Men shedding their shoelaces


CHICAGO -- Traditionally, the American male finished dressing for success each morning by tying on a pair of highly polished lace-up shoes. But, today, men can get on the fast track even sooner by slipping into a pair of loafers.

"We currently outsell slip-ons to lace-ups by a 4-to-1 ratio," observes Arnold Klein, owner of Avventura shoe store in Chicago's Water Tower Place. Klein theorizes that slip-ons have been elevated from casual to dress footwear partially because designers have incorporated details on loafers that were traditionally found on a lace-up such as wing-tips, pinking and perforating.

"Men are also paying more attention to accessories today such as patterned socks. Slip-ons have a shorter vamp, which allows men to show off their socks more," says Byron Norfleet, vice president of marketing at Johnston & Murphy. "Slip-ons also allow manufacturers to play around with more ornamentation. You can't put a kiltie on a lace-up."

Another reason for the rising popularity of slip-ons is the comfort revolution sweeping men's apparel right now.

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