The History of the Loafer: From Casual Shoes to Iconic Style Statement

The History of the Loafer: From Casual Shoes to Iconic Style Statement

From Casual Shoes to Iconic Style Statement

Loafers have come a long way since their origins as casual footwear for men and women. Today, they are a timeless style statement that can be dressed up or down, worn with everything from jeans to suits. In this post, we'll take a look at the history of loafers, their evolution as a style icon, and the role that Baudoin & Lange has played in this story.

The Birth of the Loafer

The term "loafer" was first used in the 1930s to describe a slip-on shoe that was popular with men and women as a casual option. The design was simple, with no laces or buckles, and a low, flat heel. The upper part of the shoe was typically made from soft leather or suede, and the sole was often made of rubber.

The origin of the loafer is somewhat contested. Some credit the Norwegian farmers who wore a similar style of slip-on shoe for their work, while others point to the Native American moccasin as the inspiration for the design.

In any case, the loafer quickly became a popular choice for men and women, both for casual wear and as a more comfortable alternative to formal dress shoes. It wasn't until the 1950s, however, that the loafer began to be seen as a style statement in its own right.

The Rise of the Loafer

During the 1950s and 1960s, loafers became increasingly popular among Ivy league students who were looking for a more relaxed style of dress. The shoes were often worn with casual clothing, such as jeans and sportswear. The term penny loafer was coined due to the small slit on the top of the shoe's tongue that was the perfect size to hold a coin. Back in the days when payphones were more commonly used, many students would keep a penny in their loafers in case they needed to make an emergency phone call. As the popularity of loafers grew the practice of putting a penny in the shoe's slot became a popular trend. This led to the shoe being commonly referred to as a penny loafer, and the style has remained popular to this day.

By the 1970s, the loafer had become an iconic symbol of preppy style, worn by everyone from Ivy League students to Hollywood celebrities. The shoes were often paired with khakis and a blazer for a classic, sophisticated look.

The Evolution of the Loafer

In recent years, loafers have continued to evolve, with designers experimenting with different styles, materials, and embellishments. The classic penny loafer remains a timeless style, but loafers can now be found with tassels, broguing, and other decorative elements.

At Baudoin & Lange, we've taken the loafer to the next level with our innovative Stride loafer. Made from soft, high-quality leather or suede, the Stride features a unique active sole made of shock-absorbent rubber. This sole is designed to provide unparalleled comfort and support, making the Stride ideal for active, modern lifestyles.

Our Sagan Classic loafer, meanwhile, remains a favorite among customers who appreciate the timeless style and unparalleled craftsmanship that we are known for.  

Constructed with cork inlay in the insole, the Sagan Classic is padded for an all-day cushioned walk. Handcrafted from soft, supple asteria suede, the Sagan Classic is designed to be comfortable from the moment you slip them on, with no need for a break-in period.

We have also pushed the boundaries of the loafer with our Sagan Grand Loafer line, featuring an elongated toe box and our proprietary B&L sole construction for maximum comfort and support. These loafers are handcrafted with precision and attention to detail, showcasing the highest level of craftsmanship. The Sagan Grand Loafer for men comes in a range of materials, including suede and calfskin. With their elegant and contemporary design, the Sagan Grand Loafer is the perfect shoe for those who want to stand out from the crowd.


The Future of the Loafer

As we look to the future, it's clear that loafers will continue to be a popular choice for men and women who appreciate their timeless style, comfort, and versatility. At Baudoin & Lange, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of the loafer, incorporating new materials, innovative designs, and a modern vision of craftsmanship to create shoes that are truly exceptional. Our Stride, Grand and Sagan Classic loafers are examples of this commitment, marrying classic design with modern technology and premium materials.

As with any piece of clothing or footwear, it's important to choose high-quality pieces that will last for years to come. We take pride in using only the finest materials and craftsmanship to create our loafers, ensuring they are not only stylish and comfortable, but also durable and long-lasting.

Loafers have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a casual slip-on shoe. Today, they are a symbol of classic style, timeless elegance, and effortless comfort. From the casual weekend look to the boardroom, loafers are a versatile choice that can take you anywhere.

At Baudoin & Lange, we are proud to carry on the tradition of the loafer, creating modern, innovative takes on this timeless classic. Whether you prefer the sleek, refined look of the Sagan Classic, the sportier, active design of the Stride or the more conservative look of the Grand, our loafers are designed to meet the needs of the modern man and woman.

The loafer is a shoe with a rich history and a bright future. From its origins as a casual slip-on shoe to its current status as a timeless wardrobe staple, the loafer has stood the test of time and remains as popular as ever. We are proud to carry on this tradition and to create loafers that are not only stylish and comfortable, but also durable and of the highest quality. With the Sagan Stride, Grand and Sagan Classic loafers, we continue to push the boundaries of the loafer, creating shoes that are truly exceptional and that will be worn with pride for years to come.