Today I purchased a pair of John Lobb Loafers called the Ashley (ss) in Havana Calf for $400. Good deal?
If they fit, yes, absolutely. Not the best that I've ever heard of, but not bad. For those of you who don't have the Lobb catalogue handy, Ashley is Lobb's version of a penny loafer with a handwewn apron and toe seam, similar to EG's Harrow model shown here:
Havana Calf is probably closest to EG's Acorn Antique color.
Secondly I normally wear a 11 and 1/2 but the salesman convinced me they run big an an 11 is my proper size once broken in? The right shoe fits pretty snug on the sides of what would be the ball of my foot, how much break in can I expect from a pair of Lobb loafers? How much handwork, quality of workmanship etc goes into a pair of Lobb rtw shoes? Thanks again in advance.
What's the last number (should be the 4-digit number on the inside of the shoe)? I have more experience with the lasts that Lobb typically uses for lace-ups than I do with their loafer lasts. However, from what I've seen, their lace-up lasts typically run larger than their loafer lasts. I'm a 9.5 E in all EG lasts that I've tried but a 9E in the lace-up JL lasts (8695, 8896, 7000, 8000). I'm a 9E in my JL loafers (one pair on 6000, one pair on 3198), but the shoes are noticeably tighter, particularly on the Campus, which has a penny strap just like your Ashley. It's loosened up a little bit with wear, but not that much. JL Paris RTW shoes probably go through much the same production process that EG shoes do. This means that they're clicked by hand and finished by hand but that most other processes are done by machine guided individually by a worker. In the case of your shoe, the apron and toe seam was sewn by hand. The skin-stitched JL Paris models that I've seen have been nice, but the skin-stitching isn't as nice as on EG shoes. Aside from this, I don't think that there's much to separate production quality between JL Paris and EG. A lot of people (myself included) think that EG's lasts are typically more elegant and better-fitting, and EG certainly raises an antique finish to the level of an art form. JL Paris has a constant stream of new models, some of which are very interesting and unusual. JL Paris, probably owing to the name, also sell for more than EG shoes. All in all, JL Paris makes some very good shoes, particularly the ones with the bevelled bootmaker sole (which your shoe does not have).