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    

New In Box Louis Vuitton Damier Hockenheim Moccasins Loafers Black Us 5.5/eu 36Wildsmith London Made England Edward Green 61 Last Loafers Leather Shoes 8.5/9Gucci Black Leather & Gold Horsebit Loafers Size 9.5 BAlden Shell Cordovan Lhs Van Last Color 8 Penny Loafer Size 11 EBrand New--in Box Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Black Leather Loafers (rare)Salvatore Ferragamo Genuine Crocodile Alligator Brown Gancini Loafers Shoes 10.5Prada Casual Slip On Loafer Red Leather Sz 9 / 9.5-10 Us BoostNew Prada Suede Logo Loafers Drivers Men's Shoes Uk 7 Us 8 100% Authentic Italy!Meermin Mallorca-classic Collection:goodyear Welted Tassel Loafer 7'5ukLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferLouis Vuitton Men's Monte Carlo Blue Loafers Lv Size 8Stella Mccartney Elyse Platform Loafer Oxford Shoes 7Salvatore Ferragamo Party Black 13 Velvet Strap Gancini Bit Loafer Shoe $680 Brand New--in Box Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Green Suede Loafers (rare)Men's Red Leather Gucci Horsebit Loafer Size 45eLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem Loafer **rare** Cole Haan Bragano Genuine Crocodile Loafers Black 10m With Shoe BagsAlden Brown Suede Tassel Loafers - Recrafted By Alden And Includes Full Restor Men's Alden For Brooks Brothers Black Shell Cordovan 9.5d Full Strap LoaferChanel Beige Black Leather Cc Cap Toe Contrast Loafers Flats Size 38 8 In BoxEverlane Italian Leather Modern Loafer, Black, 6.5Sz 13 Salvatore Ferragamo Magnifico Black Pebbled Leather Bit Loafers MenRalph Lauren Purple Label Blue Collis Slipper Loafers Us 10.5e / Uk 9.5 BnibGucci Women's Black Floral Canvas Loafer Espadrille Flats Size 39.5 (u.s. 8.5-9)Women's Silver Gucci Loafers Size 9Zelli Men's Geniune Crocodile Loafers Dress Shoes -us Size 12 MMen's J.m Weston Alligator Penny Loafers Size 7.5 DGucci Men's Shoes - Lizard Horsebit Loafers -13.5m - Paid $1400 New! No ReserveTod's Manhattan Men's Loafers Leather Suede Cocoa Brown Size 10-1/2 10.5 BnibRalph Lauren Polo - Genuine Alligator Shoes Tassle Loafers - Men's Size 10.5 DMen's Quoddy Burgundy Hand Crafted True Penny Loafers Size 12Ferragamo Men's Loafer Size 12 NewSalvatore Ferragamo Men's Bravo Buckle Loafer - Brand New Size 10 Ee* Berluti * Brown Nice Patina Leather Loafers Dress Shoes Men's Us 9Louis Vuittion Black Leather Loafers Mens Dress Shoes Uk 9 / Us 9.5 Nice!! 0075Louis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoafersAlden Shell Cordovan Tassel LoafersMens Alden Loafers/shoes Size 9 1/2 B/d W/toe & Heel Steel Plates/tapsChanel Womens Shoes Loafers Blue Leather Size 39 (us 9b)#147 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 8Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafer Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafers Salvatore Ferragammo Giordano Loafer Men's 7.5 Color Black Calf$740 Men's Salvatore Ferragamo Italy Cognac Penny Loafer Shoes Size 12 DMens Ostrich Leather Loafers By Marshall Needham (size Uk 7 )$695.00 Gucci Donnie Bit Loafer (men) Shoes 11 Uk (g) /12 UsAuthentic Gucci Loafer Shoes Eu 40Chanel Oxford Suede & Leather Moccasins Black Loafers Flat Shoes - Size 39.5Gucci Red Loafers With Horsebit Size 40mAlden Shell Cordovan Black Loafers Light Wear Size 13dMens Burgundy Leather Loafers, Shoes, Alden, Sz;8 New EnglandNew Zilli Leather Loafers Shoes Kingpin Sartorial 10000 $#149 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 7.5Salvatore Ferragammo Regal Loafer Men's 9 Color Nero Pebble Calf Louis Vuitton Shade Loafer Alden For Brooks Brothers Shell Cordovan Tassel Loafer #8 Size 11c SpectacularGucci Men's Blue Suede Horsebit Loafers Made In Italy Size 11dNib Mens Salvatore Ferragamo Shoes Size 11 D Black Ginepro Loafer, $600 RetailGucci Bamboo Horsebit Leather Loafer With Signature Web Detail In Dark Brown