Gentlemens Shoes 101 – The Slip-on

The slip-on, or the loafer, is an innovation in gentlemens shoes from ’30s Norway. They are a laceless shoe that is based on the basic moccasin construction. Originally worn by Norwegian farmers, the slip-on was promoted in the United States by shoemakers, including Maine bootmaker G.H. Bass, who sold them as ‘Weejuns’ adding the distinctive diamond cut-out strap across the top. This leather slot remained ornamental until prep-school boys in the ’50s began inserting pennys into them, creating the term ‘penny loafers’ a term which is still applied to Bass Weejuns and similarly styled slip-ons. The popularity of this casual, or leisure, shoe has brought the English and Italian designers, among others, to raise this once haughty slipper to the ranks of classic gentlemens footwear.

While at first only used as a house shoe, the Slip-on, is perfect for a gentlemens leisure activities, and some very stylish Slip-ons are even suitable for some work environments. This pair of Slip-ons featured in Mister Crew has a spectator design:

Leather Slip-ons in the Spectator Style

Leather Slip-ons in the Spectator Style

and of course there is the often duplicated, but never replicated, Gucci Slip-ons, like these burgundy ones from the 80s from Rice and Bean Vintage:

Vintage 80's Gucci Burgundy Leather Loafers

Vintage 80's Gucci Burgundy Leather Loafers

where Gucci has made the Slip-on a mainstay of their design innovation, almost to the point you’d think they have something about tying laces…

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7 responses

  1. Pingback: Tim Little and English Shoes « Kingpin Chic

  2. I also like these spectator penny loafer shoes in brown. Saw them last year online Brooks Brothers but did not hae the $$ to buy them at that time. Have you found any?

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