Let it be known that I am a winter shoe aficionado. I’m not really a sandals person, so the onset of colder weather means that I can finally stow away my open-toed shoes and replace them with a pair of loafers—or several. Because there are so many pairs and different loafer options on the market right now, I spoke to Jamie Lee (opens in new tab), a Shoe Buyer at luxury retailer Moda Operandi (opens in new tab) to find the very best loafers on the market for fall and winter 2023.
The once-preppy style has become a mainstay on the feet of models both on and off the runway, as well as on the feet of every single A-list celebrity. Both Kendall Jenner and Katie Holmes have both been spotted in pairs from Vagabond Shoemakers (opens in new tab), for instance, which is also a favorite brand among the Marie Claire editorial team.
Loafers were a prominent choice on the Fall/Winter 2022 runways as well—brands like Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton styled them as a part of their collections. At the former, iconic black-and-white penny loafers were styled with tailored menswear-inspired pieces. At the latter, the patent-leather loafer offerings had an oh-so-subtle peep toe and were worn with oversized trousers and blazers. As for street style, top model Gigi Hadid recently wore a pair of two-tone penny loafers with a fall-toned suit set, while her sister, Bella, wore them with a micro mini skirt and white ankle socks.
Ahead, Lee breaks down exactly what you should look for in a pair of loafers for fall and winter 2023, including which colors and styles are trending and her favorite pairs you can snag for under $300. Plus, the Marie Claire editors share their favorite loafer picks.
- Best Splurge-Worthy Loafers for Women: GUCCI Jordaan Horsebit-Detailed Leather Loafers (opens in new tab)
- Best Affordable Loafers for Women: H&M Chunky Leather Loafers (opens in new tab)
- Best Classic Loafers: G.H Bass Women's Whitney Weejuns (opens in new tab)
What to Look For When Buying Loafers
“I would definitely recommend black for your first pair,” says Lee, noting that shoppers should also decide if they want to buy a pair of chunky or sleek loafers. “Both are equally timeless and easy to wear with just about any outfit,” Lee says.
The Loafers Trending This Season
“Prada has been a leader in this category for Moda Operandi for several years, but there's certainly a bigger offering from other designers this season,” says Lee about the most popular loafer brands right now. While Prada's chunky loafers (opens in new tab) are an investment-worthy staple at this point, Lee says that other brands are “giving their loafers special design detail to differentiate them from other pieces on the market,” citing Chloe’s stitching, Bottega Veneta's chain-style loafers, and Miu Mui’s “classic penny loafer detail.”
Affordable Loafer Brands
“At the $300 and under price point, we offer some great options from Aeyde (opens in new tab), Ganni (opens in new tab), and St. Agni (opens in new tab),” says Lee. “The Aeyde style has actually been so popular that it has sold out multiple times, and we are leaning into additional color options in the pair for the Spring/Summer 2023 season.”
The Best Loafers for Women
Best Fashion Editor-Approved Loafers
"I have too many pairs of statement and, admittedly, unconventional shoes in my possession—which is why Vagabond's Cosmo 2.0 Loafers have quickly become my hero shoe of the season. They're neutral enough that I can throw them into nearly any outfit combo, and they also contain no components of animal origin, an aspect that makes my non-meat-eating-heart very happy. As for styling these babies, I'm prone to reaching for my floral Sandy Liang midi dress and slipping on some white socks." — Emma Childs, Style Editor
Best Patent-Leather Loafers
"If you're looking for a loafer that is a bit more nighttime-appropriate, meet the Kenova Loafer from Vagabond Shoemakers. They have such a sturdy sole that makes my feet feel great even after eight hours of weartime, Plus, the patent-leather finish is so easy to keep clean, so they always look fresh despite the fact that I wear them multiple times a week." — Julia Marzovilla, E-Commerce Writer
Best Affordable Loafers
"I haven't fully decided my stance on the loafer trend yet. On one hand, I love how a chunky pair can go with everything in my closet. On the other, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm heading to school while wearing them. But nonetheless, I still wanted to hop on the trend without truly investing in a pair, so of course, I turned to H&M. I love how this pair adds a few inches to my height without being overly chunky. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and comfort. If you want to try the trend for yourself without breaking the bank, definitely head to H&M for this pair." — Brooke Knappenberger, Editorial Fellow
Best Edgy Loafers
"I tried these Camper loafers on a few weeks ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. I’ve always loved how the brand uses playful colors to give classic silhouettes a surprising twist, and the mismatched design of this pair is totally genius. As it turns out, the brand has an entire “TWINS” concept collection that’s been around since the 80s (take a look, you won’t regret it). Having been that kid who worse mismatched shoes as a fashion statement, I, now an adult, can't wait to snag a pair." — Lucia Tonelli, Social Media Editor
Best Comfortable Loafers
"Every time I invest in a new type of Rothy's shoe—they've designed their own sustainable, super-comfy versions of flats (opens in new tab), Mary Janes (opens in new tab), boots (opens in new tab), sneakers (opens in new tab), you name it—it's one and done; I don't need to buy any more of that type of shoe. (opens in new tab) Rothy's loafers are no exception. Coming in 12 colors, from plain black to bold leopard print with scarlet insoles, these loafers are the perfect smart-casual slip-on shoe that'll take you from work to a late-night dinner." — Jenny Hollander, Director of Content Strategy
Best Classic Loafers
It doesn't get more classic than this pair of black Whitney Weejuns by G.H. Bass. Available in either this shade or a dark brown, these iconic patent-leather loafers are the standard when it comes to penny loafers for women—and shoppers agree. One glowing five-star review said that the loafers "fit perfectly and are comfortable," so you just know that they'll be great for long days spent on your feet. Plus, you can shop them in sizes 5 through 11.
Best Unexpected Loafers
When you think about investing in a new pair of loafers for the fall or winter, you probably don’t think about a white shoe with an exaggerated leather chain strap across the front. But, here we are, with this pair from Zou Xou. From the slight pointed square-toe design to the contrasting black sole that’s complete with a slight tread detail, these loafers are unexpected in the best way. Each pair is handmade in Argentina, and you can even buy a half insole from the brand.
Best Investment Loafers
What is there to say about the Gucci Jordaan loafers that hasn’t already been said? Yes, these designer loafers are expensive, but they’re also iconically trend-less. The sleek silhouette, the classic gold buckle, and the relaxed leather feel all contribute to this shoe from Gucci becoming one of the only shoes on my own personal shopping wish list. You can shop them in sizes 34 through 42 and in two colorways: the black leather, and another option emblazoned with Gucci’s double G logo.
Best All-Around Loafers
These are the best all-around loafers on the internet for a reason. Priced at $150, they have a chunky, comfortable platform and a wide, roomy shape. The buckle detailing is subtle on the top, which means that you'll be able to style them with different metals. If black isn’t for you, you can shop them in three other colorways and in sizes 5 through 13. “Love love love these loafers,” wrote one glowing reviewer. “Such high quality for the price.”
Best Driving Shoe-Style Loafers
My dad has worn a pair of Tod’s loafers for as long as I can remember. These Gommino loafers debuted in the ‘50s and have remained popular ever since. The rubber so-called “pebbles” at the bottom of the shoe provide grip for all-day wear (not just for driving, although this shoe is usually considered a “driving shoe”), and the smooth leather is supremely comfortable and wearable. They run true-to-size and are available to shop in Italian sizes 34 through 42.
Best Colorful Loafers
Not all loafers need to come in black or white, and this pink suede pair from sister-owned brand Maguire shows so perfectly. They come in two different colorways of cow print, for instance, as well as sky blue, a light mustard yellow, and a bright colorblocked version. While suede is harder to manage than leather, the buttery-soft fit is so comfortable. You can shop them now in sizes 35 through 41.
Best Chunky Loafers
These under-$100 loafers from Zara are great if you’re after that ‘90s-inspired, grunge-style loafers. The slightly faded, oversized chain detail across the top of the show packs such a punch, too, so make sure to style them with the rest of your gold jewelry. Plus, they’ll only look more worn in as you go, so you don’t need to worry about keeping them pristinely clean. They’re currently available in women's shoe sizes 5 through 11.
Best Crocodile-Print Loafers
These under-$100 loafers from Katy Perry Collection are so fun (and so affordable). The plain black colorway makes them feel casual and wearable for the office, but the shiny croc-print detailing adds a special touch. They’re designed to be lightweight and comfortable with a thin rubber sole. While black loafers never go out of style, you can also shop them in a baby blue hue and a pink-nude colorway, too. Shop them now in women’s shoe sizes 5 through 11 now.
Best Celebrity-Approved Loafers
Celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski have been wearing this pair of black loafers from Jamie Haller for months now. The low-key design is inspired by traditional men’s penny loafers, are made by hand in Italy and is meant to hug your foot in all the places for a glove-like fit. The buttery-soft leather is so comfortable to wear, you’ll think you’re wearing house slippers. They’re available in sizes 35 through 41 and come in several colors and fabrications, like brown suede.
Best Easy Loafers
Sleek and simple, these black leather loafers from cool-girl-approved Australian clothing and accessories brand St. Agni (Kendall Jenner is a massive fan!) are perfect if you're looking for a pair that's not fussy and are easy to style—and they're one of Lee's favorite under-$300 picks on Moda Operandi. They're available in European women's sizes 36 through 41, and feature a modern, subtle square toe. The site notes that these fit true-to-size, and are made from a matte, buffed leather.
Meet the Experts
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.
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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