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    

Summer Edward Green England Tan Nubuck Suede Unlined Loafers Shoes 184 7 7.5 EMen's Size 12d Salvatore Ferragamo Black Leather Driving Loafers Italy 02483 Vgc$1680 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Exotic Genuine Ostrich Quill Shoes Loafers 11 DAuthentic Womens Canvas Logo Gucci Flats, Loafers Size 9 Driving Shoes Authentic New Womens Gucci Brown Leather Loafers Size 9 100% Genuine Navy Suede Louis Vuitton Loafers Car Shoes~uk Size 13,euro 48~mint.J.m. Weston Brown Loafers (7&1/2 E)$1500 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Genuine Crocodile Alligator Shoes Loafers 9.5 DMens Versace Loafers Size 9 Brand New!!! Only Pair On Ebay!Chloe' New Woman Black Suede Leather Ballet Flats Shoes Size 38 It $395 LoaferAuthentic Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Loafers Moccasin Shoes 8.5 (us 9)Christian Louboutin Rollerboy Spikes Mens Loafer Size 43.5$620 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Pietro Dress Shoes Gancini Bit Loafers 11.5 EeAuthentic Louis Vuitton Lv Mens Loafers Mint Condition Size 10.5/11 UsJ.m. Weston Brown Two-tone Loafers (7&1/2 E)Louis Vuitton Mens Brown Leather Gold Loafers 10 10.5 43 Shoes Lv 100% Authentic$595 New Tod's City Gommino Loafer Mocassino Penny Uk 10 / Us 11 Moccasin BlackTrickers Size 9 1/2 Blue "jacob" Step In Penny Loafer On A Double Leather SoleSalvatore Ferragamo 'magnifico' Loafer- Brown- Size 10.5 DSalvatore Ferragamo Size 12 D Burgundy Leather Gancini Giordano Loafer Shoes Auth New White/beige Gucci Womens Loafers Size 8 1/2 With Gold Gg LogoMiu Miu New Woman Pink Patent Leather Mocassins Loafer Slip Ons Shoes Size 39 ItAlden Shell Cordovan Leisure Handsewn Loafer (986) 13dLouis Vuitton Men's Smooth Dark Brown Leather Monogram Toggle Loafers Sz 10.5Louis Vuitton Men's Hockenheim Loafers/shoes Size Us 10 100% Authentic$720 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Select Black Dress Shoes Monk Strap Loafers 10 DLouis Vuitton Mens Loafers (13)Mens Salvatore Ferragamo Penny Loafers Size 12Trickers Size 7 Caffe Suede "giacomo" Step In Penny Loafer On A Leather SoleFerragamo 12 D Cognac Loafers Gancini Gold Buckle, Rubber Sole, Box Msrp 595.00Lv Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Moccasin Drivers Loafers 100% Auth Gucci Brown Leather Web Horsebit Driver Loafers Sz.9.5Ralph Lauren Purple Label Mens LoafersAlden Burgundy Shell Cordovan Full Strap Loafers 7.5 B/d 684 Mens Oxford ShoesGucci Shoes Slip-on Loafers Black Fabric And Leather G Logo Sz 8 NibFantastic Mens Prada Loafers - Black Leather - Size 10.$990 Romano Martegani Mens Genuine Alligator Crocodile Skin Shoes Loafers 10.5 MGucci Men's Black Leather Horsebit Detail Loafers Sz 8.5Gucci Men's Signature Gg Loafer..size 8 1/2 Salvatore Ferragamo Black Leather Loafer Us Shoe Size 11 Medium (d,m)Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo White Leather Loafers Size/12mMen's Louboutin Sold Out Camo Loafers Never Worn | Size Us 10.5 | Eu 44.Vintage Gentlemens George J Cleverley England Benchmade Loafer Bradley Apx 8 M Tod's New Woman Beige Suede Leather Mocassins Loafer Slip Ons Shoes Size 38,5 ItNib Gucci Womens 1953 Horsebit Loafer Terracotta/peach Suede Loafer Size:40.5Mens Gucci Horse Bit Loafers (color: Cocoa)$560 Salvatore Ferragamo Parigi Black Leather Loafer Driver Size 9 EeCeline Black Leather Slide Loafer Platforms Sz 38 8Louis Vuitton Monte Carlo Brown Leather Loafers Lv Us Size 10 100% AuthenticChristian Louboutin Men Shoe Size 40 Us 7 Blue Red Spikes LoafersAlden Burgundy Shell Cordovan Plain Toe Loafer Us (men's) Size 8 D Aberdeen Last$595 Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Tazio Black Dress Shoes Silver Bit Loafers 10.5 DSalvatore Ferragamo Alligator Loafers Size 9-nice!!!Prada Medium Brown Leather Signatured Gold Plated Bit Loafer Size 8.5Auth Hermes Constance H Logo Shoes Loafers Black Leather Italy Eur 40 / Us 10Louis Vuitton Loafers, Size 10, Dark Brown, Yellow Stitching Genuine Salvatore Ferragamo*deeper*dark Brown Leather Gancini Bit Loafers 11 DGenuine Salvatore Ferragamo*giordano*burgundy Leather Gancini Bit Loafers 10.5 DTod's Mens Shoes/loafers Tan, Size 10Stubbs & Wootton Beige Stirrup Embroidered Design Loafers/shoes/flats Sz 9