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Discussion Starter #1
It's Fall/Winter loafer time. I'm looking for a semi-conservative soft soled loafer in leather, suede, or crocodile. Thinking about something with a bit but fear they might be too formal to wear with shorts and a polo/button down to class and during the day. I'd like something I can wear to class once or twice a week and maybe the occasional bar/night out with pants. Looked at Cole Haan and Allen Edmonds so far, any suggestions in the $500 and under range guys?
Thanks,
Spencer
 

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Discussion Starter #3
These are my go to.

Thanks for the suggestion brother! On Friday I'm going to check out some Cole Haans, Allen Edmonds, and maybe a few other things around town...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like your a college student grab some cole haan drivers for $150 and spend the rest at the bar.
I just might do that but I definitely don't need to spend more at the bars, haha
 

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This depends on whether you want a moccasin or a loafer. Everyone is replying with driving mocs, which isn't bad, but it certainly isn't "semi conservative" (whatever that means).

Per your point about formality, I don't think you can go too far in this direction. Good shoes are the foundation to a mature wardrobe. You can easily 'dress down' an entire look by wearing casual pants and a sport shirt; the shoes should still be of quality. If you're concerned about looking too serious as a young man, get a quality loafer but choose a shade of brown instead of black. Brown is remarkably versatile; it pairs well with khakis, jeans, most colors of chinos, and pants (navy, charcoal, or grays). For brown, you can choose cordovan (the color, not the leather), chocolate, dark brown, merlot, bourbon, or walnut.

Besides color, you want to consider the material as well. Suede isn't very versatile. It can be hard to pair with a belt properly (unless you have a fairly extensive wardrobe). You're also in Florida, and the climate there isn't particularly conducive to the proper care and wear of suede. Leather is a more versatile option; depending on what you select, it can be casual, formal, or sporty. Calfskin (the common standard) will be formal or casual depending on the color you choose and the design of the shoe. Alligator is pretty sporty and typically represents opulence ("I can afford leather this expensive for my most casual of shoes"). Shell cordovan is the most expensive, the highest quality, and probably something you want to avoid for a loafer for how you intend to wear them.

Good brands to look at here are Allen Edmonds (as you pointed out), Alden, Ferragamo, or Gucci. The two Italian houses are essentially the benchmark for the bit loafer, so if you actually want that, pick one from either of those names. The American houses are known more for the refined New England style than the flashy Continental.

Alden is a personal favorite of mine. Amazing construction, great brand history, and broad product lineup. I'm a sucker for any fullstrap loafer and am partial towards their model. If you want a tassel, you can also find several models from them. Google these, their proprietary website is a bit lacking, sadly.

I actually recommend staying away from Cole Haan, at least for loafers. I've had three pairs from them so far (all of which I purchased in the past two years), each of which has disappointed me. The construction isn't very durable; I bought one black calfskin snaffle bit loafer for work that I've had to resole twice now, and two pairs of brown calfskin casual loafers (the leather was treated differently on one pair). The sole separated quickly on the first, and the second just got worn down across the whole foot far too quickly. In my mind, you're far better off paying slightly more for Allen Edmonds and getting a shoe that will last infinitely longer (and can also be recrafted if the need arises). I don't know how or why Cole Haan charges what they do for a product that performs so poorly. (Love their Nike Air collaboration though, the colorful oxfords are ridiculously comfortable and really stand out in a crowd.)

I'm not sure how much you intend to spend, but you're going to hit the $500 mark with Aldens. If you wanted to spend less or get two pairs within that budget, you could get a conservative pair from Allen Edmonds and then a sporty pair of velvet slippers from Del Toro or Stubbs & Wootton. I have four pairs of slippers now and love them to death.

Let me know if I can provide more info, hope this was helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Definitely a good looking shoe, how does the sizing run on Ferragamos? Anyone had Ballys?
 

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No one mentioned Birkenstocks..
 

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Salvatore Ferragamo Drivers....best looking driver on the market
Laughing...I have these on right now...
These are one of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ferragamo made the list for my new summer shoes, for the time being have some new cole haans and a pair of bit loafers from my local haberdasher.
 
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