Worth It: Gucci's Horsebit Loafer

The timeless style to spring for.

Gucci horsebit loafer overlayed with the words worth it
(Image credit: Gucci)

Bare ankles are a sure sign that warm weather is imminent, and there's no better way to usher in spring than with the shoe that epitomizes easy transitional footwear: the classic Gucci Horsebit loafer. 

Since the loafer's inception in the early 20th century, when the durable leather slip-on shoe was workwear amongst Norwegian farmers and fishermen, loafer styles have been designed with comfort in mind. But Guccio Gucci, founder of the Italian fashion house Gucci, saw potential beyond the shoe's pragmatism. It also had significant sartorial appeal. 

So in 1953, after opening their first U.S.-based boutique in New York, the House of Gucci launched their signature loafer featuring a metal horse-bit front detail inspired by the equestrian shoes of the British aristocracy. The padded insole and low heel made them a hit amongst businessmen and academia, but movie stars and style icons like Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy gravitated towards Gucci's sleek, unassuming loafer as part of their everyday footwear. In 1985 their popularity landed them a spot in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Synonymous with timelessness, their modern appeal is also steadfast. Marie Claire's Editor-in-Chief Sally Holmes pairs her classic black Gucci Horsebit loafers with ankle-length pants and an A-line jacket for the work week, while Marie Claire's Style Editor recently revived an archival red pair from a vintage shop in Copenhagen.

The perfect hybrid between casual and dress wear, Gucci's Horsebit loafer was always a step ahead. Fifty years after their debut, it's no wonder that the shoe style remains a fashion cult classic and a worthy investment piece.

Shop Gucci's Horsebit Loafers:

Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.