Penny Loafers for Penny Pinchers

Feature Logan Weejuns

Due to my lack of observation (and now known to me awkward gait) I have worn a hole almost right through the bottom of my Weejuns. This means that it is time for some new penny loafers (and that I stay on my toes!). While I am excited about getting new shoes my bank account is not on par with my desires. Basically, that means that pair of cordovan Alden LHS is out of the question. After a little bit of research I have narrowed my choices down to a few more reasonable options.

Weejun with HoleThe reason for new loafers.

Sebago Classic
Although they are better known for their Dockside boat shoe Sebago also offers a pretty nice pair of penny loafers. I have my eye on their Classic model in cordo. It looks like a solid loafer and even better, I have heard good things about them. The one thing that I don’t really like about this model is the beef roll. The Sebago Classic comes in at an affordable $145.

Sebago Classic Penny Loafer

The Sebago Classic ($145)

Johnston & Murphy Ski-Moc
While Johnston & Murphy (J&M) is not the company that they once were their penny loafer the Ski-Moc still gets a little love around the Trad world. The price of these loafers is $175, which is a bit high in my opinion. I am not sure that I could justify spending so much for a pair of J&M’s when I could probably spend a little more and get a pair of Allen Edmonds loafers. Another negative is the appearance of the seemingly unavoidable beef roll.

J&M Ski-Moc Penny LoaferJohnston & Murphy Ski-Moc ($175)

Allen Edmonds Walden
Allen Edmonds (AE) offers a variety of desirable loafers (Patriot, Randolph, Kenwood), but the Walden is more of what I am looking for due to its casual nature. The other selling point of the Walden is that they do not have a beef roll. However, there is something about the strap where the beef roll would be that looks a little off to me. The retail price of the Walden is $245.

AE Walden Penny Loafer

Allen Edmonds Walden ($245)

Bass Weejun Logan
The Weejun needs very little explanation as to why it is on my list. It is the classic penny loafer. Plus, it retails for $108 making it the most affordable shoe on my list.  The biggest downside to the Weejun is the plastic-like leather. Other than the shape, the biggest pro for the Weejun is that I know that they fit me well. Never underestimate fit.

Logan Weejun Penny Loafer

Bass Weejun Logan ($108)

The clock is ticking and I will need to make a purchase soon as this hole is getting very close to wearing completely through to the other side. The main reason that I have included the options that I have is that they are all available at the outlet mall not too far from my home. This will reduce the price of all the shoes that I have listed above. In fact, I can usually pick-up a pair of Weejuns for about $65 and I saw a pair of AE Waldens for around $150 not too long ago. I will update this post with the outlet prices after my next visit, but being a planner I needed a plan first.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

19 Comments on "Penny Loafers for Penny Pinchers"

  1. Acton_Baby says:

    I think you may have missed another from the Bass Weejun range in the Gilman.
    Less plasticky looking leather, beefroll-less and recently discontinued so available at Bass Outlets and quite cheaply on t’bay.

  2. Acton_Baby says:

    Amendment to last post, the Gilman has been renamed as the Wilton so it’s still available at regular stores.

  3. S. Carmeans says:

    I personally believe that the “beef roll” is what makes or gives a penny loafer its look or character. Just a thought.

    Best regards,

    S. Carmeans

  4. FJW says:

    Hi- I bought the AE Kenwoods a year ago or so. They’re my ‘dress up’ loafers but for knocking around I have a pair from Bass. But there is no comparison, Kenwoods win hands done!

  5. I’m headed to the Jeffersonville outlet this week before I head off to college! Planned on looking at the Walden’s actually!

  6. Michael says:

    Sebago makes the classic penny loafer Brooks Brothers sells. Sebago’s own version is called the Cayman II, though they may have just discontinued it. (You can still find them online various places.) Less plasticky than the Weejuns, no beefroll, and a decent price, at least compared to the AE Waldens, which are corrected-grain leather, too. Yes, the Alden LHS–especially the cordovan in #8 color–are the ultimate, but the price is eye-popping. Think of it as an investment, however. I love Weejuns and have worn them since I was five years old, but they rarely last more than a couple of years for me. Meantime, I’ve got Aldens which have lasted twenty-five years and, having been resoled once or twice, still have a lot of years left in them.

  7. Flo says:

    I would be tempted to see about getting those ones repaired–I had a pair of Bass shoes resoled and got a couple more years of wear out of them. Unless of course there are other issues besides the approaching hole!

  8. michael boyko says:

    I have found the best way to break in the bass penny loafer is to wear them in saltwater. It softens the leather and the “plastic-y” look. Works for topsiders too!

  9. Erik says:

    I’m sorry, what’s a beef roll? It sounds like something I should be offended by.

    I went to my local outlet store to get some penny’s and tried a pair of Cole Haan that were marked down from 160 to 80 and some Weejuns that were marked down to 65. The Weejuns felt great, but the color and leather was terrible. I went with the Cole’s, but would still like to get some Bass based on their comfort.

  10. Richard says:

    Have you thought about getting a quality resole?

  11. Mark says:

    Hi, as Flo said, I would just get your existing Weejuns resoled. Since the shoes look great (and as long as there isn’t some other problem with them), you could resole them (or to save money, even do half-soles).

    What I don’t know is how much it costs where you live. I live in NYC where every price is greatly inflated versus the rest of the country. In NYC, half soles are about $40 and full about $80, but it wouldn’t surprise me if your local cobbler charged half that or less.

    If this works, you get to keep your shoes, wear them for years, not have to break in a new pair and enjoy the beauty as the leather continues to age naturally.

  12. oxford cloth button down says:

    Thanks for all the feedback. I just assumed that they were beyond the point of being able to be resoled. I will definitely look into having them repaired.

    Erik – Haha, I feel the same way about the word. If you look at the edge of the Weejun’s strap it is flat were the some of the others have a small barrel like roll of leather. That is is the beef roll. I almost added the Cole Haan penny pincher to my list, but I wasn’t sure that they were available at my local outlet.

    Acton – I will check out the Gilman, thanks!

    Michael – Thanks for the tip!

  13. Alan says:

    I’d check into the resole thing. Much quicker ‘break in’ after a resole!

    However, I have had some shoes that the resole seemed to make a bit narrower — so sometimes that seems to effect fit. That could have been the shoe or the repair people though??

  14. EwS says:

    Bass Weejuns can be resoled by Bass, last I checked. resole and save up for a nice pair of Rancourt’s in #8 Chromexcel. Alden’s are nice but overpriced.

  15. Aaron says:

    Great advice. It’s worth mentioning if one is so inclined, you can find Penny Loafers listed here on eBay (gently used) for an affordable price. I picked up a pair of Waldens this way and was VERY satisfied with the deal I got.

    Just my two cents 😉

  16. hardline_42 says:

    Hey Ox, I would really recommend you check out the AE shoebank for “Cameron” loafers. They’ve been discontinued but some sizes might still be available. I have two pairs and they’re the best pennies I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). They’re calf, not CG, they have a short, Weejun-like vamp length but with a welt line (full) strap. It’s not the traditional stitch-down strap, but no beef rolls or pinches either. The feeling of calf loafers is also miles ahead of even the higher end CG loafers (I had Waldens and hated them). Any way you go, good luck in your search and let us know what you end up with.

    FWIW, I think soles might be too far gone to repair once you wear through to the cork, but you’d have to verify that with a cobbler.

  17. oxford cloth button down says:

    Hardline – Thanks for the lead! I thought they were too far gone as well, but I am going to at least look into it since so many people think that they stand a chance.

  18. Jon says:

    I’m not sure whether you’re looking overseas – but I like the look of these Italian loafers

    The English shoemaker Loake make some good ones as well

  19. Ricardo says:

    How do Sebago, Bass, AE and others compare in regards to foot dimensions? I recently bought a pair of Sebago Classics and feel they kind of make my feet look short and wide as opposed to the AE Kenwood which makes my foot look alim and long. As a fashion criteria, I prefer the latter.

I would like to hear from you