Loafers, moccasins and boat shoes are a confusing trio and people usually do not understand the difference clearly between these styles. We are not blaming though, because they do have some basic similarities in their design but there are a few things that clearly sets them apart from each other. Always a stylish choice and a sign of a man willing to try different looks, let’s see what differentiates them from each other.
Talking of the similarities first, they are all informal low ankle shoes, come with a stitched seam on the top, and except boat shoes, loafers and moccasins are lace-less too. None of them are meant to be worn in the strict professional sense or to replace the sneakers (only boat shoes can do that on some occasions), however they fit the bill for everything else in between.
MOCCASINS VS LOAFERS VS BOAT SHOES
It is defined as a heelless shoe of soft leather and though originally it was meant to be made of single material today majority will have a rubber or leather sole. It features a U-shaped stitched seam on top. Talking of their sole, the ones with large rubber elements are usually more durable than the others since after wearing out once it is hard to get the sole replaced without compromising with the looks. And if you walk in them, they will wear out quite fast, depending on how many rubber knobs have been provided at the bottom. That is a reason why moccasins are mainly known as driving shoes or home shoes. They are soft but not too great for walking because of no separate hard sole and a single material construction. They usually have no toe and heel support and have a slightly lose fitting. The famous Tod’s moccasins feature a pebbled sole with rubber knobs and are great for driving but due to the limited repair capabilities of a moccasin they may not be well worth the high price tag for everyone. So, the bottomline is that if you can get only one of these casual pair of shoes then moccasins isn’t the best choice.
Loafers are designed like moccasins but have a separate sole and a low heel. They also have a stitched seam on top (the ones without the seam are simply called slippers and not loafers). Loafers can be worn on after-hours professional events, but are not full on office shoes. They are also a good candidate for a date night. They come in four different styles – penny/weejuns, tassle, gucci/horsebit, and belgian as shown in the slideshow.
Hailing from the legacy of seamen they have a good grip, are meant to be worn without socks, go well with shorts and is the most casual looking of the three. They have upper seam like a moccasin, but they come in both leather and canvas and lace going around the shoe for a snug fit. Keeping up with their original use, a good quality boat shoes will be water repellent and come in a non-skid patterned sole. This is a great shoe to have for the summer and a brown boat shoe is the most versatile color of all. A white rubber sole is the classic design though they come in many fun colors now.
All three are great casual dress shoes, though people can always break rules if that’s what their personal style demands!