Posted by Lee Fleming on

Slip on styles are fitting for all seasons in particular the Spring / Summer months due to their versatility at home, in the office or on holiday. The men’s loafer is a timeless classic that is as popular within the Barker collection today as it was many years ago it isn’t a surprise considering the loafer’s history.  

The origins of the loafer can be traced back to the London-based bespoke shoe company Wildsmith Shoes who designed a casual slip on shoes for King George VI. The bespoke slip on design by Raymond Lewis Wildsmith was known as the ‘Wildsmith Loafer’ and has subsequently been sold by other London shoe companies under the name ‘Harrow’. 

Other origins of the loafer can be found in Scandinavia where Aurland-based shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger designed a loafer in 1908 that was worn by Norwegian farmers. In 1930, Tveranger developed his design having been inspired by Native American footwear and named his creation the Aurland Moccasin which became recognised throughout Europe.

In 1934, Maine-based shoemaker G.H Bass introduced a loafer called Weejun as it was inspired by Tveranger’s shoe and paid homage to its Norwegian roots. The G.H. Bass reinterpretation became penny loafer style we adore today having been introduced in 1950s America and quickly became the shoe of choice for college students. The colloquial Penny Loafer title originates from students keeping a dime in the half moon cut out slot of the leather strip as a fashion statement and continues to be a Ivy League menswear staple. 

The Barker shoes range of loafers for men includes several timeless loafer styles within the, BarkerTech, Creative, Handcrafted and Professional collections. The Penny Loafer is the ideal slip on choice as can be styled with nearly everything and can be worn smart or casual depending on the occasion. The Barker Caruso Penny Loafer is the longest running Goodyear welted style in the current Barker collection having been first introduced in the 1960s. Designed by a member of the Barker family, Albert Barker the Caruso design was inspired the American Ivy League and continues to be made on the same Barker last, number 10 at the Barker factory in Earls Barton.

Within the Barker Of Earls Barton Archive collection you’ll discover Mears Penny Loafer which is a reinterpretation of the Caruso made on the 10 last from European grained leather and suede on a British Dainite rubber sole. Further Penny Loafer favourites include the Gates (BarkerTech collection), Jevington (Handcrafted collection) and Portsmouth (Professional collection) Goodyear welted styles which are made from premium calf and suede leathers on a choice of leather or Dainite rubber soles.  

Another slip on essential is the Tassel Loafer, an elegant design originally made by Massachusetts shoemaker Alden who realised the styles potential as a shoe of casual elegance that can be worn both informal and formal. Iconic Barker Tassel Loafers include the Clive, Newborough and Studland Goodyear welted styles.


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A recent addition in the Creative collection is the Frank horsebit loafer which has quickly gained popularity due to its styling and versatility. Made on the69 last from premium European calf leathers, Frank features a Goodyear welted construction, single leather sole and tasteful brass saddle detailing.  

Explore the extensive range of Barker Loafers and slip on styles online and in-store at the Barker London flagship stores and stockists located around the world