From penny loafers to tassel loafers to more new and modern styles like the espadrille loafers, you now know all the different loafer styles you can choose from. We’ve even touched on the differences in materials.
So - at this point, the only question left to be answered is - which of the different loafer types is right for you? Regardless of the answer, you can start your search at Del Toro. Explore our catalog and find out firsthand what separates our handcrafted Italian shoes from the rest!