The 14 Best Loafers for Women, According to Editors and Experts

The closet staple is trending this season.

Best Loafers for Women
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Even lofty descriptors like "timeless" and "classic" feel too small of words to describe the very best loafers. More than a seasonal trend or passing fad, the academia-inspired shoe comes with a lifestyle attached, one you can wholly lean into or subvert on your own terms (a penny loafer teamed with a punk, plaid mini skirt reads more grungey garage band than polished prepster, for instance.) And this season, they continue to cement themselves as a foundational option in my footwear collection. 

Ahead, Jamie Lee, a shoe buyer at luxury retailer Moda Operandi, and Marie Claire editors share the very best loafers for women on the market for fall 2023. Lee also offers insight on what to look for in your first pair, including which colors and styles are trending right now so you can update your collection. Fair warning: You might be taken aback at this season's cold weather-ready tweaks, from rich chocolate-brown options and denim that put loafers in the running for the best fall shoes. Boots, who? 

What to Look for in Loafers

  • Color

“I would definitely recommend black for your first pair,” says Lee, inviting you to stick to the neutral shade if you're a loafer rookie. However, if your heart desires, certainly don't shy away from bold hues. A sure bet is to use spring 2023's color trends to guide you.

  • Silhouette

Lee notes that shoppers should also decide if they want to buy a pair of chunky—think hefty lug-soles and thick treads—or sleek loafers. “Both are equally timeless and easy to wear with just about any outfit,” she says, chalking up each silhouette to personal preference.  

The Loafers Trending This Season

The trending loafer options for this season have less to do with brand-new styles and more about updating what’s already in your closet if a piece is in need of replacement. “We are seeing many brands take small but fashionable updates to their signature loafers,” says Lee. “For example, Prada included a little lace-up detail in their classic style. They are also introducing the style in a rich vintage-inspired brown shade called Cordovan.” 

She also mentions that brands like Roger Vivier are releasing versions of their best-selling loafers in new fabrications, like the Viv Rangers in Denim. “What we’ve seen lately is a 'fashion twist' on the classic shoe, but nothing that feels overly trendy - our customer wants an investment piece that she can wear for seasons to come,” Lee says. 

Deals on Loafers

Franco Sarto Balin Lug Sole Loafers, $99

Franco Sarto Balin Lug Sole Loafers, $99 $57 at Zappo's 

"If you want to try the trend for yourself without breaking the bank, definitely head to H&M for this pair," says writer Brooke Knappenberger.

The Best Loafers for Women

Affordable Loafer Brands

Spending a lot is not a pre-requisite for finding a fantastic pair of loafers. “At the $300 and under price point, we offer some great options from Aeyde, Ganni, and St. Agni,” says Lee. Other great options for affordable loafers include Rothy's, Sam Edelman and Vagabond Shoemakers, all of which are included on this list and sell loafers priced at under $200.

How to Style Loafers

When you need some styling inspiration, always look to the street style stars—especially when it comes to designer loafers, since the shoe is an off-duty go-to amongst the fashion crowd. Top model Gigi Hadid loves a two-tone penny loafers style, often pairing them with relaxed suiting. Perennial It-Girl styled her loafers with a pair of red jeans and a classic navy blue crewneck sweater, proving that sticking to your basics is key. 

Gigi Hadid is seen on October 14, 2022 in New York City.

(Image credit: Gotham/GC Images)

Alexa Chung

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meet the Expert

Jamie Lee
Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee is a footwear buyer at Moda Operandi. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, she spent half of her life in Korea and the other half in the United States. She began her buying career at Dover Street Market New York. She now lives and works in NYC.

Emma Childs
Style Editor

Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").