Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Which Penny Loafers?

 

Dear Salt Water New England: 

I have a question for the readers. What penny loafers do you recommend for comfort and durability? I am new to the work force, and while I like Alden's LHS loafers, they are a bit too expensive for me. Are there any specific standouts? Does anyone recommend the BB 1818 loafers or SAS 40 Penny? I appreciate any help. 

Cordially Yours, 

A Fellow Reader


40 comments:

  1. Rancourt has a well constructed - and less expensive - penny loafer.

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    1. I concur - a great choice, quality chromexel leather. Consider which type of sole to get. Some are leather, others are Lactae Hevea Crepe, a natural rubber. the natural rubber wears kind of quickly compared to traditional soles, but it's very comfortable.

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  2. I like Quoddy penny loafers. Available for men and women.

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  3. I had a pair of Allen Edmonds Walden loafers. Probably for 12 years. Had them re soled 3 times. They were my daily drivers. The original purchase price was probably under $200. Sadly AE doesn’t make that model any more and I was not a fan of their current styles. I searched high and low. And finally coughed it up for the Alden’s. 3x price of what they replaced, but they should last just as long. I wear my loafers probably 3-4 days a week so it is worth it to me. The Crocket & Jones were a close second in my search. Inflation bites. I shudder to think what the replacement will cost in another decade. Your feet will thank you.

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  4. Alden's can be bought through Shoemart's factory seconds, usually for $200 off. I had a pair that gave me over thirty years of very heavy wear, probably four times a week. I bought a pair of seconds in chromexcel to replace them. Why they are seconds is not noticeable. Others have had similar comments. All of those things in favor of them said, talk to Shoemart about fit. The Van last can run half a size large. I wear tens in their tassel loafer but nine and a half in LHS.

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    1. I have also purchased Alden shoes from Shoemart's seconds and also could not figure out why the shoes were seconds. Alden shell cordovan loafers are one of my favorite shoes. Expensive, and they require some break-in to form to your feet. After that, with normal care, you might be able to just resole them until you retire - if you amortize the cost, they end up being less expensive over time.

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  5. My sincere apology for the stray apostrophe after Alden.

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  6. LL bean workhorse loafers in brown and black.

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  7. Replies
    1. Frederick J JohnsonAugust 22, 2022 at 1:45 PM

      I have worn Bass Logan model Weejuns for years and continue to do so.

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  8. Weejuns. I can’t understand why they weren’t first on the list.

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    1. Because the quality is poor. They would be bottom of my list.

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    2. I have a pair of early-eighties-era Weejuns still going strong, if a bit tattered. My last two pair, bought in the 2000s, didn’t even last five years, as they split at the seam.

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  9. I recommend three options. My favourites are Shipton & Heneage's Wilton which are made by Crockett & Jones on the classic 72 last, available in E and G (EEE) fits - https://www.shipton.com/mens-shoes/mens-loafers/mens-english-loafers. For a full strap, go for C&J's Bradbourne (also on the 72 last) from Anglo Italian- https://angloitalian.com/collections/footwear/products/crockett-jones-bradbourne-loafer-brown-suede-city-sole. I also have C&J's high walled Boston. It is available with a rubber sole which is ideal in the wet - https://www.crockettandjones.com/collections/mens-loafers-collection.

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  10. I love Quoddy, well made, last for years!

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  11. Replies
    1. The classic original…enough said!

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    2. Bass Weejuns are now made from inferior "bookbinder" leather which looks shiny but soon crack after a few wears. They won't last long so save up and buy a calf leather loafer with a Goodyear welted sole instead.

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  12. Right now for sale on ebay there is a pair of size 10 “in great condition” Barries Ltd men’s shoes - loafers. If the shoe fits buy it.

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  13. Yes, they are awful. And this: https://www.ghbass.com/joshua-kissi-larson-super-lug-star-weejuns-baz1w051

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  14. Back in the day Brooks Brothers (probably Alden) supplied everything one needed for clothing, as did Abercrombie & Fitch for shooting, etc. next door on Madison Avenue. The Brooks Brothers loafers whether tassel, or penny cost $33.00. They lasted for decades representing the best value. Adjusted for price I expect the same applies today.

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  15. No beef roll. Have ancient Bass Weejuns. With Alden’s you live & die with the last that fits you. No wandering off the beaten path Only have 2 slip ons from Alden, Full Strap On Shell 8 & Burgandy Calfskin Tassel Loafer. The rest are lace-ups & single monk strap. All Aberdeen last. Have only done business with San Francisco & DC. They have talked me out of making mistakes.

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    1. To each his own. I'm beef roll all day long.

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  16. There's a small custom boot and shoe maker up in Wisconsin by the name of Russell Moccasin that offers penny loafers. They make custom-sized footwear and there is a wait time, although they stock a few models. Too expensive for me.

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    1. Yes, www.russellmoccasin.com They custom make a wide range of boots, loafers, and moccasins and they are so well made that one will never wear them out.

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    2. Curiously, they do not seem to offer plain leather soles.

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  17. When I was younger, Bass Weejuns were all I wore. I stepped away from them for years and a few years back I thought that I'd try them again. It was a mistake. They now have a big problem with quality of materials and construction. I have a few pairs of penny loafers in my rotation, including Alden and AE, however my current favorite is Crockett & Jones Harvard in burgundy cordovan. Yes, these brands are a bit spendy, but with care I will get more more wears per dollar spent than I would on lesser quality shoes. If budget is a concern, I'd watch for one of the AE sales, check out Meermin or other direct to consumer brands that offer decent products, or consider second hand. While I am not a big fan of second hand shoes, I have a friend who swears that for the cost of soles, lining (if you have a lined loafer), and refurb he can often get premium, like-new shoes for a song.

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  18. For dress, I like the Allen Edmonds Randolph model. They come in a variety of colors and are often on sale. Get on their e mail list. For casual or knock around
    wear go to the Bass website or outlet store and find yourself a pair of Weejuns.
    I know they're not what they used to be, but no one really needs Alden, AE or
    Crockett & Jones to go to a kid's soccer match or to run errands on Saturday mornings.

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  19. My Bass Weejuns have been in my rotation for the last 10 years and have had no problems with wear, fit and comfort.

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  20. Save up, get a temporary second job, halve your coffee budget for a couple months, or take out a loan to get TWO pairs of Alden cordovans - and get them at Shoe Mart. You'll absolutely need two pairs to wear every other day. Everyday use will take a toll; the leather does not have time to recover. You won't remember the minor sacrifice and you'll always remember the shoes -- because you'll still be wearing them. And with all due respect to Alden, their restoration service pales in comparison to the Shoe Mart's own. Much faster, cheaper, and, frankly, better. A word about Shoe Mart though: much is owed this wonderful family operation, but few sights are more dispiriting than walking in to buy/restore a pair of cordovans and being waited on by a grown man wearing those white sole "dress shoes" -- you may know the ones I'm referring to. Nothing worse -- nor seemingly more popular -- than these. I believe we can thank Allen Edmonds for the concept. Game show hosts, professional athletes, and far too many bankers and lawyers seem to think these are acceptable. They are not. And lest you think these are the ravings of a lunatic, I was told these are the Shoe Mart's #1 sellers. The end is nigh...

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  21. GH BASS Weejuns. I wore them walking in NYC all last weekend and they were comfortable and sturdy.

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  22. Since no one else commented on the SAS 40, so I will go ahead and highly recommend them. They may have that teriyaki glazed salmon look, but they are awfully comfortable.

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  23. I own a pair of Rancourt penny loafers. Very fine shoes.

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  24. The Failed AristocrateAugust 26, 2022 at 3:56 PM

    I don't know if they would have exactly what you are looking for but I would check the online retailer Becket and Simonon. I buy all my dressier shoes from them now. I find them to be of a quality level that Cole Hahn and Allen Edmunds were in the 1980's at a price point much lower than shoes of a lower quality.

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  25. J.M. Weston 180 Loafers. Not sure they are available in the US though.

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  26. Edward Green Lulworth Butterfly loafers are also a great option

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  27. Has anyone tried Samuel Hubbard, either the Ivy Legend or the Free Spirit?

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  28. Go with ol' faithful...Bass Weejun.

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