The history of loafers

Loafers are a timeless shoe style that has remained popular for decades. They are comfortable, versatile, and stylish, making them a favorite among men and women alike. But where did loafers come from? What is the history of this iconic shoe style? In this article, we will explore the origins of loafers and how they have evolved over time.

The Origins of Loafers

The history of loafers can be traced back to Norway in the early 1900s. Norwegian farmers wore a slip-on shoe called the Aurland moccasin, which was made from a single piece of leather and had a strap across the top. These shoes were designed for comfort and durability, and they were perfect for the rugged terrain of Norway.

In the 1930s, American tourists discovered the Aurland moccasin and brought it back to the United States. The shoes became popular among Ivy League students, who wore them with khakis and blazers. The shoes were soon dubbed "penny loafers" because students would slip a penny into the strap across the top for good luck.

The Rise of Loafers

During the 1950s and 60s, loafers became a staple of American style. They were worn by everyone from businessmen to rock stars, and they were available in a variety of styles and colors. The popularity of loafers continued to grow throughout the 70s and 80s, and they became a symbol of preppy style.

In the 1990s, loafers experienced a decline in popularity as grunge and streetwear became more popular. However, the shoes never completely went out of style, and they continued to be worn by those who appreciated their timeless design.

The Evolution of Loafers

Over the years, loafers have evolved to meet the changing needs of their wearers. Today, there are countless styles of loafers available, from classic penny loafers to modern slip-on sneakers. Here are some of the most popular styles of loafers:

Penny Loafers

Penny loafers are the classic style that started it all. They are made from leather and have a strap across the top that can hold a penny or other small object. Penny loafers are versatile and can be dressed up or down, making them a great choice for any occasion.

Tassel Loafers

Tassel loafers are similar to penny loafers, but they have tassels on the front instead of a strap. They are often made from suede and have a more casual look than penny loafers.

Gucci Loafers

Gucci loafers are a luxury version of the classic penny loafer. They are made from high-quality leather and feature the Gucci logo on the front. Gucci loafers are a status symbol and are often worn by celebrities and fashion icons.

Driving Loafers

Driving loafers are a more casual style of loafer that are designed for comfort and practicality. They have a rubber sole that provides traction while driving and are often made from suede or nubuck.

Loafer Sneakers

Loafer sneakers are a modern twist on the classic loafer. They are slip-on sneakers that have a loafer-style upper. They are comfortable and stylish, making them a great choice for casual wear.

Despite being around for over a century, loafers are still a popular shoe style today. Here are some of the reasons why:


Loafers are known for being comfortable and easy to wear. They are slip-on shoes, so there are no laces to tie, and they are often made from soft leather or suede that molds to the wearer's foot over time.


Loafers are incredibly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. They can be worn with a suit for a formal event or with jeans and a t-shirt for a casual look.

Timeless Design

Loafers have a timeless design that has remained popular for decades. They are a classic shoe style that will never go out of fashion.


Many loafers are made from high-quality leather and are built to last. They are an investment piece that can be worn for years to come.

Health Benefits

Loafers are not only stylish but also have health benefits. They are designed to be comfortable and provide support to the feet, which can prevent foot pain and other foot-related issues.

Eco-Friendly Options

For those who are environmentally conscious, there are eco-friendly options available. Many companies now offer loafers made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic or organic cotton.

How to Style Loafers

Loafers are a versatile shoe style that can be worn with a variety of outfits. Here are some tips on how to style loafers:

For Men

  • Dress up penny loafers with a suit and tie for a formal event.
  • Wear driving loafers with shorts and a polo shirt for a casual summer look.
  • Pair loafers with jeans and a blazer for a smart-casual outfit.

For Women

  • Dress up loafers with a midi skirt and blouse for a chic office look.
  • Wear loafers with skinny jeans and a leather jacket for a stylish weekend outfit.
  • Pair loafers with a sundress and denim jacket for a casual summer look.


Loafers are a shoe style that has stood the test of time. From their humble beginnings as Norwegian moccasins to their status as a fashion icon, loafers have evolved to meet the changing needs of their wearers. Whether you prefer classic penny loafers or modern loafer sneakers, there is a loafer style for everyone. With their comfort, versatility, timeless design, and health benefits, it's no wonder that loafers remain a popular shoe style today.

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