How to Spot Real Gucci Loafers

Words by Jody Hume | 3.29.17
Like many long-running fashion houses, Gucci’s aesthetic has changed drastically with every new creative director. In the ‘90s and early aughts, Tom Ford saved the house from the brink of bankruptcy with men’s hip-huggers, louche silk shirting and sexed up ad campaigns. Following Ford’s departure, Frida Giannini streamlined Gucci’s look with commercially driven collections fit for the luxe jet-setter. And in 2015, Alessandro Michele turned around soft sales with androgynous, over-the-top designs no one saw coming. But no matter how dissimilar these three designers seem, there is a common thread through each of their reigns: a respect for house codes. Gucci is a heritage brand after all, and as such, is expected to remain true to at least a few house signatures, no matter which designer is at the helm. One piece that’s survived them all? The Horsebit loafer.

GucciShoes2016-020Men’s Horsebit Snake Loafers, $595

Horsebit loafers were first introduced in 1953, but the moccasin style rose to fame in the 70s and ’80s. It’s been said that Gucci loafers were so popular with D.C. lobbyists that the corridor outside the congressional meeting rooms was nicknamed the Gucci Gulch. The loafers fell out of fashion in the 90s, but Gucci continued to produce the iconic shoes despite the downturn in popularity. They have since been revitalized — the transformation from full-on loafer to mule has made them a contemporary go-to. These days, the Gucci loafer is an absolute must-have for any insider, man or woman, but with the rise in popularity inevitably comes reams of imposters. To find out if yours are the real deal, read on for our expert team’s tips. 

Gucci Loafer Insoles

The interior of the loafers should be lined in a supple leather and feature the brand logo embossed at the heel of the insole. The Gucci stamp should always be clean and crisp, and should always include a lowercase “made in italy.”

Gucci Loafer Style Number

All Gucci shoes, bags and accessories have a style number, which you can easily search online and corroborate with images. Before there were names like the Jackie or the Princetown, every single item was issued a style number — including the very first Gucci handbag. If your pair of Gucci loafers still has the shoebox, check the style number — it should match the style number on the shoes.

Gucci Loafer Horsebits

The Gucci horsebit made its debut in the 1930s and has remained a house signature ever since, referencing the brand mythology of an equestrian heritage. The horsebit is composed of four components: two bars attached to two rings. On certain items, the horsebit may be secured in the middle where the two bars connect, but more often than not on shoes (like the Princetown loafer), it will hang loosely.

Gucci Loafer Materials

Gucci loafers are available in a range of leathers from lambskin to buffalo, depending on the season, as well as a number of more unconventional materials like rubber, jacquard and exotic skins like alligator and eel. The shoes commonly feature a leather outsole, though some driving models have a textured rubber sole for grip. The first generation of Princetown loafers were made with kangaroo fur insoles, and they were not available for purchase in the state of California due to laws prohibiting the sale of protected animals. Similar versions have been made in shearling, among other materials. If the lining appears to be synthetic, that’s a sign of inauthenticity. Because the insole is genuine sheared fur, some abrasion is expected due to wear and is a sign of that natural materials are being used.

Ready to slip into your own pair? Shop our authentic selection of Gucci loafers here.

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