The Lowdown On Loafers
Boasting appeal as a timeless classic and as a trend-led shoe, loafers have become a mainstay in retailers’ ranges, providing year-round selling potential. Read on for insights into what’s selling, the cult models and promotional opportunities.
- Arrivals of loafers spiked in January and August this year, demonstrating their importance in the transitional selling period. Their perennial nature can help retailers lower markdown spend and reinvest in bestsellers.
- Chunky soled designs prevail in popularity, with sell outs at Pull&Bear and River Island. 26% of new arrivals have featured “chunky” as a descriptor. There has been renewed attention on streamlined classic shapes, which will remain important in 2024.
- There’s a plethora of promotional avenues for loafers. Lean on the shoe’s preppy connotations and merchandise within Library Girl edits, and capitalize on Corpcore by incorporating within workwear communications.
- Ensuring ongoing commerciality, loafers have reappeared on the SS24 at designers including Baum und Pferdgarten, Burberry and Simone Rocha. Cult models from Prada and Miu Miu remain street style favorites.
What’s Arriving & Selling?
Loafer intake spiked in January and August, demonstrating the importance of the shoe for the transitional selling period. Arrivals dipped in May as high-summer arrivals landed before climbing steadily again through to August when the likes of Mango, Lulus and ALDO dropped newness. Several retailers have re-invested in bestselling options. Loafers’ perennial nature can help limit seasonal discounting and lower overall markdown spend.
*Hover over chart for additional data
Chunky treaded soles continue to resonate with consumers, with sell out styles seen at Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, H&M and River Island. Brands continue to back elevated soles, with 26% of arrivals over the past three months featuring “chunky” as a descriptor. There has been renewed interest in streamlined, classic designs this year, spearheaded by Quiet Luxury and celebrities including Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner. Sleek leather options and penny silhouettes have moved well at Mango and Madewell and appeared on the SS24 runway and in street style.
Statement metal hardware and snaffle trims have stood out, particularly at mid & mature brands including John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer and Boden. Following black, majority sell outs of neutral options have overtaken browns this year, accounting for 16% of the color mix vs. 10% in 2022.
Sainsbury’s, Pull&Bear and Marks & Spencer highlight comfort credentials in loafer product copy. The former’s Sole Comfort range includes an extra padded insock, arch support, and a lightweight flexible sole. Marks & Spencer incorporates Insolia Flex technology “ensuring extra comfort with its foot-aligning insoles,” while Pull&Bear’s AIRFIT technology has an insole made of latex composite foam.
Chunky lug soles
Pull&Bear at Pull&Bear (UK)
Carvela at John Lewis & Partners (UK)
Boden at Boden (UK)
Madewell at Madewell (US)
Mango at Mango (UK)
Dune at Marks & Spencer (UK)
Opportunities in Wide-Fit Sizing
Identified in EDITED’s SS23 Seasonal Review, wide-fit loafers at Marks & Spencer and River Island were bestsellers within the shoe category. This paints an opportunity for retailers to include loafers within their wide-fit offerings or to invest in extended sizing. New Look is currently the only retailer to provide and call out ‘extra wide-fit.’ boohoo supplies the entry price at £15 with its bar-trimmed and backless options, while Dune’s chunky leather snaffle pair holds the exit price at £95.
Dune at Marks & Spencer (UK)
SKU name as stated on retailer’s website may not match colour displayed in image.
River Island at River Island (UK)
Boohoo at Boohoo (UK)
Wide-Fit Loafer Options & Pricing, In Stock Sep 20th, 2023
The Cult Models
The trend instigator: Prada Monolith
Prada at Farfetch (US)
The minimalist option:
The Row Flynn
The Row at Mytheresa (UK)
Ganni at Ganni (UK)
The street style pick:
Miu Miu penny loafers
Miu Miu at Miu Miu (UK)
The heritage design:
Gucci 1953 horsebit
Gucci at Gucci (US)
The mass market style:
Dr. Martens at Dr. Martens (UK)
Library Girl Aesthetic
Lean on the shoe’s preppy connotations and merchandise within Library Girl-inspired edits, alongside shirts and sweater vests.
Profile loafer inventory under a timeless classics curation, spotlighting different shapes and branded options, if applicable.
Workwear & Corpcore
Capitalize on workwear’s revival and the budding Corpcore aesthetic by pushing platform styles with office attire.
Spring 2024 Runway Direction
With little seasonal anchoring, loafers reappeared in the Pre-Spring 2024 collections and on the current Spring 2024 runway. This ensures ongoing commerciality for the shape to be built into both trend-led and continuity assortments. Preppy penny shapes with classic leather uppers appeared at Scandi label Baum und Pferdgarten, while a statement silver pair was showcased at Simone Rocha. Suited to directional buys, Burberry unveiled heeled designs at LFW.
Classic Penny Silhouettes
Heeled at Burberry
Products new in & majority SKU Sell outs Jun 20 – Sep 20, 2023 vs. 2022
Wide-fit loafer chart refers to products in stock Sep 20, 2023 and own-brand only
US & UK retailers considered
Womenswear: & Other Stories, ALDO, Bershka, boohoo, Dune, H&M, LOFT, Lulus, Madewell, Marks & Spencer, Mango, Matalan, Mint Velvet, Monki, NA-KD, Nasty Gal, New Look, Office, PrettyLittleThing, Pull&Bear, River Island, Steve Madden, Stradivarius, Tu at Sainsbury’s, Zara