Loafers are my favourite shoe. It helps that you can get plain and tasseled. Being my age, I am second generation MOD/Two Tone kid, they appeal because they looked so right, and worn by one of my favourite bands ever The Specials.
Two Tone was it MOD? But hey what it did do was bring loafers on to the feet of many young people. The proper ones cost a fortune then and still do! But the quality is so much better.
The original Loafer was designed just before the 2nd World War and has its origins in Norway. Norwegian farmers would wear a shoe when ‘cattle loafing’, hence the name. The shoe developed further in America by the company BASS, and they called them Weejuns, after the Norwaygians. They added the all important strap across the front of the shoe.
The term ‘Penny Loafers’ comes from prep school students wanting to customise their loafers, the penny being wedged in the front strap.
The Loafer look for MODS, I assume, comes from the Jazz players, meaning the Blue Notes lp etc. and because of the college boy look, ie, Harringtons, Levi’s and Loafers. A defining look even today.
There are several makers these days as you would expect. Prices in the UK vary a lot. You can buy an ok pair for about £50, but spend a bit more and go for a old school make and you can feel the difference. BASS Weejuns are a thinner shoe, where as the Loakes have a more sturdy look and feel.
I would say these are a classic and one style that will also be thought of as MOD revival. I am not sure where Weller got his first pair! or whether he had them made. I assume he must have had seen the picture or The Who’s Roger Daltrey wearing era ’64. In the picture you can clearly see the two tone black and white shoe.
Certainly The Jam seem to wear them through most of ’77 and Foxton can be seen in a pair on the ‘All Mod Cons’ LP cover. As the band came through, the shoes would have been an easy money spin.
At the time you could buy them from either going to Carnaby Street or by mail order. I remember Melandi being one of the shops that used to push them.
I am not sure if Melandi made them and welcome an answer on that one. You still see them about on scooter rallies in th UK. Personally, as a shoe, I think they look pretty good and as style I think the pointy look goes in and out of fashion.
Ikon are the only people making these shoes these days. if you fancy a pair here you go !
There are many different types of Brogues. The pair above perhaps are the classic look. The above pair are called ‘Wingtails’ in America.
The Brogue has a long history before getting to MOD. Many companies in the UK still produce handmade Brogues: Loake, Earl Barton, Chencery to name a few. Loake make an old style look called the Chester. At the time of writing these have become fashionable with boy bands like JLS.
In terms of 60’s MODS I saw this on the Modgeneration website.
In the 60’s I bought mine from Saxones and complemented them with fringed things that covered the laces. Back in those days good shoes lasted for anything up to 20 years if you looked after them and especially put them in trees to dry after use. The leather used for the uppers was dyed of course but only waxed and one never used polish on them, only wax. The wax hasn’t been made for I don’t know how long and the company went out of business as all shoe leather now has a plastic coating instead of wax which means they will crack well before 15 years have gone – I think after 8 or so.
Churches dropped their beautiful round last for much more pointy ones around 68 or 70 I think and the other British companies followed suit so real round toes probably don’t exist today.
I now have arthritis in a big toe and can’t wear good leather shoes anymore – except for my loafers – made by Barkers and they really are the originals and the best – if you examine the way the top is attached all the other brands join them edge to edge but Barkers are folded over – which means hand-stitched!
The later two tone style that Marriot wears on the ‘Colour Me Pop’ show are more late 60’s, and have an air of Dandiness about them. I like the look on Marriott.
I think Weller had some in The Style Council, and Madness have been known to wear them.
The Skins and Suedeheads adopted the Brogue for themsleves and today the shoe is still seen widely on the Northern Soul Scene.
I like them a lot, always have, they are a really good hard wearing shoe that, if you look after, last ages. I’m not sure if this happened all over the UK or was regional, but at our school we would add Blakeys which would cause the shoe to make a clicking noise as you walked around. This was done mainly to wind up the teachers.