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The History of the Loafer

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The Men’s footwear department includes and offers lots of different types of shoes. If you thought that women had many options, the men are not so far behind. Although many would characterize sneakers as the most desired and popular footwear, sneakers are not always the most suitable styling choice.

Lately, the men’s loafer has seen a special dominance in the fashion footwear department. Whether it came from specialized shoe brands or big retailers that offer men’s footwear, the loafer has been present in every collection, year after year. And the reason for that is the stylishness and the fashionability it holds as a footwear piece.

What is a loafer?

The loafer is a shoe that has been present in the fashion and footwear scene for a long time. Thought history, the loafer has been mentioned as footwear that was worn by the royals and the nobility. It is a shoe that is also known as slippers, slip-on’s and is typically low, without laces, and flaunt the model of the moccasins.

So, how did the loafer became so popular and needed? Here is a quick historical overview of the fashionable men’s loafer.

The history of the loafer

The loafer was born in Europe, its popularity is more present throughout the American continent, especially in the North. The loafers have a relatively short history, but that does not mean that they have not made a fashion impact and influence on the fashion trends. There are many disputes and discussions about their origin. Some stories say that the loafer has originated from Norway. This saying is supported by the Norwegian fishermen wearing shoes that were designed in the style of the moccasins. However, the style was not much popular outside those people.

One of the earliest designs of the loafer as we know it and wear it today was the Wildsmith Loafer. It was made by Raymond Lewis Wildsmith of Wildsmith Shoes in England. This type of footwear was designed as casual wear for nobody other but King George VI. After that and later through the years, this type of loafer saw different versions that affected its look, and lots of other shoe companies started to develop it and sell it.

The modern fashion era of the loafer began around 1908. It was the Norwegian shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger who started his loafer shoe business. in 1930, he introduced the new design of the loafer that was called Aurland Moccasin. This shoe was named after his birthplace. Later, that model was renamed the slip-on Aurland Shoe. The second design was inspired by the traditional shoes that were worn by the locals in Aurland. The Norwegians started to export them to the other parts of Europe and it became a huge success, especially with the American tourists, who were coming back home with a pair of loafers.

Soon after that, the American magazine Esquire wrote a piece, featuring the loafers. The piece also included photographs of Norwegian farmers in a cattle loafing area. Many think that the name loafers come just from that. The first official name of the term loafers comes from the Spaulding family in New Hampshire, who marketed the new shoes, inspired by that design. Another huge and important fashion point regarding the loafers was in 1934 when the bootmaker G.H.Bass started to make the loafers under the name of Weejuns – a corruption of the word Norwegians. Hid design included something new – it was a leather strip across the saddle.

After that, there were lots of different designs that started to come out and some famous names of the high-end luxury fashion entered the loafers game. Today, loafers are among the most favorite casual footwear choices for modern, stylish, and trendy men. Although there are many different kinds of loafers, there are 4 special types that are among the most popular ones.

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The penny loafer

The penny loafer is the most classic and popular loafer design. It has a leather strap across the top of the shoe and it was designed with a diamond-shaped clot. It was early adopted by the Ivy Leaguers and became the true definition and representation of the “preppy” men style. The styling of this show is very versatile and men wear it with suits, shorts, jeans, trousers.

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The tassel loafer

The tassel loafer dates back to the 1950s. Back then, they were often two-toned, with the vamps being white and the rest of the upper being another color. Today, the tassel loafers come with different prints and patterns, and the tassel remains in its top position. The tassel loafers are popular business shoes for those looking for something more modern and unique than regular and classic business shoes.

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The snaffle (bit) loafer

A bit later, in the 1968s, the snaffle loafer was born. And it was introduced by the luxurious high-end fashion house Gucci. The most notable feature of the snaffle loafer is the brass strap that comes in the shape of a horse’s snaffle that is laid across the top of the shoe.

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The Apron loafer

The apron loafer is an apron-shaped piece of leather and it has visible stitches or edges that finish off the toe. It is designed with a separate piece of leather that extends from the bottom of the top line, around the shoe itself. The stitched line results in the impression of the crease between the top of the toe and the bottom.

Loafers are rare shoes that can be worn with or without socks, and they style greatly with different fashion garments and styles.

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