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Are Low Vamp Loafers Out?


New Member
Mar 22, 2014
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Hey all,

First post but I was wondering if I could get some advice on loafers. Looking to buy my first pair and there seems to be a lot of hate from magazines like GQ and Esquire for low vamp loafers. Was wondering if you guys had a preference between low vs high and what benefits you see (more versatile, comfortable, etc.)

If this is a super obvious style question than please forgive my ignorance.


Count de Monet

Distinguished Member
Jun 15, 2013
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I would gently suggest to worry more about fit than what GQ has to say about ... well, anything.

Getting a loafer that fits well is tricky for some folks, particularly those with high insteps.

Loafers have been around since at least the 30's. Not everyone likes them but they aren't going away anytime soon. Find some you like the look of and that fit well (above all else) and don't get hung up on the relative height of the vamp or the relative length of the plug.


Senior Member
Jul 25, 2013
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Completely agree that fit is paramount - with all shoes, of course, but loafers especially. If you're just starting out, you might want to go with a classic style like Alden 986s.

Andrew Ryan

Senior Member
Nov 8, 2012
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I wear loafers almost exclusively. Agree on not listening to GQ. A general tip for loafer fit - usually size one half down from lace-ups; you want a very snug fit as they will stretch as you break them in (shell cordovan less so, however).

I wear Alden 986's (Leisure Handsewn Moccasin) amongst others with chinos and jeans, but love my low-vamp loafers for wear with odd trousers and suits (most of mine are the Alden 686's - Full-Strap Slip-On). They're sleeker and dressier than your standard moc-toe penny loafer IMO, and lend themselves well to that wardrobe space. They show more sock, which some like as to show their fun socks or whatever off, but that's not my thing; I match the socks as close to the trousers as possible when wearing low-vamps, as I think it keeps a congruent line from leg to shoe and elongates the leg.


Stylish Dinosaur
Mar 10, 2006
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IMO, Andrew Ryan above has the options about right for low-vamp loafers. There are two settings where low-vamp loafers have the edge over higher ones, and oddly enough they're at the opposite ends of the fashion spectrum. Setting A is a very archetypal, old-fashioned, NE USA type of suited or country club-esque look. They're fine there, but it's a very particular look and carries certain associations you may or not want to convey. Setting B is at the other end of the spectrum: very slim trousers or really skinny denim and either no socks or colourful ones. Both styles are easy to screw up, too.

If you're more of a middle-of-the-road dresser or want to convey a more neutral image for whatever reason, then picking a somewhat-higher vamp loafer is probably easier.

Lord Mulberry

Senior Member
May 20, 2012
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Loafers look good but you've got to know how to wear them ... and I'm not talking about just pulling them on your feet

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