(00)7 Times When Roger Moore’s Bond Came Ill-Prepared in Loafers

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Roger Moore’s James Bond is known for his penchant for loafers, whether they’re penny loafers, bit loafers or tassel loafers. While the plainer loafers are the one element of Moore’s Bond wardrobe that keeps true to the way Ian Fleming dressed Bond, they’re frequently the wrong choice for the circumstances he finds himself in. While Moore is undoubtedly comfortable in his slip-ons, and comfort is essential in good footwear, they’re impractical for any action moments.

Roger Moore wears Gucci bit loafers in The Man with the Golden Gun

For action, it’s important that shoes don’t slip off. Laces are essential for keeping shoes secure on the feet so Bond doesn’t have to worry about his shoes falling off. A sturdy sole is also essential, while the thin leather soles on Moore’s loafers don’t have the stability of thicker leather soles or the grip of a good rubber sole. While Moore’s comfortable loafers have a place in a man’s wardrobe, they never prepare Bond for action.

For Your Eyes Only Shoes
Moore’s elegant black slip-on shoes in For Your Eyes Only

Moore wears loafers with almost all of his Bond outfits, whether he’s dressing up in a three-piece suit or dressing down in a safari suit or blouson. Despite Moore’s love of loafers, he wore other shoes prior to his time as Bond. Just before he played Bond, he frequently wore zip boots as Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders!. In The Saint he wore derby shoes and slip-on demi boots. Moore certainly could have worn other shoes as James Bond.

Here are seven occasions when Roger Moore’s loafers were a poor choice for Bond.

001. Loafers in the Sky

At the start of Moonraker, Bond is returning from Africa on a private jet wearing a blue blazer and black bit loafers. Loafers are an appropriate shoe with a blazer, and they’re particularly useful when flying today due to the inconveniences of airport security in certain counties. However, Bond finds himself pushed out of an aeroplane, and in reality his loafers would surely have faced the same fate as the pilot who loses his parachute. Roger Moore’s stuntman Jake Lombard wears black lace-up shoes instead of slip-ons for the obvious reasons why Bond should have been prepared with lace-up shoes.

002. Safari in Loafers, Part 1

In Moonraker Bond purposefully dons a safari suit to explore the jungle. Logically, Bond should have worn some type of sturdy hiking boots that would be appropriate for the jungle, both for the rough terrain and for wet conditions. Bond is, after all, wearing a safari suit for its traditional purpose, not for the sake of fashion. His two-tone beige loafers look stylish but ridiculous in context.

003. Loafers in the Woods

When Bond is hanging of the side of a helicopter in For Your Eyes Only, his loafers aren’t giving him the best grip. However, he dressed for a sorrowful visit the cemetery on his way to the office, not expecting any action, so these shoes can be excused. He made a far more questionable choice later in the film when he donned brown bit loafers to sneak around Hector Gonzales’ wooded villa. He should have expected he’d need a sturdier but still stylish shoe, like a chukka boot.

004. Safari in Loafers, Part 2

In Octopussy Bond wears a similar safari suit to the one he wears in Moonraker, and again he’s in the jungle with loafers. When his wardrobe was brought from his hotel to his holding cell in Kamal Khan’s palace, perhaps his safari boots were left behind. His low-vamp loafers make a successful escape far more difficult, and perhaps Khan made sure that Bond had no practical footwear available to him.

005. Shoe Shoe Train

When Bond enters East Germany in Octopussy under the cover of Charles Morton, he’s wearing a navy double-breasted suit and black loafers. Loafers are thought to be too casual for suits, but Roger Moore made it his signature, decades after Fleming dressed Bond in a suit with loafers. Bond ends up discarding the suit jacket and dons a disguise as an Octopussy Circus worker and soon replaces it with a red shirt to take the place of knife-thrower Mischka. The whole time he’s kept his loafers, even while hanging off the side of a train and running on top of it. Lace-up derby shoes like Connery wore as Bond would have been a far better choice.

006. Loafers on Horseback and Plane-Back

At the end of Octopussy, Bond returns to Khan’s Monsoon Palace in casualwear, prepared to take down Kamal Khan. Except he didn’t prepare enough because he’s once again wearing loafers. He should have known he would have a difficult mission ahead of him that would get physical. Military boots would have been the ideal footwear for this mission, when he ends up riding a horse and flying on the top of a plane. They would have the perfect look with his blouson too. Like in many previous occasions, his loafers would likely have been lost.

007. Mining for Loafers

Loafers may have been a highly stylish choice with many of Moore’s casual outfits, but they were rarely the right choice. When Bond wears a leather jacket and leather-soled moccasin-toe loafers for a sneaky late-night at San Francisco’s City Hall in A View to a Kill, they don’t seem like a poor choice until he has to rescue Stacey Sutton from a burning lift and carry her down a firetruck ladder. Then he drives to Zorin’s mine, where he climbs through a mine in his loafers. They miraculously stay on his feet as he swings through the air hanging on Zorin’s blimp’s mooring rope, and somehow Bond has enough grip while walking atop the Golden Gate Bridge. The film makes a joke about Stacy’s heels, but Bond’s loafers somehow get a pass. Loafers should not have been Moore’s go-to shoe for every occasion. Bond should be dressing for the worst case scenario and wearing more practical—but still stylish—shoes.

Better Footwear Choices

Moore’s Bond was never one for realism—it’s part of the charm of his Bond films. Since Moore left the role, Bond has worn more practical shoes without sacrificing style. Daniel Craig has had the best footwear of any Bond for two reasons: his shoes frequently have both laces and rubber soles. Trim rubber soles like the Dainite sole and the Crockett & Jones City sole are more practical for Bond’s unexpected circumstances and do not sacrifice style. Craig chooses chukka boots with both casual wear and with suits as a bridge between style and practicality.

Moore’s loafers have been a smart choice on occasion, such as in Live and Let Die‘s crocodile scene. The bicycle-toe loafers were cleverly made of crocodile skin. And had a croc grabbed onto a loafer when Bond was jumping on top of them, he might have been able to slip his foot out.

13 COMMENTS

  1. When did Moore wore tassel loafers ? I thought this was more of an American style, part of the preppy look.

  2. I guess Roger didn’t think we were taking much notice of his footwear! You’re quite right of course. Slip-ons are a terrible choice for anything strenuous as they slip off your feet. Desert boots would make the most sense with a safari suit, I think?

  3. I love loafers and Roger Moore looks great in them, but I agree, they aren’t the practical choice. I’ve sometimes been caught offguard and having to trek through muddy fields isn’t great to say the least. Has he ever worn chelsea boots? Might’ve been an okay alternative for some of his more action oriented scenes.

  4. As someone that detests shoelaces (you’ll find me wearing Chelsea’s in most situations), I can sympathize with Bonds choices here

    But seriously, there’s just something quintessentially 70s about wearing loafers in an action scene.

  5. I can attest to the impracticality of slip-ons. Once, as a young man, I found myself in a desperate conversation with the attendants at the Nevis bungee platform in New Zealand. I had stupidly elected to wear cowboy boots that day and I was about to plunge 134 meters toward the rocky river bed with the ropes tied around them instead of my ankles. There were a few “umms” and “ahhs” and “it’ll probably be okay” comments, and I did successfully make the jump in the end, but I took the lesson to heart to have more appropriate footwear when possible. I can forgive Bond for a few of these, maybe, but he ought to have learned his lesson eventually!

  6. The precedent, of course, is Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), who climbs down Mount Rushmore wearing what looks to me like Brooks Brothers / Alden cordovan tassel loafers.

  7. I think it just comes down to this; slip on shoes were simply Roger’s personal preference and the movie producers always worked with him and his tastes when putting together the movies wardrobes. I think nobody ever envisaged a future point when people like us would pore over the wardrobe choices in such detail. The overall canvas was what they were concerned about rather than the smaller brush strokes.

    In movies which feature continuous scenes of massive improbability I think the matter of shoe preference becomes redundant! Good post though.

  8. … and in the truck chasing finale of Licence to Kill. Tim wore highly impractical slip-on shoes…

    At least Sean’s choice of footwear was a bit more realistic. In the opening training sequence of Never Say Never Again, he wisely sported beige and white trainers with grey soles and white edging, to match his olive tactical gear.

  9. Funny article, I liked its irony very much. The big, big problem of Moore’s Bond is not that he’s too dandyish, it’s that he’s often out of context, and so he turns to be ridiculous. Out of context when he dresses very flashy while in (secret) service, when he uses unnecessary disguises, etc… And when he insists wearing loafers with any possible outfit!

  10. I think we must consider the time during which these films were made. Lace up derby shoes may have been appropriate in 1965, but hardly anyone I remember still wore such shoes in the seventies aside from pensioners and some unfortunate teds. There seemed to be a movement against laces, which makes sense – the break on flared trousers looks more natural with boots or loafers than laced shoes. I really do miss those days…

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