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11 Pairs of Lug Sole Loafers That Will Elevate Your Outfits

Formal flair, with an added edge.

carmine lug sole
Jack Erwin

Unlike the beloved Belgian loafer, there's no history behind the lug loafer. Putting a lug sole on a loafer probably happened out of necessity; a "we have these shoes, but there's snow!" kind of situation. Perhaps it was a fashion statement. Either way, finding loafers equipped with Goodyear-welted soles or Vibram tread proves increasingly common. Plus, they're more flattering for feet of all sizes — especially as pants silhouettes trend bigger.

What Are Lug Sole Loafers?

A lug sole loafer is any loafer married to a sole you'd typically find attached to a bulkier shoe — like a boot. The addition makes loafers better prepared for the elements, but also bigger, too, which makes them easier to pair with wider pants or to be worn by folks with shorter legs. The height adds height.

Typically, the height is afforded by a Vibram outsole, a quality marker usually reserved for hard-wearing boots. Vibram outsoles offer better traction control, resoleability and a rise off the ground to protect the feet from rain puddles and debris (like dog poop).

Why Wear Lug Sole Loafers?

As cool as a flat-bottomed loafer may be, the lug sole adds interest — and literal height. You'll get the confidence a pair of boots gives you but the formality of a finer shoe. Plus, chunky shoes — although usually sneakers, but why not loafers? — are in. It's time you give a pair a spin.

They're easy to pair with casual outfits or for more formal affairs. It's really up to you. A pair of lug sole loafers might be a bit out of the box for a traditional tuxedo, but with your run-of-the-mill suit? Right on.

The Best Lug Sole Loafers for Any Feet

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Best Overall Lug Sole Loafer
Allen Edmonds Freeport Weatherproof Penny Loafer

Allen Edmonds makes a number of lug sole dress shoes. Although the Lug Sole Park Avenue Oxford is the most impressive iteration Edmonds' collection, this loafer represents the best in its category. It's weatherproof, comes in two widths and features a leather liner with a soak-proof membrane, making this a dress shoe you can wear no matter the weather. (That's kind of the point of the lug sole, but extra waterproofing elements only add durability.)

Best Upgrade Lug Loafer
Blackstock & Weber Lug Sole The Clásico Tassel Loafer

Available in two colors, Chocolate or Onyx, The Clásico Tassel Loafer is named after Blackstock & Weber founder Chris Echevarria's favorite soccer matchup, El Clásico (which is FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid). There's no visual association here, at least that I can tell, but the tassel is quite traditional despite the new-age outsole, which looks tough as nails.

Best Affordable Lug Loafer
G.H. Bass Originals Layton Super Lug Tassel Weejun

Think of these as a cross between three of the categories on this list: lug sole, penny and tassel. You clearly see the dangly adornment, and the thick, boot-like bottom, but the overall look nods to the original Weejun, which popularized the penny loafer beyond Norway's borders.

Dr. Martens Adrian Smooth Leather Tassle Loafers

If you're someone who has (impressively) endured breaking in a pair of Doc Martens boots, these loafers will be a breeze. They're built with a similar outsole, are cut from the same sturdy leather and yet feature more delicate elements like tassels and a kilt-ish fringe.

COS Chunky Loafers

Because of its matte leather exterior and soft leather liner, COS' Chunky Loafers will mold to your feet with consistent wear. That'll create a loafer that's not only more comfortable, but better-looking too. The outsole isn't Vibram, but that doesn't matter much; it's an in-house, architectural addition that still fits the bill.

Vinny's Palace Leather Loafers

With its lifted heel and ornate gold-tone horsebit, Vinny's lug sole loafer might be the best on this list — especially at the price. They'll be comfortable from your first wear, plus you'll have the protection of a thick rubber sole.

Rhude Lug Suede Loafers

It's hard not to look at these Rhude loafers and see Timberland's popular waterproof boot reimagined. This lug sole loafer has the same tan suede upper, plus a gum-colored tread. There's definite designer flair, though: the collar is thick and rolled, the toe rounded and hand-stitched.

L.L. Bean Allagash Bison Handsewn Penny Loafers

L.L. Bean's handsewn penny loafers don't have the tallest outsole, and they look a little like dock shoes, but they're still a textbook lug sole. They feature lock-stitched seams for added durability, a water- and stain-repellent wax finish for natural resistance to the elements and a lug sole (yes, it's there) for improved traction.

Church's Pembrey 5 Loafer in Light Ebony

On top, this Church's loafer is the most classic option on this list: It has a penny strap, a texture tongue, simple round toe and branded leather insole. But on the bottom, there's a bit more attitude. Combine the ebony-colored leather and the strong lug sole, and you get a loafer worth wearing every chance you get.

Camper Walden

CamperLab's multi-colored, chunky-soled loafers offer the same minimalist aesthetic as finer manufacturers like Hender Scheme at half the price. (There are tonal pairs, too.) Sure, these aren't for everyone, but they're arguably some of the best at this price point. Plus, the raw material was sourced from a certified Leather Working Group tannery.

Jack Erwin Carmine Lug Sole

Although Jack Erwin's loafer doesn't offer much of a vertical advantage, the lug sole is still there. It's subtler, but the boot-tough tread will give you better control on slick sidewalks, plus it lets you wear your loafers in light snow, too, or on wet grass, if you're bold enough to do so. Seen here in black, these also come in four more tanned leathers.

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