Best Slip-On Dress Shoes For Men: Laceless Footwear & Loafers

Best Slip-On Dress Shoes For Men: Laceless Footwear & Loafers2018-09-25T09:20:33+00:00

Whether it’s an aesthetic choice or one born from convenience, slip-on dress shoes are growing in popularity. Also known as loafers, not all slip-on shoes are actually suitable for dressy wear.

However, this guide will help you decide on the right ones for you by presenting the Best Slip-On Dress Shoes For Men:

  1. Penny Loafer: Allen Edmonds Addison
  2. Brogue Chelsea: Johnston & Murphy Graham Wingtip Chelsea
  3. Chelsea Boot: Allen Edmonds Tate
  4. Tassel Loafer: G.H. Bass & Co. Lexington
  5. Tuxedo Shoe: Massimo Matteo Velvet Slip-On
  6. Venetian Loafer: Eccos Illinois Slip-On

If a particular pair have piqued your interest, use the links to jump ahead! We’ll also talk a bit about formality and where slip-on shoes stand sartorially-speaking.

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Quick Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in a hurry, you can use the Quick Buy Guide below. This will take you straight to the retailers or you can scroll down to read about each of the shoes in detail.

Penny Loafer

Allen-Edmonds-Addison-Penny-Loafer

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Brogue Chelsea

Johnston & Murphy Graham Wingtip Chelsea

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Chelsea Boot

Allen-Edmonds-Tate-Chelsea-Boot

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Tassel Loafer

GH-Basse-Lexington-Tassel-Loafers

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Tuxedo Shoe

Massimo Matteo Velvet Slip On Tuxedo Shoes

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Venetian Loafer

Ecco Illinois Slip On Shoe

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What Are The Best Slip-On Dress Shoes For Men?

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1. Allen Edmonds Addison [Penny Loafers]

Allen-Edmonds-Addison-Penny-Loafer
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Overview

Allen Edmonds is a purveyor of traditional shoe-making that provides quality footwear. Of all the slip-on dress shoes and loafers that we have tried, the Addisons remain our firm favourites thanks to the superior calf leather upper and hard-wearing yet comfortable Dainite soles.

How To Wear

Although not the dressiest of slip-on shoes, the Addison is certainly among the most stylish. In winter, they’re on the casual side and look their best with jeans or chinos. However, summer is an entirely different matter. Don them with a summery beige suit and they’ll capture the essence of Sprezzatura!

Best Colors

We have a preference for both the burgundy and tan leather options as these will be more versatile additions to your wardrobe. Alternatively, there is a black colour too. However, we find this to be too dressy for the shoe style.

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2. Johnston & Murphy Graham [Brogue Chelsea]

Johnston & Murphy Graham Wingtip Chelsea
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Overview

Something of a fusion of two distinct styles, the Grahams by Johnston & Murphy may at first seem like a Frankenstein creation! However, they’re absolutely stunning and high quality boots that offer a stylistic versatile that is second to none. We were very impressed by this innovative and convenient boot.

How To Wear

As a Chelsea boot, the Grahams are very flexible and can be worn for both business casual and professional occasions. Furthermore, the stylish wingtip finish offers something unique, which makes them a truly eye-catching boot for almost any dress code up to business professional.

Best Colors

Although only available in an Oxblood calfskin, we find that this would be the best colour for these boots anyway. Whilst black could be used in more formal occasions, the Oxblood available is very versatile meaning that you can wear it with both jeans and a suit!

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  • Best Men’s Dress Boots Under $300

3. Allen Edmonds Tate [Chelsea Boots]

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Overview

Should you prefer more conventional slip-on dress boots, we’d turn to the Tates by Allen Edmonds. These offer the streamlined dressiness that you’d require as well as superior quality thanks to a Goodyear welt and Dainite sole.

How To Wear

Depending on the colour, these can be a versatile casual or formal option. Whilst the brown leather will work well with both jeans and chinos up to business casual settings, the black can be worn with just about any dressy suit as well as cocktail attire.

Best Colours

Overall, we prefer the versatility offered by the brown leather boots. However, if your requirements are for particularly dressy footwear for more formal occasions, we’d suggest the black shoes over anything else featured in this list.

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4. G.H. Bass & Co. Lexington [Tassel Loafer]

GH-Basse-Lexington-Tassel-Loafers
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Overview

As a more ornamental and decorative alternative to the Addisons listed above, these Tassel Loafers are very stylish and remarkably affordable. We love the moc toe stitched finish and their extremely versatile wearability.

How To Wear

As we said above, these are very versatile and can be worn with a wide variety of styles depending on the chosen colour. In winter, they’re great business casual shoes. However, they’re ideal formal footwear for the warmer months.

Best Colors

Thanks to the glossy almost patented leather finish, these are quite formal. Therefore, we’d go against our usual recommendation not to wear black loafers. Here, they could be happily worn with a business suit. However, it adds a touch of flair if you’re up for the extra attention. Otherwise, the burgundy are versatile and very easy to wear.

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5. Massimo Matteo Velvet Slip-On [Tuxedo Shoes]

Massimo Matteo Velvet Slip On Tuxedo Shoes
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Overview

If you’re looking for a pair of formal slip-on shoes that you can wear to formal events, tuxedo slippers are your best bet. Whilst there are other more elaborate styles, they’re hard to find unless you go to a dedicated shoemaker. These affordable slippers from Massimo Matteo are an excellent choice for your first pair.

How To Wear

Exuding old-fashioned class and style, these are excellent for particularly formal events. However, they’re best reserved solely for these as they’re almost unwearable out of a tuxedo.

Best Colors

Whilst these slippers come in black, there are other tuxedo shoes that come in a whole host of colours. If these are your first venture into tuxedo footwear, we recommend starting with black before you explore wilder yet equally sophisticated colours.

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6. Ecco Illinois Slip-On [Venetian Loafers]

Ecco Illinois Slip On Shoe
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Overview

If you’re looking for an alternative slip-on dress shoe that’s both understated and subtle but formal enough for the office, Ecco has plenty of offerings. We’re fond of the Illinois and their modern Venetian style as well as the clever use of their Comfort Fibre System.

How To Wear

Whilst not very daring or overly stylish, these are perfect if you fulfil a profession, which requires black dress shoes. For instance, they’re a favourite among catering staff and servers as well as people that work in events management.

Best Colors

Whilst we think that the black shoes are the better bet for professional wear, there’s a walnut brown option that is somewhat more casual for a less dressy look.

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How Formal Are Slip-On Shoes?

Blue Nubuck Tassel Loafers on GrassThere is a lot of confusion as to the formality of slip-on shoes and loafers. Whilst some people regard them as very casual shoes that are reminiscent of slippers, others consider them to be exceedingly formal footwear.

In reality, it’s a lot more complicated that this simple interpretation.

Indeed, loafers began as casual footwear that could be conveniently slipped on and off. However, they have developed their own offshoots and variants that break down into different styles and levels of formality.

For instance, the penny loafer, a classic and firm favourite, is often made from materials like suede, which makes it very casual. Meanwhile, there are patent leather bit loafers, which are extremely formal.

However, if a bit loafer was to be made out of suede, it would actually be a casual shoe. Therefore, how to we make a distinction between the two? Furthermore, it’s also important to remember that formality isn’t just black and white but actually a wide scale.

Formality By Material

Closeup Of Tassels On Blue LoaferOne of the biggest contributing factors to a loafer’s formality is the type of material used to make the uppers. Whilst some are exceedingly formal, others are very casual. Here’s a breakdown from the most to least formal:

  • Velvet: Ironically, velvet is actually one of the most formal materials for loafers. These usually come in the form of tuxedo slippers that are worn with black tie.
  • Patent Leather: The most formal leather material, patent leather has a distinctive shine to it, which looks like it’s been highly polished. Again, this is better reserved for formal occasions.
  • Smooth Calfskin: The most classic leather type for business wear, smooth leather has thick fibres and a grain that gives it a clean appearance.
  • Pebbled Leather: With its chunky grain, pebbled leather has a hard-wearing texture that’s ideal for business casual wear.
  • Suede / Nubuck: Although similar in appearance, suede and nubuck use different sides of the leather’s hide for its casual texture.
  • Canvas: A very casual material that’s becoming more common in summery dress shoes.
  • Wool: These are probably slippers, mate…

Formality By Ornamentation

Black Tassel Loafers With Pink SocksAs you may have noticed, there are various styles of loafer with their own little characteristics that usually appear over the vamp. This will play a significant role into the shoe’s formality.

Here is another list that looks at various styles and their level of formality:

  • Bit Loafer: One of the most formal types of loafer thanks to their metal decoration, bit loafers can be very formal in patent leather. However, they also exist in suede, which renders them quite casual.
  • Tassel Loafer: Like the above, tassel loafers can be rendered formal with different leathers. However, they’ll always be relatively casual by comparison.
  • Penny Loafer: Also known as moccasins, penny loafers are quite versatile but will never be as formal as the above.
  • Venetian Loafer: The formality of Venetian loafers greatly depends on both the toe and material. Generally, they’re quite casual with moc toe stitching. However, they can be very formal with a plain toe in patent leather.
  • Boat Shoe: Whilst technically slip-on shoes, boat shoes aren’t dress shoes but very casual footwear.

Formality By Colour

white leather mens venetian loaferFinally, colour is also a characteristic that will decide whether loafers are formal or not. In fact, it’s arguably one of the most important considerations as it leaves very little for interpretation.

Once again, here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Black: Naturally, black is going to be the most formal colour for loafers. Whilst these are obligatory for black tie, they’re otherwise quite hard to wear in more casual settings.
  • Oxblood/Burgundy: A very versatile option, oxblood and burgundy are shades of brown that are quite sophisticated in appearance. They’re formal enough for business professional yet can be worn quite casually too.
  • Brown: Relatively middle of the road, brown is as is versatile as oxblood yet not quite as formal in appearance. It’s likely the most common colour for most loafer types.
  • Tan: The least formal brown shade, tan is great with business casual attire but will never be dressier than this.
  • White: A very casual colour that is often worn with summery attire.
  • Other Colours: It’s becoming more common to see both leather and canvas in other colours such as red or yellow. However, they’re decidedly casual and will unlikely be appropriate for even business casual wear.

Now that you have a clearer ideal of the various factors that contribute to a loafer’s formality, you’ll be able to shop with confidence. However, it’s important to remember that there are several characteristics at play rather than just one.

What Next?

Now that you have read about the best casual dress shoes for men, consider checking out some of our other related guides.

Best Slip-On Dress Shoes Guide
Reviewed by Arthur W., on .
"Great shoes without laces! Arthritis in my fingers prevents me from tying laces. These were just what I needed."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

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