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One of the TNSIL bloggers, The Trad, has arranged for some photos from a 1965 school magazine to be scanned. Looking at one of the photos (below) I was reminded of some older BB penny loafers that were on eBay recently. Perfectly genuine unlined penny loafers, but of much different proportions than Weejuns.

Here's the scan from 1962:

https://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zuncbarefoot1.jpg https://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zuncbarefoot2.jpg

Here's some older Brooks Brothers penny loafers:

https://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zbrooksvintage1.jpg https://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zbrooksvintage2.jpg

These older BB shoes make me wonder if penny loafers with longer vamps and narrower straps were more common in the past, and today's versions owe more to lingering memories of the low-vamp, stubby proportions popular in the 1980s. Different proportions due to different shoe sizes doesn't sufficiently explain the differences. Weejuns, of course, are the exception, since they haven't changed much at all (although the photo of the 1930s Weejuns in Flusser's recent book suggests otherwise).

Does anyone have any recollections? or old photos?

Also, it's kinda neat to see just how loose they're wearing their loafers in that photo.
 

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The older models look sleeker, and I think you may be onto something about the current shapes being influenced by the low vamp styles from the '80s, well as the "wide toebox" obsession of the last 10 or so years of shoemaking.
 

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I recall that the 60s version of J&M penny seemed to be a little more rounded (sleeker is a good description) and with longer vamp than is shown currently. I think it was the Heidleberg, but not sure. Nice shoe that is no longer in catalog.
 

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One of the TNSIL bloggers, The Trad, has arranged for some photos from a 1965 school magazine to be scanned. Looking at one of the photos (below) I was reminded of some older BB penny loafers that were on eBay recently. Perfectly genuine unlined penny loafers, but of much different proportions than Weejuns.

Here's the scan from 1962:

https://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zuncbarefoot1.jpg https://img12.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zuncbarefoot2.jpg

Here's some older Brooks Brothers penny loafers:

https://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zbrooksvintage1.jpg https://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=zbrooksvintage2.jpg

These older BB shoes make me wonder if penny loafers with longer vamps and narrower straps were more common in the past, and today's versions owe more to lingering memories of the low-vamp, stubby proportions popular in the 1980s. Different proportions due to different shoe sizes doesn't sufficiently explain the differences. Weejuns, of course, are the exception, since they haven't changed much at all (although the photo of the 1930s Weejuns in Flusser's recent book suggests otherwise).

Does anyone have any recollections? or old photos?

Also, it's kinda neat to see just how loose they're wearing their loafers in that photo.
I can't recall for certain, but I think Bass may have trademarked the name Weejuns, but many other American and English manufacturers made penny loafers. I have a copy of a '50's add for Bass Weejuns that already shows the short vamp and broad toe you are describing. I think they're unlined. As Bass materials and manufacturing continued to decline through the '70's, '80's and '90's, the basic shape remained but was less well executed.

In the two groups of photos above, it appears the first shoe has a short vamp and broader toe box, but is lined, and the second has the longer, narrower vamp. So while all Weejuns are penny loafers, not all penny loafers are Weejuns.

I have a pair of Dexter pennies from perhaps 10 yeas ago, and their vamp is longer and narrower. They are unlined and made of corrected grain cowhide. While an unlined penny may be more authentic to the original Bass shoe, I would always prefer a leather-lined shoe if one were available.

I also have some AA/Esky illustrations from the '30's, which is when this style began to appear around the U.S. The shoes were sometimes called Norwegian slippers, or just Norwegians, hence the name Weejun. The shoe depicted in these illustrations is a better-executed and slightly more robust shoe than a Weejun or most other pennies. But it does have the basic configuration of a fairly short broad vamp and broad strap. Some might think it a bit clunky.

C&J makes a very handsome penny, their Boston model. And while obviously much better lasted and made from much better materials than any current American shoe, unlike many of their loafers, it has a comparatively shorter and broader vamp.
 

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Also, it's kinda neat to see just how loose they're wearing their loafers in that photo.
My recollection is that many people's - remember, both men and women wore them then - wore their Weejuns quite loose in the '60s.

First time buyers didn't understand that a true moccasin made from relatively thin pliable leather needed to fit very snugly - if not tight - in the ball of the foot when they were brand new. Soon, as they stretched out with wear, they became comfortable.

The heel on the 60s Weejun last in those days was also probably too wide for many people (which apparently Alden's Van last is today)

If one bought a Weejun that was comfortable in the store then within two weeks it was way too loose. In that case the shoes came off easily or the heels would make a slapping sound against linoleum high school hallways; people compensated by shuffling their feet.

Also we needed them loose in order to slip them off easily for the quaint custom of sock hops in the gym.
 

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My Weejuns (a thrift find, made in USA but not terribly old) do fit very loose. Obviously this is more likely a product of them being a bit big - but it makes me smile a bit that it's historically accurate.

I wear them when I know I won't be doing a great deal of walking, as having one's foot slide around so much in a shoe is not comfortable.
 
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