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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question I've been meaning to ask for a while that is fairly pointless but for which I would welcome any constructive response:
I've read respectful and adulatory descriptions of the Wildsmith Loafer, now made by Edward Green as the Harrow, which was supposedly made for King George V as a house shoe for him to amble about in shooting hose indoors. However, when I have seen pictures of the thing it's simply a nondescript penny loafer, unlined, with a skin-stitched tip. Am I missing something? As the English monarchy must have had dozens of shoes designed for it over the centuries, why is this particular model so iconic? It cannot have been the first penny loafer ever made as I believe the penny loafer originated with the Norwegian slipper. Any thoughts?
 

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While I am surely no expert, I suspect it has something to do with the comfort associated with the basic design, as well as it's striking visual appeal. DD's picture of a pair, with the contrasting toeplug, provides an example of this visual appeal in a spectacular way. The comfort aspect can perhaps be best illustrated by the ongoing American love affair with the penny loafer, a design to which the TRAD community seems to have awarded iconic status! There can be no less attractive beast than a battered, well worn pair of penny loafers (except perhaps the equally beloved "old" boatshoe). Why do we continue to wear them so long past the point that they should have been retired to a more appropriate place than on our feet...because they just feel so darn good on our feet! Indeed, we find ourselves viewing them as a bit more than just another pair of shoes...perhaps to some degree, viewing them almost as an old friend.
 

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That photo of the "Harrow" is from a Japanese or Korean site.

In any case, I prefer the appearance of the Lobb "Lopez" (below)...

...which resemble the originals (below) better than any other penny loafers out there in my opinion. We had a great thread on the Trad Forum about the original Norwegian shoes here.



DocD
 

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Hmmm... not sure I could get used to that Lobb model.



I've never understood the word "iconic." This shoe is no more classic or aesthetically pleasing than the various Alden penny loafers, for example.

The style is a good one, however. It is too light for serious walking-- not for nothing is it called a "slipper." Nevertheless, it is soft enough to slide on easily and fit even slightly misshapen feet, while providing enough slim elegance to complement tailored suits, in a pinch.

The off-duty equivalent of the Scholte cut, perhaps.
 

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RJman, I understand your feelings about this shoe. I've never thought of this particular shoe as truly special ... although I wouldn't go so far as to call it nondescript.

And I definitely appreciate what Concordia has to say. Indeed, iconic is not a word that comes to mind when describing it.

But ... while neither special nor iconic ... there are things pleasing about this shoe. It is light on the foot ... very comfortable ... and I do like that skin-stitched tip (although it's certainly not exclusive to this shoe). Moreover, it is -- in my opinion -- an attractive shoe. As for the picture ... I prefer them in single color.

But perhaps my preference has to do to the fact that I think I look good in the shoes. Long ago I discovered ... there are some things which I must don before making a final decision as to its merit (at least where I'm concerned).

Of course, I have a feeling you have likely tried this shoe on ... and are still not enamored. If that is so ... you certainly know best where you are concerned. You are, after all, far far removed from being a neophyte in matters sartorial.

As for all the gushing talk about them ... do remember ... in the sartorial world, there is an abundance of fellows who, upon finding something appealing, tend to be a tad effusive -- even melodramatic -- when talking and writing about it. That might be the best explanation.

Edit: I do not claim to be an exception to the fellow described in my last paragraph. :icon_smile_wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RSS:

As I bought two pairs of EG Harrows this year, we must be thinking alike!!!

The Lopez is (to me) hideous. The cutout is ungainly, and it doesn't have the interest of the EG Harrow's skin-stitched apron. My two euro cents.
 

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The Lopez is a pretty goofy-looking shoe, although the Harrow that Doc posted gives it a run for its money. If not for the two-tone look it would be closer to being acceptable, but it still doesn't look good to me. (Of course, I favor the beef roll design.)

I'd never heard of this shoe before reading your post, but the first thing that jumps out at me is the association with English royalty. I certainly don't understand or endorse the fascination with royalty, especially on this side of the ocean, where we were smart enough to kick them out long ago. Still, judging by the number of photos of rich and/or titled Englishmen on these boards, it seems like the obvious explanation.
 

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I bought a pair in black from GVH and wasn't thrilled with them. The leather was very soft, perhaps even too soft, so that without a lining, the shoe felt too unstructured.
 

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bengal-stripe said:
P.S. 'Being slow in the uptake', this thread must be it. Took about 2 ½ years for the first answer to come in!
No, this thread was one of the ones that got wiped out in the Great Meltdown of late 2006, when we most of the old threads (except for the first post in each). I've been digging around in the old threads lately, and much was lost.

I still like the Lobb the best, at least on appearances. None of these shoes are affordable to me in any case.

DocD
 

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I owned a pair purchased from Wildsmith maybe 20 + years ago.
They were unlined and, as I recall, had virtrually no arch support.
The loafers resembled the JL Lopez more or less, but had a more
elegant tapered toeline. My were a rather stiff heavy leather,
like belting leather and were, what I would call a true dark brown,
not cognac, reddish, tannish etc. Because they were unlined,
the shoes did not keep their shape. Also, they were narrow for me,
which probably accelerated their decline.
 

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EG Harrow

I bought a chestnut colored pair on the 61 last, based on their appearance in the catalog. I find them a bit fussy looking compared, say, to the traditional beef roll penny loafers I wore for many years. I think this is due to the toe piece extending back into the area of the apron compared to the moccasin-like arrangement of penny loafers. Much to my disappointment, they do not look good with Levis, or even chinos, and so I do not wear them as much as I'd hoped. Also, the fit is not as comfortable as that of shoes built on the 202 last, being, by comparison, slightly tight in the toe and loose in the heal.

I do not care for the JL loafers as I find the shape of the cut out on the strap quite ugly. This is, of course a matter of preference as to style.

Regards,
Gurdon
 

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P.S. 'Being slow in the uptake', this thread must be it. Took about 2 ½ years for the first answer to come in!
No, there was a lengthy conversation at the time, including some information that Mr. Wildsmith had shared with me. Alas, the postings subsequent to RJman's original question disappeared into cyberspace along with much of the content from that period. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Well, today I picked up my two pairs of Wildsmith loafers which I had confided to the reliable Mr Delos to insert countersunk steel toe plates. Unfortunately an apprentice had spilt dark polish all over the Edwardian antique pair. With profuse apologies and an offer to repay me for them, he offered their attempt to salvage them -- a deeply, heavily patinated shoe using the dark polish. It actually looks very good, a tad Berluti-esque, but in a good way.

I hurt my heel over the weekend (due to my Berlutis' odd fit characteristics) and thus am in some pain when my heel moves. I thus removed the old classic Maxwells lace-ups Delos had refurbished for me (to a perfect fit) and pulled on the loafers. The fit is perfect and the lightness is extremely comfortable. ... small mercies.

He also put a sterling buckle (from the excellent buckle and hide uk site) on the cheap Russia calf belts (from a Canadian site) I found, which sort of raises the tone.

Glad to have found someone dependable and accessible, and especially, responsible to any post-purchase needs of his client.

Next up, furry suede loafers. From Delos.

BTW, EG used to have a model called the Eton which looked just like the Harrow. Can anyone tell me what was the difference between them?
 

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Well, today I picked up my two pairs of Wildsmith loafers which I had confided to the reliable Mr Delos to insert countersunk steel toe plates. Unfortunately an apprentice had spilt dark polish all over the Edwardian antique pair.
Perhaps he'd let you lash the apprentice down the street like a dog. Wait, sorry, wrong century.
 
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