womens leather loafers

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They may look pretty slick— but loafers aren’t just for the office. Elevate your casual outfits with versatile leather slip-on styles and standout slingback courtesy of our current collection of women’s loafers. Want a pair of comfy moccasins in impossibly soft suede? We’ve got those, too. Backless and slingback loafers that give your feet plenty of room to breathe are your new-season staples. Discover our ASOS DESIGN range that’s full of colourful leather and gorgeous patterned options. You’ll also find statement chunky loafers over at RAID ideal for adding an edge to your classic jeans and tee combos. Like your shoes to reflect your personality? Feel empowered with a bold animal print pair from River Island or go for subtle sophistication in loafers with statement buckles, contrast soles and stitch detailing from New Look or Office. Whether it’s an everyday pair of women’s loafers you’re after or something that lets you play around with your individual style, we’ve got plenty of pairs to spare in our edit. Got unique feet? We’ve made sure you can find just the right sizes to suit you when you filter by our wide-fit brands.

For 80+ years, the classic penny loafer has been fashionable footwear for men and women alike. This comfortable slip-on style of shoe is so versatile that they can be worn with pants, shorts, skirts, and even dresses! They are seen in boardrooms and classrooms across the world and across cultures, and are a staple in my own closet.

The penny loafer can be worn on a relaxing Sunday afternoon or to a hectic Monday morning business meeting. The loafer has changed colors, material, heights, and weight over the years but has never lost its popularity. Now you can buy one with rhinestones or with sequins, they can be made of suede or snakeskin, it’s all up to you and what fits with your wardrobe.

Let’s take a look at a bit of history, the various types of loafers available, a well as some outfit examples to make this classic shoe a stylish addition to your everyday wear.

The Penny Loafer: A Guide to Wearing This Classic Shoe

HISTORY OF THE PENNY LOAFER

In the 1930s Norwegians were producing leisure slippers (moccasin style) and began exporting them to the rest of Europe. Americans visiting Europe at the time started purchasing them and they started picking up in popularity. But it wasn’t until Esquire magazine featured them in a layout that these slip-ons became known to the masses in America.

Shortly thereafter, the iconic penny loafer was born and made popular by John Bass (of G. H. Bass & Co.). He took that simple slip-on shoe and added a piece of split leather across the bridge of the foot and named them Weejuns. Wearers began adding a decorative touch to the split in the leather, primarily with pennies…and the penny loafer was born.

Fun Fact: According to Zappos, “When pay phones were still ubiquitous and hadn’t yet been raised to a quarter, the penny loafer was often the source of funds for an emergency phone call home.”

While the penny loafer was one of the most popular shoes from its inception into the 1960s, they fell out of favor a bit in the 1970s (not exactly hippie footwear), but made a resurgence in the 1980s, as part of the “preppy” fashion craze. They’ve remained a staple ever since and versions can be found from even top designers like Gucci, Fendi and Prada.

The original penny loafer was made of leather, primarily black or brown, but has expanded over time. You can now find them in almost any color in leather, suede, patent leather, and vegan-style leather. Defined as a shoe that has no buckles or laces, the penny loafer—and loafers in general—are slip-on shoes with a rounded toe, with or without side gussets.

TYPES OF LOAFERS

In addition to the ubiquitous penny loafer, there are a variety of other loafer styles that have evolved over time.

The Classic Loafer

This shoe has the same silhouette, but without the split strap and penny. While some will have a smooth bridge (think: driving loafers, also called driving moccasins), oftentimes you will find the bridge of the loafer decorated with embellishments like tassels, bows, and even faux buckles.

Unlike its penny-loving cousin, a classic loafer can come in animal print, stripes, polka dots, paisley, and a number of other prints and patterns. In addition to traditional leather, you might find them in snakeskin, crocodile, or other exotic leathers, as well as cotton and less traditional shoe materials. Shop Penny Loafers Here.

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Heeled Loafers

While loafers are traditionally a flat or low-heeled shoe, women have the advantage of adding heels to loafers. You can find those classic penny loafers with heels, ranging in height from one inch to four inches or more (with a platform). You’ll also find chunky-heeled loafers with fringe or embellishments. Shoop Luxury Heeled Loafers Here.

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Backless Loafers

Backless loafers are also a common occurrence. These are hybrids of a loafer and a mule (also called a slide). Like their heeled sisters, backless loafers come in the classic penny, with fringe or embellishments, and in a variety of materials and prints or patterns.

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Pointed-Toe Loafer

The loafer has evolved over time, and for women it has been feminized with a pointed toe, to resemble more of a pointed toe pump. Also referred to as a pointed-toe smoking slipper, I’m particularly fond of these bronze loafers, which take a pair of jeans to the next level.

You can find pointed toe loafers in the same materials, prints, and with similar embellishments as the classic loafer described above.

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HOW TO WEAR PENNY LOAFERS: OUTFIT EXAMPLES

The outfit combinations are limitless, but here are a few fun and stylish examples of wearing loafers with your existing wardrobe.

Pairing Penny Loafers with Pants

The classic penny loafer is a workplace staple, for both men and women. Pair them with a pinstriped wool trouser (with or without cuff) and a button-down shirt and you have a perfect office combination! Used to wearing heels? No problem. Step into a pair of heeled penny loafers instead.

Take a nice pair of silk or cotton ankle pants and don a pair of backless loafers or pointed-toe loafers like I have here. I’m wearing a simple blouse, fitted ankle pants and stylish black patent leather pointed-toe loafers, which add just a touch of drama to an otherwise business casual outfit. I like that the black tote has two different finishes, reflecting the matte of the pant and shine of the shoes.

business professional - Visit Stylishlyme.com to read what is not business casual

Pairing Penny Loafers with Jeans

The slight chunkiness of the penny loafer pairs really well with boyfriend jeans. Add in an oversized sweater and comfy t-shirt and you’re ready for a casual day out.

For skinny jeans, a pointed toe loafer or lighter-weight classic loafer is perfect. For some drama, think animal print or fun embellishment. Add a graphic t-shirt and leather jacket and meet your friends for that lunch-and-shopping date.

How to wear jewel toned colors

Pairing Penny Loafers with Skirts

This can be a harder look to pull off for some, but proportion is the key. Stick to a skirt that hits at or above the knee (no mid-calf or maxi skirts). A classic pencil or A-line works well, as can a shorter mini skirt. I always think of a plaid pleated skirt with a classic penny loafer, but a nice herringbone pencil skirt, cashmere turtleneck and any type of loafer (with tights) is also a good combo.

Pairing Penny Loafers with Shorts

Yes, you can wear loafers with shorts! Try a tailored linen short with silky button-down blouse and a pair of pointed-toe flats. Perfect for brunch. For a more casual look, pair some Bermuda shorts with a colorful floral top and some cotton loafers or embellished backless loafers.

Pairing Penny Loafers with Dresses

I think it pays to keep it somewhat classic here. Don’t do body-con or really full-skirted dresses with loafers. Best to leave the empire waist or pouf dress in the closet. A simple little black dress and embellished loafers are perfect for almost any occasion. Try a summer shirtwaist with some colorful pointed-toe loafers, or pair a classic wrap dress with a classic heeled loafer.

What to wear with leopard flats - Visit Stylishlyme.com for more outfit inspiration and style tips

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned a little something about the shoe that you may be wearing right now. I love fun historical facts about fashion and how the items we wear today have evolved over the decades.

And don’t forget to send me a post of you rocking your classic penny loafers!

Always in a hurry to get to the metro every morning, or are you tired of just lacing your darn shoes every time? Well, a loafer may just be the right option for you.

They have no to low heel and still look glamorous enough to wear to the office. Also, many of the items on this list have slip-resistant rubber soles. Loafers are so versatile that they can be matched with just about any other apparel in your closet. You’ll falter through and through whether with jeans or in a suit. They’re generally just simple shoes without anything superfluous detailing about them. And that’s why all the loafers in our roundup promise ease of wear, comfortability, durability and lightness so you can just go off and on with them without any surprises.

Loafers are pretty affordable and most buyers, as you’ll see in this countdown, get more than a pair for themselves.

You may also be interested in

Have a first-hand feel of our carefully created list of the best loafers for women in 2019.

Here we go!

1. Venus Celia Natural Comfort Flat Walking Loafer

Gorgeous and comfortable, ladies will gleam as to how these shoes look and feel. These loafers will make you standout while walking. They have feather-soft insoles and slip-resistant soles. The upper is soft and stretchy. Overall, these flip-flops are suitable for casual outings. They come at a moderate price point with lots of colors to choose from

Be sure to take note of size inconsistencies as brands tend to deviate slightly from the standards.  In fact, they are only available in medium width only. Another little hitch to these loafers is that its threads usually come loose due to loose stitching.

2. Sperry Women’s Seaport Penny Loafer

This top-quality footwear is ideal for women who love classic penny loafers. With full-grain leather and a nubuck leather upper and characteristic moccasin needlework. Sport these shoes and get accosted to the masterful ingenuity of Sperrys. Its leather sock lining with memory foam sole that guarantees daylong support. Buyers can rely on leather welt to reinforce durability and brilliant styling.

It offers great traction and memory-foam footbeds to improve comfortability and support. Its sizes run narrow, hence, it’s advised to order a few sizes larger as observed from customer metrics.

3. Aerosoles Over Drive Loafer

These slip-ons have earned a slew of accolades for their adaptability with dress pants and jeans. They are practical for work and play. You’ll find that these driving shoes are also comfortable for extensive walks or long periods spent on foot. One big take out from this pump is that you aren’t going to pass through a break-in period. Few groans about these drivers include the narrowness of their sizes; something you should expect from women’s shoes designed to have a more pointed toe.

4. Everlane Women’s Modern Loafer

This is a fashion-current iteration of the conventional menswear shoe with a flatteringly glamorous, sleek, elongated, pointed-toe and chic neutral hue selection. This slip-on shoe sure did position Everlane as a worthy disruptor of the footwear industry.

It features a zero-fuss design with a stacked heel for a flattering touch, as well as much-needed height and body composition that’s 100% Italian leather. This outlay from Everlane features 9 colors, most being neutral hues like camel and olive green – typical Everlane stuff. There are also the confidence-inspiring red and three blacks namely suede, patent and traditional leather. Buzz generated from over customer feedback suggests going a half-size up on account of its slender, restrictive silhouette. Several users have chimed that The Modern Loafer requires break-in time, however, the leather gives in after prolonged wear, resulting in a customized fit. You can get these shoes from Everlane.

5. Jabasic Women’s Slip-On Loafers Flat Casual Driving Shoes

These loafers are packed with various designs and colors. You’ll find perforations at the uppers with decorative bars and sequins. The soles consist of slip-safe rubber and there’s a leather lining and memory form insole. Thankfully, they sell at a reasonable price.

They only come in medium width with a very moderate price. Customers have marveled about its flexible and lightweight build. Loafers are known to be devoid of unnecessary support and this brand puts paid to that.

It is one of the few flip-flops that come naturally large and wide but still not wide enough for people who wear wide-width shoes. Some commenters also bemoaned lack of breathability as it resulted in hot feet that may sweat and smell. Therefore they are best for short walking distances in well-paved areas.

6. Driver Club USA Women’s Genuine Leather Slip-On Shoe

This Made-in-Brazil Greenwich loafer is made with authentic leather. With padded footbeds and rubber soles, these penny-type loafers are incredulously comfy and come in a bevy of colors. It comes in mid-width size only. Buyers are amazed regarding how brilliantly made they are, however, they are available at a moderately high price point.

Some buyers feel they are a wee bit wide, while some claimed that it is narrow. Nonetheless, most people were satisfied with the fittingness citing that they run true to size. Individuals who must stand or walk over long periods of time thought the loafers were functional and attractive.

7. Marc Joseph New York Women’s East Village Loafers

Made of genuine leather, these penny loafers are known to be very comfortable and run right in size. The lining too is made of authentic leather, and that’s why it takes the gong as one of the best constructed loafer in this roundup. Its dress-worthiness, breathability and comfortability give your feet arguably the highest support of the lot.

These Marc Joseph loafers come only in medium width; have rubber soles and low heels of about 1/2″. Most buyers are thrilled by the very many different colors and textures ranging from pebbled leather, to suede and patent leather.

Mind you, they have a breaking period for the leather to blend in. however, some purchasers found that the soles left black marks on their surface. Notwithstanding, we take solace in the fact that these supportive drivers are very versatile, casual and fit-for-office.

8. Clark’s Women’s Ashland Bubble Slip-On Loafers

These very expensive top-designer loafers come in dark and conservative colors. A tassel detail is found at the top as well as a slender heel. They are available in wide-width as well as medium. The wide width, however, works poorly for individuals with wide feet. Also, the medium width has a narrow toe-box.

Don’t be misled by those who advise that they’re true-to-size. Clark’s Ashland Bubble actually has inconsistent sizing and some buyers thought that they well too long, with their heels skidding out of the shoe. Many comments decried poor quality braids that break off.

9. Harence Soft Comfort Leather Women’s Leather Slip-On Driving Flats

Well-positioned at a reasonable price and plenty of hues to select from, these Harence slip-on shoes is built to flatter without fail. They only come in medium width but are so flexible; you could roll into a ball.

The material is made of PU leather for the upper and sturdy rubber for the soles. The uppers stretch but still run small even though some buyers commented that they were true to size. Other buyers felt that the insoles aren’t assuredly in place. Unfortunately, these soft shoes aren’t the type you wear over long periods of time. Most of all, we feel that the pricing in just right.

10. TOMS Women’s Classic Loafer Shoes

These canvas-material flip-flops are come in a number of colors, particularly the patterned options. They are quite expensive but the brand makes up for this in their “One for One program,” by charitably giving a pair of shoes to someone who really needs them every time you buy a pair of loafers. The manufacturers juiced it up with a lot of exciting color options. This charitable position has earned them a whopping 5000+ shoe-giver reviews on Amazon.

Our metrics find these shoes to be generally narrow, making them more suited for walkers with narrow feet. Add that to the comfortability it provides and you know that by wearing them, you’re actually helping someone walk to freedom elsewhere.

What to look out for when buying women’s loafers

Sizing and Fittingness

Wearing loafers is nice but unfortunately, accidents happen; you may be nursing a stubbed toe or kinked ankle. This is why you should consider flat-soled, stretchy, and well-sized loafers to support and safeguard your maimed foot throughout its healing period.

As with other shoes, it’s best to get the right size by measuring your feet at workday’s end when they are weary and swollen. You want to make sure that there is enough room for your longest toes (i.e., half an inch), when standing. Align your heel over an upright edge; something like the frontal face of a star or a chair leg.

Place a ruler to position parallel to your foot from the tip of your longest toe (not necessarily your big toe) to the back tip of your heel) and record the length. Manufacturer shoe sizing charts are also helpful too.

For fittingness, ensure that the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest area of your loafer. Be conscious of shoes that are too tight. Women’s pumps tend to be snug at first but become expanded from daily wear.

Comfort

Loafers for ladies are slip-proof, making them ideal for working environments or when driving. They’re so functional that your feet don’t hurt after long hours of standing. Pregnant women smile from ear to ear over their good-quality loafers such as flats because they offer support, balance, and comfort without compromising on style.

Comfort matters a lot to the heel. The loafers mustn’t ride, down, or sideways at the heel when you’re walking lest you develop, bunions, blisters and many other foot troubles.

Materials

Loafers are found in a variety of finishing. There’s patent leather, suede, vegan, canvas, synthetic and authentic leather. Synthetic and pseudo-leather options tend to be less expensive than original calfskin versions. Typically, the type of material your slip-ons are made of depends on the event you’re wearing them for. 

Generally, loafers expose the ankles so that it does not engulf the legs. And if you’re someone who does not rely on shoes for ankle support, then you loafers may not be ideal for you.

Since loafers were originally made to “loaf around in”, they are fantastic for lounging, driving, or travelling in. You can quickly remove them and put them back on at the airport security post, or when you drive shoeless. Always wear socks over your feet when travelling because you don’t want to put your bare feet on the airport floor.

FAQ

What are loafers?

Loafers are laceless shoes that have been in existence for over 100 years. It was first manufactured in 1847 by London-based shoe brand Wildsmith Shoes. The loafer was initially designed to serve as a casual slip-on shoe for use by aristocrats. However, it was Norwegian cobbler, Nils Gregorisusson Tveranger that was credited for introducing the shoes to the public in 1930. He successfully combined Native American styles with those of his native Aurland.

Can I wear loafers with shorts?

This depends on how formal or informal you choose to look. Loafers can be worn on or off at short notice. Generally, a t-shirt and jumper can easily blend with a pair of chino shorts and loafers of a captivating summer appearance.

What loafer styles should I go for?

In addition to the traditional penny loafer, there are those with various decorations at the upper. Some loafer styles have tassels at the top, or a bar decoration, some are moccasin-like, or suede, while some are just plain.

Tassels and embellishments appear more elegant. However, we assume that there are different events in your life that demand more or less fashionable shoes. And that’s why having more than one loafer is a novel idea.

Suede loafers are a classic that never goes out of style. Black and brown suede loafers are very ideal for the winter, while light hues like blue are great during summer.

From the product roundup, you can see that some of the shoes are more casual than others across the spectrum. Some are less constructed and have few visible seams. Some are more or less stiff, while some have varying elasticity

Where can I wear loafers to?

If you’re going out with friends, look for something swanky in color. Moccasin-style loafers are casual, very flexible and don’t come with a lot of stitching or fancy construction. Also, white shoes are trendy this year, so you can be the one to blaze the trail with loafers. Choose pennies and tassels carefully when matching them for office wear or dressier occasions. Colors like gray, black, and navy blue are just great for these occasions.

How to wear loafers?

Loafers fit many casualwear, particularly pants and shorts. However, depending on the one you choose, skirts and dresses could go with them too. Loafers also look really great with solid leggings too.

One thing we like about loafers is that you can wear loafers without them. However, socks always help shoes to last longer; hence, walking in loafers with bare feet accelerates wearing-out. Should you wear socks, look for one that’s concealed or go for trouser socks which reach higher up the legs. Consider your age too as ankle socks appear too girly for mature women.

Business casual can be matched with penny loafers of tassel style pumps professional settings like college or white-collar work. Since many loafers are amongst some of the most inexpensive shoes, you can buy different types to go with series of closet items. Your tassel-detailed Clark’s may not be agreeable to your trouser suit, but they’d look flattering with carpi-pants and a polka-dotted top.

How to clean for my loafers?

Keep your leather shoes looking their best by wiping off dirt with a soft cloth. If the leather has high-end varnishing, then use mild detergent and moist linen to wash them, scrubbing gently. If the loafer in unvarnished, the apply saddle soap and let them naturally dry out.

For faux-leather loafers, use a soft brush, don’t immerse in water, and dry with a cloth before hanging them to dry. Suede loafers need to be brushed often with a suede brush. The metallic part of the brush addresses stains, while the plastic end controls abrasions and splotches. One trick to get any ire-causing grease on your suede loafers is to spread some talc or baking powder over the smudge and brushing it the next day.

You can remove sticky stains by wiping them off with one part of vinegar to two parts of water. Always use leather polish to polish your loafers and buff them only after they’re dry. You can also make use of sprays to condition them for extra protection. Keep your pumps in shoe bags when they’re not in use so that they don’t get covered in dust or sunbathed.

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