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”)

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]

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]

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]

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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Nib $595 Salvatore Ferragamo Street Black Leather Gancini Bit Loafers Shoes 10.5New In Box Louis Vuitton Damier Hockenheim Moccasins Loafers Black Us 5.5/eu 36Wildsmith London Made England Edward Green 61 Last Loafers Leather Shoes 8.5/9Salvatore Ferragamo Genuine Crocodile Alligator Brown Gancini Loafers Shoes 10.5Alden Shell Cordovan Lhs Van Last Color 8 Penny Loafer Size 11 EGucci Black Leather & Gold Horsebit Loafers Size 9.5 BPrada Casual Slip On Loafer Red Leather Sz 9 / 9.5-10 Us BoostLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferStella Mccartney Elyse Platform Loafer Oxford Shoes 7New Prada Suede Logo Loafers Drivers Men's Shoes Uk 7 Us 8 100% Authentic Italy!Men's Red Leather Gucci Horsebit Loafer Size 45eSalvatore Ferragamo Laser Brandy Calf Mens Loafer Shoes - Sz 10.5 DLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferSalvatore Ferragamo Party Black 13 Velvet Strap Gancini Bit Loafer Shoe $680 Alden Brown Suede Tassel Loafers - Recrafted By Alden And Includes Full Restor Gucci Women's Black Floral Canvas Loafer Espadrille Flats Size 39.5 (u.s. 8.5-9)**rare** Cole Haan Bragano Genuine Crocodile Loafers Black 10m With Shoe BagsLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem Loafer Chanel Beige Black Leather Cc Cap Toe Contrast Loafers Flats Size 38 8 In BoxMen's Alden For Brooks Brothers Black Shell Cordovan 9.5d Full Strap LoaferRalph Lauren Purple Label Blue Collis Slipper Loafers Us 10.5e / Uk 9.5 BnibMen's J.m Weston Alligator Penny Loafers Size 7.5 DChanel Loafers, Size 37 1/2Women's Silver Gucci Loafers Size 9Zelli Men's Geniune Crocodile Loafers Dress Shoes -us Size 12 MMen's Salvatore Ferragamo Geremy Leather LoafersRalph Lauren Polo - Genuine Alligator Shoes Tassle Loafers - Men's Size 10.5 DChanel Womens Shoes Loafers Blue Leather Size 39 (us 9b)Men's Quoddy Burgundy Hand Crafted True Penny Loafers Size 12Salvatore Ferragamo Men's Bravo Buckle Loafer - Brand New Size 10 EeGucci Men's Shoes - Lizard Horsebit Loafers -13.5m - Paid $1400 New! No Reserve* Berluti * Brown Nice Patina Leather Loafers Dress Shoes Men's Us 9Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafer Louis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoafersSalvatore Ferragammo Giordano Loafer Men's 7.5 Color Black CalfClassic Gucci Brown Horsebit Loafers 10.5 UsLouis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafers #147 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 8$695.00 Gucci Donnie Bit Loafer (men) Shoes 11 Uk (g) /12 UsMens Ostrich Leather Loafers By Marshall Needham (size Uk 7 )$740 Men's Salvatore Ferragamo Italy Cognac Penny Loafer Shoes Size 12 DNew Zilli Leather Loafers Shoes Kingpin Sartorial 10000 $Mens Burgundy Leather Loafers, Shoes, Alden, Sz;8 New EnglandGucci Red Loafers With Horsebit Size 40mSalvatore Ferragammo Regal Loafer Men's 9 Color Nero Pebble Calf Louis Vuitton Shade Loafer Alden Shell Cordovan Black Loafers Light Wear Size 13d#149 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 7.5Louis Vuitton Trading LoaferAlden For Brooks Brothers Shell Cordovan Tassel Loafer #8 Size 11c SpectacularRoberto Cavalli Men's Size 43.5 (us,9.5) Night Ablu Embroidered LoafersSalvatore Ferragamo Men's Size 12 Amico LoaferGucci Black Suede Horsebit Loafers 9 D UsGucci Horsebit Croc R Men's LoafersSalvatore Ferragamo 'magnifico' Mens Hickory Leather Loafers Size 9ee $460Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Leather Loafer With Signature Web Detail In Dark BrownGucci Mens Black Premium Leather Italian Oxford Loafers Shoes Size 12 DSalvatore Ferragamo Men's Black Leather Loafer Dress Shoes Size 10 DMens Handmade Berluti Of Paris "andy Loafer" / Slip On Size 41 7 1/2 Slim Fit.Mens Salvatore Ferragamo 'gregory' Brown Pebbled Leather Loafers 9d $560