What are Snoafers?




Earlier this year, New Balance launched the 1906L, a hybrid of a pair of sneakers and a loafer that divided public opinion between those who couldn't wait to own them (they will be released in August) and those who hated them wholeheartedly.


But where do these Frankensteins of footwear that are making so much noise come from?
The need would seem to be to cater to those who are fed up with the classic sneaker and those who are looking to incorporate more formal elements into their wardrobes, a trend that also seems to be reflected in the recent return to prominence of the boat loafer as the it sho of the summer for women and men, the accomplice being Ms. Prada and the Miu Miu fashion show. And then there is the ugly shoes trend that seems not to have worn off yet, as evidenced by the experiments we see on the runway. Last, the desire to do something new.


For New Balance, it was a mix of all this, explains senior footwear designer Charlotte Lee in recounting the creative process, "I created a CAD of a classic moccasin and then we looked for a way to fuse it together with our historic 1906 model. We chose that pattern because there is a lot of interest in these tech running styles and I felt like it worked well to contrast something as clean as a moccasin with something as technical. That's how 95 percent of the product came about; the rest, which is the more complex part, was put in by our development department, because we wanted to ensure the same level of quality that you expect from a New Balance product."


Not only aesthetics then, but also comfort: it is no coincidence that the slip-on footwear market is in splendid shape, with a value of 151 million in 2022 and a turnover forecast that will reach close to $213 million by 2032. A trend also confirmed by the latest Men's Spring Summer 2025 fashion shows, with Fendi presenting its version of the snoafer, more conservative and elegant but still a hybrid, with the classic loafer equipped with a ton sur ton rubber sole.


Read the other news of July 2024