I haven't been able to try on any LHS's in shell but like the comment above, think I may pull the trigger. A few questions that I would be grateful on getting replies: I'm a 9D Plaze, 9D Grant and about a 8.75 on Barrie. Can anyone give sizing rev's? Also, what retailers typically carry them? Would love to get a pair in Ravello but can see getting use out of cigar or #8 also. Is the Brooks Bros model also on the Van last? Thanks in advance
Both the standard lined LHS (like the 986) and the Brooks unlined version are made on the van last. The key to LHS sizing is the vamp - it is quite low. Some folks with a higher instep cannot find a good fit at all so be aware that is a very real possibility. Go to Brooks and try their unlined LHS and experiment with widths as well. Sizing loafers in general is difficult because you want it to be tight enough that the heel won't slip but the sole needs to have been broken in a bit before that can happen. With a new unbending sole it can dig into your heel and make it seem like you have the wrong size. In my experience, you want a very snug fit that is not constricting, as the LHS will loosen up a bit as the sole breaks in. If you go too large then they will flop as you walk once they have been broken in. I wear a 8.5 in both van and barrie with the barrie feeling just a bit more spacious in the toe.
I have 4 pair of LHS and the color 8 are by far the most useful - great with khakis and wool trousers in all shades of gray. I think cigar is OK, but either ravello or whiskey would be my choice for a second pair. I would also strongly consider snuff suede, which are by far my most complemented shoes. I got my ravellos from Sherman Brothers but I know Shoemart carries all 3 exotic LHS colors as well.