The 12 Best Loafers for Women to Stay Comfy and Cool In

Loafers are the new pumps. There, we said it.

Gina Walser and Karla shorts and tights and Isabel Marant brown leather loafer, Isabel Marant black loafer
(Image credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

Fact: Summer footwear options are surprisingly limiting. You can wear a pair of sandals, sure, but they can be tricky to wear to the office, especially if your office is equipped with ice-cold air conditioning. And while a clean pair of white sneakers could definitely suffice, they often feel a bit too casual for most situations. Enter loafers, the ideal in-between shoe that is majorly chic—and is one of the most in-demand shoe trends for summer 2022

There’s a reason that your Instagram feed has been suddenly overtaken by grandpa-inspired footwear. Designer loafers popped up on the Spring/Summer 2022 runways at Christopher Kane, Proenza Schouler, and Miu Miu. At the latter, chunky loafers appeared right alongside a  slew of micro-mini skirts that looked like the adult-rated version of a high school uniform. Plus, following the release of last year’s House of Gucci, it feels like the classic horse-bit-style loafer is more popular than ever before.  

To get to the bottom of this surprising summer trend, I spoke to Shopbop’s Fashion Director, Caroline Maguire (opens in new tab). “It’s the year of comfy-chic,” she told me when I asked about why the style is so appealing this season. While she notes that more traditional-looking styles are—and will always be—a wardrobe staple, Maguire also spoke to just how many styles of loafer you can choose from in 2022: “This classic style has reemerged with a modern twist this season—think lug-sole, bold hardware, chain embellishments, and contrast stitching, which our customer loves to see.”  If you’re feeling overwhelmed when it comes to finding the style that will work best in your wardrobe, keep reading for Maguire’s tips to find the perfect pair. 

What to Look For in a Pair of Loafers

It’s important to take the entire shoe into consideration before making a purchase. Every design detail counts on a simple shoe like a loafer and, because you want a pair that’s going to last for more than one season, Maguire suggests doing the footwork to find your favorite. “There are so many takes on this traditional style and I love to see how designers continue to get creative with this classic,” she says. “I always look at the shape—is the toe round, pointy, square—and the height—is the sole platform, flat, heeled—when selecting my favorite shoe. The hardware and embellishments are the fun part—all the details count” 

The Best Splurge-Worthy Loafer Brands

If you’re looking to invest in a classic style, Maguire has a few brands in mind. And no, they’re not all black! She notes that sustainable brand RE/DONE (opens in new tab), for instance, makes a great pair that comes in a wild cheetah-print. On the other end of the sartorial spectrum, Proenza Schouler put out a chunkier pair that looks very ‘90s inspired. 

The Best Inexpensive Loafer Brands

As with most accessories, you don’t need to necessarily spend a ton of money to have something in your closet that will last forever. If you’re on a budget, Maguire recommends starting off at brands like Sam Edelman (opens in new tab) or Dr. Marten’s. (opens in new tab) Both brands boast pairs that cost less than $200, look great, and will go with just about anything in your wardrobe. 

Julia Marzovilla
E-Commerce Writer

Julia Marzovilla is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire covering all things fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Offline, she’s most likely browsing the web for another pair of black boots or listening to music too loudly—often at the same time.