Loafers, moccasins, and other formal shoes are quickly replacing sneakers as the preferred choice for fashion-conscious men, when they were once the domain of nerds and uptight young conservatives.
The trainer boom of the last decade is still going strong, but there are signs of a slowdown.
Data from industry website Business of Fashion showed 45 percent of well-heeled American and British men were planning to buy dress shoes in 2023, compared with around a third who were opting for sneakers.
And formal styles are all over red carpets and catwalks sported by trendsetters like rapper ASAP Rocky and US actor-director Donald Glover.
Despite his well-known shoe relationship with Nike, French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus wore black loafers and had his models wear them for his final presentation in December.
“There is a return of formal tailoring, but now with a comfort side, because people got used to jogging bottoms and we don’t want to go back to tight-fitting clothes,” said Hugues Fauchard of Uniforme, a young label that worked with shoemaker Weston on new versions of its classic loafer.
Similar trends are observed in Britain, where upscale retailer ‘Browns’ claims to have “certainly noticed a transition from popular sneaker types to more formal footwear.”
“The other important thing is that trainers fall apart quickly – they’re not durable and hard to repair,” he said, pointing out that Weston offers lifetime repairs.
Hermes also produces loafers and the sales have been spiking as told by Hermes designer Pierre Hardy.
Given the prevalence of fresh shoe releases and exorbitant resale pricing (a pair of Nikes co-designed and worn by Kanye West that sold for $1.8 million in 2021) it may be an inescapable component of the fashion cycle.