The first loafer, as known and loved by men today, was reportedly inspired by a 1930s photo in “Esquire” magazine, which captured a group of Norwegian dairy farmers wearing slip-on shoes. The farmers were standing around the “loafing” area where cows were waiting to be milked, which is why in 1933 the Spaulding Leather Company of New Hampshire trademarked its new line of men’s footwear as Loafers.

A Maine shoemaker named John Bass had seen the same article, but was slower to act on it than his neighbor. So when Bass introduced his version of the loafer in 1936, he called them Weejuns, which was slang for Norwegians.

One of the characteristics of the Bass shoe was a diamond or lip-shaped notch in the decorative, supportive leather band than ran across the instep. Some say the design was supposed to represent the lips of John’s wife, Alice, kissing each pair on their way out the door. But teenagers who wore the shoes started putting a penny in the slot for good luck, and the penny loafer was born.

Because they could be slipped on, loafers were popular with students and adults alike in casual, social settings. Because the shoes were made of leather and often had simple, understated embellishments on the vamp, loafers could also be worn to work. In particular, the tassel loafer, some with wing-tip designs over the toe, became popular with attorneys and white-collar professionals.

Manufacturers known for their men’s loafers include Florsheim, Johnston Murphy, Bally, Clarks, Kenneth Cole, Gucci, and Cole Hann. The Italian fashion house of Ferragamo also makes loafers, as does Red Wing, which is more commonly associated with work boots than casual shoes. And if you still want a pair of Weejuns, Bass sells them in burgundy, black, tan, or brown.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Black Tie Guide

The Black Tie Guide

Peter Marshall became an authority on formalwear out of necessity — he needed a tux to wear on the maiden transat… [read review or visit site]

All About Shoes

All About Shoes

From Canada's Bata Shoe Museum comes a visually impressive exhibit focusing on the history of the shoe from traditi… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

Virtual Shoe Museum

Virtual Shoe Museum

This virtual museum from Shoe Icons Publishing showcases over 800 pairs of shoes and related reference information.… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Louis Vuitton Size 12 Black LoafersMint $648 Brooks Brothers Peal & Co By Crockett & Jones Brown Loafers 10.5 DSalvatore Ferragamo Parigi Driving Loafer Size 10.5 D Blue/green RubberMens Salvatore Ferragamo Black Leather Bit Loafer Dress Shoes Sz 12 DSalvatore Ferragamo 'giordano' Men's Black Matte Leather Bit Loafer Size 11 DAllen Edmonds Randolph Shell Cordovan Loafer Slip On Shoes Brown Sz: 11 BSalvatore Ferragamo Brown Gancio Bit Loafers, Men's Size 11d, Made In ItalyGucci Brown Buckled Men's Shoes Size 11m Loafers Slip Ons Leather Formal $595-Mens Gucci Black Suede And Canvas Monogram Loafer Size 10 M 42Gucci Gg Plus Wimbledon Sport Bianco 8g LoafersChanel Black Leather Loafers W/ Logo Stitching Detail Sz 38/8 Nr!Bragano Cole Haan $1200 Brown Crocodile Loafers, Size 10mAuthentic Chanel Cc Logo Black Ivory Loafers Moccasins Leather Flats Shoes 39Chanel Metallic Gold Leather Loafers W/ Logo Stitching Detail Sz 38/8 Nr!Gucci Womens High Heel Loafers Shoes Vintage Platforms 38.5Allen Edmonds Randolph Shell Cordovan Penny Loafer Burgundy 10 E Wide $650Jimmy Choo Black Canvas Round Toe Studded Loafer Eur 38.5 Sz 8.5Gucci Loafers 100% Authentic Men's 10.5 Gucci Horsebit Black Suede Loafers ShoesVintage Classic Gucci Brown Calf Horsebit Loafers 46.5 Eu / 12 - 13 UsChanel Black Leather Monogram Detail Loafers Sz 38 8 Louis Vuitton Loafers Moccasin Shoes Brand NewTory Burch Kendrick Leather Driving Loafer Brown Tan Size 9 Medium Retail $275Tom Ford LoafersSz 9.5d $500 Men's Salvatore Ferragamo Master Black Double Bit Loafers Mint!Chanel Chestnut Brown Leather Loafers W/ Logo Stitching Detail Sz 38/8 Nr!Tod's Mens Leather Loafers Black $520 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens 10 D Dk Brown Suede Loafer $498 Alden Black Full Strap Penny Loafers Shoes 10.5 D - Xlent ConditionFlorsheim Imperial Men's "yuma" Iconic Loafers, Brand New Never Worn, Sz 12 DNwob Vintage Hermes Paris Tan Leather Driving Shoes Loafers 0895-1a Us 8 Eu 41 Salvatore Ferragamo Magnifico Pebble Leather Driving Loafer Brown Sz 13 Euc $520Men's Black Salvatore Ferragamo Daverio Loafers Size 12Chanel Chestnut Brown Suede Beaded Signature Cc Loafer Shoe 38 8Prada Brown Leather Scrunch Loafers With Logo Size 41/11 Cool! Chanel Blue Leather Chain-link Chanel Logo Detail Loafer Sz 39 9 In Dust Bag Tod's Genuine Crocodile Skin Brown Penny Slip-on Loafers 9 Eu / 10 UsChristian Louboutin Leopard Print Spike Rollerboy Loafers Size 39euGucci Women Python Horse Bit Loafer *rare* - Women's Size 8b ($995)Miu Miu 1014sho161 Black Dress Loafers Women Shoes 37.5 $450 No ReserveSz. 13 Gucci Shoes/loafers Boat ShoesGucci Mens Horse Bit Loafers Classic Minimal Wear Retail $595Mezlan "monaco" Crocodile Loafers-(new) Size 11-1/2Gucci Double G Interlocking Mens Leather Loafer Black Dress Shoe 8.5 Euc!! $590Men's Navy Salvatore Ferragamo Daverio Loafers Size 12Gucci Light Pink Crocodile Skin Gold Tone Link Trim Loafers Flats Sz 39.5 9.5Gucci Mens Black Suede Legend Metal Horsebit Loafers Shoes Sz 8.5 D Italy Euc!New $540 Salvatore Ferragamo Men's 9.5 D Brown Comfortable Sole Loafers Shoes NrSalvatore Ferragamo Men's Brown Slip On Driving Loafer Size 11 DMen Salvatore Ferragamo Loafers Shoes Size 9 DSalvatore Ferragamo Brown Daverio Gancini Bit Driver Loafer Dress Shoes 8.5 DGucci Loafers 13dHermes Brown Leather Loafer Heels Sz 38 8Prada Loafers 37.5 (us 7.5)Hermes Black Loafers - Gold "h" Logo Sz 38Angelo Galasso Men Blue Suede Leather Loafers Mocassins Shoes Sz 40 Eur ItalyCrockett & Jones For Ralph Lauren Snuff Suede Tassel Loafers 10.5 D Box & ClothMint In Box Crockett & Jones For Ralph Lauren Marlow Black Tassel Loafers 10.5 DLouis Vuitton Brown Dress Shoes Loafers With Hardware Brown Size 10Mens Cole Haan Bragano Italy Brown Woven Leather Tassel Dress Loafer Us 12 N