For many gents, the Belgian loafer may appear old-fashioned, impractical and antiquated, but we’d beg you to reconsider. That’s because these days, there’s a new breed of loafers that you can sport, a hybrid which resurrects the famed Belgian shoes favoured by the likes of Bernie Madoff, and fuses it with a new sensibility. For a bit of old-school style that’s sure to become a favourite in your shoe collection, check out these Belgian loafers that reflect some thoughtful tweaks to the original’s shape and construction, yielding supreme style and unparalleled comfort.
Hailed by some as the king of Neapolitan tailoring, the house of Rubinacci has produced and sold iterations of the Marphy suede tasselled loafer for years. Whilst this model is the most traditional and similar to the original Belgian shoes in shape, the choices of materials and finishings rarely are. Set yourself apart in a sea of black shoes by opting for this beautiful, soft brown option which is offset by lush and unexpected teal trimmings. These will pair well with vibrant trousers, as well as more sombre navy or beige outfits — versatility is the name of the game. And if you’re looking for some styling inspiration, look no further than the Instagram account of Luca Rubinacci himself (@luca_rubinacci).
Available on mrporter.com for approximately HK$3,200.
Baudoin and Lange
The brainchild of Allan Baudoin and Bo van Langeveld, the Sagan model by Baudoin and Lange spearheaded the movement towards more comfortable Belgian-style loafers featuring a lowered vamp and buttery soft suede. The loafer is available in a vast variety of colours, materials and styles, including plain, tassels or string. Available at The Armoury, we’d suggest that you purchase one size smaller than usual so that the incredibly soft leather or suede can mould to your feet over time. An added bonus is that each pair sold at The Armoury is fitted with a rubber sole grip — at no additional cost — ensuring that the shoe will be able to stand up to the hilly streets of Hong Kong. Prices range from HK$3,200–$3,500.
To round out the list, Leather Healer offers an option made in collaboration with Spanish shoemaker Berwick. This option is offered in several different shades of suede, ranging from black, brown to snuff (lighter brown), and in two configurations: plain and a “penny” style. Of the three shoemakers, this shoe has the stiffest construction, providing more structure to withstand the cobbled steps of Hong Kong. Try the penny style, which features a full strap over the upper to differentiate yourself from the pack. This iteration takes cues from the modern Belgian shoe and meshes it with the traditional styling of an Ivy League staple. The owner of Leather Healer, Wayne, is usually present in the shop to help with sizing and styling advice. A pair of Berwicks will set you back HK$1,880.