There is no bigger icon of our generation than Michael Jackson and his classic moonwalk in his signature loafers. But to understand the loafer it is important to talk about its origins. The loafer is not just for Norwegian farmers anymore. Wait a minute – was the loafer ever for Norwegian farmers? We’re glad you asked. Prepare to get schooled on one of the most popular and versatile shoes around. SHOP the latest loafer styles from Aquila now.
The slip-on shoe now known as a loafer first appeared in the mid-1930s as a casual shoe from Norway. Shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger in Aurland, Norway introduced his first design way back in 1908, but it wasn’t until he introduced a new design around 1930, called the Aurland Moccasin and later renamed the Aurland shoe, that his design began to take off.
The Norwegians began exporting the new shoes to the rest of Europe, where they were adopted by visiting Americans and championed by the American Esquire magazine (where they were featured with Norwegian farmers in a cattle loafing area). The shoe’s big moment came in 1936, when G.H. Bass introduced a version called the Weejun (like ‘Norwegian’ – get it?) and it took off across America.
Many versions of the loafer exist now, all of which have become staples of preppy style (they’re even included in The Official Preppy Handbook) but there is no arguing with icons. The King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, wore the most famous loafers of all time. To be exact they were called penny loafers and Jackson eventually turned them into his trademark. Jackson loved mixing them up with different textures like sparkling socks or even colouring in the tongue in different colours to suit his stage outfits. Jackson’s signed loafer shoes are said to have sold for as much as $75,000 (US) at auction.
These days there are options abound, from suedes, to weaves, to tasseled versions, to the infamous luxury loafers. It is a casual shoe that can be worn for either work or leisure, though lace-ups are still preferred for more formal occasions but we like to think there is always a piece of Michael Jackson in every loafer that exists.
SHOP the latest loafer styles from Aquila now.