The Loafer: The (Dressy) Alternative to the Boat Shoe

Don't get me wrong – the boat shoe is an awesome first choice in upgrading your casual footwear for the summer months. It looks great with shorts, chinos, jeans, basically anything you throw at it. And while it is certainly dressier than what you used to wear with those items, mainly flip flops or sneakers, they are still definitely for casual-wear only. You could never wear them in any environment above casual khakis.So what's the next level up? Loafers. You may look at them and think that they're dress shoes – which they can be – but it's all in what you pair them with. A rich, low-profile pair of loafers, like these featured Florsheim Berkleys ($100) are a sleek warm weather option for anytime you want to be a little more up-town instead of boardwalk.

Get them: Florsheim | Amazon

Click on the tabs below to see the different ways they can be worn.

The Loafer

Slim, Straight Jeans

Slip on a pair of loafers with dark, slim-straight jeans just as you would with brown bluchers. The key to the look is the trim leg with minimal break, otherwise the low profile of the shoes won't be in proportion.

Jeans: Gap Selvedge, $89
Socks: Target, $1.99


Just like with a boat shoe, loafers look right at home with chinos or khakis. As with jeans, it's important that the pants have a tailored fit.

Cuffed Selvedge Denim

Cuff a pair of slim selvedge jeans and go sockless for a classic look that works just as well with a t-shirt as an oxford or polo.

Stand Out in a Suit

Mix it up for the office. Unlike boat shoes, the right loafers look great with a navy or gray suit.

Leather Soles

Upgrade from the chunky rubber soles of cheaper shoes to leather.

Other Picks

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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.