For the Spring Racing Carnival, you generally want to bring your footwear A-Game. Rocking a linen suit with your beaten-up 9-5 Oxfords isn’t really going to cut it. There are a few ways you can go here – Derbies, monk straps, even dress boots – but our personal favourite for spring racing is the not-so-humble men’s loafer.
Loafers have a couple of advantages over other dress shoes. For one thing, they’re lightweight and comfortable, which is a big deal when you’re standing around all day pretending to know a lot about horses. They also match with almost anything, and they’ll let your feet breathe in the spring sunshine. All in all, the perfect racing carnival shoe. Here’s our pick of the five best loafers for spring racing.
Tassel loafers make a great all-rounder for spring racing. They’re formal enough for the Birdcage, but still playful and packed with personality. Our ALBERTO tassel loafers are the best choice here. They come in a variety of tones and shades (you can probably skip the patent black, but everything else is up for grabs). These are a great match for khaki, navy or charcoal suiting. When it comes to the carnival itself, just pay attention to the day.
For more casual events, like Derby Day or Stakes Day, brown leather shades like tobacco, whisky and chestnut are usually the go-to. Save your black tassel loafers for Cup Day and Oaks Day, when formal attire and monochrome suiting are more common.
If this is your first time in loafers, penny loafers might be the way to go. No tassels, no metal buckles or accessories, just clean lines and traditional styling, straight out of the 1940s. Penny loafers are arguably the broadest loafer category, too, so you’ve got plenty of styles and materials to choose from.
Maybe some BENITO black loafers under a charcoal grey suit. Or a pair of brown suede COLLEGE loafers for Stakes Day – known to be the most laid-back day of the Carnival. These would look great with navy suiting and a simple white dress shirt.
The clue’s in the name, right? With their signature metal detail across the vamp, horsebit loafers are great for spring racing. They get their name from this decorative ‘buckle’ accessory, which looks alike the metal 'bit' connected to the bridle that sits in a horse’s mouth. Very on-theme for the spring carnival.
As horsebit loafers tend to veer towards the formal, they’re perfect for Cup Day and Oaks Day. Try a pair of black CANDELA loafers with navy or monochrome suiting. Just make sure your other metal accessories – watch, cufflinks, tie pin and so on – match the silver on your shoes. Nothing spoils a good suit like gold and silver accessories.
Exotic Print Loafers
One of the hottest men’s loafer trends right now is printed leather, especially snake and croc leather. These are made by embossing a crocodile scale pattern onto regular full-grain leather. You can get real crocodile loafers too, obviously, but they tend to be much more expensive (they do look snappy though).
For spring racing, try the ALBERTO tassel loafers in black croc print leather. The extra textural detail really draws the eye. Pair these with a khaki two-piece suit, white dress shirt and black tie, and you’re off to the races. So to speak. If a woven style is more your speed, try our woven vamp AMBROSE loafers in tan.
Feeling brave? Jump on the new multi-coloured loafer trend. These guys are a little trickier to pull off than standard brown penny loafers, but the effect is certainly striking. Our COLLEGE loafers are a three-tone mix: emerald green upper, creamy white vamp and black penny strap.
This colour combo isn’t going to work with every suit, so pick your attire carefully. We recommend either dressing tonal – a forest green or emerald green suit would match the upper – or sticking to monochrome black and let your shoes do the talking. Either way, keep your accessories on point: a cream pocket square to match the vamp, and black tie to sync with the penny strap.