In one of our previous articles we covered classic dress shoes, now yours suitably decided to go an extra mile to explore types of loafers and their fun facts. Before we continue, loafers are dress shoes without a lacing mechanism or simply known as slip-ons. If you missed the dress shoes article or simply forgot some terminologies from the anatomy of a shoe, see an illustration image at the end of the article for reference.
Undoubtably the most famous, the Penny loafers were worn at schools and some schools still allow them even today. In the 1930s the Penny was first known as the Weejun, which was initially crafted by a Norwegian shoemaker. They were later popular in the United States and scholars used to keep a penny or two inside the upper saddle to make a call, that’s how the name “Penny” came about.
Not much different to the penny loafer, you can say it’s the updated version and simply because of metal strap on top of the vamp. The founder of Gucci, Guccio Gucci got the inspiration from the horse-bit of the horses he used back when he was a lift boy at Savoy Hotel in London. In the 1950s Guccio’s son Aldo, added this accessory on a leather pair of loafers. Although it became synonymous with the brand, fellow Italian brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo; Santoni and Silvano Lattanzi also used the metal trap on their loafers. The latter was served with a lawsuit which was not a success for Gucci as they only registered the trademark in 2005 only.
Another timeless pair of loafers with a mysterious history. Apparently, shoe manufacturer Allen Shoe Co. was inspired by an American movie were a pair of oxfords was seen with laces having tassels at the end, they capitalized on that and made the first tassel loafers in 1950.
The Kiltie is another classic pair and cousin to the tassel. In most occasions it has the tassels but with an add-on fringe flap on top of the vamp. These loafers also date back to the Victorian era and the overlapping tongue is rumoured to being inspired by the ancient gladiators’ skirts or kilt, hence it’s called a Kiltie Loafer.
Today the name is famous for ladies’ shoes with a flat sole looking, like secret socks when worn. This was traditionally a shoe paired with a tuxedo suit and it was mostly in a glossy patent leather finish. Like the ladies’ infamous pumps, they also have a low vamp which meant that the colour of the sock would be strictly black. Today this design style is well-known as Belgian Loafers, which also comes in modernized styles such as the double monk strap on top of the vamp and some exotic finish of patterns.
A brother to the Pump is the slippers which have a slightly higher vamp and can be in either a flat sole or with a slightly elevated heel. Traditionally, slippers were made in a velvet finish but today can be seen with a multitude of decorative detailing on the vamp and the shoes can also be found in assorted colours.
This is arguably the oldest loafer, dating as far as the 14th century. It is also the most casual pair which is favourable for summery days out on the beach. I mentioned beach, as the shoes is probably the most comfortable covered shoe for walking on beach sand. The shoe’s main characterising part is its slightly thicker and elevated woven-looking sole made from esparto rope. This loafer comes in a variety of upper fabrics such as canvas or cotton and in assorted earthy colours.
There’re other types of loafers such as the Boat Loafer which is also popular and the only one that has contradicting laces, which are functional but for decorative purposes. There is also the Driving Loafer which was made famous by another Italian brand Carvela. Nevertheless, there has been debates that loafers should be worn with secret socks especially since they’re regarded as summer shoes. However, if I would be wearing them with long visible socks, I personally prefer pairing them with plain and solid colours that would either be blending with the shoe or the pants. And lastly, not all of them including the latter two may appeal to every gentleman’s style but, it’s always a charming trait to know the difference when one sees them walking pass.
Until next time, have a suitable Shoesday