Can anyone recommend some good quality, simple, brown slip on loafers?
July 14, 2010 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some good quality, simple, brown slip on loafers?

I'm trying to find a good pair of simple, brown formal slip on loafers. I am located in the UK. Any suggestions?
posted by samengland to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
What's your price range?
posted by saladin at 2:26 PM on July 14, 2010

Ecco Soft Moc has done extremely well by me. They make great shoes.
posted by everichon at 2:35 PM on July 14, 2010

For something more formal, check out Ecco's "Windsor" slip-on.
posted by everichon at 2:36 PM on July 14, 2010

I would not buy anything Ecco. I paid top dollar for a pair of their shoes and the heels literally disintegrated after a half-dozen wearings. Wish I had a positive answer.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 2:47 PM on July 14, 2010

Clarks have held up really well for me.
posted by ijoyner at 2:51 PM on July 14, 2010

Cole Haan makes some nice loafers.

I have been wearing these for a while.
posted by notyou at 3:11 PM on July 14, 2010

Depends on what you're willing to pay, but Sebago do nice non-boating shoes. I like these (in order of old-style to modern).

Base London do some decent cheaper ones - I have a battered pair of these. Main downside is the stupid heel thing at the back, but other than that they're good. I can attest to their longevity.

General loafer-style advice:

simple, brown formal slip on loafers

Formal loafers don't really exist. Loafers aren't formal enough to even wear with a suit, strictly speaking, especially not brown ones. I've seen people wear black ones with suits, but it always looks a bit sixth form/work in Carphone Warehouse. Don't get me started on coloured loafers with black tie either.

To my mind, loafers are quite compact, delicate-looking, casual shoes. That doesn't mean that they're delicate in construction - my current (and soon-to-be-replaced) ones are three years old, and only just starting to fall apart. And that's with heavy, heavy use.

So, with that in mind, what to avoid?

Firstly, over-complex styles. Oddly layered leather (such as at the rear of these) detract from the clean lines and overall simplicity of the shoe. It looks over-designed - instead of studied elegance, you've got a mish mash, and it looks cheaper than the the very similar pair by the same company. This by Ecco is a less extreme example (although it fails on a few other points as well).

Secondly, avoid a high cut on the top of the foot - example. It makes the shoe look clunky and unwieldy.

Thirdly, big, thick soles. Again, they make the shoe look clunky, especially if the colour of the sole doesn't match the leather. Case in point. Otherwise, that's not a terrible shoe, but compare it to the very similar Lago by the same company. It just looks better, even though the sole looks to be the same size.

Fourthly, stiff and shiny leather with heels. Example. This is the trifecta of pretty bad. It's the bastard child of a shoe suitable for business and a loafer - brown and slip-on, but hard, pointy and heeled. Plus the sole extends beyond the leather around the outside, which is another minus for me.

Of the Cole Haan ones, this would probably be my preference.
posted by djgh at 4:24 PM on July 14, 2010

Seconding @djgh -- that was good advice. A couple of things to add. First, on formality, the rule I learned was it was ok to wear loafers with a coat and tie, but not a suit -- with a suit, you should only wear lace-ups. So you can only get so formal with them. Second, you are going to find that the less expensive loafers have rubber soles and the more expensive ones will be all leather (and there is an in-between, where the high wear areas are rubber and the rest is leather). The all leather ones will look a lot more elegant, but I would suggest you make your choice on how much walking on pavement you expect to do. Finally, I don't know about availability in the UK, but I have had good experience with Rockport and own or have owned six or eight pairs of Rockport loafers over the years. My current job is in a downtown area with a lot of walking on pavement, so I've migrated to all rubber soles. Rockport has a number of different styles of loafers and you would find in the US that they start at about $50 if you find them on sale or at a discounter.
posted by kovacs at 6:12 PM on July 14, 2010

Formal loafers don't really exist. Loafers aren't formal enough to even wear with a suit, strictly speaking, especially not brown ones.

with a suit, you should only wear lace-ups.

Whaaa... ?

You can wear loafers with a suit. Look for these: Bruno Magli, Bally, Gucci, Tod's, Salvatore Ferragamo, John Lobb. Totally dressy/formal.

Most of those shoes that person recommended are driving shoes, which are casual slip ons that you usually wear with jeans or casual pants like khakis or cords.
posted by L'OM at 7:11 PM on July 14, 2010

LL Bean. Not sure if they ship to the UK.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:10 PM on July 14, 2010

Response by poster: @djgh - Excellent advice, you sum up exactly my thoughts.

By formal, I am just trying to describe the clean, plain and simple style. I intend to wear them almost daily in a smart casual look with jeans/chinos - not with formal dress (suit).

Thank you for the recommendations. Much appreciated.
posted by samengland at 3:00 PM on July 15, 2010

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