THE STORY BEHIND IT
Bourgeois, brown, boring. Traditionally, a pair of loafers doesn’t have the same appeal as stilettos, pumps, ballerinas or even booties. Loafers have been the informal shoe choice to wear in formal places for decades, and weren’t meant to be worn by women in the first place. They were the epitome of preppy, and a shoe that was considered immune to trends. Of course, over time, they found a much better purpose.
The history of the loafer as we know it starts in 1936, when footwear dynasty G.H. Bass & Co launched the Weejun shoe, which was made for men, but became even more popular with women who bought them in boys' sizes. A few years after introducing the laceless slip-on leather shoes, Bass released them in a more feminine shape. To most people, the name Weejun isn’t familiar, but the words penny loafer definitely are, which is the popular name they go by. The name is believed to derive from the slot on the shoe saddle, which its wearer realized was perfect to fit a coin inside. At a time when a coin could get you far, the owners of penny loafers placed coins in their shoes to use in case of emergency – or in whatever sudden event they would need it for.