Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Men's Shoes

Yale Glee Club Director Fenno Heath (Fenno Follansbee Heath, Director from 1953 to 1992) -  Original Photograph from Archives
Two Questions:

1)  I am about to buy some blucher mocassins.  Where should I be looking?

2) I have two questions.   I am in need of both loafers and some dress shoes to wear with a suit.  Are Bass Weejuns still the default penny loafer or are there better ones out there that are worth the extra money?  Who makes the best lace-ups for dress?  And does it matter what color I should buy to wear with a Navy or Charcoal suit?

For consideration:

Men's Dress Shoes
  • Lace-ups and Loafers (Penny, Horsebit, Belgians, Tassels, etc.).

Men's Casual Shoes

  • Bluchers and Camp Mocs 


    1. On the question about a penny loafer, there is nothing wrong with the Bass Weejun. I am a big fan of Crockett & Jones, though, and have been wearing their Boston loafer for years:

      I also have no problem wearing tassel loafers with a suit and have owned Brooks tassels (made by Alden) in both black and brown for decades. Can't go wrong:,default,pd.html?dwvar_443H_Color=BLCK&contentpos=17&cgid=0522

      If you only have one pair of 'lace-ups for dress' they should be a captoe Oxford. Now the question is how much money do you want or need to spend. Brooks sells a perfectly fine version made by Edmund Allen:,default,pd.html?dwvar_MH00218_Color=BLCK&contentpos=3&cgid=0522

      You might also want to go back to Crockett & Jones for the Connaught:

      If you really want to go crazy (and even I'm not there yet), save up for the Edward Green Chelsea in the 202 last which has a traditional rounded toe. Very British:

      When it comes to a Navy or Charcoal suit, I wouldn't think of anything but black with either navy or dark grey. Black or brown are fine with Charcoal. Lots of people will strongly disagree. I'm just cranky that way.

      1. I honestly would love to find a pair of Bass Weejuns that fit me properly. When I was in my twenties, I wore them constantly and they fit like a dream. In later (well, much later) age, I find they're too narrow, or my feet are too wide, or some mixture of both. I wonder if the design changed at all?

      2. Your feet got wider. Seriously. Go to the Allen Edmonds web site and click on a shoe. In the description it will tell you what last it was built on, i.e., the form it was molded around. Different lasts for different shaped feet. Best, go to a store that sells Allen Edmonds and find a shoe that fits the current shape of your feet. You can then get other AE styles built on the same last, or one that is similarly shaped. Your feet will thank you.

        Oh, as to the original question, dress shoes for blue or charcoal suit? Plain cap toe oxfords, black only. If anyone tells you brown is OK just ignore them.

      3. Aside from width considerations, I stopped buying Weejuns about 20 years ago, as both the uppers and sole materials started feeling thinner and cheap. I changed to Sebago handsewns for casual loafers and they feel much better and wear longer. Not fancy but also no worries.

      4. I must disagree with others. While black shoes are probably the most traditional color to wear with navy or grey suits, I think burgundy, brown, and/or tan shoes are perfectly fine with any color suit except for black or dark charcoal. Match your leathers (belt & shoes, e.g.) though.

    2. Penny loafer - the Alden handsewn cordovan is very expensive, but it will never wear out.

      Another elegant choice for a black dress shoe is the whole cut brogue Sid Mashburn has made in England.

      Sid also does a cap toe.

    3. Church's lace-ups are top-drawer "investment" shoes, if pricey, if that's the direction you're heading.

    4. I have a pair of Quoddy penny loafers and have been quite happy with them.

    5. I've never had any but Russell Moccasin offers a wide varied of casual shoes and boots, most offered as custom-made, too. Anyone have any experience with them?

    6. I stick with Bass Weejuns as a matter of principle.

    7. Surprised not to see Quoddy listed for their bluchers and Maliseet oxfords...both terrific.

      The quality of Bass is simply not there anymore. Alden makes the best and most traditional loafers for grown-ups.

      As for lace-ups, Alden again. You can't go wrong with captoes. Avoid excessive broguing. I would add cordovan color to the mix -- looks especially great with navy but can work with grey as well.

    8. I am surprised by the positive comments about Bass Weejuns. They look, feel and smell like plastic nowadays and I would never recommend them. Sebago Beefrolls spring to mind as an inexpensive alternative. By the way: There's no such thing as "the best shoe". That depends on one's feet. The most important thing is to find the last that fits properly.

    9. I find it interesting that Johnston & Murphy has not been mentioned for their Ski-Moc Penny loafer. They are by far the best penny loafer I have found in terms of style and fit. Beef-roll and thick leather soles. They are not cheap, $175.00. But they will last a life time if you take care of them. I have had mine close to 15 years and they still look like new. I have resolved and had new heels put on them many times. They are definitely worth checking out.

    10. Russell Moccasin are costly but have no equal.

    11. How about sneakers? Or maybe, tennis shoes or athletic shoes or canvas boat shoes? I'm replacing Sperry, Stan Smith and a great pair of PF Flyer tennis shoes. Wear them year round here in the land of sweet tea. Suggestions

    12. AnonymousMay 3, 2017 at 8:35 PM

      "Oh, as to the original question, dress shoes for blue or charcoal suit? Plain cap toe oxfords, black only. If anyone tells you brown is OK just ignore them."

      You've ever been to the Boston Financial District, I gather.