@GMMcL - Not that my opinion really matters being that I'm still a novice - I never really liked those shell loafers when spoo wore them either. Something about the leather makes it seem like a formal loafer, if that makes sense?
i know what you mean yes. They are a leather called shell cordovan. Some folks love and some don't. And some definitely feel it incongruent with loafers. It is very much in keeping with a certain tradition just not one that is consistent with the preferences of this thread/forum (which is ok)
Appreciate the fine words Stitchy (and all who took time to weigh in): I do value the feedback. I will take it into account in my own way. I do think I'm beginning to come into my own and feel comfortable with my choices, so this may be one instance where we are riding different waves -- though not so different in the end if thumbs are the only metric (which is a dangerous and myopic yardstick). All of which is ok. I'm not saying I'll always wear that rig sockless with loafers. And this thread should not always lack dissenting voices and divergent styles.