Loafers: The Shoe for Every Occasion

Not all shoes are created equal.

Some, like Oxfords, Derbies, and Brogues, for instance, are suitable for the office, but not for sipping coffee on a sunny patio on a Sunday afternoon.

Boots, whether they be for the dress – think Chelseas or Chukkas, or for work – Combat boots or Construction boots for example – are perfect for the missions they were designed for, but can’t be worn for every occasion.

Sneakers are great for the courts – Tennis, Basketball, and Racquetball – and add a sporting element to any casual outfit – but they are not to be worn in more serious settings. It would be inappropriate to wear sneakers to a funeral.Coffee Brown Loafers - HoogStore

In the world of shoes, only one style has the versatility to succeed in environments where others fail: The Loafer, aka the Slip-On shoe. Native-American Indians were the first group of people to wrap animal hides around their feet and stitch them together in what is known as moccasins. Crude examples of early loafers have also been found in Europe, particularly Scandinavia.

It wasn’t until 1936 that the G.H. Bass Company created the first true loafer: The Weejun Penny Loafer. They patented the word “Weejun”, which is short for Norwegian, and added a horizontal strap across the tongue to help add downward pressure on the shoe so it would help the wearer keep the shoe from slipping off. In what became an iconic move they hollowed out a portion of the strap for aesthetic purposes. It turns out the void in the strap was perfectly sized to hold a penny.
That is how Penny Loafer was born.

However, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 60’s that the style really took off. James Dean paired his loafers with a pair of denim jeans and a white t-shirt. Young men around the world took notice. By the 1960’s it was common to find Ivy League “preppies” wearing them with Khakis, an Oxford button-down shirt, a regimental tie, and a blue blazer.

Today, the Loafer comes in literally every color, style, material, and price range you can imagine and can be paired in almost limitless ways – from the beach to the boardroom!

For a super-fun summer vibe, grab a pair of checkered canvas slip-on or maybe a pair with a favorite comic book or cartoon character! They’re affordable and can be paired with board-shorts or denim cut-offs and a t-shirt.

To elevate the casual vibe, pair some boat shoes with a light Oxford button-down shirt (striped or solid) and a pair of solid-colored shorts – or, for a truly stand-out look – wear patterned or plaid shorts with a multi-colored striped belt. For a slightly more formal – but still relaxed look – trade the shorts in for a pair of Chinos. What color? Let the color of the shoes guide the choice.

Lastly, for a truly formal or corporate look, slip on a pair of Black or HoogStore Coffee Brown Leather Loafers (with or without tassels) with a suit, or go for a mixed ensemble featuring a pair of pants, a sharp shirt, a tie, and a jacket.

Pro Tip: Make sure your belt and watch strap match your shoes!
Loafers are the most versatile shoe in the men’s footwear universe. No man’s shoe collection is complete without them.