There are many good options in terms of spring and summer footwear. But one model is above the others. The classic penny loafers. As the summer keeps coming it's good to take a closer look on loafers. And why I personally like them that much.
First of all the shoe is a staple for guys in love with the sleek Italian style. It is also essential part of the Ivy League uniform. And finally it is appropriate choice for casual oriented street wear guys. Loafers are also a good choice for men who travel a lot. They are easy to take off and they for help you to get through securities faster. Still they will be appropriate for any business meeting after traveling. All in all loafers are shoes to be worn. They are as practical as they are stylish.
Short history of penny loafers
In the first place loafers originated from the rather unlikely birthplace of Norway. The original loafer was based more on the moccasin and it was more rustic than the modern loafer. Originally loafers were worn by Norwegians primarily as a day-to-day work shoe. It was a hardy shoe – but there was something attractive about it. A short while after that Norwegians began exporting these shoes to the rest of Europe, where they were taken up by visiting Americans, and finally made know to the masses by the feature in the American Esquire magazine.
G.H Bass classic weejun penny loafer
In 1930s bootmaker G.H. Bass created the nowadays a classic “Weejun”. That is how the modern loafer was invented.
The shoe is known alternatively as penny loafer. Name comes from a strip of leather over the front of the moccasin-style shoe.
This was an addition that Bass made. This was a shoe that appealed to the middle and upper classes all around United States and even abroad. Shoes became known as the ‘penny’ loafer as men used to store a penny behind the strip of leather for making emergency phone calls.
Penny loafers for spring and summer
Today the classic loafer has expanded in several directions. Tassel loafers for example are widely popular nowadays. Loafers with chunky soles are sold to guys looking for more fashion forward approach. And loafers with a metal “horse’s bit” made famous by Gucci are a classic choice. In addition all of these loafers are available in limitless amount of colors.
One of the best features in terms of loafers is their versatility. You can combine them with shorts in summer on one day and pair with a suit on another. Some wear their loafers without socks and some add personal style by using socks with multiple colors and patterns. There are guys who want their loafers in calf leather so that they can create a nice patina. And other guys who prefer suede and finally those who go for patent leather. But one thing you can be sure about is that there’s a choice for everyone.
My penny loafers
I personally have two pairs of penny loafers in rotation at the moment. The first one is a pair of Meermin snuff suede loafers I orders a few years ago. The second one is the latest addition to my shoe selection. It is a pair of Crockett&Jones Sydney penny loafers that I bought from Eliel’s this spring.
Meermin snuff suede penny loafers – perfect for casual wear
The first of my pairs is made by Spanish Meermin. It is a in fact an mto-pair I ordered while I visited their trunk show in Stockholm in 2013. The pair is made on their Ron last which feature quite low instep and round toe but still pretty slim shape. In terms of size I would say the last is pretty true to size. I wear UK6 in most of my shoes and these I picked with the same size. And especially for a loafer I would not size-up with this last, as I personally want my loafers to fit pretty tight.
Pair with denim
The suede penny loafers are a perfect match for a pair light or dark blue jeans. If you want to dress up your casual look a little bit, change the sneakers for these kind of loafers. I tend to wear this pair with t-shirts and polo shirts but I do also wear them with my casual suits and sport coats. And naturally, the lighter shade of suede makes the pair even more casual. If you choose a dark brown suede, it is easier to wear with more formal and business-oriented clothing such as suits and dressed-up wool trousers.
Crockett&Jones Sydney calf leather penny loafer – for business and casual wear
For me the Crockett&Jones Sydney is one of the iconic penny loafers. It has been on my list for a long time. And as I got a chance to try it through Eliel’s, I finally pulled the trigger. Crockett&Jones has also other nice loafer models such as the Boston and Harvard but for me Sydney is more aesthetically pleasing choice.
The Sydney is a loafer with a medium round toe. In my opinion the 341 is an excellent last for both formal business and smart casual wear. It is quite long, but it is not too long, It is round but not too round. For example it’s not as aggressive as the 348 last from C&J which is a favorite for many guys. Due to the slightly longer toe shape you could say that it is a modern and more contemporary adaptation of a classic penny loafer style.
Brown suit, white shirt, navy blue grenadine tie and brown calf leather penny loafers - ready for business meetings.
5x penny loafers
As mentioned already, penny loafers are versatile and quite easy to combine. Still you should think the purpose and envinroment in which you will mainly be using your loafers. For business wear and to wear with suits or wool and cottons slacks pick a pair made of calf leather with more sleeker last. For casual wear my recommendation is to opt for suede with a last that features a bit more rounder toe.