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A loafer is a slip-on shoe with a heel. The most famous model is the Pennyloafer (also called college shoe ). Moccasins are not part of the loafers because they have no heels.

In general, the loafer is also called slipper (Germany), slip-on (England) or knickers (Austria and Switzerland).


The first loafers were made in America around 1910, and it was the model that is now called penny loafers . The Bass company made this model popular by introducing it to universities in the 1930s, where it quickly became the classic Ivy League shoe and received its current model name (allegedly, the students put a penny in the recess as a lucky charm the shaft bridge over the instep). Sebago (also an American manufacturer) came onto the market with its own penny loafer model ( Beefroll ) in the mid-1940s. In the 1950s, the loafers made in Italy became popular and were hesitant to spread. In the same decade, the American company Alden presented its tassel loafers . In the following decade, the Gucci slipper with the miniature bridle on the instep became known and respected personalities appeared in public with loafers on their feet. When the loafer gained general acceptance, it was also copied by well-known English shoe manufacturers in a welted construction, which, however, robbed it of its typical lightness and flexibility.

Style and models

Loafers in brown leather

The loafer is a unisex shoe and is not considered formal footwear for men, as it is cut deeper than a normal low shoe. The acceptance of this shoe model in business life varies and also depends on the respective industry. On the one hand it depends on the country (in America and Italy the loafer is generally accepted; in England and Germany people approach it with skepticism), on the other hand it depends on the shoe color (black is more accepted for business occasions, whereas brown tones are reserved for leisure) .

Classic loafers are usually sewn through shoes (seam in the front shoe on the insole visible) in moccasin style . Accordingly, loafers are light and flexible low shoes that are preferably worn in warm, dry weather.

It is considered a further development of the moccasin and, like this type of shoe, the shaft runs under the foot and is closed on its upper side with the blade insert. Unlike a moccasin, however, the loafer has an outsole and a heel.

Cup loafers with functionless decorative thighs tunneled around the entrance and ending in tassels on the forefoot.

Well-known loafer models:

  • Penny loafers (transverse slit in the shaft bridge over the instep)
  • Tassel loafers (to get started tunneled and expiring on the forefoot in tassels decorative grandson)
  • Flap slippers or - as a slipper variant - also called Prince Albert slipper (shaft reaching high on the instep with a single seam on the heel)
  • Train loafers also called elastic loafers (with elastic rubber band insert on the side of the instep)


  • Helge Sternke: Everything about men's shoes . Nicolai, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89479-252-3 (With a detailed representation and illustration of all known loafer models, as well as the general historical development and the respective model-specific development).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Slipper  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence