All posts in Footwear

The Myth of the Bass Weejun

Myth of the Weejun

It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Bass Weejun. Even when I try to step up my footwear game I end up coming right back to the it (All About that Bass). That is why when I read Arnie’s comment about the myth of the Weejun over at Ivy Style (See the article here) I thought that it deserved to be highlighted.

In this comment Arnie explains how the Weejun that we all think of as a very casual shoe was derived from the shoe that Norwegians would wear to formal events. When I was re-reading this comment it reminded me of the ‘Plausible History of the 3/2 Roll‘ post and how the true origin of things are often altered by time…and marketing. I am not sure if this version of the Weejun story is true, but it is certainly
worth thinking about.

Arnie | October 23, 2015 at 2:30 am |

The myth around the Norwegian origin of weejuns deserves a comment. Here in Norway similar looking shoes called “Aurland sko” have never been used by so called poor peasants. On the contrary – the Aurland shoe is used by Norwegians when we wear our national costume “bunad” (a very formal dress that can replace white tie ensemble e.g. at royal banquets and other events that call for formal wear). But when Americans discovered the shoe in Norway back in the early midst of last century they modified it by removing the silver buckle and created what is known as the loafer or penny loafer. As in so many cases we should be thankful for American modification and invention. But in Norway, the traditional loafer with a silver or metal buckle, was an expensive shoe back in the old days. And it is not suitable for wear in a tough, cold and harsh climate. Most people wore boots or sturdy shoes year round in the late 1800’s and early twentieth century. Only the ones with money (and remember that Norway was, together with Ireland, the poorest country in Europe) could afford an Aurland shoe. I had to get this of my chest, or off my foot… That said – the American penny loafer is popular in modern Norway. We owe a grateful thought to the Americans who made them affordable and available in modern, wealthy Norway. CC, keep up the great work on Ivy Style. Greetings from the far northern corner of Europe where we only wear the original weejun at formal occasions, but the penny loafer all other days when we aren’t snowed down!

The Search for Classic Golf Shoes

Golf Shoe Search

I am back on my golf kick. While I am by no means a natural athlete I usually pick up sports pretty quickly. At least well enough to not embarrass myself. Golf on the other hand has turned out to be a whole different story, but I am making progress. In fact, I got my fist par last week! Now that I am getting comfortable enough to get out on the course more regularly I need to invest in a pair of golf shoes.

I spent some time last week hunting down a pair of classic golf shoes. It turns out this not an easy task if you want something saddle-like in brown leather. Which of course I did, I even found a pair for or two in the $200 range, but my current golf game is not yet deserving of such nice shoes. Below are my top 3 picks for classic looking golf shoes and my runner-up .

1. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes – $295
Allen Edmonds makes some of the best classic dress shoes around so it is no wonder that they do the same when it comes to golf. These classic saddles have a rugged distressed look which is great for the course and are eligible for recrafting adding some lifetime value to the purchase. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes2. FootJoy Custom DryJoys Tour – $230
I used FootJoy’s My Joy custom online program to whip up these saddles. There are numerous color options to pick from, but this pair which consists of a waxy bomber brown base with a brown smooth leather saddle are gorgeous. If it were not for the futuristic sole these may have been my #1 pick. FootJoy DryJoy Custom3. FootJoy City – $190
These FJ City’s are reminiscent of a pair of dirty bucks with their tan base and brick red sole making them a natural choice for the trad golfer. Coming in at under $200 dollars they also don’t hit the pockets quite as hard as the first two. FootJoy CityRunner up – Footjoy Superlites 2-13 Closeout – $59.99

Last, but not least is the pair that I purchased. Before you start thinking that I am in bed with the people at Footjoy I am not (FootJoy people, call me!), but they do seem to cater to the traditional crowd more than most. I chose this pair, because the style and price all lined up. I can’t give a detailed review t this time as I am still eagerly waiting for them to arrive. Footjoy SuperlitesI am going to settle for the white & tan saddles at the moment. As I said, my game needs a lot of improvement before I can make justify dropping $200 or more on a pair of golf shoes, but it is good to know that there still are some classic looking golf shoes on the market.

It does seem that there are very few companies targeting the traditional/classic/heritage market. The two biggest players appear to be Footjoy and Allen Edmonds (don’t forget to check the AE shoe bank!). Are there any golf shoes that I overlooked?

Penny Loafers in Print

Penny For the Chap Image

Two weeks ago I received an email from a reader letting me know that a UK magazine called The Chap had used one of my images. I had never heard of the magazine, but the readers described it as a, “tongue in cheek “journal for the modern gentleman.” ” You can never be too sure, so I quickly looked it up to see if it was about menswear or some other fetish. It is the former.  Penny Loafers in Print This post really isn’t about The Chap magazine image, but what the incident led me to think about. I thought about my blog in general. I was humbled that a reader recognized a relatively old image of mine in a magazine and then took the time to tell me about it  (Thanks again, Stephen!). At times it is hard to know if people are enjoying the blog, but interactions with readers like this are a much appreciated reminder that many do.

Last, but not least I thought about the fact that they chose an image of the Bass Logan Weejun for their article. I haven’t actually read it, but it looks like a short-history-plus-how-and-where-to-buy article. In my opinion, this is just another piece of evidence to confirm that the Logan Weejun has the classic penny loafer shape.

On that note, Bass doesn’t currently offer the Logan in brown on their site (only black & burgundy), but you can pick a pair up at Zappos, but with contrast stitching (see here).

All About That Bass


If you are a regular reader of Oxford Cloth Button Down I am sure that you are wondering why I am talking about Bass right now. You are probably thinking, “What happened to the Allen Edmonds Cavanaughs?” after my “There’s a new loafer in town” post.Vintage Bass Ad

Sadly the Allen Edmonds Cavanaugh Penny Loafers did not work out for me. It is not that I did not like them. They are a great looking shoe and I wanted to keep them, but they just didn’t fit (too narrow in the forefoot and too wide in the heel). After trying three different sizes I called it a day. It wasn’t meant to be (, but don’t worry I am still on the hunt for a nicer loafer).

This concession of defeat left me with an immediate void to fill. My current pairs of Weejuns are now well over 4 years old and as a result they are beginning to show their age. I needed to get another pair of loafers in the mix quickly. This loafer needs to fit, be versatile, and be available now. The only shoe that I knew that could count on is the Weejun.

I remember Billax commenting on the Cavanaugh post and saying that he will always have a pair of Weejuns in his closet. I have to say that I am in the same boat even though I know that the quality of shoe leaves a lot to desired. However, the near perfect design combined with the fact that they fit me like a glove allow me easily overlook all of their shortcomings. Until I find a higher quality loafer that fits me well I am still all about that bass.

There’s a New Loafer in Town


I made my foray into the world of respectable penny loafers last week when I purchased a pair of Allen Edmonds Cavanaugh penny loafers. This loafer is not one of their classic models. In fact, it has only been around for a few months, but it does pay tribute to what I consider the most classic penny loafer which is the Bass Weejun. Cavanaugh Penny Loafers                                               Allen Edmonds Cavanaugh Penny Loafer (above)

I have been in need of a decent pair of penny loafers for a while now. Decent meaning something other than Bass Weejuns which are not very high quality, but they do make up for their lackluster construction with a great silhouette at a great price. Plus, they fit me like a glove (You can never overlook fit!). Weejun

There are three features that the Weejun has taught me to look for in a loafer:

  • The Pinch – I am not a fan of beef rolls, I think they look too bulky and I think that full straps look too sleek, but the pinch strap closure looks just right to me.
  • A Boxy Toe – The boxy shape is why they work so well with chinos. It is a casual loafer.
  • The Strap and the Cutout on the Strap –  The Weejun has almost a crescent moon shape cutout and bottom of the strap comes to a point in the middle. I am not that picky about the strap and cutout, but I do pay attention to it.

The Allen Edmonds Cavanaugh ($275, but currently on sale for $195) has all of these features. It also comes in burnished brown. I reach for my tan loafers more often than my burgundy ones. I think that by selecting dark brown I will get a lot of day-to-day use out of them like I do my tan loafers, but unlike my tan loafers I can pair these with grey wool trousers. This is important, because they will be my nicest loafers. My only critique is that I could do without the stitching on the toe box on either side of the cutout and yes, I wish it had the crescent moon cutout.

The Alternatives: More Pinch Penny Loafers:

Alden LHSAlden Leisure Handsewn Moccasin (LHS)  ($518) – Great shape and amazing quality. I would love to have this loafer, but it is outside of my price range. My only critique is that I wish the strap extended a touch further down the side. Patriot Penny LoafersAllen Edmonds Patriot ($385, but currently on sale for $327.25) – I almost purchased the Patriot, but that was before the Cavanaugh was released. The Patriot is a bit too sleek for me which is why I was on the fence about it for so long. It might just be the slightly elongated toe box combined with the more refined stitching, but it just looks a little off (especially with chinos). I do think that the Patriot makes an excellent loafer to pair with grey wool slacks. Cole Han Pinch PennyCole Han Pinch Penny ($198) – This shoe has a great silhouette, but the wrinkling or pulling around the toe box is a “moccasin-ish” for this type of loafer. I liked the price point, but I was concerned that they would be lacking in quality.

Rancourt ($300-$400?)- I have seen a pair of  Rancourt pinch pennies, but they don’t have a pair on their website. I am ashamed to say that I have yet to get to give them a try. It is long overdue. Price is the only reason that I selected the Cavanaughs instead of approaching Rancourt.

I must not be the only one interested in the Cavanaugh. I ordered my pair the first day of the Rediscover America sale and when I went to check out online it said that they would be ready in four weeks. I called the closest store hoping that they would have them in stock, but no such luck. For now I will just impatiently await their arrival hoping that that they fit and fit well.