The 12 Best Lug Sole Loafers to Diversify Your Fall Footwear Rotation
By Paolo Sandoval
For those unfamiliar with the classic slip-on’s beefed-up brother, the lug sole can be neatly parsed into two parts: lug-sole and (you guessed it!) loafer. Typically denoted by a leather or suede material, and often married with the classic penny design across the upper of the shoe, the lug sole loafer differs from its summery counterparts on account of its heavy-duty sole. More in line with something you’d find on a hiking shoe or combat boot, the rubberized outsole of a lug sole loafer — in recent years, special outsole technology like Vibram has come to dominate the hybrid footwear’s base — performs markedly better in the uncertain and transition climates of fall and winter. Although they admittedly lose some degree of formality, additional height and weathered traction allow the style to traverse conditions crippling to a regular loafer…i.e., they’re the best bet for rocking the red hot style year-round.
Much like their smaller-soled siblings, lug sole loafers are a dish best served with…anything, really. A pair of structured chinos or even a new fall suit certainly isn’t out of the question, but the style looks just as good with jeans and a hoodie. Our main piece of advice? Wear socks. To help you find the right pair of lug sole loafers for your little tootsies, we’ve highlighted a variety of all-terrain styles across a variety of price points and features. From G.H. Bass and L.L. Bean to Paraboot and Prada, the 12 best lug sole loafers for men to wear this fall.
Unsure of whether the lug sole loafer is for you? G.H. Bass’ affordable Larson proves the perfect pick-up. We appreciate the style for its down-the-middle design, versatility and wallet-saving price tag of well under $100.
The selling point (beyond the rugged handsewn look) of Allagash Loafers is undoubtedly the bison leather that encases the footwear. While all the loafers on this list have a sturdy lug sole, few boost uppers as durable as L.L. Bean’s reinforced upper.
Is the lug sole simply not bold enough for your sartorial inclinations? Camper’s bulbous shape and eye-catching color should help you stand out just fine. That’s not to suggest that they aren’t also functional — a tractioned footbed and synthetic weatherproofing ensure they’d be right at home, well, camping.
Think of the Sebago Dan as something of a starter car — the Toyota Camry of lug soles, if you will. The shoe maintains the classic penny loafer shape and stacks it on top of a sturdy, weatherized base. They’re practically taller than a Prius…and they handle better, too.
While they may sport a suede upper and the lowest sole on this list, don’t think that the hertiage-made Quody Rover loafer isn’t up to the weather-induced challenge. Discretely lugged for the utmost combination of formality and functionality, they’re dressy enough to work with near any tailoring, even in adverse conditions.
They may be the youngest entrant in our lug loafer list, but don’t discount Chris Echevarria’s Blackstock & Weber. As seasoned menswear veterans and hypeheads alike will tell you, the modern cut and playful colorways (like a tiger camo upper) make B&W a very real contender for best footwear around.
French cobblers Paraboot may be known for their U-Shaped derby shoes, but don’t discount their elegant Reims Loafer, either. The strong-cut style is finished with genuine Norwegian welting, ensuring that the handsome “Lisse Marron” upper is a subtle mix of refined and sturdy.
Handmade in Maine, Yuki Matsuda’s Yuketen Leather Loafers are a vision in dedicated craftmanship, with precise detailing in every bit of the loafer. The pebble-grained leather wears in beautifully and coupled with a chunky rubber lug sole, there’s no reason why the Frentaly Penny Loafers shouldn’t last you for decades.
Prada’s shining loafers bring an air of luxury to the lug sole, with stacks of shining, supple leather stacked high on a premium rubberized sole and finished with the classic inverted Prada insignia. Truly, the only issue we can find with the shoes is that they feel too nice to break in. We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.