4 Best Types of Loafers for Men 2021

February 25, 2021

From penny loafers, to Belgians, to monk straps, to horsebits, Marc Nolan has got you covered on how to style these loafer classics. 

As menswear changes and adapts, the loafer seems to stay the same. They’re easy to get on and off, and they're as comfortable as a night-time slipper once you mold them to your liking.  

While the global pandemic has pushed us all into WFH mode, it might seem like wearing anything other than a sneaker would be ludicrous. However, the loafer can match the same comfort as a sneaker can while offering more versatility in styling for the modern man in 2021.  

The loafer is still as iconic as ever, and in a year when we all least expect, this footwear classic is making a comeback for the ages.  

Here are the 4 best types of loafers for men to know about in 2021. 

The Penny Loafer  

Penny loafers are the most-known of loafer styles. Young American's in the 1950s used to put dimes or pennies in the diamond slit of the decorative leather strap on the shoe, thus giving it the name “penny loafer.”  

In men's styling, the penny loafer has always been a less-than-formal shoe. In fact, it used to be frowned upon if you were caught wearing them to the office.

But now we live in a time where beards and business casual dress rule the workplace—and we’re all much more comfortable because of it.  

Penny loafers have also inserted themselves into regular casual wear over recent years. Think jeans and vintage t-shirts, or comfy sweats and bright white socks.  

One major factor to consider when buying penny loafers is their ability to be road-ready—are they comfortable and durable enough to put significant miles on them on any given day? Many buyers think the more expensive the penny loafer, the better quality, and comfort. This idea is not true about men’s loafers in 2021.

Marc Nolan focuses on the lifestyle of the modern man. Our penny loafers come in two different styles, The Ace and The Abe, that appeal to the modern man's footwear needs.  

Below are some of the outfit inspirations for how to wear men's penny loafers in 2021.

Best Penny Loafers For Men

Penny Loafers 2021

Notice how versatile a black pair of loafers can be in the outfits of artists YG and G-Eazy. What is seen more in pop culture right now is the traditional black leather loafer, but another classic colorway is brown.  

These two colorways pair with the most outfits. As your style elevates, you’ll be able to take on more unique design patterns and different materials such as suede.  

If you're just diving into buying penny loafers, we recommend sticking to the basic colorways first. If you’re more experienced in wearing penny loafers, then we say go for a bolder choice. 

Ace Wine Penny Loafers
Abe Caramel Penny Loafers
Ace Wine Penny Loafers - $115

Belgian Loafers  

Belgian loafers are another ultimate classic. They’re distinguished by their little bow on top. Belgian’s are fun, unexpected, and how-one-might-say, New York.  

The Belgian loafer was created around the 1920s by Henri Bendel, the nephew of Henri Bendel (same name)—the founder of the eponymous NYC Department Store.  

We know, that’s a lot of Bendels...  

When the family department store was sold in 1954, Henri Bendel decided to sell his shoe solo. In 1956, his new Midtown East retail store, Belgian shoes, opened—and the rest is history.  

While the Belgian loafer was traditionally a status symbol among the New York elite, the silhouette has swung itself into becoming one of the most versatile loafers in men's styling in the past twenty years.  

Here are a couple of outfits below for inspiration on how to wear Belgian loafers in 2021. 

Best Belgian Loafers for Men

Belgian Loafers 2021

You can wear them with classic and brand-new suiting, or you can wear them with jeans and a shirt. Notice the difference in styling between 18 East designer Antionio Ciongoli (top far left) & menswear author and designer Alan Flusser (pink coat in middle left).  

Belgians inherently have flair, but we know there's always room to kick it up a notch. We aim to create the most iconic colorways of our Belgian, The Odell, before branching out to bolder designs. 

Odell Merlot Belgian Loafers
Odell Black Belgian Loafers
Odell Merlot Belgian Loafers - $115
Odell Sacramento Green Belgian Loafers
Odell Burgundy Belgian Loafers
Odell Sacramento Green Belgian Loafers - $115


Monk Strap Loafers  

While monk straps were first known to give actual monks in 15th century Europe a better shoe for manual labor, this loafer has a much different role in menswear today.  

The monk strap loafer employs a dash more of formality and sophistication compared to the penny and Belgian.  

Monks are savvy, European, and they give wearers the ability to lock their foot in for a touch of functionality.  

Check out these outfits on how to wear monk strap loafers in 2021.

2021 Monk Strap Loafers Men

Best Monk Strap Loafers for Men

Monk straps pair tastefully with modern suiting. They’re typically known to lean towards that styling. However, they look good with jeans and casual wear too.  

While your penny and Belgian loafers may exist on one side of casual, the monk strap loafer sits itself a tier above on the scale of formal footwear.  

We’ve captured that versatility in our Kyler and Palmer monk loafer models. The Palmer offers a little more support, and it employs itself with touches of what a boot offers in both stability and cushioning.  

The Kyler is the closer of the two to a traditional monk strap loafer. It highlights the sleek, streamlined touch that gives monks that formal edge to other loafers. 

Kyler Cognac Woven Monk Straps
Kyler Cognac Monk Straps
Kyler Cognac Woven Monk Straps - $125
Palmer Cognac Monk Strap Sneakers
Kyler Black Monk Straps
Palmer Cognac Monk Strap Sneakers - $125


The Horsebit Loafer

The pinnacle of leisure and elegance, the horsebit loafer is recognized all around the world. You’ve seen them on everyone from actors and musicians to politicians and investment bankers.  

A similar history to how the Belgian loafer came to be, the horsebit loafer was invented in 1953 by Aldo Gucci, the son of Guccio Gucci (yes, that Gucci). It’s no secret that the horsebit loafer shares the same name as Gucci loafers. After all, they’re the ones who created the iconic silhouette.  

Horsebit loafers are inspired by English racing, as the added “horse-bit” across the top of the loafer imitates the traditional piece of metal that would fit in a horse’s mouth. They are similar to pennys in both functionality and style, but the bit adds sophistication that no other loafer can match.  

Here are some outfits on how to wear horsebit loafers in 2021. 

2021 Horsebit Loafers Men

Best Horsebit Loafers for Men

Plenty of celebs don this style of loafer, and if that doesn’t speak to the power of the horsebit, we aren’t sure what does.  

Casual styling can be applied to horsebits like other men’s loafers, however more formal leaning dress such as modern suiting and business attire are the bread and butter in highlighting their best features.  

Our Boardwalk Horsebit Sneaker works to take on all types of styling in this classic. We make the outsole comfortable enough so foot pain at happy hour never happens again. And for the rest of the loafer design, well, we let the horsebit do the talking. 

Boardwalk Black Horsebit Sneakers
Boardwalk Mahogany Horsebit Sneakers
Boardwalk Black Horsebit Sneakers - $125


The State of Loafers in Menswear 2021

At Marc Nolan, our promise to you is to offer quality, functional, timeless pieces of menswear.  

The loafer sits at the top of timeless, and it continues to thrive even in times of uncertainty. They’re road-tested, they’re battle-hardened, and they’re wonderfully emblematic of the adventurous lifestyle of the modern man.  

No matter where you’ll be going in 2021, we’ve got you covered on the men’s loafers that will fit your wardrobe the best. 

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