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    

Salvatore Ferragamo Brown Leather Gancini Loafer Shoes Mens 11 Ee Us Rubber SoleChristian Louboutin Wild Circus Print Graphic Studded Court Shoes Loafers 38 NrAs27 John Lobb Loafers - Uk 11.5 E - Black Calf (reject)Salvatore Ferragamo Brown Woven Leather Driving Loafers 12d Superb! Alden #8 Shell Cordovan Leisure Hand Sewn Loafers Size 11.5 D Brand NewGucci Moccasins Driving Shoe Loafer Black Sz 10 Black Gg Logo GuccissimaGucci Men's Driver Penny Loafer Black Leather Guccissima Shoes Size 11Dior Homme Aw09 Incredible Petrol Silver Leather Loafers Shoes 42 £450 Sold OutLouis Vuitton Mens Moccassins Driver Loafers Suede Shoes Black Size 10 Mens Gucci Brown Suede Loafers Size 12 1/2 DFerragamo Sz 11 Texas Crocodile Loafer Ug36842 Mens Brown Fits Us 11 $1500Prada Fumo Moro Scamosciato Loafer Men's Shoes Slip Blue Leather 11-12 Size New!Gucci Navy Blue Suede Horsebit Slip-ons Loafers Eu 41 Us 9Gucci Black Leather 'hylands' Bit Loafer 9 Us 14 G $750Charlotte Olympia Sleeping Kitty Loafers Size 38 8Ralph Lauren Marlow Penny Loafer 10.5d Crockett & Jones Brown Shell CordovanAuthentic Gucci Mens Horsebit Loafer Black Suede Size 10d Exellent ConditionDieppa Restrepo Black Leather Lordy Loafer Flat 8 Versace Men's Velvet Slip On LoaferHenry Maxwell Savile Row Bespoke Shoes 9.5 / 10 Lobb$470.00 Gucci 'san Marino' Guccissima Driving Shoe Loafer 10 Us/ 9 G Authentic Gucci Mens Horsebit Loafer Brown Suede Size 10 1/2 DPrada, Orange, Leather Moccasin, Loafer, Driving Shoes, Size 10, Men's Gucci Tan, Leather, Loafer Size 11.5Alexander Mcqueen Black Suede Skull Embroidered Smoking Slipper / Loafer 38100 % Authentic Gucci Mens Leather Loafer Moccasin Size:10.5100% Authentic Gucci Mens Black Leather Loafer Shoes W/horsebit, Sz 10Salvatore Ferragamo LoafersAlden Cognac Soft Calfskin Handsewn Leather Horse Bit Dress Loafer 9 DTods Orange Textured Leather Slip On Flat Driving Moc Loafer Shoe Sz 8.5Gucci Loafers For Men 12J.crew Addie Calf Hair Loafers, Leopard Print, Size 8.5Allen Edmonds 'jermyn' Tassel / Medallion Cap Toe Loafer Black Size 9d Brand NewGucci Royal Blue Suede Horsebit Slip-on Driving Loafers Size 10 GEstate Sale Authentic New Prada Penny Loafers Suede Driver Mens Shoes Size 9.5Gucci Suede Horsebit Slip-on Loafers 10.5d Made In Italy Salvatore Ferragamo Dark Brown Leather Casual Bit Loafers 8.5 EeCole Haan Lunargrand Kiltie Tassel Loafer,suede Upper,lunarlon,camello, 8.5, NewNew Salvatore Ferragamo Lav. Originale Burg. Leather Penny-strap Loafers 11 D$590.00 Gucci Double 'g' Calfskin Leather Loafer Shoes 9 Us/ 8 G-uk New Louis Vuitton Brown Suede Men's Moccasin Shoe Loafers 9Giuseppe Zanotti Design Brown Flats / Loafers With Gold Toes Size 37Gucci 1953 Patent Leather Horse Bit Loafers -olive Green Women's Size 8 (8341-2)Salvatore Ferragamo Brown Suede Loafers Made In Italy Size 10Authentic Ferragamo Sardenga Hickory Leather Loafer Size 9 Us (8.5 Ee)Leather, Rancourt & Co. Men's Med. (d, M) Us Size 12 Black Loafer From LeffotNew J Crew Collection Biella Calf Hair Tassel Loafers 8.5 $368 Leopard Sold OutSalvatore Ferragamo Pregiato Brown Leather Gancini Bit Loafers Size 8.5 DJcrew Collection Mirror Metallic Penny Loafers Silver Sz.8 $298 New!! #02966Prada - Leather Driving Loafer With Coloured Lateral BandsTod's Loafers Slip On Drivers Shoes Size 8Men's New Gucci Loafers Size 10Mint 9.5e Alden For Brooks Brothers Chromexcel Tassel Loafer 9.5 Wide $498Canali New Men's Loafers Shoes Eu 41 1/2 Us 8.5Authentic Salvatore Ferragamo Saba Driving Moccasin Loafers Black Size 7.5Gucci Men's Brown Suede Web Striped Loafers Sz 9.5, Medium (d, M)Rare Mark Mcnairy X Bass Hampden Cordovan Vibram Loafers Moccasin Boat Shoe Sz 9M A R N I Loafers Size 9 BlackPrada 7.5 / 8.5 Usa Mens Brown Black Patent Leather Loafer Dress Shoe Worn 1 XMen's Del Toro Tassel Prince Slipper Metallic Loafer Shoe Size 12 $375