The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
249
Ireland
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Dublin
Gents,

I do not own a pair of penny loafers at the moment.

There are threads aplenty on them but - at least as far as I could find - the discussion is generally more US-centric.

For those of us in the UK and Ireland, can anyone advise me on what are some good options for a pair?

I am looking for something in brown or chestnut leather, and in a fairly traditional style. Perhaps a single leather sole. Down the road I would go for suede for a second pair. No tassels or straps.

At the moment I'm considering the Crockett & Jones Boston and Tricker's James.

C&J Boston:-
https://www.crockettandjones.com/boston-darkbrown-country-calf/

Tricker's James:-
https://www.trickers.com/uk/james-penny-loafer-1620.html

The C&J and Tricker's are at least 400 pounds, factoring in shipping, which is fine but I wanted to ask whether anyone can advise me whether they're worth the money when it comes to loafers... As Sanders offer a fully lined goodyear welted loafer for around the 220 pound mark.

Sanders Aldwych:-
https://www.pediwear.co.uk/sanders/products/1198.php

There are possibly others at that lower price point too. Cheaney seem to be around the 350 pound price point.

'Worth the money' is always going to be a subjective thing, and I wouldn't contemplate spending the money if I didn't have it to spend in the first place... But what I am really asking is whether there is enough construction and detailing going on with a pair of loafers in the first place to justify the spend. Will I know the difference between the C&J on my feet versus the Sanders, aside from the fact that I love the grain look of the C&J?

Can anyone offer some feedback or thoughts?

Size-wise I tend to be a 9.5 in dress shoes and was planning on ordering that. I figure I'll be a 9.5 or a 10 at worst.
 
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TheDlABlO

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
175
'Worth the money' is always going to be a subjective thing, and I wouldn't contemplate spending the money if I didn't have it to spend in the first place... But what I am really asking is whether there is enough construction and detailing going on with a pair of loafers in the first place to justify the spend. Will I know the difference between the C&J on my feet versus the Sanders, aside from the fact that I love the grain look of the C&J?

Can anyone offer some feedback or thoughts?

Size-wise I tend to be a 9.5 in dress shoes and was planning on ordering that. I figure I'll be a 9.5 or a 10 at worst.
At the entry point in the UK, I only own a Loake 1880. I have no experience with Barker or Sanders.

Here is my honest opinion. I do not believe there are any meaningful differences in construction between UK made Barkers, Crockett, Trickers, or EG for that matter. Picking a last that looks good and fits you well is probably #1. All UK made GY Welt shoes use frowned on techniques like:
  • Gemming / canvas ribbing
  • Machine welting on the GY machine
  • Celastic stiffeners
  • *some* but not all manufacturers use synthetic or leatherboard in thier heel stacks
What I think you get as you move up the shoe food chain:
  • Higher quality leather uppers [this is really important]
  • Higher quality control / consistency of manufacture. Note this is not 'better' production standards per se, but more likely to be made to spec.
  • Access to lasts specific to that manufacturer
  • Higher chance of the heel stack being only leather
 

Lucido

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268
Ireland
Munster
Limerick
I don't like the Trickers at all but if you like them, order from Pediwear or Herring as Trickers themselves engage in some pretty drastic price discrimination - £375 (€428) suddenly becomes €495 as soon as you change the region to EU.

I don't own any C&J but I have five pairs of Sanders and really like them. Nice lasts, comfortable fittings and they have all worn very well. The Aldywch pictured above are on the MATT last which I found to run about a half-size small. Pity you're not a 10 or I'd have sent you a pair of seconds I bought recently on eBay that are too small for me.

It might be an idea to look at the Spanish and Portuguese makers like Carlos Santos, Carmina or Skoaktiebolaget's Lof & Tung. Santos in particular are excellent value and are currently 30% off at A Fine Pair of Shoes this month.
 
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culverwood

Super Member
1,306
UK
SW1
London
Another possibility is Foster and Son's Monet.
... available with oak bark tanned leather or Dainite sole. As an alternative to our high quality plain calf, the pebble grain finish gives this shoe a unique personality.
Model: 1360
Price: £455 including VAT

But what I am really asking is whether there is enough construction and detailing going on with a pair of loafers in the first place to justify the spend.
I would say that the simpler in style a shoe is the more difficult it is to do really well and that with a loafer fit is the prime consideration. A visit to the many shoe shops on Jermyn St would be my suggestion, unless there is a similar street in Dublin.
 

The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
249
Ireland
Leinster
Dublin
At the entry point in the UK, I only own a Loake 1880. I have no experience with Barker or Sanders.

Here is my honest opinion. I do not believe there are any meaningful differences in construction between UK made Barkers, Crockett, Trickers, or EG for that matter. Picking a last that looks good and fits you well is probably #1. All UK made GY Welt shoes use frowned on techniques like:
  • Gemming / canvas ribbing
  • Machine welting on the GY machine
  • Celastic stiffeners
  • *some* but not all manufacturers use synthetic or leatherboard in thier heel stacks
What I think you get as you move up the shoe food chain:
  • Higher quality leather uppers [this is really important]
  • Higher quality control / consistency of manufacture. Note this is not 'better' production standards per se, but more likely to be made to spec.
  • Access to lasts specific to that manufacturer
  • Higher chance of the heel stack being only leather
Thank you for your reply!

The Loake 1880 range was my entry into UK made shoes and I still have a few pairs knocking around.

I'm not sure I really agree that they are as well constructed as what I have from Tricker's or Crockett & Jones, however., irrespective of the same techniques being used. I think there is an objective difference in quality that is more than just the latter companies letting less lemons through to the end user.

...At least, that would be my experience having owned a variety and been able to compare them.

But I did ask the question regarding the difference when it comes to loafers specifically because I'm prepared to believe that the differences are more apparent when it comes to shoes and boots that are heavier and more complex in their construction.
 
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The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
249
Ireland
Leinster
Dublin
I don't like the Trickers at all but if you like them, order from Pediwear or Herring as Trickers themselves engage in some pretty drastic price discrimination - £375 (€428) suddenly becomes €495 as soon as you change the region to EU.

I don't own any C&J but I have five pairs of Sanders and really like them. Nice lasts, comfortable fittings and they have all worn very well. The Aldywch pictured above are on the MATT last which I found to run about a half-size small. Pity you're not a 10 or I'd have sent you a pair of seconds I bought recently on eBay that are too small for me.

It might be an idea to look at the Spanish and Portuguese makers like Carlos Santos, Carmina or Skoaktiebolaget's Lof & Tung. Santos in particular are excellent value and are currently 30% off at A Fine Pair of Shoes this month.
Great point concerning the price differential.

I prefer to deal with Pediwear or Shoe Healer because of the customer service, personally.

But it must be said that there is good value to be had on Herring frequently!

I did consider looking at Spanish makers also, but I omitted them from discussion as the post would have turned into a very long list. I have a pair of Carmina shoes that I really like and I think they are probably very good at this kind of thing.

I'll check out Santos, thanks.
 

The Irishman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
249
Ireland
Leinster
Dublin
I would say that the simpler in style a shoe is the more difficult it is to do really well and that with a loafer fit is the prime consideration. A visit to the many shoe shops on Jermyn St would be my suggestion, unless there is a similar street in Dublin.
Yes, I suspect that would be ideal.

Unfortunately I'm not planning to be back in London until early September.

Here in Dublin there are a few stockists of Crockett & Jones, Barker, Loake, Church's but on the whole the tendency is towards stocking very low end shoes. I may have a hunt around in any case just to try some loafers on my feet and get a sense of sizing across various brands.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
21,612
United States
New Jersey
Flanders
I can offer some limited information on two of those you are considering. While I don't have Sanders' Aldywch, I have four pair of Sanders and have found all of them to be extremely well made and carefully finished of solid materials. They're my preferred make for value priced English shoes. If they save money anywhere, their lower range of shoes may not have as fine quality hides as their top range, or those of more costly makes such as C&J. That's not to say they're poor, or don't look great, but they may not be the most costly available.

I just purchased a pair of Cheaney Howard R penny loafers. Cheaney is now making a high quality product of excellent materials. While not inexpensive, I believe they offer good value for the quality. The workmanship and materials are all first rate. I purchased this because I specifically wanted the mahogany grained leather which is used on one version, but which may be too light for your wishes. I did notice that Herring also sells the same model in burgundy calf, if that's a consideration. However a disqualifier for you may be that it comes with a Dainite sole, but that was another feature I specifically sought. The Howard R is illustrated below.

When considering shoes of this level of quality there is an aspect of diminishing returns in terms of value as you go up the price ladder. Are C&J shoes superb? Few would argue they're not. Do small differences in materials or styling justify the price differences between those, or Trickers, and others? That's very much dependent upon how much the purchaser values those differences.

 
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