The 7 Best Chunky Loafers of 2023

Franco Sarto Ballina Slip On Loafers are comfortable and easy to style.

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Chunky Boots


Synonymous with academia, loafers are often overlooked as the preppy grandma shoe you want to steer clear from — but we're here to tell you to throw those thoughts to the side. Your standard penny loafer has endured a huge makeover and now many styles come with buckles, chunky soles, embellishments, and even laces. As you’ve seen on celebrities like Bella Hadid and Katie Holmes, loafers have made the ultimate comeback, and we’re quite happy with it. 

The best chunky loafers to invest in are ones that are not only timeless, but also fit your personal style. Platform loafers are a great way to spice up an outfit, and this season they are arguably the hottest take on your classic loafer. So, if you want to indulge in this season’s must-have shoe, we’ve pulled together a list of seven chunky loafers fit for anyone’s style. Keeping in mind heel height, color, material, and comfort level, we chose the best shoes on the market. It’s no surprise that Franco Sarto Ballina Slip On Loafer came out on top with its sleek design, high quality leather, and comfort standing out among the competition. 

Whether you're a loafer loyalist or want to try something new, keep reading for the 7 best chunky loafers.

Best Overall

Franco Sarto Ballina Slip On Loafer

Franco Sarto Ballina Slip On Loafer

Franco Sarto

What We Love: The tassel detail adds a fun flair.

What We Don’t Love: They require some break in time. 

Known for their craftsmanship and great price tags, Franco Sarto prides themselves on creating elevated classics. In our eyes, their Ballina Slip On Loafer is the star of the show. Coming in black, white, and navy, these tassel loafers are a classic standout. We personally love the navy blue colorway because it’s an unconventional twist on a shoe that is predominantly seen in black or white, making for fun ways to style (we recommend pairing it with checkered pants and a light blue sweater). The tassel embellishment also differentiates this pair from others making for a fun adornment. 

Aside from the aesthetic features, these shoes are made of leather and recycled materials, and feature a soft sole for optimal comfort. One downside is that they do require some break in time before they’re fully comfortable to wear — but once broken in, it feels like you’re walking on clouds. We recommend wearing them with a thick sock for short intervals to make the break in process a bit easier. 

Heel: 1.8 inches|Colors: Black, White, Blue|Material: Leather, Recycled material

Best Splurge

KOIO Siena in Gloss Black Siena in Gloss Black

KOIO Siena in Gloss Black


What We Love: The cushioned foam insole makes them very comfortable. 

What We Don’t Love: The laces don’t make the shoe as secure as we would like. 

As you know, shoes can make or break an outfit — and that’s especially true when it comes to chunky loafers. If you’re after a tailored look, the Koio Siena loafer is the perfect tuxedo-inspired shoe. Handcrafted in Italy, these sophisticated loafers are made of luxurious leather, and you don’t have to compromise style for comfort as they are fitted with a cushioned insole. When I put these shoes on, I was shocked at just how comfortable they were from the first wear. My feet were pain-free as I commuted to work, ran errands, and even made it to a movie date. Ideal for work or dinner with the girls, the ties add a unique touch that is sure to stand out among your basic loafers, although they don’t necessarily help keep your foot secure. 

Price at time of publish: $295

Heel: 1.5 inches|Colors: Black, Walnut, Dove|Material: Leather 

Best Value

Crown Vintage Sage Penny Loafer

Crown Vintage Sage Penny Loafer


What We love: Despite the chunky heel, these shoes are super lightweight. 

What We Don’t Love: They run a bit big, so you’ll need to size down. 

While most well-made loafers clock in at over $100, this affordable pair doesn’t skimp on quality. The Crown Vintage Sage Penny Loafer is an edgy remix of your usual preppy loafers. InStyle’s Commerce Editor, Mary Honkus, raves about these stand-out shoes. “Despite being, well, chunky, these are surprisingly lightweight and easy to walk in,” she shares. “I love that the block heel adds a bit of height without being too tall, and the padded footbed keeps my feet comfortable as I stomp around NYC.” Made of synthetic leather, these shoes are cheaper than most pairs, but are easy to care for and will last you forever. “They're also surprisingly easy to style: I've really been leaning into the resurgence of the Gossip Girl school-girl look, pairing these with a plaid skirt, cashmere sweater and blazer, but really the styling options are endless,” Honkus adds.  

Price at time of publish: $80

Heel: 2.5 inches|Colors: Gray, Black|Material: Synthetic leather 

Best Updated Classic

Vagabond Cosmo 2.0 Loafer

Vagabond Cosmo 2.0 Loafer


What We Love: The silver buckle is a unique embellishment that stands out among other loafers. 

What We Don’t Love: If not put on carefully, the heel can begin to crease over time. 

Fearful that loafers are too preppy for you? Consider the Vagabond Cosmo 2.0 Loafer the trend’s edgy younger sister. Featuring a silver buckle and eyelets, these shoes are anything but ordinary. The round toe and chunky sole add a grungy flair, and the additional color options of white and black patent leather make the shoe extra versatile — pair the white loafer with a nude trouser and white button down or the black with your favorite mini dress and tights. Note: While these loafers are durable, we recommend putting these on using a shoehorn so that the leather heel doesn’t crease over time. 

Price at time of publish: $200

Heel: 1.7 inches|Colors: Black, Off-White|Material: Leather 

Best Statement

Steve Madden Lawrence Leopard Multi Loafer

Steve Madden Lawrence Leopard Multi Loafer

Steve Madden

What We Love: They come in nine different variations — including cow print and black plaid — so there is something for everyone. 

What We Don’t Love: Shoppers advise sizing up as these loafers run small. 

These funky leopard printed loafers from Steve Madden make us feel like we’ve been transported straight back to the ’90s. Don’t let the eclectic design scare you away — they’re surprisingly easy to style. Pair them with a brown-toned plaid skirt to live out your Clueless dreams or pair them with jeans and a sweater for a more casual fit. Coming in nine different variations (including single colored pairs, multi-colored options, cow print, and leopard print), these fun loafers will add personality to any outfit. We’re partial to the leopard print, as we think they make the perfect statement shoe. Note: Shoppers advise sizing up as they run a tad small. 

Heel: 1.5 inches|Colors: Leopard, Cow Print, Black Plaid, Black Green, Black, Bone, Bone Multi, Burgundy Multi, Denim Multi, White Multi|Material: Leather 

Best Embossed

Schutz Viola Platform Loafer

Schutz Viola Platform Loafer


What We Love: The croc-embossed leather won’t scratch as easily as other leathers. 

What We Don’t Love: They are best suited for a wider foot. 

Everyone needs a reliable shoe that they can wear year round — and we can’t think of a better option than the Schutz Viola Platform Loafer. Try pairing them with jeans and a heavy coat in the winter or a mini dress and tights in the fall. The options don’t stop there — for spring, style them with a silk midi skirt and cardigan, and for summer pair your shoes with a floral summer dress for a grungy vibe.

You won’t have to worry about annoying scratches on your shoes because these loafers are made of croc-embossed leather, which is resistant to daily wear and tear. And, the chevron pattern on the rubber sole isn’t just for looks — it actually helps keep your shoes looking new, so you won’t have to worry about scratches or scuffs. This shoe is better fitted for those with wider feet, so keep that in mind when picking your size. Fortunately, Nordstrom has a great return and exchange policy if they don’t end up being the perfect fit.

Price at time of publish: $118

Heel: 1.75 inches|Colors: Black, Eggshell|Material: Leather 

Best Heel

Free People Zoe Platform Loafer

Free People Zoe Platform Loafer


What We Love: The heel dresses up any look. 

What We Don’t Love: Though they’re more comfortable than traditional heels, feet can get sore after hours of wear. 

The retro-inspired design and impressive platform on these Free People Loafers are truly attention-grabbing. Coming in four colors (black, chestnut, camel, and deep jade), and two finishes (leather and suede) the variety is impeccable. Despite featuring a four-inch heel, this pair is super comfortable. With a cushioned sole, feet are properly supported so you can walk around for a few hours without experiencing any aches. Though they are super comfortable, we recommend wearing these shoes for a limited period of time (no more than five or six hours at a time), unless you’re used to strutting around in heels. 

Price at time publish: $168

Heel: 4 inches|Colors: Black, Chestnut, Camel, Deep Jade|Material: Leather, Suede

What to Keep in Mind


Nicole Muteku, a professional wardrobe stylist, highlights that when shopping for loafers it's important to consider the different materials: Common ones include leather and suede, or synthetic materials. If you want to invest in a quality pair of loafers that will last for years, then leather may be the best option for you. While leather holds shape very well, it is prone to show signs of wear and tear over time. If you aren’t fond of creases or scuffs you may want to wear them sporadically or invest in embossed leather, which is great at hiding signs of wear (it’s highly durable and lasts for a long time). Our favorite embossed leather loafers are Schutz Viola Platform Loafer 

However, if you want the look of leather, but are interested in a more affordable price tag, synthetic leather is a great option. (We like the Crown Vintage Sage Penny Loafer) Synthetic leather can withstand countless steps, plus it's easy to maintain and clean (just use a damp cloth). Alternatively, suede — although less popular in loafers — is another option. Suede requires a lot more caution as it is more delicate than other materials, but the look of it can elevate any outfit.


When buying loafers it’s important to keep the color, pattern, and design in mind. Muteku, believes your shoes should make a statement, and urges you not to be afraid of experimenting with colors. “I love to use shoes and accessories to add personality to a look, so I am a color and pattern loafer girl,” she says. If you’re looking to make a statement we recommend Steve Madden Lawrence Leopard Multi Loafer because they offer a variety of fun prints and colorways. 

If color isn’t your thing or you’re looking for something that goes with everything, opt for a neutral loafer in black or brown. “You really can’t go wrong with a neutral black loafer,” says Muteku — and we definitely agree. Try the KOIO Siena in Gloss Black if you’re looking for a neutral shoe. 


Heel height is super important when it comes to comfort and style. A chunkier heel can make a loafer more edgy and cool (and is easy to walk in), whereas a smaller heel has a more classic and minimal feel. If you’re wanting to elevate your look, opt for a large heel like Free People Zoe Platform Loafer

Your Questioned, Answered

How do I style chunky loafers?

Fortunately loafers are universal when it comes to styling. Regardless of your personal style — preppy, goth, edgy, trendy, you name it — chunky loafers can go with pretty much any look. Channel your inner Bella Hadid and pair them with biker shorts and a sweater, or go for something more elegant and style them with trousers and a button down. But you aren’t limited to those two looks!

Chunky loafers, like the Crown Vintage Sage Penny Loafer, pair well with mini skirts for a sophisticated school girl-inspired look. To play into the preppy trend, Muteku recommends pairing loafers with a chic sock for a fun flare. Or try pairing a drastic sole, like the Free People Zoe Platform Loafer, with a dress and tights for a night out. 

If you’re opting for a bolder look, go for a fun color, print, or material; and to keep it simple, look opt for a classic color. Whether your style is more stand out or subdued, adding a pair of chunky loafers will elevate any outfit.

Why Shop With Us

Amanda Rosenthal is a commerce writer for InStyle. Amanda has experience researching and testing different loafers and has tried tons of chunky footwear. With additional help from professional stylist, Nicole Muteku, and first-hand experience trying out numerous loafers, she rounded up the top picks for this story. Amanda has tried out tons of different loafers including ones from this story like the KOIO Siena in Glaze.

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