The Search For Cute Lug Sole Loafers


So I’m forever a Wannabe Loafers Gal. I know, I love my sneakers and boots so much, but there is a little preppy side of me that reveals itself here and there…like when I layer a button-down shirt under a cardigan. Yet, while I adore the loafer look on others, I’ve had the hardest time finding a flattering pair for myself.

Aha!…It dawned on me recently that I just need a loafer with a chunky sole!

*This post has been updated for 2022. More in-stock lug loafers are at the end of the article!

Currently In-Stock Lug Sole Loafers: Nordstrom | Zappos | DSW | Madewell

5 Cute (& Comfy) Chunky Platform Loafers — Which Pair Is For Keeps?

Dainty shoes are not really my thing and aren’t as balanced-looking on my more athletic frame. They’re just not that badass to me. But, add a lug sole, and yes, voilà! A perfect mix of preppy and cool. Do I wish I had not styled all these loafers with a super-wintery turtleneck? Perhaps. Thus is the weird life of prepping for springy goodness during winter. I think it does read as a chic, kinda French-vibe, though.

Alas, I’ve tried on five pairs of rad, platform slip-on shoes for ya, so maybe we can look past that and the fact that some of the lewks lean ever so slightly The Fonz

OK, so it also turns out photographing black shoes in the dark vortex that is Portland winters is tricky. Stick with me here as I’ve tried to give you some close-ups, in addition to the full-length shots, that show more detail below. There are some super-cute finds that I’m excited to style up later in different ways. I’m leaning towards keeping the white pair (similar), but I can’t decide! Let’s get into it…

**meets our requirements for sustainability

1. Franco Sarto Balin Platform Loafer

at Norstrom | at Zappos

Love, love this pair pf platform loafers. If I stick with a darker pair it’ll be these. So comfy, true-to-size and I like the solid black lug sole. They read black here, but are a really dark burgundy (yet also come in black.) These have the highest platform of all the pairs I tried, but it doesn’t read too platform-y. These are super-cushiony, too.

Prepping things up -- street style. The hunt for a cute, comfy pair of chunky, platform loafers (lug sole, please) is on. Vionic? Franco Sarto? Dolce Vita?

shoes (tts) | sweater (s) | moto jacket (6) | black jeans** (27) | blue jeans** (28)

2. Vionic Cheryl Lug Sole Loafer

at Nordstrom | at Zappos (similar)

These Vionic lug sole loafers are adorable (similar). Until the white pair came in, I was strongly thinking these would win. As you can tell, I’m really digging the patent leather, which is kinda rare for me, but in this style, I think it just works so well. Love the light tone-on-tone of these. Writing this out is not actually proving helpful for my decision-making process! These are comfy, too. Not too stiff feeling or any weird blister-making spots it seems after walking around the house. I haven’t owned any Vionic shoes, but I’ve heard good things!

Prepping things up -- street style. The hunt for a cute, comfy pair of chunky, platform loafers (lug sole, please) is on. Vionic? Franco Sarto? Dolce Vita?

shoes (similar) | sweater (s) | moto jacket (6) | black jeans** (27) | blue jeans** (28)

3. Vince Camuto Mckella Loafer

Hi, um, I love all the loafers, OK? This Vince Camuto pair (similar) so cute, too, with their great tan edging detail. These are probably the heaviest of the pairs I tried, but really well-made, and the heel fits nice and snug…a bonus if you have heel-slipping issues with slip-on shoes like I do. These actually probably fit my feet the best of all the pairs, too. (Narrow heels, wide toe box area.) They’re very true-to-size and comfortable, but maybe not as cushiony as some of the others. Again, they feel so substantial and well-made.

Prepping things up -- street style. The hunt for a cute, comfy pair of chunky, platform loafers (lug sole, please) is on. Vionic? Franco Sarto? Dolce Vita?

shoe (similar or these) | sweater (s) | moto jacket (6) | black jeans** (27) | blue jeans** (28)

4. Dolce Vita Aubree Loafer

Hey-o, this Dolce Vita loafer (similar or these) came in after the others, and they are SO adorable. I’m glad they made it in the roundup because, like I said above, they might just be the winners. So fresh and so clean, clean, but not glaringly white. They have a cool croc texture and are just barely ivory, making them less HERE ARE MY SHOES and more easily wearable.

These may just have to be the ‘white boots’ of spring and summer. Yay! Something different! If you can’t tell, I’m stoked. These run just slightly long (or perhaps just wider in the heel?) and I’ll use those heel grip things, but I don’t think I would size down unless you’re pretty solidly between sizes. These have the least amount of platform sole of the bunch, but still a pronounced lug sole, which I like.

Prepping things up -- street style. The hunt for a cute, comfy pair of chunky, platform loafers (lug sole, please) is on. Vionic? Franco Sarto? Dolce Vita?

shoes (similar or these) | sweater (similar) | moto jacket (6) | black jeans** (27) | blue jeans** (28)

5. Jon Josef Gogo Loafer

This was the pair (similar or these) that started the whole search, but unfortunately, the pair I like the least. The tassels are super cute, but these run small. The nice thing is they do come in Euro half sizes though, which is rare. Yay! Definitely size up a 1/2 (I’m a US 8 and should have gotten a 38.5 instead of the 38 I’m wearing). Couldn’t walk in these. I hate that the tassels are hard to see here, but they are a nice change from the other penny loafer styles. Similar loafers in tan with tassels here.

Prepping things up -- street style. The hunt for a cute, comfy pair of chunky, platform loafers (lug sole, please) is on. Vionic? Franco Sarto? Dolce Vita?

shoes (similar or these) | sweater (s) | moto jacket (6) | black jeans** (27) | blue jeans** (28)

Shop Chunky Loafers

There are quite a few lug sole loafers out there right now, but I am noticing some of the colors selling out. Looks like I’m not the only one wanting to mix it up right now with these. Some of y’all are gonna ask about cold ankles…and my answer is…I just don’t know. I live in a temperate area where my ankles don’t get cold, but also, I’m just not gonna be sporting these for long moments outside until spring. I think if I had to choose a sock option, it would be a sheer sock or a metallic sock that matches either your jean color or the shoe color.

**This shopping widget has been updated for Fall 2022.

Let us know if you try any out and love them! I’m gonna do my best to choose a pair for spring and style them up for y’all. Stay tuned! And Happy February! It’s my bday, month and I’m all about birthdays, so Happy Feb to my fellow Aquarians, too!



Hey-o from Portland, OR. Would love for you to follow me over on Instagram @laurajansenstyle for all things casual mom-wear, lots of foodie pics and donuts, some kitchen dance parties and a side of social justice. xo

Oh hey, Pinners…


  1. I have a pair of pointy-toed black loafers with tassels that are my go to shoe when I need to look more dressed than sneakers, but not as dressed as heels. I love them with distressed denim and fishnet socks. The badass-ness of the fishnets and ripped jeans does something super cool for the preppiness of the loafers. I’m a big fan of the look. Aaaand…I do believe I just figured out what I’m wearing for today’s style challenge! Also, the tan Vionics have just been added to my Wish List. So. So. Good.

  2. I am a wanna-be loafer girl, too. When I was in high school in the early 90s, I lived in Bass Weejuns. I like the edgier vibe of the loafers you show here. And, thanks for noting you are a narrow heel/wide toe box girl. The struggle is real when it comes to finding shoes that actually stay on when you walk, right? Now when I see you post about a shoe that fits you well, I will know they could be worth a try for me!

  3. I LOVE loafers and have been looking for a pair. Saw you post the Vince loafers on instagram and immediately ordered them from Nordstrom Rack. Can’t beat the price!

  4. OMG Laura, this is now what I NEED!!! And now I know my style I am edgy preppy. ordered dolce vita 1/2 size down crossing my fingers. bc size 9 seems to be all the other lovely edgy preppy people in the world. If these don’t work will hold out for the vionic ones. I have a pair of their flip flops and they are amazing. I am also hopping these might go with flares/bootcuts bc I am really excited to have that style come back but finding shoes that are not heels to wear with flares in Vermont is challenging. Wanna style these up with flares??? wink wink.

  5. Oh man the 90s middle school me is really drooling over these. I’m going to put a bunch of these in my cart and then be strong and resist purchasing. Ha.

  6. Ooh, happy birthday to you and me! I was looking at the Naturalizer version of these last year during the N sale but my order was canceled and I never picked it back up. Love this roundup, and I ALSO have a wide toe box and narrow heel and love the notion of de-preppifying a loafer with a platform. All of this to say…r u me?

  7. PLEASE style flares with non-heels!!! I second Jess. I am so happy to see flares coming back, but am stumped on the shoe front. Especially since we are a Work from Home, COVID world. I haven’t worn heels in a year.

    • Ooh I have just not been able to get back into the flares yet! I think because yeah I have never worn them with non heels. They look so bad on me and shorten my legs so much. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is wearing with clog boots but that is still somewhat of a heel, albeit a platform.

  8. Yes! I have muscular legs and I NEED substantial shoes with jeans. I was just looking for beige platform loafers last week. Thanks so much for this post!

  9. clog boots would be amazing. Wish I had thought of that I have like 3 pairs. Maybe I will bust out my flares and try with clogs boots. btw I think your banging short legs would look great in flares!

  10. I have those Vince Camutos in the snake print and I love that they are both a light neutral and dark neutral.
    Also your hair looks so freaking fantastic in your try on pics, total 🔥

    • omg tiffany, thank you so much! It’s in a grow-out process which I usually loathe, but I’m trying to have fun with it this time! Love that review on the snake loafers, what a great case for them!

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