When it comes to loafers, pennies and horsebits get all of the attention. Sure, they’re both great-looking, versatile shoes, but we think tassel loafers deserve some love too. They’re quirky yet surprisingly formal, and they’re a great alternative to some of the more popular loafer styles.
With their decorative brush-like tassels, these slip-on shoes are the most recent additions to the loafer family. A favourite of the mods, they’re often paired with casual pieces like jeans and T-shirts, but they’re more than happy to mingle with tailoring too.
Thinking of adding some tassel loafers to your footwear collection? We don’t blame you. But before you rush in and buy the first pair you find, there are a few things you should know.
Our quick guide covers the need-to-know information about this characterful smart-casual shoe. Keep reading to find out how to spot one, the key buying considerations and who makes the best versions.
What Is A Tassel Loafer?
So, what do we mean when we say a ‘tassel loafer’? Going back to basics, a loafer is a type of slip-on. There are no laces or any other type of fastening, and the toe is usually moccasin style.
Loafers come in a few key varieties. There are penny loafers, which have a decorative leather strip that runs across the top of the foot; horsebit loafers, which feature horsebit detailing to the top of the foot; and Venetian loafers, which lack the moccasin stitching and are sometimes made of fancy fabrics other than simple leather or suede.
A tassel loafer has the classic moccasin shape. The key detail that sets it apart from the others is that it features decorative tassels on the top of the foot. There are usually two fringed tassels per shoe.
Tassel loafers can be worn with smart-casual attire, but they can also be dressed up with tailoring. They’re generally viewed as more formal than a penny loafer.
Tassel Loafer Buying Considerations
The tassel loafer is a slip-on shoe. This makes selecting the correct size absolutely crucial. Plus, the fact that loafers are often worn without socks means any sort of discomfort or rubbing caused by a poor fit will be even more apparent.
You should be able to squeeze a finger between the back of the shoe and your heel, but there should be no heel slip or rubbing when walking.
For versatility’s sake, it’s best to stick to dark colours when choosing a pair of tassel loafers. Colours like brown, black and oxblood are all excellent options that will pair well with both smart and casual clothes.
You could go for a lighter suede option in a colour like beige or tan, but you’ll be limiting yourself to the spring and summer months as these won’t combine as nicely with dark clothing.
Leather is the best all-round option here. It’s impossible to go wrong. For something a little bit more relaxed and summer friendly, opt for suede instead.
We’ll always advocate spending a little more to get a better product. Better quality generally equates to a longer lifespan, which ultimately means you’ll be spending less in the long run.
In the case of loafers, you’re also paying for a better quality of leather that will be more malleable and mould to your foot nicely over time.
We’d argue that this is something worth paying a premium for when it comes to loafers, which can be notoriously uncomfortable if they’re too stiff.
The Best Brands For Tassel Loafers
Velasca works with local artisans in Italy to offer the best possible shoes at the lowest possible price. The label’s shoes are handcrafted in the shoemaking capital of Marche, with all the quality and attention to detail you’d expect from such a prestigious region.
The brand offers four different styles of tassel loafer, each in a selection of tasteful versatile colours. For a traditional option, we’d direct you towards the Cadregatt, which has a classic leather sole, glossy calf-leather upper, decorative tassels and is handmade in Montegranaro, Italy.
Morjas mixes tradition and modernity to create a range of footwear that’s both fresh and timeless. The collection includes everything from formal dress shoes to minimalist sneakers, all tied together by the high quality and meticulous attention to detail that goes into each and every one.
For under £250, you can purchase a pair of the brand’s signature tassel loafers. They’re Goodyear welted, handcrafted in Spain, available in a range of classic colours and have a sleek, stripped-back look that’ll pair well with everything.
Sweden’s Mryqvist’s ultimate goal is to enable more men to enjoy the luxury of handmade footwear, thanks to its direct-to-consumer model. This means there’s no retail markup, the operational costs are lower, and ultimately the brand can offer premium-level shoes at accessible prices.
Check out the Mölle tassel loafer for an idea of what Myrqvist is all about. It’s a stunning piece of footwear that’s handcrafted in Portugal and features a super-durable Goodyear-welted construction.
American brand G.H. Bass is basically the king of loafers. Its Weejuns slip-ons are some of the most iconic styles in the game, and always a solid option when it comes to smart-casual dressing.
The Larkin tassel loafer is a great alternative to the label’s trademark penny loafer styles, with a flat rubber sole, hand-stitched seams and timeless looks.
Blackstock & Weber
Blackstock & Weber has only been on the scene since 2017, but already it’s established itself as one of the leading names in loafers. The brand is coming to be known for its off-beat, quirky and chunky loafer styles, including two-tone designs and even animal print.
B&W also offers its own spin on a tassel loafer. Dubbed the Clásico, it’s a chunky silhouette with a stacked heel that’s available in classic colours as well as some more unconventional shades, like pink.
A pair of Gucci loafers has long been a symbol of luxury. The historic Italian fashion house is best known for inventing the horsebit loafer back in the 1950s, but this is by no means the only slip-on style the brand offers.
Gucci has made numerous versions of the tassel loafer over the years. The iconic Kaveh loafers are available with tassels and come in a few different colours and styles. Naturally, they’re made in Italy using only the very finest of materials.
Italian footwear brand Tod’s is famous for its premium slip-on shoes,and tassel loafers are no exception.
With sleek styling, traditional construction and fine materials, these shoes are made in Italy using techniques passed down over decades.