Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
While slipper-style loafers have been around for ages, and are actually quite similar to the formal opera slippers of the 1930s, there’s been a major resurgence in popularity over the last couple years, due in part to several popular brands releasing their own version of this classic loafer. Some people may choose to wear these shoes as true slippers, but there is no reason they can’t be worn in casual or slightly formal situations, as they can be a great alternative to penny loafers, handsewns, or even espadrilles.
1) Vince: Gifford Suede Slip-Ons in Coastal
Vince’s Gifford Suede Slip-On is the most casual pair of loafers to make it on to this list, but strangely the style really works with their informal nature. The stitchdown construction, where the upper leather is directly stitched to the outsole, pairs really well with the gum rubber sole. This style of sole and the elasticated, overlapped pattern results in a comfortable and easy to slip on loafer. While it is a strictly casual shoe you may just find yourself reaching for them more and more.
Available for $148 from East Dane.
2) Barbanera: Huysmans Slipper in Light Brown Noce Suede
Barbanera’s Huysmans Slipper has one of the most simplistic designs of any of the loafers on this list, but it’s this simplicity that creates such a refined final product. The one piece upper, clean lines, and closely trimmed sole make this shoe a bit harder to wear casually, but create a shoe that is perfect to wear with your favorite summer chinos or twills.
Available for $348 from Unionmade.
3) Feit: Slipper in White Semi Cordovan
While it is slightly unclear what Feit means by the term “semi-cordovan”, it likely refers to horse rump leather that is made of the epidermis, whereas shell cordovan is made of a sub-dermal membrane below the horse’s rump. This cut of leather, while slightly less sought after than true shell, is still one of the finest cuts of leather available. Here it is seen in a stark white color, which matches Feit’s understated, one piece upper perfectly.
Available for $560 from Feit.
4) Alden: Harvie Slip-On in Milkshake
Alden’s Harvie Slip-On is a recent (and exclusive) collaboration with Virginia’s Need Supply, and it’s great to see this made-in-the-USA footwear giant making this classic style of loafers. It’s made of a very fine milkshake suede, which pairs well with the leather outsole and natural colored welt, and is made on Alden’s Aberdeen last, which runs closer to true size than most Alden’s. While the Barrie and Trubalance lasts from Alden are far more popular, the narrow and slightly pointed toebox of the Aberdeen definitely makes for an attractive loafer.
Available for $540 from Need Supply.
5) Viberg: Slipper Dust Black Calf
Viberg is another brand that has just recently stepped into the Slipper loafer game, and the result is fantastic. The heel on their version is a bit lower than those on most other slipper loafers, perhaps making them more suitable to actually be worn as slippers, but they can definitely still be worn as ordinary loafers. They are made with Viberg’s semi-new Goodyear construction rather than their traditional stitchdown construction, but this method definitely fits the style they are trying to achieve.
Available for $550 from Viberg.
Plus One – Carmina: Braided Loafer
Everyone has their own opinion on braided leather footwear, but if it’s something you enjoy then there is no better example than Carmina’s Braided Loafer. It’s fully braided—while so many other shoes feature only a patch of braiding—which pairs beautifully with the antiqued edge and leather outsole. They are made on Carmina’s Simpson last, which has a narrow, chiseled toe; and while that toe shape might not be everyone’s favorite, it truly looks perfect for this model of shoe.
Available for $330 from Skoaktiebolaget.