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What is the proper fit for leather loafers?

dougc33

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I’d really counsel avoiding any shoes it actually hurts to wear. Loafers can be very close-fitting at the point of purchase (on the principle that they will "give"), but surely not oppressively so. Tongue pads and heel grips can help a lot with achieving snugness. I also tend to wears loafers only when I’m not going to be doing a lot of walking, e.g. lounging around on holiday or sitting at my desk.
Like when you go to the doctor and say "it hurts when I do THIS" and he says "Well, stop doing that"
 

Club Soda

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It sounds like you made the right decision. With loafers I try to buy the smallest size I can comfortably wear because yes, they will stretch a little bit, and you can't lace or tighten them so they can only loosen overtime. In regards to heel slippage I think that really depends on lasts of the maker. However, I find the outsole needs to develop that "hinge" where it softens where the ball of your foot is constantly bending it. This allows for the outsole to not pull alway from the foot when you stride.

For example, I love my Alden tassel loafers and have several; the sole is very soft and pliable right out of the box. They also use a combination last where the heel is more narrow than the general width. Do I wear a 9D that has a B (Narrow) heel. They fit me very well but because of the shape I actually have a few 9.5 and those fit pretty good too, a little roomy but no heel slippage because my heel gets caught in the narrowness and the sole flexes with my stride.

I've been less successful with Edward Green. The oakbark tanned leather outsoles are stiff and firm, which serves a purpose, but can misguide one into thinking they have an ill fitting shoe. The heel is also not as narrow on the 184 last for me as the Aberdeen last. By comparison the heel is more loose and the forefoot very tight, all while not being aided by the outsole flexing. Knowing what I know now I just wear my EGS to break them in when I get a new pair. But I absolutely ruined a pair of suede Belgravia by stretching them brand new instead of just wearing them. By the the time the suede softened to my foot they were to loose and now don't fit at all.
 

ppk

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For decades, before I started upgrading my wardrobe, I wore penny loafers at the low end of the price scale very comfortably: Dexter, Bass, Cole-Haan, and Sebago. These were all priced under $100 a pair and never gave me any trouble. But since I began to be more selective about my clothing and shoes, I have not found a single brand of penny loafer that I can wear comfortably. I own a pair of Allen Edmonds Randolphs that I had to wear about twenty times before they ceased to cause my feet more pain than I could endure, and even now, if I wear them for more than two or three hours, they leave my insteps smarting. I had (actually still have, though I don't wear them) a pair from Edward & James with the opposite problem: they are too loose. I desperately wanted to wear (and still wish I could wear) a pair of Alden full-strap Cordovan loafers, but after trying on every plausible combination of size and width had to give up the effort, as any pair that did not cramp my toes would leave my heel to slip out.

So it seems that if I want to get a pair of penny loafers that will neither be so tight as to hurt my feet nor so loose as to let my heel slip out, I shall have to go back to one of the cheap brands. Is there some reason why higher-quality shoemakers can't make a penny loafer that meets this modest requirement?
My best fitting loafers are a $22 pair of Cole-Haans and Clark's. I've given up on expensive loafers, though I might try C&Js based on @smittycl's advice.
 

Sinyo18

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My best fitting loafers are a $22 pair of Cole-Haans and Clark's. I've given up on expensive loafers, though I might try C&Js based on @smittycl's advice.
Have you considered Grant Stone’s Traveler loafer?Superb quality at a very decent price.
 

Miles R.

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For me it's always heel slippage. I really like the C&J Boston loafer. The toe box fits well but my heels pop out when I walk. Thankfully C&J makes the Grantham and the Harvard 2 in Last 376. This last was apparently made for the Japanese market and has a narrower heel that makes for a perfect fit.

Crockett & Jones Harvard is often a good choice. In any case, CJ has several lasts they build on. If you have one you like, they will do a special order in the color and material you want.

I finally ordered a pair of Harvard loafers from Ben Silver. As soon as I got one of them out of its sleeve, I was appalled and crestfallen at the inferior quality of the finish. I remember that when I first tried a pair of Aldens, I was so enchanted with the look of the shoe that it took me a while to admit that it just didn't fit me. In this case, I have paid an even higher price, and the shoe looks as if a lot of compromises were made. The finish just doesn't have the glow of the Aldens, and the toe of one shoe has a group of small indentations in it, perhaps flea bites in the hide. (This is the second time in a row that it has happened to me that a pair of shoes that I ordered arrived with a flaw in the finish of the toe, which is the most conspicuous possible place for such a flaw.) I really want to have a pair of cordovan penny loafers, and I like the design and the fit of these, but when I am paying nearly $1,000 for a pair of shoes, it seems to me that I should not have to make compromises on quality. Is another pair likely to have a better finish, or is what I am seeing just par for the course?

I have attached a photo, though it seems to me to make the indentations in the toe look less conspicuous than they look to my eye. The flaw is not visible if you look at the shoe from a standing height, but you can certainly see it if you sit down or hold the shoe in your hands.
 

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smittycl

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I finally ordered a pair of Harvard loafers from Ben Silver. As soon as I got one of them out of its sleeve, I was appalled and crestfallen at the inferior quality of the finish. I remember that when I first tried a pair of Aldens, I was so enchanted with the look of the shoe that it took me a while to admit that it just didn't fit me. In this case, I have paid an even higher price, and the shoe looks as if a lot of compromises were made. The finish just doesn't have the glow of the Aldens, and the toe of one shoe has a group of small indentations in it, perhaps flea bites in the hide. (This is the second time in a row that it has happened to me that a pair of shoes that I ordered arrived with a flaw in the finish of the toe, which is the most conspicuous possible place for such a flaw.) I really want to have a pair of cordovan penny loafers, and I like the design and the fit of these, but when I am paying nearly $1,000 for a pair of shoes, it seems to me that I should not have to make compromises on quality. Is another pair likely to have a better finish, or is what I am seeing just par for the course?

I have attached a photo, though it seems to me to make the indentations in the toe look less conspicuous than they look to my eye. The flaw is not visible if you look at the shoe from a standing height, but you can certainly see it if you sit down or hold the shoe in your hands.
I would just exchange for another pair and point out the deficiencies.
 

Concordia

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Apart from flaws on any particular sample, Alden does a pretty ruthless paint job on their loafers, especially the #8. Those aren't purple in nature.
 

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