Today, we review Mens Leather Driving Shoes. Get the best guide on how to buy mens driving moccasins and other types of driving shoes on Nairacloset at the best prices ranging from $ 30 to $ 200. These include mens driving mocassin loafers, mens leather driving shoes or mens driving mocassins and so on. Our recommended mens driving mocassins are neat and we have carefully handpicked mens leather driving shoes for all our gentlemen. Nairacloset wide selection of mens leather driving shoes are choices every man should make in order to have the special feeling of wearing durable mens driving mocassins designed specially for men who love quality shoes. Mens leather driving shoes come in different variations; there are mocassins, loafers and casual loafers.
Benefits of mens leather driving shoes
Driving shoes—leather or suede moccasins with rubber-grommet soles—were invented for men who wanted extra grip while driving seriously gorgeous Italian roadsters. Seventy-odd years later, they’ve been adopted by investment-banker hotshots, Italian style heroes, and loads of other guys who don’t technically hold a title to a Ferrari. Which is perfectly okay by the way, times change. The only thing you don’t want to do, if you’re into the look yourself, is treat them like hard-bottom dress shoes, wearing them everywhere from the office to nightclubs—especially with pants that are too long for their own good. An essential for warm weather, the driving shoe is defined by its lightweight, super-comfortable construction and a flexible sole. It is still perfect when paired with everything from chinos to tailored shorts. For a classic take on the shoe shape, look no further than Tod’s or opt for a pair of designer driving shoes from Gucci or Salvatore Ferragamo for a fresh take on this enduring style. Get an up to date guide on where to shop for the best always only here on Nairacloset.com.
Mens Leather Driving Shoes
In this series on men’s footwear, we have previously presented a guide to Moccasins and the Driving Moc, which is related to the loafer, but not the same. What exactly is a loafer, then? In this guide, you will learn all about loafers, their different styles, and the history of this wonderful shoe.
Loafer Guide for Men (Video)
Before we dive into the history of the loafer, let’s set a few ground rules for what distinguishes this type of footwear from other slip-on styles.
Characteristics of a Loafer
- A loafer has no laces; in other words, it’s a slip-on shoe.
- A loafer is a “low shoe,” meaning that the ankle is exposed, and the shoe does not wrap snugly around it.
- The sole of a loafer is separate from its upper.
- Loafers often feature heels with a relatively low profile.
- The upper vamp has a moccasin-like construction.
- Loafers will sometimes (though not always) feature a piece of leather across the vamp, which is known as a saddle.
From the above description, one can see the similarities between a moccasin and a loafer. However, there are a few key differences:
- All loafers have a separate sole; this is not the case for the majority of moccasins.
- Similarly, loafers have a defined heel, while moccasins do not.
- Unlike moccasins, loafers lack embroidery, beading or other ornamentation on the uppers.
The last difference is the primary reason these shoes, though similar in many ways, evolved into two different and distinct types of footwear. Important to note is that loafers and moccasins developed on separate continents. For more, here’s an historical overview.
History of the Loafer
Unlike most other shoes, the loafer has multiple origin stories. One such story is that the loafer came directly from the moccasin, thus adding to the confusion. However, menswear and clothing historians are largely in consensus that loafers:
- Came from an English royal commission for a new form of house shoe, and/or
- Had their beginnings when a Norwegian man, Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger, hybridized traditional Native American and Norwegian footwear.
While it is comparatively difficult to pinpoint the definitive origin of the loafer compared to other types of shoes and boots, its evolution is still quite interesting. For purposes of clarity, this article subdivides the history of the loafer based on types while maintaining a rough timeline.
The Wildsmith Loafer
in 1847, Matthew and Rebecca Wildsmith established a footwear manufacturing business in London by the name of Wildsmith Shoes. The mainstay of their business was making and subsequently repairing boots for the Household Cavalry, whose mounted unit, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, was part of the Monarch’s official bodyguards.
In 1926, Matthew and Rebecca’s grandson, Raymond Lewis Wildsmith, was commissioned by King George VI, to make a country house shoe that he could wear mostly indoors with his shooting hose. Raymond came up with a low-heeled design that did not include laces and which could be comfortably slipped on and off. The construction of this shoe had a lot in common with the moccasin, though it’s unknown whether Raymond was familiar with that related style, or if he came up with the design based on the very specific instructions he received. This design soon appeared in his ready-to-wear collection as the 582 (later the Model 98). Today, the style is known simply as the Wildsmith Loafer. While they were designed for indoor wear in a casual fashion, they very soon gained in popularity and began to be worn as a casual choice for outdoor wear.
The Aurland Loafer
At the beginning of the 20th century, Shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger (1874-1953) introduced a loafer in the town of Aurland, Norway. Nils had traveled to North America at the age of thirteen to learn the art of shoemaking, and spent approximately seven years there. In 1930, he introduced a new design with heels which came to be known as the “Aurland moccasin.” This design was influenced by two sources: the moccasins worn by the Iroquois tribe of North America, and the traditional, moccasin-like shoes worn by the fishermen in his hometown of Aurland.
He slowly started marketing his design in the rest of Europe, where it became extremely popular. At that time, many Americans began traveling to Europe, where they stumbled upon these shoes, took a fancy to them, and brought a pair home. They came to the notice of the editor of Esquire magazine, and the publication began promoting them. Around 1933, the Spaulding family of New Hampshire sensed a business opportunity and started making shoes based on the Aurland Moccasin. They named their product the “Loafer,” which was by that point a generic name for slip-on shoes in America.
Around 1940, industrialist and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Arthur Gardner bought a pair of Aurland shoes. Later, when he was unable to obtain them in the U.S., he made an unusual request to the Norwegian ambassador, providing him with a sketch of the “slippers”. Apparently, Gardner did not know where the shoes were made, but the ambassador recognized that he must have been referring to Aurland shoes. The local mayor organized production and three months afterward, four pairs of ”moccasins” were mailed to Washington, D.C.
The Penny Loafer
In 1936 (some sources put the date as 1934), the G.H. Bass shoe company introduced its version of the loafer, and the company is known for it to this day. Their design included a distinctive strip of leather (the saddle) of the shoe with a diamond-shaped cutout. Bass gave their loafers the name “Weejuns,” to sound like Norwegians – a nod to the Norwegian roots of the shoe, and to differentiate them from the Spaulding loafer. Weejuns became immensely popular in America, especially among the Prep School students in the 1950s, who coined the term “penny loafer.” Legend has it that, wishing to make a fashion statement, they took to inserting a penny into the diamond shaped cutout of their Weejuns. An alternate theory is that, in the 1930s, two pennies were sufficient to make an emergency telephone call.
Whatever its origins, the name “penny loafer” stuck, and the G.H. Bass penny loafer has achieved the status of a classic, and is a staple of Prep and Ivy Style. In 1937, the American brand Nettleton trademarked the term “loafer” for “Ladies’, Men’s, and boys’ shoes made of leather, rubber, fabric, and various combinations of such materials.”
In the 1930s the Duke of Windsor was a big proponent of penny loafers, and he often wore a brown and white two-tone Penny Loafer with his suits.
The Tassel Loafer
It remains unclear what the roots of the tassel loafers are. Alan Flusser has claimed tassel loafers were popular with the Ivy League set in the 1920s, though our research has been unable to corroborate this. U.S. President Harry Truman wore derby shoes with tassels, but he did not have tassel loafers. Rather, evidence suggests that after the end of the Second World War, the little-remembered but rather debonair American movie actor Paul Lukas bought a pair of oxfords with little tassels at the end of the laces while on a trip abroad. Upon his return to America, he took the shoes to the New York shoemakers, Farkas & Kovacs, and asked them to make something similar. Not fully satisfied, Lukas then took them to Lefcourt of New York and Morris Bookmakers of Beverly Hills. Ironically, both of these firms would pass on the request to the Alden Shoe Company.
The then-president of Alden, Arthur Tarlow Sr., Came up with a slip-on pattern keeping the leather lace and tassel as a decoration. Alden, realizing the potential of the shoe, continued to experiment with the design for another year, finally launching it in 1950 through Lefcourt and Morris stores. The “tassel loafer,” as it became to be called, was a success, finding favor with the sophisticated set of New York and Los Angles. In 1957, Brooks Brothers approached Alden to make a line of tassel loafers especially for them. The resultant design was a tassel loafer with a decorative seam at the back part of the shoe which, to this day, remains exclusive to Brooks Brothers.
The Gucci Loafer
While the loafer grew in stature in America, with the tassel loafer being worn with suits by the 1960s, it was not quite the same story in Europe. In Italy this style of shoe was more widespread, but all other Europeans considered the loafer to be a casual shoe that had no place in the city. However, things changed in 1968 when the Italian designer Gucci introduced a loafer with a golden brass strap in the shape of a horse’s snaffle bit across the front–in keeping with the company’s saddle-making heritage. Gucci opened his New York office in 1953 and noticed the popularity of the loafer. He refined the lines, added the bit, and made them in black (loafers were usually in brown in keeping with their status of being a casual shoe).
The result was a shoe with just enough formality to make it acceptable to be worn with suits. These went on to be named the “Gucci loafer” and helped establish the loafer in Europe and across the globe. Gianni Agnelli and John F. Kennedy were just a few of the big supporters that helped to popularize the style. In 1969, Gucci sold 84,000 pairs of loafers just in their U.S. stores. In keeping with the continued journey of the loafer, it crossed the pond to America, where it was adopted by 1970s businessmen and almost became a uniform on Wall Street.In case you shop at amazon and we refer you, prices are the same as normal, as an amazon associate we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
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Until Gucci designed this loafer, it was a brand known merely to insiders who appreciated saddles and quality luggage. The men’s loafer known as the Model 175 was designed in the mid-1950s. Initially, it sold for approximately $14. Subsequently, Gucci developed the Loafer Model 360 for women, and the very similar model 350, which was offered in seven unusual colors. Consequently, the fashion journalist and critic Hebe Dorsey dedicated an entire article to the shoe which was published in the International Herald Tribune and made the shoe an overnight success. Since 1985, the Gucci Loafer has been part of the permanent exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Belgian Loafer
Another popular style is the so-called “Belgian loafer,” invented in the 1950s by Henri Bendel, whose family store also brought Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga shoes to the U.S. Its characteristic features were:
- A small bow that was easily recognized
- Soft-sole construction; the shoe was sewn inside-out
- Unusual colors and materials
After the Bendel family sold their store in 1954, Bendel purchased two 300-year-old shoe factories in Belgium in 1956 and started producing men’s and women’s loafers. The shoe became an instant hit, and the bow was easily recognizable. As such, he single-handedly rescued the Belgium shoe industry, which earned him a Knightship of the Order of Leopold I in 1964. Just six years later he was made Knight Commander of the Order of Leopold II.
Bendel died in 1997, and although the shoes are sold around the world, the only retail store that carries Belgian Loafers is located at 110 East 55th Street in NYC. Of course, you can also find them online. If you enjoy extravagant shoes, Belgian Shoes may be the right fit for you.
Since loafers are casual shoes, most of them are Blake- or Blake-rapid-stitched, though you may occasionally find Goodyear-welted loafers. While these are a little heavier, they offer an additional layer of cork, which makes walking in them a bit more comfortable. For casual summer use, an unlined, Blake-stitched loafer might be the better choice if you don’t intend to walk much in them. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more robust, multi-season loafer, a Goodyear-welted version with leather lining is probably the better choice. Twice a year Gucci releases a new version of their loafers, and while the summer ones are unlined and made of very thin leather, the fall-winter collection is leather lined and made of thicker leathers.
Slip-Ons – Not Loafers
Many men and women confuse slip-on shoes with loafers. As the name suggests, you can slip on the shoe just like a loafer, but it lacks the moccasin seam on the uppers and looks more like a regular oxford or brogue. The slip-on is favored by men who wear business suits when they fly because you can easily pass security and unlike a loafer, it is appropriate with a pinstripe business suit.
Loafer Style Advice
The Loafer is a piece of footwear that straddles the two worlds of casual and a more formal style, making it quite a unique piece in that respect. No matter what you read, a loafer is never a truly formal shoe because of its casual heritage.
Gucci loafers are often combined with all sorts of outfits. Of course, using a black, polished box calf leather with leather lining and refining the shape will make the loafer more formal than an off-white, unlined Gucci summer loafer in suede, but at the end of the day, it is still a loafer and not suited for tuxedos or white tie ensembles. Likewise, it is historically not appropriate to wear one with a classic three-piece business suit simply because it is too casual. On the other hand, a casual suit will look just fine with tassels.
Many American businessmen over 50 will wear business suits or sport coats with slacks and black or brown tassel loafers. As a rule of thumb, black or oxblood tassel loafers are about as formal as a navy blazer with grey flannel slacks. Wearing tassel loafers with business suits would probably not be considered to be a faux pas, but we would still encourage you to wear them with casual suits or blazer/sport coat combinations and choose an Oxford with more formal garments.
Penny loafers are a perfect companion for corduroy pants, chinos, flannel slacks and in the summer even linen or seersucker. In terms of formality, they rank just slightly below a tassel loafer and are a great companion for a blazer outfit with Oxford shirts and a tie or bow tie.
In a casual setting, the loafer can replace any of your other casual shoes to add a bit of dash to your look. However, unlike Boat Shoes, it is recommended that you keep your socks on when you wear loafers. Casual loafers can be worn with denim and khakis, and some men even wear them sockless with shorts. The beauty of rules is that you can break them elegantly once you have mastered them.
What Loafers Should You Buy?
Every man should have at least one pair of loafers. With that said, there is not one style that is objectively more necessary than another. While some would consider the penny loafer or Gucci loafer the number one choice, we would argue that tassel loafers make a good first pair; they can be worn in any situation where the other styles could, but the tassels will add a unique touch to your wardrobe. Here are a few options for purchasing loafers:
If you want to invest in a penny loafer, you have many options. Bass Weejuns offers foreign-made models for $118, Made in Maine versions for $295, and about twice as much for shell cordovan. Apart from that, you can also find them from Allen Edmonds ($225 – $365), Alden ($498), Rancourt ($225), and Brooks Brothers ($198). For a more high-end interpretation of this style, take a look at Gaziano Girling. In Europe, Jay Butler offers an affordable RTW option for under $150, and Crockett & Jones offers a large selection of different styles and lasts.
All the brands mentioned above produce tassel loafers as well. Also, Meermin offers interesting budget tassels; Scarosso has an affordable MTO Program, though their offerings would not technically be considered loafers. For an excellent selection of various penny and tassel loafers, take a look at Pediwear.
Although copied many times, Gucci is still the originator of the shoe. Bear in mind that they issue many different versions in gold and silver horsebit hardware. Priced between around $450 – $630, you certainly pay much more for the brand name than for the quality of leather and workmanship. We’d suggest that you invest that kind of money into higher quality and buy from places like those mentioned above, but to each their own. If you want a Gucci loafer, the most classic bit loafer is black leather with gold hardware, which sells for $590. For a more affordable version, check out Jay Butler, which sells them for just $175, which is great value for the money.
our Conclusions on Loafers
With this knowledge of the loafer’s rich history and many variations, what are your thoughts about this versatile shoe? Do you have a favorite variety, and how do you wear them? Let us know in the comments below.
From the sports car to the sports bar, here’s how to wear themImage: Tod’s By Christopher Modoo
The driving shoe is an incredibly useful addition to your summer wardrobe. It is an elegant combination of the penny loafer’s dressiness and the traditional moccasin’s comfort. More urbane than the boat shoe and not as precious as the Belgian loafer, it sits perfectly within the sometimes dreaded smart-casual clothing category and is the only shoe you really need on a relaxed vacation to warmer climes.
Yes, it was intended as a tool to aid motoring, but the driving shoe’s classic design ensures it’s so much more than that, and as a result it can be worn in a variety of contexts. Whether you’re jetting off to a beach holiday or you’re after a dapper yet relaxed slip-on for the weekend, a pair of driving shoes may be what’s been missing from your footwear arsenal.
What Are Driving Shoes?
A driving loafer is essentially a moccasin-construction slip-on with a snug but comfortable fit. The defining feature are the small rubber pebbles that cover the sole and extend to the back of the heel – they are very flexible and provide added grip on the pedals. Designed to afford the wearer greater control while behind the wheel and to prevent heel-wear to regular shoes, they were easy to change into before driving due to the lack of laces.
Most serious, professional driving shoes are now closer in style to sneakers and have a combination of laces and Velcro but the classic style (like classic cars) has enduring appeal. They were traditionally constructed from suede or reverse-calf but now all manner of leathers and materials are selected.
6 Key Looks
The Road Trip
This is what they were actually designed for in the first place, but like the biker jacket and morning coat, the original use is sometimes forgotten today. However, for the classic motoring enthusiast who wishes to be comfortable and elegant, a well-made driving loafer is a useful piece of kit. Wear with jeans, a tee and a quietly cool jacket. Add some aviator shades and a vintage timepiece and you are all set for the Mille Miglia. Or a trip to the local supermarket.
With their fancy European branding and connotations of sophistication and privilege, it is no surprise that the driving loafer has comfortably established itself within the contemporary preppy wardrobe – the successor to the original Ivy League look, if you will. That they should be worn without socks only adds to their modern cult status in resort wardrobes.
Warm colours are ideal for combining with seersucker, madras or linen shorts and the ubiquitous Oxford cotton button-down shirt. A NATO strap on your vintage watch and some Clubmaster sunglasses will ensure you are all set to summer in the Hamptons.
The Business Trip
Driving shoes are the ideal shoe for business travel, especially by air – they are both light in weight and comfortable. They can be easily slipped off for security checks or naps, which is one of the rare circumstances that socks should be worn with them – your fellow passengers should not be subjected to your bare feet, nor the chemicals escaping from them.
Wear long, pale-coloured cotton-blended socks and select a loafer in a dark, conservative hue. Chocolate brown suede is ideal and is formal enough to be worn with suits in blue or charcoal grey. An unstructured piece of tailoring in a high-twist worsted wool strikes the right note especially when paired with a plain soft blue shirt and dark textured tie. Have the trousers tailored with little or no break as drivers have only a low heel.
Drivers are the ideal vacation shoe and can navigate you through airports and smart dinners. But they are also sporty enough to wear around the pool or beach bar when teamed with your tailored swim shorts, knitted polo shirt and aqua-appropriate diving watch.
Add a couple of colourful bracelets and some classic sunshades and you can sip your Negroni safe in the knowledge you’re exuding Riviera chic.
The Beach Wedding
You are invited to a summer wedding in a tropical location but subsequently learn that the event is happening on an actual beach. This creates a sartorial dichotomy… of course you know that your bench-made Oxford shoes will complement your wool, silk and linen-blend suit to sartorial perfection but you are also aware that the combination of sand and salt could cause havoc with the leather and create some serious damage.
You have already spent a fortune on getting there, attending the stag do and buying a wedding present. If you have to factor in replacing shoes, you may need to re-mortgage. But you are not ready to throw the towel in just yet and you absolutely refuse to wear sandals or, worse still, flip-flops. You would never risk that combination and you are fairly certain that there will be a photographer present at the event.
Just wear your leather driving loafers without socks and problem solved. The rubber sole is practical in the sand and a little wear and tear will only add to their charm.
For summer spectator events, your pristine driving shoes are perfect for top-drawer entertainment at the likes of Wimbledon. Look to the Italians on how to get this look right and avoid the naff British uniform of too-tight beige chinos and blue shirt.
Slim-leg cotton trousers, a shirt made from a textured cotton and a 7-fold silk tie is the combination to aim for, and a blue hopsack blazer in the unstructured Neapolitan style will have the right attitude and buttons to complete the look. If the event threatens to be a little chilly, a single-ply Scottish cashmere slipover will add a stylish layer. Oh, and now would be the time to wear your Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
Common Driving Shoe Dos and Dont’s
Keep your suede shoes clean with steam and a brush, but do not be too precious with them. They look better a bit lived-in.
Keep tissue paper in them when not being worn for an extent of time. This will keep their shape. Proper wooden trees are not required.
Try a different colour. Brown is classic but they are a great way to introduce blues and greens into your shoe wardrobe.
Ever wear socks (unless wearing for air travel).
Walk too much in them. They are great for strolling from beach to bar, or car to café but not for sight-seeing days in Milan.
Fret about the pebbles wearing out. Buy a new pair and keep the old ones to wear around the house and garden.
The Best Driving Shoe Brands
Tod’s was introduced in 1979 by Diego Della Valle who, as the grandson of a shoemaker, quickly introduced what would become the most famous driving shoe, the Gommino. Fiat magnate Gianni Agnelli wore Tod’s shoes to Fiorentina soccer matches, events which were widely televised, awarding Tod’s a cult status in Italy and overseas as a result.
Today the brand also offers a custom service, where you can elect to have one of its classic models realised in a leather and trim of your choice.
Car Shoe was created in Italy in 1963 by Gianni Mostile and today, like back then, it has strong links to the world of classic motoring. The brand was purchased by luxury Italian house Prada in 2001 and has since collaborated with Alfa Romeo and The Driver’s Club.
Furthermore, it has been a constant feature at The Goodwood Revival, the annual celebration of the golden age of motorsport, with a ‘pop-up’ shop selling its merchandise. If you are feeling fancy it even offers a version in Crocodile skin.
Whilst perhaps more well known for its classic horsebit loafers, Gucci makes a fine pair of driving loafers. Synonymous with the house’s elegant Italian roots, its designs range from the understated to the outlandish, with anything from classic black leather to shearling lined suede iterations – many feature the iconic horsebit snaffle over the vamp too.
Crockett & Jones
Despite being one of Britain’s most prestigious shoemakers, with a history that dates back to 1879, Crockett & Jones offers one of the most diverse footwear line-ups amongst any equivalent heritage brand. One such design you might not expect to find amongst its offerings is the driving shoe.
With three different designs, all boasting their subtle variations, there is plenty to choose from, but the Modena in dark brown calf leather is arguably the most elegant. It’s a smart take, with a flat lace tie that makes it versatile enough to pair with either jeans, shorts or even a suit.