Why Are They Called Penny Loafers A Comprehensive Guide to the Iconic Footwear

Why Are They Called Penny Loafers? A Comprehensive Guide to the Iconic Footwear


Penny loafers are a kind of footwear that has been in vogue for decades. They are composed of leather or suede and comprise an iconic strap that runs across the shoe’s front. The most remarkable aspect of penny loafers is the little slit or opening on the strap, which traditionally cradled a penny or coin, thus attributing the shoes their name. Today, penny loafers come in assorted styles and colors, but their classic design remains iconic.

The History of Penny Loafers

Penny loafers have a history that dates back to the early 1930s. The ageless penny loafer design was initially crafted by the American shoe company G.H. Bass & Co. The principal idea was to produce a shoe that was stylish, elegant, but also comfortable and suitable for dressier occasions.

The primary penny loafers were dubbed Weejuns, a name still used to refer to this one-of-a-kind shoe style till today. The first pair of Weejuns was introduced in 1936 and instantly earned fame among both men and women.

The origin of the penny loafer’s name is also linked to history. During the 1930s, it was conventional for college students to preserve a penny or coin in their penny loafers as a means of being ready just in case they needed to call home. It became a widespread trend that reinforced penny loafers’ appeal, thus cementing it as a fashion staple.

The Evolution of Penny Loafers

Through the years, penny loafers have undergone various adaptations and redesigns, making them a versatile footwear option for both genders. Although the classic design of penny loafers remains the same, today, several versions of this classic shoe exist.

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Tassel Loafers

One of the most notable changes to penny loafers was the introduction of tassels. Tassel loafers emerged in the 1950s and quickly became a popular variant of penny loafers. Rather than the customary slit, tassel loafers come adorned with tassels on the front, providing them with a unique and chic look.

Horsebit Loafers

Another prevalent variation of penny loafers is the horsebit loafer. These loafers have a metallic bar across the shoe’s front, adding a subtle touch of class to the classic design.

Penny Loafers Today

At present, penny loafers continue to be a fashionable footwear option stretched out to both casual and formal occasions. They are on hand in a variety of colors, materials and design options, providing everyone with the opportunity to find the perfect penny loafer.


Can women wear penny loafers?

A. Yes, penny loafers come in styles and sizes suitable for both genders – men and women.

What is the discrepancy between a loafer and a penny loafer?

A. While all loafers come under the same category, penny loafers are easily recognizable with their slit or opening on the strap, where you can place a penny or coin.

Are penny loafers comfortable?

A. Penny loafers are known to be very comfortable, predominantly since they are made of high-quality leather or suede.

Can penny loafers be worn for formal occasions?

A. Yes, penny loafers can be worn for formal occasions as long as they are made of high-quality leather and are in excellent condition.

How should I style penny loafers?

A. Penny loafers can be paired with various outfits, from casual jeans to formal suits. They are adaptable shoes that work well for both dressed-up and casual affairs.

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Penny loafers have a history that goes back to decades and continue to be a fashionable footwear option today. From their initial creation as a comfortable and chic shoe to their continued relevance now, penny loafers have stood the test of time. Whether you prefer classic or contemporary styles, penny loafers are a must-have in your shoe collection. So, the next time you slide on a pair of penny loafers, you’ll recollect the history and significance behind this iconic shoe.

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