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    

Gucci Navy Red 9.5 Leather Signature Web Horsebit Driving Loafer Uk8.5 Shoe $495Jimmy Choo Brogan Gray 11 44 Oiled Suede Handcuff Driver Loafer Shoe New $650New In Box Louis Vuitton Damier Hockenheim Moccasins Loafers Black Us 5.5/eu 36Salvatore Ferragamo Nicolas Brown 10 Burnished Leather Bit Loafer Shoe $595Wildsmith London Made England Edward Green 61 Last Loafers Leather Shoes 8.5/9Gucci Black Leather & Gold Horsebit Loafers Size 9.5 BPrada Casual Slip On Loafer Red Leather Sz 9 / 9.5-10 Us BoostSalvatore Ferragamo 3086 Mens Antoane Black Loafers 8.5 Extra Wide (e+, Ww) BhfoBrand New--in Box Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Black Leather Loafers (rare)Alden Shell Cordovan Lhs Van Last Color 8 Penny Loafer Size 11 ESalvatore Ferragamo Genuine Crocodile Alligator Brown Gancini Loafers Shoes 10.5New Prada Suede Logo Loafers Drivers Men's Shoes Uk 7 Us 8 100% Authentic Italy!Louis Vuitton Men's Monte Carlo Blue Loafers Lv Size 8Louis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferGucci White Multi 8.5 Leather Signature Web Bit Driving Loafer Uk7.5 Shoe $495Meermin Mallorca-classic Collection:goodyear Welted Tassel Loafer 7'5ukSalvatore Ferragamo Party Black 13 Velvet Strap Gancini Bit Loafer Shoe $680 Brand New--in Box Gucci Bamboo Horsebit Green Suede Loafers (rare)Stella Mccartney Elyse Platform Loafer Oxford Shoes 7Men's Alden For Brooks Brothers Black Shell Cordovan 9.5d Full Strap LoaferLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoaferLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem Loafer **rare** Cole Haan Bragano Genuine Crocodile Loafers Black 10m With Shoe BagsEverlane Italian Leather Modern Loafer, Black, 6.5Alden Brown Suede Tassel Loafers - Recrafted By Alden And Includes Full Restor Chanel Beige Black Leather Cc Cap Toe Contrast Loafers Flats Size 38 8 In BoxSz 13 Salvatore Ferragamo Magnifico Black Pebbled Leather Bit Loafers MenRalph Lauren Purple Label Blue Collis Slipper Loafers Us 10.5e / Uk 9.5 BnibWomen's Silver Gucci Loafers Size 9Men's Red Leather Gucci Horsebit Loafer Size 45eZelli Men's Geniune Crocodile Loafers Dress Shoes -us Size 12 MMen's J.m Weston Alligator Penny Loafers Size 7.5 DTod's Manhattan Men's Loafers Leather Suede Cocoa Brown Size 10-1/2 10.5 BnibGucci Men's Shoes - Lizard Horsebit Loafers -13.5m - Paid $1400 New! No ReserveRalph Lauren Polo - Genuine Alligator Shoes Tassle Loafers - Men's Size 10.5 DGucci Women's Black Floral Canvas Loafer Espadrille Flats Size 39.5 (u.s. 8.5-9)Men's Quoddy Burgundy Hand Crafted True Penny Loafers Size 12Salvatore Ferragamo Men's Bravo Buckle Loafer - Brand New Size 10 EeLouis Vuittion Black Leather Loafers Mens Dress Shoes Uk 9 / Us 9.5 Nice!! 0075Alden Shell Cordovan Tassel LoafersLouis Vuitton Hockenhiem LoafersFerragamo Men's Loafer Size 12 New$740 Men's Salvatore Ferragamo Italy Cognac Penny Loafer Shoes Size 12 DMens Alden Loafers/shoes Size 9 1/2 B/d W/toe & Heel Steel Plates/taps#147 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 8* Berluti * Brown Nice Patina Leather Loafers Dress Shoes Men's Us 9Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafer Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafers Salvatore Ferragammo Giordano Loafer Men's 7.5 Color Black CalfChanel Womens Shoes Loafers Blue Leather Size 39 (us 9b)Mens Ostrich Leather Loafers By Marshall Needham (size Uk 7 )$695.00 Gucci Donnie Bit Loafer (men) Shoes 11 Uk (g) /12 UsMens Burgundy Leather Loafers, Shoes, Alden, Sz;8 New EnglandChanel Oxford Suede & Leather Moccasins Black Loafers Flat Shoes - Size 39.5Gucci Red Loafers With Horsebit Size 40mAlden For Brooks Brothers Shell Cordovan Tassel Loafer #8 Size 11c SpectacularAlden Shell Cordovan Black Loafers Light Wear Size 13dAuthentic Gucci Loafer Shoes Eu 40New Zilli Leather Loafers Shoes Kingpin Sartorial 10000 $#149 Everlane The Modern Loafer Black Size 7.5