Welcome to this part-showcase, part-review of these gorgeous “Gucci” Horsebit Loafers.
Gucci is in quotes, because this is actually a shoe I designed in collaboration with Enzo Bonafe through The Noble Shoe.
It’s a great opportunity to talk about this iconic style and actually review a pair of Enzo Bonafe for the first time.
60 Years And Counting
Given my disdain for the quality and value of designer shoes, it is quite funny to write about Gucci.
We all know those overpriced, fashion items of questionable quality that they pump out year after year.
However there is one iconic style of footwear that they were pioneers of which still garners respect and admiration even today.
The Founder of Gucci loved horses and equestrianism, so in 1953 the company created a type of loafer as inspiration.
The Horsebit (or Bit) Loafer is a type of loafer or moccasin that has a distinctive metal bit that resembles the horse’s snaffle.
It soon took the world by storm an eventually found itself somehow bridging the gap between casual and business wear as a refined, dressy slip on.
Now, it’s my own personal opinion but I do not consider that shoe worthy of business wear as a moccasin.
Nonetheless, it is an iconic style that celebrates 60 years since its conception.
Inspiration & Celebration
Those following the quality shoe world probably heard that legendary shoemaker Enzo Bonafe passed away at the age of 88 a month ago.
To celebrate his life and legacy, I created a selection of unique models and styles with his son Massimo for The Noble Shoe.
One of my favorite “crazy” ideas was to reimagine the Gucci Horsebit Loafers but make it actually beautiful and constructed properly.
The inspiration of the color scheme comes from the colors of Gucci which are green, red and gold.
We found a beautiful Green Calf, used a gold metal bit and added a tiny touch of wine red on the strap.
A few weeks ago the sample arrived and it was drop dead gorgeous.
I hope you will agree and to join me as we inspect and celebrate our creation!
- Brand: Enzo Bonafe
- Shop: The Noble Shoe
- Model: Art. 3896
- Type: Horsebit Loafer
- Leather: Full Grain Calfskin
- Color: Green (Vitello Verde)
- Construction: Blake
- Lining: Leather (Natural)
- Sole: Leather Closed Channel
- Last: 100556
- Size: UK 8 (US 9D/EU 42)
- Shoe Trees: Lasted
- Origin: Bologna, Italy
- Price Estimate: $700 (with shoe trees)
For such a high quality shoe the price of $570 is really nice as you have the option to exclude the shoe trees ($130).
Generally Blake Stitched Shoes cost less but the model and specifications can change a lot.
Knowing the quality and reputation of Enzo Bonafe however makes this a no-brainer.
You can get the shoes by paying half as a deposit (50%) and the remaining before delivery if it’s an active GMTO.
Just like everything that comes to The Noble Shoe we inspect everything before shipping just in case.
The first time I actually saw the sample in person was in the London Shoegazing Super Trunk Show 2023!
I am not a huge loafer fan but I was blown away by how it ended up since green calf can be tricky to get right.
To be honest I was slightly worried about how the red part of the strap would turn out but I was pleasantly surprised.
The quality of the calf and the last we chose were key and definitely make it stand out.
Being a more relaxed lifestyle shoe, it felt appropriate to go for a more lightweight and soft Blake Construction.
I liked it so much that I will end up keeping it for myself.
Leather & Construction
When we made this shoe, we want a lightweight, casual summer experience so Blake was the preferred construction.
It also allows for a more refined shoe with a closely cut outsole making it look very elegant.
Having been to the factory and seeing all the shoes in action I was impressed by Enzo Bonafe.
Very sturdy shoes with the right amount of weight into them and all the love and traditional techniques by masters with decades of experience.
This particular one feels very comfortable and compared to my other Blake shoe by Caulaincourt I feel provides more arch support.
Enzo Bonafe also offers a myriad of leathers to choose from so every one is different.
This in particular is a Full Grain Calf in Dark Green that is really smooth and pliable.
It also looks like it will take a shine really well but without looking too glossy and fake.
We will see how it ages, but I looked at many pictures of how these shoes age during the last 4-5 years to have a good idea.
Lastly, I also checked out all the leathers in person in the Bologna workshop myself.
Top tier construction and leather quality is what one should expect from Enzo Bonafe.
Stitching, DEtails & Outsole
I felt it was a must to give a more distinct elegance to the shoe.
The upper stitching is superb, as one would expect at this price and there’s a lot of care all over them.
The metal bit looks to be of good quality and really stands out, just like the little red straps.
Checking out the outsole stitch and the bottom reveals a similar story.
With a narrower waist and a closed channel high quality leather sole no less!
Even their shoe trees are well-made and it’s not often you find lasted shoe trees at these prices.
Of course they cost a fair amount but are worth every penny.
Last & Fitting
However when I saw the Enzo Bonafe 100556 Last everything just clicked.
I looked for a last with classic elegance and a gentle mix of medium round and soft almond.
In my opinion it has a rather normal width and instep, making for a pretty standard fitting.
Just like the sizing advice on the product page, I would recommend getting your usual UK size or sizing down 1 from your US Dress Shoes.
For example, if you are a Carmina Rain UK 8 or an Allen Edmonds US 9D then you would select a UK 8 on these shoes.
Of course, if you want to be more sure just reach out to me and I will help you out.
How To Wear?
Since we are still doing photography and I need to shoot some videos, I cannot wear them properly yet.
However I already have a great idea what I am going to wear them with.
Whether I want to spice up some dark denim or experiment with a navy suit, they will fit great.
Dark Green is such a versatile and underrated color to be honest.
Tan, khaki, beige, olive, navy and lighter shades of grey will work very well and so will many pastel colors.
I might come back and update this section when I have more pictures.
To Loafer Or Not To Loafer
Loafers are not for everyone, that’s for sure.
And for those that do love them, they might prefer Belgians, Penny, Tassel or even Kiltie Loafers.
A good loafer is easy to wear and match and in the current lifestyle we live, a great all around choice.
Just the comfort of slipping in and out effortlessly can make a big difference.
You don’t have to wear green loafers every day of the week, but let me tell you when you wear them people will notice.
People always are attracted to those that show confidence and taste by wearing something like this without going overboard.
This was my first hand on experience and mini review with Enzo Bonafe.
It’s a fantastic feeling seeing the end result after looking at swatches and plain models.
The result of these Gucci Horsebit Loafers was a success in my book and I look forward to wearing them in the coming weeks.
At the time of writing, there is just over a week left to join the GMTO and make them yours!
I am sure I will be back with more Enzo Bonafe Reviews as I have a ton of showcases for you.
Until then, take care and enjoy life!
Thank you for reading,