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Best Loafers for Women: 12 Ways to Step Up Your Shoe Game

Best Loafers for Women
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Updated February 21, 2024

Looking for a fall footwear option that’s equal parts trendy and timeless? You can’t go wrong with loafers, the versatile flat shoes that have transitioned from preppy style mainstays to classic wardrobe icons with a contemporary twist. Ubiquitous on the runways and IRL, loafers can take you from day to night, casual to dressy, work to weekend errands. Find the right pair and you just might discover your new solemate.

What to consider when buying loafers

When embarking on the all-important journey to find your sole-mate, there are several factors to keep in mind.

How tall is the shoe?

First, consider the loafer’s heel or platform height: A chunky lug or platform sole will offer all-day comfort and a more casual look, while a thin, sleek sole will give a more refined appearance that will work for evening excursions.

What are the loafers made out of?

Materials matter, too: High quality leather is best when it comes to everyday loafers that will stand the test of time, while velvet or embellished styles are perfect for dressier occasions.

Will the loafers go with your wardrobe?

Finally, think about color. Neutral hues like classic black or rich brown are going to be the most versatile choices, but bright colors are great for making a style statement.

How much can you invest in a good pair?

Lastly, your budget plays a pivotal role, since loafers are available in a wide range of price points. I’d recommend investing in quality footwear; think of loafers as a long-term relationship rather than a one-season fling.

Our top picks for the best loafers for women

Best loafers under $100: Steve Madden Mistor Black Leather Loafers

With leather uppers, gold-tone horsebit detailing, and a classic silhouette, these Steve Madden loafers could easily pass for some of their pricier designer brethren. The chunky lug sole adds a modern edge while providing practical benefits like comfort and traction, making the Mistor loafers an excellent wear-all-day option.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $99.95
  • Sizes: 5-12 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, white

Pros:

  • Look far more expensive than they are
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • Some may not like the synthetic lining
Best loafers under $100
Steve Madden Mistor Black Leather Loafers

Steve Madden Mistor Black Leather Loafers

Best leather loafers for women: Alexandre Birman Clarita Chunky Leather Loafers

Traditional with a subtly modern twist, Alexandre Birman’s all-black Clarita loafers are a style essential. The combination of masculine elements (the sturdy, substantial shape) with feminine detailing (that unmistakable Clarita bow, an Alexandre Birman signature) make these loafers a contemporary classic.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $450
  • Sizes: 5-12 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, brown, cream

Pros:

  • Chic and easy to wear
  • Under-the-radar luxury

Cons:

  • Higher price point

Best penny loafers for women: Freda Salvador Elba Penny Loafer

Handcrafted to perfection, Freda Salvador’s penny loafers stand out for their exquisite quality and timeless design. Showcasing meticulous attention to detail, these leather beauties should last you a lifetime, making them worth every penny—which you really can store in the little slot across the top, should you need an extra cent or two while going about your daily business.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $375
  • Sizes: 5-11 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, espresso, hickory, stone, ivory suede, citron suede, sky blue patent

Pros:

  • Handsewn in the Freda Salvador family-owned factory in El Salvador
  • A testament to artisanal craftsmanship
  • Beautifully designed

Cons:

  • The leather requires breaking in
Best penny loafers for women
Freda Salvador Elba Penny Loafer

Freda Salvador Elba Penny Loafer

Best heeled loafers for women: Stuart Weitzman Soho Loafer

Stuart Weitzman’s chunky-heeled loafer effortlessly combines sophistication with versatility, making it a must-have shoe for any style-conscious woman on the go. As sturdy as they are chic, the heels provide extra height without skimping on comfort. Pair these loafers with everything from jeans to dresses to suits; you’ll look well heeled for any occasion.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $495
  • Sizes: 3.5-13 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, dune

Pros:

  • Comes in narrow, medium and wide widths
  • Crafted by artisans in Spain

Cons:

  • Higher price point
Best heeled loafers for women
Stuart Weitzman Soho Loafer Flats & Loafers, Black Spazzolato, Size: 8 Medium

Stuart Weitzman Soho Loafer Flats & Loafers, Black Spazzolato, Size: 8 Medium

Best casual loafers for women: Madewell The Corinne Lugsole Loafer

Love the look of quiet luxury, but not the luxury price tag? Check out Madewell's The Corinne Lugsole Loafer, which captures that old-money vibe without breaking the bank. The perfect complement to your favorite jeans/white t-shirt/sunglasses ensembles, these effortlessly chic loafers will elevate even the most basic OOTDs.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $158
  • Sizes: 5-11 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Dried maple, true black

Pros:

  • Genuine leather
  • Comfortable stacked heel

Cons:

  • Might give you blisters, according to some reviews
Best casual loafers for women
Madewell The Corinne Lugsole Loafers Dried Maple 5

Madewell The Corinne Lugsole Loafers Dried Maple 5

Most comfortable loafers for women: Tory Burch Ballet Loafer

When it comes to this season’s shoe trends, two styles—ballet flats and loafers—stand head and shoulders above the rest. Consider this buttery leather hybrid by Tory Burch the best of both worlds. I’m crazy about the two-tone black-and-ivory version, but the ballet loafer comes in a variety of other colors and materials, including crinkled metallic silver leather and soft tan suede.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $298
  • Sizes: 4-13 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, cream, bourbon, silver, brown croc, river rock

Pros:

  • A chic and feminine alternative to the traditional loafer
  • Supportive insoles for comfort, front treads for traction

Cons:

  • Some reviewers found sizing a bit tricky
Most comfortable loafers for women
Tory Burch Ballet Loafer

Tory Burch Ballet Loafer

Best splurge loafer for women: Ferragamo Moccasin with Logo

Bright, bold red is the biggest color trend of fall 2024, and the easiest way to incorporate the flaming-hot hue into your fall wardrobe? Look no further than your own two feet. Ferragamo's ravishing red loafers are a symphony of craftsmanship and style, with the Italian design house’s iconic logo winking mischievously at anyone looking close enough to notice the scarlet-on-scarlet letters.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $850
  • Sizes: 5-11.5 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Flame red, mascarpone, black/white black/flame red

Pros:

  • Exquisitely made in Italy
  • A wear-forever investment shoe

Cons:

  • High price point

Best black penny loafers for women: G.H. Bass Womens Whitney Weejuns Loafer

A bit of fashion history for you: Weejuns are, quite literally, the OG penny loafers, created in 1936 by G.H. Bass & Co. by adapting a Norwegian farm shoe that was used for “loafing” in the fields. The legendary footwear hasn’t changed all that much nearly a century later, so if you’re after a classic penny loafer, you might as well go for the original. Shopping tip: Weejuns aren’t just for women—there’s another version that made our list of the best loafers for men.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $175
  • Sizes: 5-11 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, wine

Pros:

  • Handsewn in El Salvador
  • Iconic design

Cons:

  • Some might want a more modern style
Best black penny loafers for women
G.H.BASS | Women's Whitney Weejuns Loafer Shoes | Red | Size 5

G.H.BASS | Women's Whitney Weejuns Loafer Shoes | Red | Size 5

Best platform loafers for women: Loeffler Randall Platform Loafers

For those who eschew high heels, Loeffler Randall's platform loafers are a style revelation: They elevate both your height and your fashion game. In a rich chocolate brown leather—fall’s second hottest color, just after red—they’re perfect to pair with everything from skirts and dresses to tailored separates. Bonus points for matching them with other warm, autumnal hues.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $350
  • Sizes: 5-11
  • Color: Brown

Pros:

  • Ultra-comfortable platform crepe sole and padded footbed
  • A modern take on a classic design

Cons:

  • Half sizes not available
Best platform loafers for women
Loeffler Randall Platform Loafers

Loeffler Randall Platform Loafers

Best designer loafers for women: Jimmy Choo Diamond Tilda Loafer

Can you even call yourself a designer shoe addict if your collection doesn’t include a pair of Choos? While stiletto heels might not be for everyone, these timeless loafers just might be: Picture the finest leather, a refined square toe, multifaceted gold chain detailing, and expert Italian craftsmanship. These shoes are the ultimate in quietly glam, logo-free luxe. Ready to board the loafer train? Choo Choo!

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $850
  • Sizes: 4-13 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black

Pros:

  • Made in Italy using the best materials

Cons:

  • Not everyone loves a square toe
Best designer loafers for women
Diamond Tilda Loafer

Diamond Tilda Loafer

Most stylish loafers for women: The Row Metallic Eel Skin Loafers

Crafted with meticulous precision, The Row’s loafers embody the essence of minimalist elegance for which Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand is renowned. With a design that cheekily combines sophistication with a touch of over-the-top extravagance, these shoes make a major style statement without saying a word—the epitome of IYKYK.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $1,290
  • Sizes: 6-11 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Brown, gold

Pros:

  • A truly stunning statement shoe
  • Made in Italy

Cons:

  • Eel skin is sure to turn some people off, as is the hefty price tag
Most stylish loafers for women
Women's Metallic Eel Skin Loafers - Brown - Size 10.5

Women's Metallic Eel Skin Loafers - Brown - Size 10.5

Best driving loafer for women: Coach Marley Driver

Regardless of whether you’re the designated driver, a passenger princess or a dedicated pedestrian for life, you need this Coach driving loafer in your fall footwear wardrobe. A little preppy, a little luxurious, and seriously comfortable, these driving loafers will take you everywhere from carpool duty to languid lunches at the country club—or from your WFH desk situation to the nearest Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte. Ditch your usual flip flops and treat yourself to this stylish (and equally comfy) upgrade.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $145
  • Sizes: 5-11 (including half sizes)
  • Colors: Black, navy

Pros:

  • High quality leather with a practical rubber outsole

Cons:

  • The style might be too old-school for some
Best driving loafer for women
Marley Driving Shoe (Women)

Marley Driving Shoe (Women)

How to wear loafers

Women’s loafers are true footwear chameleons, effortlessly adapting to a number of different fashion scenarios. From Parisian chic to model-off-duty to prim and polished, you can count on loafers as the finishing touch for a wide variety of looks. For a casually chic fall ensemble, pair your loafers with your favorite jeans, a chunky cable-knit sweater, and a leather shoulder bag in a rich, dark hue. Add sophistication by swapping the sweater for an oversized blazer and crisp white t-shirt. But don't limit yourself to just denim; loafers play just as well with midi dresses, skirts, and tailored trousers, too.

How we selected the best loafers for women

We selected the best loafers for women based on the quality of the materials, a mix of timeless and on-trend styles, and a wide variety of price points to suit different budgets. I also drew upon my years of experience working as a fashion writer and shopping expert, as background for my research.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are loafers a good walking shoe?

Loafers can absolutely be good walking shoes, as long as they meet a few critical criteria. Opt for loafers made from high-quality leather or suede, as they’ll offer durability and breathability, both crucial for comfort. Support and fit are equally important, so make sure your loafers have a cushioned insole and proper arch support. You’ll want loafers that leave enough room for your toes while fitting snugly around the heel to prevent blisters—the bane of any walking enthusiast’s existence.

Are loafers still on trend?

Along with ballet flats, loafers are undeniably THE shoes of fall 2024, with the fashion world collectively embracing their timeless, nostalgic charm. Designers from the top luxury houses and emerging talents alike have showcased loafers in their latest footwear collections; shoe stores are awash with loafers in various styles, colors and heel heights. Loafers are both on-trend and timeless, making them a foolproof fashion investment.

Do you wear socks with loafers?

Unless you’re a huge fan of blisters, I wholeheartedly recommend wearing socks with your new loafers. For those who prefer a minimalist, sleek look, no-show socks are a smart option, providing the comfort of socks without compromising the clean lines of the shoes. If you’re into fashion trends, make a statement by pairing colorful or embellished socks with your loafers—the bolder, the better.

Should loafers be tight or loose?

Finding the perfect fit when it comes to women’s loafers is all about balance. The shoes should fit securely, offering support without being overly tight and allowing for just the right amount of wiggle room for your toes. Keep in mind that high quality leather loafers tend to stretch and mold to your feet over time, so a slightly snug fit initially is ideal.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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