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All you need to know about Loafers

You’ve probably seen them on the street, usually hidden beneath a bare ankle and a well-cuffed pair of chinos. Yes, they are the humble loafers, the most comfortable and versatile smart-casual men’s shoe on the market.

Loafers have recently experienced a resurgence, arguably surpassing their laced-up cousins, the Oxford and the Derby. This is due in part to the loafer’s comfort as a slip-on shoe, but it’s also due to the loafer’s ability to look good in almost any situation. Whatever you want to wear: jeans, chinos, suit pants, cotton shorts, etc. Let’s dive into the intricacies of this footwear style in this article!

What exactly are Loafers?

The traditional loafer has a few distinguishing features. First and foremost, no laces. Loafers are slip-on shoes that are designed to be worn on and off your feet, making them extremely comfortable.

Loafers have a low rise as well. They have a low-profile heel and a leather upper, and they should be worn without socks (or, ideally, with invisible ankle socks). There are penny loafers, which have a saddle across the vamp, as well as tassel loafers, horsebit loafers, and kiltie loafers. They all have a distinct appearance, but they are all members of the loafer family.

Here are a few key characteristics to remember:

1.There are no laces.

Finally, a loafer has no laces, making it a slip-on shoe.

2. Exposed Ankles

A loafer is a “low shoe,” which means the ankle is exposed and the shoe does not wrap tightly around it.

3. Little Heels

Loafers are distinguished by their low-profile heels.

4. Decoration Typically, loafers will have some sort of decoration across the vamp, such as a saddle, tassel, or horse bit.

Traveling through time: History

There are several origin stories for men’s loafers. But all in all it can be attributed to one creator for the design of the modern loafers.

In the early twentieth century, British designers were mass-producing loafer-style shoes for the English gentry. On the other side of the Atlantic, Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger, a Norwegian shoemaker, combined traditional Native American moccasins with Norwegian fishing shoes to create the first official penny loafer, which quickly became popular among American college students (who use to keep pennies in the vamp, hence the name).

Loafers became a men’s shoe staple over the next 100 years. They really broke through into the cultural mainstream around ten years ago.

The various types:

Unlike other types of footwear, loafer shoes have multiple origin stories. Each type has a distinct origin story.

Overall, there are eight different types of loafers for men to choose from:

1. Penny

The penny loafer is a comfortable, traditional, and classic shoe that combines simple elegance with long-lasting ease.

This fashionable slip-on shoe originated in the 1930s but did not gain popularity until the 1950s. Some claim that the name comes from children inserting pennies into the slot. Others say it’s just an urban legend.

The penny loafer is frequently available in dark colours such as espresso, burgundy, black, and brown, and it remains a versatile, adaptable, and downright handsome shoe.

Formality: Semi-Formal / Casual

Style: A horizontal strap runs across the top of the loafer.

Yes, for everyday use. Autumn, Spring, and Summer

2. Horsebit

The horsebit loafer is distinguished by a golden metal strap across the top shaped like a horse’s snaffle.

Gucci popularised the style by changing the colour from brown to black and tinkering with the lining. Gucci’s tampering resulted in a surge in popularity. The Gucci men’s loafers quickly became a favourite among American power brokers. Nowadays, the horsebit loafer exudes a slightly retro but still sophisticated vibe.


Buckle across the top of the loafer for a casual/semi-formal look.

Yes, for everyday use. Spring and Summer are the seasons.

3. The Tassel

There are rumours about the origins of the tassel loafer.

Most people believe the shoe was created when an actor named Paul Lukas asked a New York shoemaker to make something similar to a pair of Oxfords with tassels. After being disappointed with the outcome, Lukas took his request to the Alden Shoe Company, who combined the tassel with a slip-on loafer.


The tassel loafer was created. Aside from the historical accuracy, there’s no denying that the shoe was and continues to be a huge success. This stylish staple, available in suede or leather, exudes a European sensibility and delivers classic sartorial flair.

Formality: Tassel affixed to the top of the loafer in a casual/semi-formal style.

Yes, for everyday use. Autumn and Summer are the seasons.

4. Kiltie

What was once considered an old man shoe has now become a sartorial necessity for every stylish man’s wardrobe.Often considered the odd one out by casual fans, the kiltie or kilt loafer is the loafer to have for the loafer connoisseur.

Just because your grandfather wore them doesn’t mean they’re anything less than the perfect loafer. The tassels are a useful addition that protects the instep and keeps the laces from snagging. For the fall, pair the kilties with some fitted trousers or suit pants and a nice coat.

Formality: Casual/ Semi-Formal Style: Kilt style with a loafer on top.

Yes, for everyday use. Autumn is the season

5. Driving Loafers