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How the Venetian Loafer Stole Summer 2021

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We talk a lot about loafers around these parts, for good reason: from flashy bit joints to classic pennies, there’s no footwear that better suits the current moment. A little bit dressy, a little bit casual, as easy and comfortable as your house shoes. They look fantastic with shorts, with suits, with whatever. Hell, you might already have a pair—or five—in your regular rotation. Even so, there’s one rising style you’re probably not familiar with yet: the Venetian loafer.

Chris Pine in Toronto, September 7, 2018.Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

Construction-wise, the Venetian is similar to the more conventional loafers you’re familiar with, absent a few crucial stylistic flourishes—namely, the straps, tassels, and kilties that generally sit atop the uppers. Strip away all those excess details and you’re left with a loafer that feels—almost paradoxically—far more elegant than its more elaborately-adorned counterparts. Awash in a sea of freaky sneakers and chunky boots, the Venetian loafer’s tasteful restraint swims blissfully against the current.

Lately, it feels like the Venetian loafer is popping up everywhere. It’s long been a favorite of Jerry Lorenzo, who made a pair of Venetians one of the centerpiece footwear styles for Fear of God’s seventh collection. Movie stars from Chris Pine to Jake Gyllenhaal have turned to the Venetian to bring some unexpected polish to their red carpet looks. And right now, with everybody from cool-kid labels like Engineered Garments to age-old shoemakers like John Lobb turning out spins on the style, it’s never been easier to slip into a grade-A pair. 

Pierce Brosnan in Venice, September 2, 2012.Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

If you’re looking to stay one step ahead of your loafer-adorned friends—if you’re in need of a pair of shoes that stands out for its simplicity, that goes great with broken-in jeans and wide-cut trousers alike—these might be the streamlined slip-ons for you.

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