Crockett & Jones ‘Harvard’ loafers: Review

Wednesday, November 10th 2021
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I’ve always recommended Crockett & Jones to readers over the years, as a solid, good-value English shoe. But I’ve only briefly owned a pair.

I had some when I was in my twenties, but bought the wrong size - so sold them within a few weeks. This pair of Harvard loafers, which I’ll review today, is therefore my first proper experience of Crockett’s.

I bought the Harvard model because I was interested in trying a more Ivy style of loafer, with its longer apron and higher ‘wall’ at the front of the toe.

The classic American penny, basically, which Crockett’s was the first to introduce into the UK, back in the 1940s (1952 catalogue below - blue suede!).

I have Alden LHS loafers in this style already, but only in suede.

I wear those very casually – with chinos, with jeans, even with shorts – and hadn’t thought that I’d wear a leather version, as I usually prefer a slimmer shoe for that (like my Aberdeen-last full-straps).

It’s early days, but I’m finding that I like this Ivy style most with casual chinos, like my old Armoury ones shown in these images. This is very much the ‘workwear’ style of chino. With a smarter chino like those from Rubato, I usually prefer my slimmer loafers.

Basically, I like to smarten up casual clothing.

That usually means wearing slim shoes like a suede Belgravia, even with white jeans. But when everything else is very casual, like beaten-up chinos and an oxford, a cordovan penny loafer is a stylish way to do it.

(And of course, finding ways to smarten up casual clothing is very much the order of the day. When others are in a hoodie, wear a shawl cardigan; when they’re in Converse, wear pennies.)

But onto the shoes themselves.

I’ve been very pleased with the quality here, although it turns out that might be because the Harvard is more similar to the Hand Grade line of Crockett’s shoes than the main line.

Chatting to James Fox from Crockett’s, he explained that they use oak-bark tanned soles from Rendenbach on their cordovan shoes, because they find they’re a better partner for that tough upper material. And otherwise those soles are only used in the Handgrade line.

A loafer style like this also has a hand-sewn apron – one of the few jobs that Crockett’s still outsources workers at home (“I know some like doing it in front of Strictly,” James said with a laugh) - so there’s an extra level of craft.

The only remaining difference between these and a Hand Grade shoe is the lack of a channelled sole (shown above).

So this is perhaps best seen as a review of the Hand Grade and cordovan Crocketts shoes, rather than the range in general.

The other point worth making on quality is that cordovan from Horween doesn’t really vary, unlike grades of calf leather from a single tannery. So the quality of the upper here is the same as you’d get from a more expensive brand, or indeed from a bespoke maker.

That doesn’t mean there’s no reason for a John Lobb or Edward Green shoe to be pricier – as a reader put to me recently – because there’s a lot more to a shoe than the upper. But it’s one point that’s consistent.

On cordovan generally, makers I speak to always say that Horween is the best, consistently. I haven’t tried other producers myself, but brands have many times, and that’s always their conclusion.

Among shoes in Horween cordovan, the only difference worth noting is that Alden recolours some of its supply before using it. That’s why Color 8 often looks darker from Alden.

If the Harvard had been in Color 8, it would have made me think twice, because I really like that Alden shade. But there’s less of a difference with other colours, like my mid-brown.

The only thing you do get with lighter colours of cordovan, is natural variation between skins. (Not surprising really, given the very hands-on way that Horween stains them.)

My pair is lighter than the ones shown on the Crockett’s website. Which I prefer, and was a reason I chose them, but is also an argument for buying in person if you can.

I’ve found my Harvards very comfortable, which I think is partly down to the fact they’re unlined, unlike my Aldens. (The LHS is half lined, just in the back, and the full-strap loafer is fully lined.)

Cordovan is always a tough material to wear in, and being unlined helps that happen more quickly and easily.

A downside, though, is that the uppers lose shape more easily, turning up at the toes after wearing. This is absolutely fine if you use shoe trees in them, and also isn’t a problem if you forget to do so for a few days (as I did on holiday recently). But I heavily recommend using trees when you can.

The other reason the Harvards are particularly comfortable is that I sized up – from the 8.5E I usually wear to a 9E.

This was for two reasons. One, I wear more casual, thicker socks in general these days, but particularly with these loafers. They’ll often be worn with off-white Ivy-style socks or something similar.

And two, I think over the years I’ve tended to prioritise fit at the back of the shoe too much, rather than the front.

As readers will be tired of hearing, I have a slightly ‘spade-shaped’ foot, with a narrow ankle and wide toes. This makes loafers difficult to fit: a shoe that is wide enough at the front is too big at the heel, causing it to slip when I walk.

On balance, I’ve tended to get the right fit for the heel, and put up with closeness at the front. But I think that might have been wrong, because it’s easier to put a half sock in the back of the shoe, or use a tongue pad, than it is to try and stretch the front of the shoe.

It’s not a big issue, and doesn’t make any of my older shoes less wearable. But when combined with the use of thicker socks, it was a good reason to size up here.

Interestingly, James also said that 2019 was the first year in Crockett’s history that a loafer was the top seller.

As mentioned earlier, they've been selling American-style loafers since the 40s - above is the earliest catalogue they have showing the style, from 1952. But the oxford has always been the most popular.

In 2019 it was overtaken the Sydney, which is an elongated penny loafer. And the Boston loafer in brown suede was number three. That’s perhaps not surprising, given how more casual things have become more generally, but it does mean this article has particular relevance.

I’ve historically always preferred Alden cordovan, and Edward Green for my calf loafers. But for this colour (not Color 8) and style (classic American penny), I’m very happy with Crockett’s instead.

The Harvard loafer is made in dark-brown cordovan, on the 314 last, which is known for being generous in its fitting. The Harvard is unlined and costs £640. 

The Harvard 2 is on a different last, the 376, which has a slimmer heel, and is made in dark-brown suede. Fortunately I didn't need the slimmer heel, though it could have been helpful for my foot shape. It has a rubber sole and costs £370, reflecting the cost of both cordovan and the oak-bark sole. 

Both are evolutions of the more famous Boston model, which is also made on the 314 last, in a range of calf leathers and suedes. It costs £375.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson. Shirt shown is a white PS Oxford

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Great review once again, Simon. Does sizing up mean they’ll be a bit more loose when you wear thin socks (or no-show socks)? Do you normally wear 8.5E in other RTW loafers?


Hi Simon,

Great article, I reckon you’ll get a few comments on the white socks, which I love.

Timing is also great as I have decided to add a leather penny loafer to my collection, preferably in black.
Regarding the styling, I am looking for something versatile, to wear with jeans/chinos and white socks as well as flannels (maybe even very casual suits) to the office, thus I was thinking of an almond toe shape (not too round, not too pointy) and a lower vamp. What is your opinion on this ?

I have found a French brand making a loafer matching those criteria, as I like to try the shoes in person, and this style of loafer is not as popular in France. link to the shoes :
I feel like they look a bit like a low-vamp Alden full-strap


When talking about black loafers and jeans, I was thinking about your article on the joys of cordovan, where you wear raw denim with your Alden full-strap loafers, which almost look black in the pictures. Is it (as always) the pictures not being a true reflection of what the shoes look like in the flesh, or is it the subtle nuances in the cordovan that make it more casual thus suited to be worn with denim ?


Noted, thanks. I’ve seen that Malfroid plans to release a cordovan loafer on that last. might take a look


Simon, thanks for letting P.A. add that link to his comment.

Might I suggest an article where people send you such links ?
One of things I’ve really appreciated is learning of some of the unique retailers around the world that I’ve got to know through P.S. and it’s readers.

Over the years I’ve picked up Spier & McKay , Kafka, Dicks of Edinburgh , Natalino , Luxire …. To name but afew


Perhaps a periodical article, much like your “autumn/winter top 10”, but as a collection from readers recommandations, would be interesting as a way to cover brands across the whole PS base


How about the black grain loafer from Morjas?


Black grain will still seem fairly sharp – more of a flannels or tailored corduroys casual rather than a jeans casual.
I’ve got a pair of the Morjas loafers in burgundy grain and they look and feel nice but are surprisingly stiff. It’s been a while and they still don’t feel quite broken in. Just my two cents.


Hi Simon,
nice read – excellent photos! Really like how you wear loafers with cream/white socks. Also in the Donegal coat article. It’s somehow bold but not flashy, I guess…
My CJs took a long time to wear in. Now they are one of the most comfortable shoes I own. I think the 314 style can look a bit dated with smarter clothes, so I’d rather combine them with jeans and chinos as well.
Have a great day


I’ve always found Crocketts to be being my budget and therefore drilled for Cheaney, and, more recently Loake .
On that note is it even worth paying more for the Crocketts ?
Over what period would I benefit from the unique points of a Crockett over a Cheaney or a Cheaney over a Loake ?
After reading PS I’m glad I moved out of normal high street, glued sole, disposable shoes to Goodyear welted Cheaney and Loake .


I’ve never owned Cheaneys and Loakes but in a head to head comparison C&J’ calf uppers do not compare favorably with those of, say, Meermin, which are half the price and more durable while maybe marginally tougher to the touch. Meermins with leather soles are mostly if not always closed-channel, they offer Horweens sporadically on an MTO basis, and I prefer their lasts to C&J’.
But Meermin’s make is rougher and their customer service in the U.S. is pretty horrible (unless you speak Spanish maybe).


Hello Simon great article, and beautiful loafers. I like a lot styling of Crockett shoes, especially loafers. But what sopping me from it is plastic heel stiffeners. For sure in regular line, no idea about top line. Do you know about this particular model. Thanks


Thanks Simon,


Really? Right now the only “good” shoes I have are from Meermin, and they are already very expensive in my social circle. They are definitely not perfect, with slightly uneven stitching and stuff like that, but they would probably work fine for me, if not for the plastic heel stiffener which kills my foot and makes the shoes super hard to break in.
That was really the main reason I might go upmarket when I can…and now I find that shoes double (or even triple) the price, often reputed the standard of quality at realistically attainable prices, do not even improve such a key aspect?
I mean, TLB Artista even uses *real* leather stiffeners for similar prices, actually often less. It strikes me as very odd they use plastic for their top line, not even leather board.


hi simon, great writeup as always!. can you comment on last shape relative to alden’s van last? I have shallow feet and always struggle to find well-fitting loafers. in this regard, alden’s van is ideal for me. but i like c&j’ harvard, too – just being uncertain as to how thy fit precisely (no c&j retailer in my region for fitting….)


This is great, some really useful info. I have done the same, buying a size that is too tight at the front so it fits better at the heel and hoping that over time and with wearing that it will loosen and become roomier at the front. The truth is that this has not been good for my feet and I’ve stopped wearing them. Remembering now when I’ve tried on shoes and the right shoe fits perfectly while the left is too loose because my left foot is smaller and have put them back I think I’ll take tongue pads or heel pads when buying my next pair of shoes.
Sadly, when I last went around all the Northumberland shoemakers to buy a pair of shoes, when I mentioned this no solution was suggested.
Very useful to know about the same shoe in a slimmer last. Fit is now my first and over-riding priority. On this, is it the case that American shoemakers seem to offer wider options of the same shoe moreso than in Europe and has this always been the case? I’d love to be able to have the choice of a wider shoe at the front rather than sizing up if it’s possible.


Didn’t realise this, so will ask for now I know, thanks.


Just to add, the insight into the materials and construction and how they compare is great. Knowing this really helps to see how great the value is for what you are getting. Lovely to know that skills are being kept alive locally with homeworkers doing some of the work too

Peter Hall

My basic advice ,when I was an elder statesman in my last role, was always ‘stop buying x times rtw and save for a two pairs of Crockett’ -a pair of Oxfords and a loafer. Absolute best investment.

Mohammad R

I purchased a pair of these last year. I find them to be incredibly versatile. Beyond just chinos I find they also pair well with mid grey wool trousers but I’m not sure what your opinion on that would be? In general I’ve found loafers to be the most versatile shoes I own but then again I rarely have the opportunity to wear a suit. Most of my wardrobe is smart trousers/Oxford shirts/polos

Chris K

Hey Simon, great review.

The universe works in mysterious ways. I’m not joking or exaggerating, literally last night I was browsing Crockett’s penny offerings, telling myself I’ll invest in a pair of Harvard 2’s in Dark suede for next summer. Followed by watching you and James Eden discuss the mythical beast that is the Donegal.
‘And of course, finding ways to smarten up casual clothing is very much the order of the day. When others are in a hoodie, wear a shawl cardigan; when they’re in Converse, wear pennies.’
Sorry to quote the whole sentence, but I had to do it justice, as it’s the gospel that I, along with most readers I’m sure, am reading from right now.

I’m planning to be in NYC early next year, and have every intention of stopping by Alden Madison. In particular, I have the 986 in colour 8 in mind. Strictly for the same purposes as you’ve described, casual side of things, dressing up what is now my everyday. All I wear at the minute is boots, which are ‘my thing’ and are still the default, but loafers would be a nice option going forward.

The one thing that bugged me about cordovan pennies (this doesn’t seem to be such a problem with suede, perhaps due to the weight of the upper?), is that I see both 10 year old pairs looking phenomenal, all the usual patina and rumpling, wrapping the foot perfectly, while some others I see where the toe has just lifted completely. To my eye, it spoils the line of a shoe like this that already has soft lines around the toe, so it ends up looking square, no shape. Maybe some people want this look? Cool, but I personally prefer the clean lines. I didn’t realise that the ones that retained that lovely shape, probably had shoe trees in them at all times when not being worn. So thank you for sharing that. I thought a toe tap/ metal tip was the only option to prevent this, but thought it might be a bit silly on a casual shoe like this, if shoe trees would suffice?

Really lovely shape on these Harvards, and you do them great justice as ever. Something really special about unlined cordovan.

Ps. the 1952 Crockett’s catalogue shot is wicked, lovely touch.


Chris K

Thanks Simon,

Absolutely regards the shoe trees, appreciate that.

My point with the toe tap – It was my understanding that having a metal toe tap secured on the toe of the sole (Only one pair of shoes I have has them, a pair of Edward green Picadilly’s) prevented the toe curling/lifting? Maybe I have that wrong altogether.

I know, amazing, the other 3 on the list are the usual suspects, then the blue suede comes in, last on the list with flashing lights!

Chris K

I think it’s just my misunderstanding of the purpose of toe taps. Glad I raised the point now or I’d likely have continued to think that.

Thanks Simon,


I’d ahead to the Alden store. They’re often low on loafer/Indy boot stock, and it takes them a couple three weeks to order them in.


*call* ahead that is, sorry

Chris K

Thank you sir!


Hi Simon,
As my granddaughters tell me, “Granpa, just save your clothes and every thirty years you will be in style.” I wore GH Bass “weejuns” in the fifties, the penny loafer of Ivy fame. And with white socks (with dress pants as well as chinos) but the socks were heavy wool, not cotton, The loafers had added style if they were very worn and loose to the point where they slipped off at the heel when one was seated. To be hung from the toes as it were. Very fifties, indeed. The white socks then went out of fashion as looking too much like a farmer from Kansas in his Sunday black suit with white socks. And now the socks are back, on a Brit no less. Well done. (And you certainly don’t look like a farmer from Kansas.) A great lesson on the cyclical nature of clothing styles.

Peter Hall

Falke make very comfy wool socks ,Simon. They have a lovely Pearl sock, but it’s not 100% wool. However, they are really comfy inside loafers.

Wouter de Clerck

Inspired by this article I popped in at the excellent local socks&stockings shop in Leiden (established in 1953!) to see if they could satisfy my Ivy-needs. The lovely ladies there had picked up on the trend (or still remembered it from their younger years) but did not have off-white ribbed socks on offer. Fortunately, I did find a sand-coloured, woolen pair of ribbed socks that wear very comfortably (probably the wool) and emulate the Ivy-style quite nicely.

Peter Hall

Look on the Peek and Cloppenberg webstore(search under white) – they have plenty of variety. I bought my Falke from the store in Rotterdam.

Wouter de Clerck

Thanks, Peter. I used to live in Rotterdam and must visit again soon, if only for the off-white Falke socks.


I have a pair of Harvards in chestnut which have become a lovely rosewood color through wear and polish. I like the last shape, the stitching on the toe and heel, and the less prominent welt relative to the Van lasted alternative.


Hi Simon, where is the belt in the second picture from? Thanks!


Simon, thanks for the precise and helpful description. I am considering to invest on a good loafer and am struggling among Alden cordovan full strap, C&J and Edward Green Piccadily. Alden probably does not fit well since I have a wide feet and high instep. EG seems to have a very limited offer on cordovan and in calf is pricier than C&J in cordovan. So the latest seems the right choice.
I did not get from the article whether the Harvard is now replaced by the Harvard 2 or they offer both.
I like the white socks (I know we are on a permanent style mode but these days are very trendy)


In the early1960’s we would wear Adler brand white wool socks with our penny loafers. They would “yellow” a bit even after careful laundering and air drying.


Your comment about the soles is an interesting one. I’ve owned several pairs of C&J (standard line) and compared to my more-expensive shoes, the C&Js have always worn out far more quickly (sometimes there was little actual cost savings with the C&J since I had to send them back to the factory so often for a resole!). The fact that these loafers have the hand-grade sole maybe makes them a better buy.


Thanks for a great article, as always – I really appreciate the details and accuracy.
I have tried a lot of different loafers over the years but never C&J, unfortunaly I often find them little uncomfortable when it comes to derbys and chukkas (I have a very narrow ankle). But these looks very nice, and if I understand it right also very comfortable – so maybe worth a try!
But my question is – have you any experience from J.M. Weston 180 Loafer? they are in same price range and I like the style much, but I dont know much about them – quality, stitching, details and so on. If you look at the homepage it is of course good, but that dont says everything! or maybe other people at the forum have any experiences? my impression is that they are more common in the french speaking area.



I second Simon on quality, having bought my last pair of 180 loafers 2 years ago. They can be resoled at the factory if beaten up – my 65yo father still visits construction sites and climbs on scaffolds and Parisian roofs with them. JM Weston and the 180 loafer are very well-known in France and francophone Africa.
That said, I would kindly suggest not to buy them online Fredrik. The 180 sizing seems quite different from even the JM Weston mainline (for me by a full size and by a width, according to their salespeople).


Hi Simon,
Sounds like we have similarly shaped feet. Mine certainly prefer the comfort of a rounder toe with wiggle room. As such, might this Harvard be more suitable for me than, say, an EG Piccadilly, which looks much slimmer?
You mention that you sold a pair of C&Js years back. I have a pair of Loakes that I’m tempted to shift; my feet have never really agreed with them and they get very little wear. Is there somewhere you can recommend for the sale of second-hand classic shoes/garb? I have never done this, as anything I might have sold has been of low value. Plus I always fear that it’ll be more hassle than it’s worth – in every sense.
With thanks,


One of the most interesting articles of the last months becausw i have already 4 pairs of c&j and they are all very good shoes. Im not so rich as some readers nor do i have so many clothes like you to compare them with pricier or bespoke ones, but as long as i wear them daily i am really pleased with them. May i suggest another loafer pair from them ?
They are black but get really well with some jeans and also grey flannels. I think some chinos also pair good cause if worm with a t-shirt or an easy shirt they make a really fun look.


Oi, feet off the furniture mate!
Albeit, those are quite nice loafers : ) Am I to understand that c&j have a tannery that does their cordovan specific for them?

Joe Pickering

I thought for years that white socks were the antithesis of style, or only wearable by 20-something hipsters going for a look. But seeing and reading about them in this kind of context recently – mainly from you but also from others – made me reassess my preconceptions: almost always only healthy when it comes to style (and most other things). I bought some of the Uniqlo ones you recommended, Simon, and wore them for the first time just the other day. I was surprised how uncontroversial I found them whenever I looked down at my feet! It’s probably the ‘offness’ of the white; as you say, they’re very obviously not a sport sock.

Where do you stand on chukka/desert boots and Ivy style, and with white socks? Loafers get mentioned all the time, naturally, but Ivy is a big part of the Drake’s look and desert boots are arguably their ‘in house’ shoe style. Anglo have done their own range too, though perhaps they’re much less Ivy generally. And in the book Hollywood and the Ivy Look, the authors call Steve McQueen’s outfits in Bullit arguably the most influential Ivy look in the history of cinema; I think he wore chukkas throughout that.


I generally wear loafers and so have a number of Crockett and Aldens. I find myself not wearing my Boston’s (in brown country grain) because they are actually too slim for the exact situations that you have described as wearing these for. I’m not sure if it’s just my foot size to build/height ratio (size 10, 5ft10 and stocky), but they are considerably more elegant than an Alden LHS and I don’t feel they work with t shirts or flat front chinos in the way the LHS do. It’s a shame as it’s a very well made shoe in a classic style, and I love the country grain as well as it’s good for winter and gives it a more casual air. I think I’m going to get a penny loafer made up in brown country grain but on their 72 last which is wider in the body (and the one Anglo Italian uses for their Crockett loafers).


Hey Sam or Simon, any experience on how the 72 last fits against any of the Alden loafers (primarily the Aberdeen lasted full strap or tassel)?

Have been researching online but really not finding any good comparisons. I have the opportunity to get the anglo italian suede tassel loafer at a great discount. Trying to figure out how the 8.5 in the 72 last compares to the 9 D I wear in alden shell tassel loafer.

Thanks and cheers


Great article! Do you have any thoughts on Baudoin and Lange’s new range of boots?


Thanks for the great article Simon, very timely as I am looking at buying these exact shoes! I am tossing up though between this colour and a whiskey cordovan. Do you think there would be a difference on which colour is more versatile? I will wear with chinos, light and dark denim and possibly with light to mid grey wool trousers.
Many thanks


Hello Simon, I’m glad to finally see you in a pair of Crocketts! They have been my go to maker for years. I suffer from a similar affliction of ‘heel slippage’ to you, and from the outset luckily stumbled into a C&J last that works for me. I’ve experimented with other lasts and makers since, but seem to have found a winning formula with C&J’s excellent MTO programme meaning I can get hand grade construction and materials in the styles, leather, and last I like for a price not too much more than Edward Green RTW.


Hi Simon. I strongly disagree that Horween Cordovan doesn’t vary much . I own silvano Lattanzi Cordovan and C&J Cordovan. All Cordovan are from Horween but quality is just like from different planets ))). Lattanzi Cordovan is much much more better quality in Cordovan than C&j , Alden etc. I think they buy much more quality part of horse skin )))


I think they just using different part of horse membrane


Hello Simon, I’d like to point out this isn’t quite true because the membrane will have natural variations including thickness, size of hair follicles, texture etc. I regularly ship in large pieces of cordovan so piece matching and clicking is still important as well.


This review is a pleseant surprise as I‘ve had the Harvard in my sight for some time as a casual loafer.

Do these wear as comfortable as the unlined Aldens?

I‘ve got the same unlined suede Alden LHS and wear the heck out of them as they are as comfortable as a boat shoe but with a dressier appereance. Might be my most comfortable shoe. I also have the Cordovan LHS but although I‘ve worn them quite some time they are still hard as a rock and the heel gives me blisters and hence stay in my closet most of times. (Plus they look a lot chunkier than the unlined suede loafers even though they‘re made on the same last.)

I also own the C&J Boston in Black and wear them frequently with a navy suit to the office but the last is a bit snug. Fine for office days but not as comfortable as the unlined Aldens during longer walks.

I was hoping the Harvard would be similar to the unlined LHS?


Where do you recommend buying cream/off-white over-calf socks from? I’ve had trouble finding a pair.


Berg & Berg were offering them nowadays. Wool. Good experience with other colours.

Steve Deal

Simon, I really love your reviews, especially upon shoes, so I was excited to see your piece here.

Here in the States it is rare to see medium to dark brown Horween cordovan, especially if not named ravello or cigar. Even those two are only found on deep multiyear waiting lists. So good on you and C&J for reviewing this model.

Of course, a price over $900 for a pair of such cordovan loafers would necessarily force a comparison here with the color 8 van unlined Aldens. As you did. I own and revere that pair just as you do, as well as the brown suede LHS, in addition to a tobacco pair in the plaza last.

The way you describe the nuances between the lasts of the Alden, C&J, and others is quite commendable. I only wish I had your latest advice before purchasing all these loafers plus the Cleverelys made bespoke.

I would only add: is the slightly less rounded last of the C&J as well as its relatively rare (in the US) brown cordovan worth the extra $300 plus? I would say: yes, if I had not already invested so much in other models, and especially now with the additional knowledge of the handiwork of the leather doles. What a credit you are to UK borne workmanship and style. That color of brown is extremely rare here. Well worth the variations involved, and in my view, all the more valuable.

Cheers, Steve


I absolutely love my Harvard 2. I bought it this year to wear at the end of summer and it was invaluable. Used C&J online measuring instructions and after sending them the measurements they recommended 8.5 E in most lasts, except for unlined shoes like the Harvard 2.

First time I wore them was to campsite wedding in Northern California with linen trousers. I find they are fantastic with jeans, and casual trousers (linen, flannel, cotton). Though I find the welt a bit to pronounced to wear with anything too sleek or formal. C&J was right about sizing, as now I’d say they are just about the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. I think the most formal I’d go with them is separates.

Interestingly enough, I loved this unlined shoe enough that I wanted another, but in black suede. I got a special order via the New York store (by the way – much better deal for anyone in the US than going the normal special order route – and Rene is an absolute joy to work with. Called me when my order arrived and was shipped, and then again about a week after to see how I liked the shoes and that everything was good).

In any case I got the Solent in black suede (same last as Harvard 2 – which is the same toe as Harvard with slimmer back, which i find fits me well). However, the Solent I’d be willing to try and wear with a casual suit, it seems sleeker (I suspect it’s because the welt is cut closer to the shoe). I should also note that since it is also unlined, after about two weeks of wear it is quickly becoming my second most comfortable shoe.


Alexander, I second your recommendation of the New York shop – have been dealing with Rene and Kevin forever, and nothing but good things to say about them.


I think I have, embarrassingly, over 20 pair of C&J shoes (including loafers) from both their main line and Hand Grade line although the Boston and Cavendish Loafers seem to be my ‘go to’ for loafers at the moment; after years of solid wear the Sidney and a hand grade pair on 337 (name escapes me) started feeling too smart for the new casual world. Evidence I know points to the opposite but I’m not a ‘one make’ man, its just living out of UK (in Africa) I don’t often get the chance to visit the other good shoe brands to try on, I wear C&J (of course I rate them very highly) as much because I know they fit and the great relationship I have with one of their London store managers proving again that good service goes such a long way. As a day to day affordable shoe I don’t think anyone can go wrong with C&J shoes. Never tried their cordovan though so thanks Simon, I must give them a try now.


I own both the cordovan and the brown suede models, the suede model was excruciating to break in but now they are like slippers. The cordovan was even fast to break in in contrast with the other.
I use them on a wide variety of settings, as I find them to look well with suits unless you are really wearing them as business attire.


Nice article Simon,
It’s funny how you suddenly notice trends in the real world. I’ve been aware penny loafers have very much been back ‘in’ with the Instagram-menswear crowd for a few years now, along with Belgian-style slippers to accompany their patch pocket Neopolitan suits.
However, it really hit home when I was walking around west London yesterday – despite the fact it’s now December at the weather was awful, pretty much every well-to-do young guy in a jacket from Marylebone to Soho was wearing a penny loafer.
It does make me wonder which shoe is going to have something of a revival next?
Whilst I still have a soft spot for a dark brown C&J brogue, brogues themselves seem to have suffered an image crisis with all the paper-thin bright orange high street copies.
We also had that bizarre monk strap craze (that suddenly vanished) a few years back. I can only think perhaps the split-toe derby or the chukka boot will be casual enough for today’s crowd?


This amuses me slightly, since in the distant past boots were definitely more formal (in fact low-cut “Oxford” shoes were a bit scandalous at one point). However the world has long since changed.

Matt H

Tassel loafers have been something of a trend in menswear for a while now, and it struck me how mainstream they must be when I noticed a child’s version for sale in a supermarket.


Although I agree about the monkstrap craze, it was also good to have another style which was mainstream and acceptable. Once you’ve got your basics and staying at that price point it was another versatile option.

Simon Thomas

Simon – take your feet off the furniture!


There’s a word missing from this sentence ‘On cordovan generally, makers I speak to always that Horween is the best,’


Hi Simon. Lovely post as usual. I really like the Ivy combination. I don’t know if I could pull off the white socks though. I think that is a bridge too far for a 40 year old, in my opinion.
One question, what is your opinion about the loafers (mocassins) of the French iconic brand JM Weston? They are certainly a favourite of the editors at L’Etiquette. Was wondering your opinion about it.


Thanks Simon! And sorry for repeating the question. I admire your patience.


Hi Simon,

Interesting and useful post.

I would like to know your view on the same loafer style but split toe (Norwegian). Is it still considered an Ivy loafer? Does it have the same use?

I oen a pair from Carmina but I think Alden also offers split toe loafers.

Thank you and best regards,

Matt S

As an American, if I wanted an American-style loafer, is there any reason to go for the Harvard over a shoe from Alden?

Matt H

These look really nice, and that’s a great shade of cordovan. The main thing that can put me offer many C&J and other somewhat lower-end loafers is the low SPI along the apron. The two rows are often wide apart too. This can look a little clunky. I had actually assumed it wasn’t done by hand, but now I know different.


Oh, Simon. I wish you had written this a few weeks ago. I fear I made the same mistake you did on your first pair and bought the wrong size. Mine are a half size too small. I didn’t realize the 314 last ran so short. Any advice on making them more comfortable?
Nevertheless, thank you for another great article.


Thanks, Simon. I’ll check in with my cobbler. It’s definitely a length issue and not a width one.

Dudley Marks

Allen Edmonds, without the crumpled vamp under the saddle. Every width imaginable( a thing of the past; shoes that fit properly in AAA to EE widths) and at 60% of the price.
I spent many years in the shoe business, working for manufacturers that combined style, comfort and fit. A&E still adheres to that mission. I did not work for A&E and am not on their payroll.


I have also heard cobblers (who regularly are repairing and see the interior) say that AE quality has gone down in recent years. All hearsay of course.


Working loafers effectively into a casual wardrobe has such great rewards, but getting the combos right requires some trial and error. I owned a pair of dark green suede Italian loafers with contrasting moc toe stitching in a slimmer shape and leather sole. They worked great with more formal chinos or with any outfit at a summer wedding, but the sleekness and color didn’t pair well with work wear style chinos or denim. I moved on to a pair of nubuck loafers in black, in a more classic penny shape with accentuated beef rolls and a high front wall and tonal moc toe stitch. These worked better, but the slim leather sole still didn’t hold up that well to highly textured trousers. I had them resoled with Dainite with a nice stacked heel, and now they are absolutely perfect. So much so that I doubled down with the same pair in brown, and had those resoled with a tonal wedge sole. Between these two pairs of loafers, I can always be the guy a step above Converse without looking like I should be at a country club cocktail party. They also go great with shorts in the summer.


Have had these for 3 or so years now. Have resoled once. They have worn in beautifully and are probably my go-to shoe. Also bought the whisky harvard II earlier this year, but it gets less wear than the brown.

Jon Chivers

I’ve got the Harvard, Boston and hand grade Suede Cadogan , beautiful shoes and very comfortable.

Lynn H Pierson

I find the Sydney to be a great value, and I like the City Rubber sole.


I enjoy looking at the stylish C & J range, especially in the window of their Burlington Arcade shop, but their shoes never seem to suit my wide feet with flattish arches and I’ve had to get rid of every pair over the years no matter how hard I have tried to break them in. I’d much rather pay the extra for Gaziano & Girling whose lasts better cater for a size G without having to go up a size.

I wonder who will supply the soles with Rendenbach closing. I was astonished to hear they are going out of business given how few oak bark tanneries there are left.


Hi Simon.

Interesting article.

In your view, how does a C&J calf/suede loafer like the Harvard or Sydney compare to the EG Piccadilly?



Thanks. Do you notice a material step up in quality, finishing and overall detail between the C&J and your EGs?


I purchased a pair of Harvards a few years ago, but in chestnut calf. I anticipated that they would very versatile, in particular pairing well with denim and chinos, as well as more formal trousers, but they’ve often not felt right (style-wise) when I’ve put them on. Do you think this might be because the colour is significantly less versatile than dark brown? In a comment above, a reader alluded to the socks being critical, and I think they might be on to something. Do you have any other suggestions apart from white?


These have been my go-to drinking shoes when not wearing sneakers for years now, and they can really take any kind of abuse. Very robust. Btw, Merz B Schwanen sells cream wool socks, though with a varsity stripe – I only wear those with sneakers.


I very much like the low-key, high contrast pictures for this article. They feel very contemporary yet elegant.


Hi Simon,

How does the C&J Boston in “country calf” compare with the Harvard in terms of versatility with chinos and jeans, and maybe with shorts?



How far towards the summer can these cordovan shoes go? Would you wear these with the PS shorts for example?

Il Pennacchio

In the book Take Ivy, there’s a photograph of someone wearing cordovan loafers with shorts, so it’s a “done thing”, at least in Ivy style.

Il Pennacchio

It does, and “what one can pull off” has a lot to do with what one is comfortable wearing. One person might be fine wearing cordovan loafers with shorts, another might find the gap in formality too great. And as you point out, it might depend on the specific loafers or shorts, as well as the rest of the outfit.


Hi Simon,
Inspiring and wearable contemporary styling in these photos, as always when you do Ivy.
But mainly, I think you are making a good point with the sizing issue! I have broad feet from the ball onwards, combined with a somewhat narrow heel, and usually rely on wishful thinking that they will give more room after wearing for a while. It works fine with sneakers, where the midsole gets compressed quite quickly. With welted shoes, however, this is not always the case.
Long story: I have a pair of Paraboot shoes (very stale sole, norwegian welt, do not adapt to the foot) which I were about to give up on due to heel slippage. Heel grips solved the fit issues but came loose after a while. My cobbler suggested a permanent solution where leather lining was permanently mounted along the heel on top of the heel grip. This made them fit perfectly in the heel but pushed the feet a few millimeters in the toes, making them a bit snug. thick socks are now out of the picture. Had I gone up a half size, it would probably have fit perfectly with the alteration!


I’m slightly puzzled about how you can push Crockett and Jones so much without actually wearing a pair (before your loafers).( Yes, I’ve had lots of factory walkarounds too.)
I do agree that, for the price, Crockett and Jones shoes do look very nice. My Connistons get comments (not many people comment on shoes at all) but I just don’t find them comfortable. It’s not the fit but the hardness of the footbed. I’ve had them for five years and still my feet ache after standing in them for a couple of hours.
My Church’s, on the other hand are all much more comfortable. The Caldecot that I have on right now are nine years old next month. I wear them three times per week and they still look new.
The internet is full of people (bloggers and posts on forums/blogs) that rave about Crockett and Jones and dismiss Church’s (claiming inferior quality) without actually wearing a pair of either.
One person who has a blog (it’s not in the same league as Permanent Style) who is very vocal about how the quality of Church’s has decreased since Prada,has never owned a pair.
I find this an inherent problem with the internet. People read one post (somebody’s opinion ) and then regurgitate it somewhere else as fact.
I read in car magazines that Audi were high quality. So I bought an Audi. I had problems from day one and sold it within two years.
My point is, people sould always take an article or post on the internet as an opinion but if they want to know for sure, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


Thanks Simon,
When you say suppliers, what exactly do you mean. I asked Crockett and Jones where they got the leather from -something that C&J fans say is extremely good for the price and many on a certain forum state which tannary it’s from.(they’re wrong)
The answer from Crockett and Jones was that the distributors get the leather from all over Europe and it is not possible for C&J to track where it all comes from. They could only state that it came from sources that passed all the regulations for treating the animals and people in a humane way and that they had gone through a thorough process to document it for two years in order to get the Royal Warrant.


I understand that. And please, I’m not trying to start an argument here. I am here because I enjoy your writing and I think you are a very stylish person. But, I think my five years of wearing Crockett and Jones (and polishing them regularly) makes me knowledgable about the finish, quality and comfort of the shoe. Probably more so than someone who has gained their knowlegde from what other people have said. This is my point about people gaining their knowledge from the internet, not a dig at you personally.


I get that, but I just want readers to get first hand experience before deciding what is a quality shoe. If, from reading your articles on Crockett and Jones, your readers decide that C&J are amazing shoes, it’s not even based on second hand knowldge, but third. They will then comment on a another site that Crockett and Jones are the best mid tier shoe in Northampton – at which stage it is fourth hand knowledge.


Thanks for taking the time to reply Simon. I think you’ve nailed it with your last comment about the quality of the original information. That’s why I enjoy your writing.
Other “blogs” make statements (I have a particluar shoe blog in mind) without any facts to back them up. Just “I walked past a certain shop and didn’t like any of the styles, therefor that brand is of inferior quality.”
Of course, the information doesn’t necessarily need to be first hand if it is heavily researched and from quality sources.
If someone asked me if John Lobb are any good, my answer would be “a lot of people think so”. I could not state yes or no because I would only be going on what I have read or heard.


Hi Simon. Thanks for this. A question and a comment. First, could I ask after your socks? Second, I too used to prioritise fit at the heel heel over the toe. I abhorred heel slip so was prepared to put up with jamming my little toe into the top left/right corner of the shoe. As I’ve aged and become less tolerant of discomfort, I’ve allowed some heel slip in order to spare my toes. The consequence (together with slight elongation of the foot caused by slowing falling arches) is that I have gone up a full size and have and attic full of C&Js that I can no longer bear to wear.


Hi Simon,

I am very interested in the advice you give in passing on counter measures for heel slippage.

I have generally narrow feet and probably specially narrow heels. I also have to use orthotics which make shoe fitting additionally difficult. That has made me stay off loafers.

I have acceptably managed some lace ups with tongue pads, but these do not work for instance with my Chelseas. Despite a specifically narrow last fine elsewhere my heels largely swim about inside.

You mention besides tongue pads a ‘half sock’. What is that? Never heard of before.

In my mind I have figured out that a solution for narrow heels might be something like an ankle brace with cushioning around the heel that could fill up that area of the shoe while the rest kept enough room. I have never seen anything similar offered though.



How would that prevent slippage when there is too much room around?


Hi Nico,
See my above comment on inserting a heel grip. It is basically a thick piece of suede mounted at the top of the heel lining. It helps my feet stay down in the shoe and avoid heel slippage. It can be found in some supermarkets, your cobbler may have it, or you can order it from (which might be a bit of a hassle depending on where you live).


Thank you Simon.
I guess it depends on the foot and the shoe. I had already tried tongue pads, full sole, half soles (both front and back). And the heel on the shoes are quite high, which might help. It is a cheap trick (a few pounds for a pair), worth a shot if it works. And you are definitely right about it coming loose after a while! A good cobbler can cover it with leather to make it permanent as well as less abrasive – with the risk of she foot being pushed forward a few millimetres. Honestly, I mostly wanted to get this out into the cyberverse because this is one of the places people end up when googling their shoe fit issues before cutting their losses.
Have a good day!


Hi Simon –
Thanks for this article.
I recently bought a pair of the same Harvards in dark brown cordovan, at least in some part due to your recommendation here.
However, are you sure that the soles are Rendenbach?
When I bought them, the retailer said they did not believe the soles were Rendenbach.
They also seemed to be identical to every other calf shoe sole in the store to my eyes, but I am not an expert.
It wasn’t a dealbreaker to me and I am very happy with them, but just wanted to fact check that a little bit if you don’t mind.


Hi Simon,
You had a comment earlier here about the black version of these loafers and casual dressing, and it makes me wonder about casual black shoes in general. I have brown suede loafers and chukkas that are quite versatile, but mixing black and brown together is always problematic for me. What kind of black shoe, if any, do you think works well for a more casual pair?
You (not uncontroversially) recommended a black loafer in your top 5 on account of its versatility, without being specific on last shape or the type of wardrobe. In a casual context, would that still be your go-to — like a Boston or an Alden in black — or would you go for something like a derby? I’ve seen these black Crocketts styled in some of Saman Amel’s looks, but haven’t seen many examples of them elsewhere.


Great — that’s helpful! I think the black version of this (Harvard/Boston) is offered in Calvary Calf. Do you regard that as inferior to regular calf, or just something different?


Hi Simon – what do you think of the “Boston” model in burgundy calf as an alternative to this beautiful shoe, for those on a tighter budget? Is burgundy calf less versatile for chinos/flannels/jeans? Thanks!



Thank you as always! Unfortunately it looks like they only do the Boston in dark-brown with a sort of scotch-grain calf – I’m assuming this is less versatile and not quite the right thing with chinos/jeans?


Hi Simon,
What do you think of EG’s Piccadilly in dark oak, in terms of versatility? Does it work better towards the formal end of things, or would it go well with dark jeans as well?
How would you compare it to John Lobb’s Lopez?
Finally, have you posted anything on what makes a loafer smarter or more casual (such as type of leather, vamp size, stitching, etc)?


Hi Simon
I’m looking at purchasing my first pair of brown suede loafers. I will mainly be wearing with chinos ( smart as well as more workwear versions from Blackhorse Lane).
I am trying to decide between C&J Harvard and the Trickers Adams
Do you think the Trickers are a good alternative?


Thanks Simon.
I agree that they are more casual which is probably what I was after. Would you say a better comparison would be with the Alden LHS?

Pete W

Hi Simon, the issue of heel slip in this review is of particular interest. I’m currently having a lot of trouble trying to find a loafer that doesn’t slip at the heel. I’m having to buy online and so far have had to return four pairs. I’m normally a size 10(UK). I started with a Crocket and Jones loafer size 10 which was far too big. I got a refund on that pair then ordered a pair of Barker loafers, initially went for a 9.5, these had a lot of heel slippage, exchanged them for a 9 but again they were too loose around the heel. Got a refund on them, bought a Cheaney loafer size 9.5 – too much heel slippage, exchanged them for a 9, but same problem! I’m now toying with the idea of exchanging the size 9 Cheaney for a size 8.5 but dropping down one and a half sizes from my normal size seems a bit drastic. Before I risk doing that I thought I’d consult you, I’m wondering if the real issue is finding a last that suits, rather than having to keep trying different sizes. I’d be interested to get your opinion on this. (The C&Js were a G fit, all the others were F, I think an E would be too narrow).

Pete W

Thanks for your reply Simon. The fact that I’ve tried a combination of three different makes, three different sizes and two different width fittings, makes me think that you are correct about me not having the right foot shape to avoid slippage. I suppose I just need to decide whether to avoid loafers or learn to live with it. The article you attached was of interest and certainly demonstrates that some heel slip doesn’t necessarily have to be avoided.


Hi Simon
Loafers seem to come either in the pointy Italian style, or a rounder ivy style. This C&J last seems a great compromise, as do the options at anglo-Italian. Do you think this “Boston” shape is dressy and slim enough for casual tailoring? Or the Anglo-Italian Bradbourne model?


Hi Simon, do you find the unlined stretch more than lined loafers? I usually go true to size or half size up for the lined loafers as I have pretty wide feet, but I am not too sure whether I should do the same for the unlined.

Many thanks,

Nigel C

I finally bought a pair of these a few months back on a trip to London (living in Dublin now). The colour is really versatile and they are beautifully low key – grey, navy, chinos, jeans – they just work. Not sure why – it may be the lack of lining, the cordovan has more give in it because of this it seems and it feels very soft and not too heavy on the feet either – but they are the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. I’ve a couple of pairs of John Lobb Lopez loafers and a pair of Polo RL branded C&J cordovan loafers with a double leather sole from a sale ages ago. Great as they are, they are all beaten by these Bostons. Just love them. Thanks for the review.
Best wishes N.


Hi Simon, I am considering getting a Harvard in dark brown cordovan, hoping to wear it with a sports jacket and smart/dress chinos or jeans during summer. Would you say the combination of Ivy style loafer and cordovan leather looks too casual for smart chinos and sports jackets?

Many thanks,


Thanks, Simon. How about if I restate ‘chinos’ to ‘cotton tailored trousers? Does it sound slightly better, or would you rather not wear cotton-based trousers with a sports jacket and ivy style loafers?


Simon, this is a really helpful thread. I always find my chinos make me look quite old-mannish with sports jackets, but beyond my flannels am struggling to find other options.
I know elsewhere on PS there are nice options like fresco+linen in summer, and perhaps cav-twill wool and cords in winter. I get a bit worried that fresco in partcular over-emphases the “smartness”, and in some contexts can elevate the jacket too much into “dress-up territory”.
Would you ever consider doing a post showing a soft navy jacket paired with all these and other trouser options and why these look better than the chinos option, and perhaps how to keep the register suitably non-formal but still elegant?


Wow thanks for the speedy reply Simon! I meant really a more three-season one (everything apart from perhaps the height of summer, where it feels like navy hopsack and linen trousers are the way forward). In winter/spring/autumn/summer-evenings, I worry that cav-twill is too “fuddy/old-mannish”, that chinos aren’t “sharp” enough for a soft cashmere, and that cord/flannel can be great but too dressy/formal?

Ian Leslie

I second this request!


Okay, would you say shaved or peached cotton is easier than garment cotton?


Hi Simon,
I found this thread really useful as I’ve also been wearing the default of Chinos with sports jackets for several years, and not until now realised why the look was never quite right. Something I don’t understand and would love your opinion on- how come JMM still manages to look so sharp in the cotton chinos and jackets here. –


Dear Simon,
thank you for this interesting and inspiring review. Like you I have wide toes and just as you say, it´s difficult to find a loafer that fits. I have tried Sebago, Bass, Gazziano & Girling and none worked for my foot. If the front was fittign well, the heel wasn´t at all. So I ordered the C&J Harvard, hoping for the best. The shoe is indeed beautiful! Unfortunately the front is still to narrow for me, even I sized up.
Do you have any idea, where else to look for a classic ivy style penny loafer?
Kind regards Heiko

Jeff Tyzzer

I’m very glad I came across your video and am hoping that you can help solve a bit of a mystery for me. It seems there are two C&J Harvards, as I’ve come across references to both the Harvard and the Harvard 2. Further, there’s a Harvard made on the 376 last and one on the 314 last. Finally, there’s a Harvard that has stitching on the top of the tongue, as yours has, and one that doesn’t.

This C&J page lists the Harvard 2 on the 376 last and has no tongue stitching:

This C&J page lists the Harvard on the 314 last and has tongue stitching:

Evidence of both shoes exists in the wild: In this video (0:29), the box for a pair of Harvards with the tongue stitching is shown specifying the 314 last: The fellow here (6:05) is sporting a pair of Harvards with no tongue stitching:

The source of my confusion is that I recently received from a retailer in Europe a pair of whisk(e)y C&J Harvards with no tongue stitching and the box specifying the 314 last. So: I have a pair of shoes called Harvards, they have no tongue stitching like the Harvard 2, and their box specifies last 314 like the Harvard.

What gives? Does C&J play it a little loose on the tongue stitching and last from run to run?

Jeff Tyzzer

More like that what I received seems inconsistent vis à vis the two C&J links. I’ve got a (beautiful, mind you) pair of shoes with no tongue stitching (like the Harvard 2) in a box that indicates last 314 (like the Harvard). If I indeed received the Harvard 2 I’d expect the last number on the box to be 376.
I suppose that the perhaps bigger issue is that websites that sell Harvards don’t distinguish between Harvard and Harvard 2 and use pictures of each pretty interchangeably. Case in point:,13771.html. Compare pictures 1-5 of the whiskys with picture 6. (Note that I didn’t get my pair from Ben Silver.)
If you’re willing to spend ca. $1K for a pair of heritage loafers you may be the kind of person who’s picky about whether you get the stitching (or sole fudging/pattern–that’s another difference) and last you want.

Mahmood Elahi

Do you think these penny loafers could be dressed up with a separates combination mid grey wool trousers and navy blazer?

Mahmood elahi

Thanks for advice. Btw your blog is an amazing resource. Bought my first ever raw jeans Resolute 710 and am loving breaking them in. Your blog made me consider such jeans which were not ever under consideration before!


Hi Simon, if you don’t mind me asking, what is the main reason you don’t own C&G’s hand-grade collection? Is it because of aesthetics, quality or something else?
I remember you often said we usually get what we paid for most of the Northhampton’s shoes.
However, some sources argue that C&J’s hand grades are as good as Edward Green’s or Gaziano and Girling’s, due to their strength of scale(reduced margin per sale) and volume, which reduces their retail price. Would you necessarily agree with this?

Many thanks,


Hey Simon, I saw your instagram story yesterday- the one you posted on Anglos CJ range and you made a comment on the suede loafer with the little bow.
I’m tempted by that aswell but to me it’s a niche style so I was wondering how would you style that? Mainly with denim?


Hi Simon – do you think the dark brown suede version of these would work with a (patch-pocket) navy suit? Not necessarily for the office, but perhaps at a wedding with a bit more leeway? I’m thinking a knit tie would be a suitable match. Many thanks.


hi simon have you tried horatio shoes before/have any intent to try them? Their loafers look quite alden-esque (rounded toed, perhaps more so than C&J, ivy style) but at a much affordable price point. I thought they may be interesting. Have been thinking of getting a pair for the style but somewhat hesitant given there’s hardly any reviews on them/people talking about them


Thanks Simon, on that note: I’m wondering if you feel a dark brown calf in this shade (Hale Loafer Dark Brown Calf – Horatio ( is dark enough to wear with black tops (rayon/polo knits)? I do not own dark brown calf shoes and all my shoes are in dark brown suede (not dark enough to wear with black tops).


Hi simon, i currently own a pair of black tassel calf loafers from c&j and 2 dark brown suede loafers from b&l and carmina. My outfits are mostly casual (mostly khaki wide legged chino and work style chambrays up top) though i do sometimes need to dress formerly (tailored trousers). All my current shoes fit with my wardrobe but i do want to add a pair to the rotation. Am meaning to add either a pair of alden cordovan loafer in the van last though it is very pricey where i am based in and am also considering the horatio gyw penny loafers (not the horsebit ones blake stitched ones) in dark brown calf. Im wondering which you think may likely be more versatile given i may only buy one of them for a long time to keep a small wadrobe. Thanks


Hi Simon,

What is the difference between classic English round-toe-shaped shoes and Harvard’s last? For instance, how come EG’s Chelsea 202last could look nice when Harvard can’t go well with sharp tailoring?

Many thanks,


Hi Simon, just noticed you don’t have toe caps installed on these.

I bought a lovely pair of C&J Pembrokes in shell the other month, and finally took them out for a first stroll yesterday.

These are my second pair of C&J’s, but my first pair with double leather soles. I was a bit taken aback seeing just how badly worn the toe area was after some 30 minutes of walking. I don’t drag my feet, but the toe area nonetheless just about ate into half of the bottom of the two stacked soles.

I really hope I haven’t set myself up for a premature resole and am hoping to mitigate some of the damage. Do you have any experience having toe caps installed on shoes which had previously been worn, like the loafers in this post? Did you go direct through C&J? Or did you find that the toe wear on these leather soles slows down over time, perhaps?

Thanks for the insight, much appreciated!


if you have a new shoes, can’t wait to wear them but want to avoid eating up toes before getting to cobbler put a thick velcro where toe stiffener would go. most definitely not a permanent solution, my cobbler had a laugh when he saw it, but lasts 5-10 wears.


Hi simon do you see a cordovan loafer as being arguably more versatile than a dark brown calf loafer in most situations (assuming one those not need to attend very formal events)?


Hi simon are there any rtw brand of loafers that are roundish like aldens (besides alden) and are in the carmina/c&j price range?


Bodileys are made by C&J but partly use Alden-esque lasts that C&J themselves have discontinued, like this one:


Dear Simon, I am about to buy a pair of C&J Coniston boots in dark brown. However, I understand that you prefer the EG Galway model. Would you recommend buying the latter? Could you please help me make a decision?


Hi Simon, after having recently bought my first pair of loafers from Crockett and Jones. I was wondering whether I need Crockett and Jones shoe trees (as suggested by the c&j salesman) or would any shoe tree work? Thanks!


Hi Simon,
I’m about to buy some cordovan penny loafers (colour 8) : would you recommend more the alden full straps (Aberdeen last), the Crockett’s Harvard, or another version, from Edward Green for example? 
I’m looking quite specifically for a shoe as thin as possible (especially considering I’ve got a wide foot and a high instep)…


Thanks for your reply. No, they are not so easy to get in the UK.

I’ve come across this, researching high insteps and vamps:
« having high instep doesn’t mean you can’t have a low vamp loafer. The position of the vamp won’t disqualify you but a low and tight seam height will. »

Which begs the question: would you mind telling me how’s the seam height?


PS Sam shoe style is pretty horrible, but he does have high insteps…


Hi simon can i ask what is the difference between a cordovan colour 8 pair from alden vs crockett? Is it that the aldens one is more purple while the crockett is brown? What differences in versatility/style do they have with such colour differences?


Hi Simon, great stuff here!
I have a question on prolonging the life of a leather sole (in my case particularly on Crockett loafers). Im happy with my bostons however experienced a strong wear on the front of the sole which honestly even after wearing the shoe for only three times looks quite drastic.
It might be my way of walking which also has a certain impact probably on this wear effect.
I was thinking now of actually putting metal toe caps on front or even putting a thin rubber protection sole on top of the original leather sole as I’m afraid otherwise the front end of the sole will be gone in probably just some months.
What’s your general take on this; do you have any experience with metal toe caps or a thin rubber sole as protection of the leather sole?
I’m sure metal underneath can help from a functional perspective just not so sure if aesthetically metal looks that great?
Happy to hear your thoughts, enjoy your weekend! Max


Great, appreciate it, Simon


Hi Simon, I’m looking for a black loafer that offers maximum versatility. Do you think the C and J Henley 3 would work with a suit? Advice much appreciated.


Is there a “half sock” (half insole) you prefer? Does adding a tongue pad risk ruining the instep?


What keywords would you use to find insoles that can be placed underneath the leather sock? Additionally, at what position would you add the tongue pad for a chukka boot?


Hi Simon

I’ve been trying to choose a first proper loafer for quite a while. I’ve owned plenty of knock about loafers in the past, spending little over £200 on them and doing away with them once they wore out. Trying to choose a solid pair to move forward with. I was wondering what you might advise here.
I’ve liked the low vamp style of the Bradbourne’s stocked at Anglo and oddly liked the Charles stocked at Drake’s too (do you know anything about the quality of this one?)
However, I tried the cordovan harvards on today and fell rather in love with the leather. It is beautiful and I don’t doubt it’d only get better with age.
I’d intend to wear the loafers with everything, from jeans and t-shirts to a jacket and tie. (I don’t dress for business so I think my smartest outfits would accommodate them well, not going smarter then a corduroy suit, or separates.) I was wondering if you’d still advise going for a brown suede, for reasons of versatility? Or do you think the harvard is still a broadly very versatile shoe?
Beyond that, style wise do you think the harvard would achieve the same kind of look as say the Bradbourne, or the ones recently rolled out by the anthology? The low vamp gives a very laid back and louche look which I really like and ultimately I’d be wearing it with jeans and chore jackets or chinos and camp collar shirts this summer more than anything else. Does this shoe hit that note too?



Thanks, Simon. Do you know how much better quality? I liked the shape of the Drake’s ones a lot, but often fear the potential markup of certain things at Drake’s, just for the sheer fact of it being from Drake’s. What quality bracket would you place them in?
I’ll likely go for the Harvard if you think they’re not much less versatile than the others mentioned. I know you often speak about Brown suede being the most versatile, but I just feel that you lose something with suede. The way certain leathers age never seems to be replicated with suede as far as I’ve seen.
and oh, I will! All the shoes I’ve acquired over the few years have been or will be repaired and resoled at some-point. For some inexpressible reason, I always relegated loafers in my mind to an entirely knockabout shoe that I’d never consider spending more than £250 on. (First few pairs were from Samuel Windsor at about £50 and after a year were beyond saving each time.) Decided it was time to invest in something with some longevity built into it!


Two more questions for you about the harvard’s by the way. Do you still wear them? Are they aging nicely?


Thanks, Simon


Sorry, Simon. Last question on these before I go and pick myself up a pair tomorrow evening – do you think they are a loafer that can be pulled off sockless during the summer, like the Alden LHS?


I have never encountered such a problem but does suede shoes have a problem of looking oldish?

Juan Carlos

Hi, Simon. Great article. I like C&J (Cavendish and Harvard are my favorites) but I prefer too EG. You know the Harrow, I suppose. It’s unlined like Harvard. Perhaps less Ivy but more classic. Which one do you like the most?


Hi Simon, what do you think of this loafer but in black cordovan?


Have you noticed any heel slips with your Edward Green loafers when you go half-size up?


Would a suede Belgravia look fine even when everything else is very casual, like beaten-up chinos and an oxford?

David I

Hello Simon. Great article as always! I’m looking at getting my first pair of loafers and I’m torn between the C&J Harvard 2 and the Cavendish both in dark brown suede. The lined Boston is also in consideration. I’m leaning towards the Cavendish tassel loafer but I wonder which you believe to be the more versatile if you only had one loafer? The Harvard 2, however, has the city rubber sole which I believe would be a benefit living in London or am I wrong in thinking this?

David I

Much appreciated Simon.


Wouldn’t a dark brown suede loafer be much more versatile then leather of the same colour?


Hi all!

Does anyone know what brand/style loafer Bill Nighty has on here?

I’d assume Crockett and jones Grantham 2 but thought this is the best place to ask. thanks!


Roger that. Thank you Simon!


Dear Simon, I am thinking about buying the Harvard from C&J. Do you think it is as versatile as the Alden one ?


Thank you for your valuable thoughts! I tried them with jeans, that looked good, but did not try with tailoring. Do you have any suggestions where to buy Alden in Germany or Europe? And what are your thoughts on sizing? C&J fitted very comfortable in 9E, but I am not familiar with Alden sizing…

Juan Carlos

Hello,Simon. What’s your opinion about the John Lobb López? I think that they are more casual than EG Picadilly, more similar than CJ Harvard and, indeed, a classic!

Wolfgang Mayr

How would you compare the fit to the cavendish? Would you go for the same size here?


Dear Simon,

I followed your recommendation and opted for the old shoes (a pair of Korden Lofer had been on my wish list for many years and I finally had the money to spare). Now the shoes has been delivered, but the colouring of the two shoes is clearly uneven for me. You’ve visited the shop directly and can surely say whether this is still considered normal…


Thank you Simon for your fast response!


Hi Simon. I recently purchased the same pair (cordovan) in a half size down (UK7.5) from my usual UK8 on advise that the shoes should be snug and I should break them in.

Fast forward 2 weeks and its been tough – the shoe feels tight when I put it on and gets progressively worse throughout the day. I also have a high arch so the strap digs in quite a bit.

I was thinking of going a half size up to my regular UK8 but was advised that the shoe would stretch out too much and be loose.

Wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter!


I have two pairs of unlined Harvards, in suede and cordovan. The suede ones have stretched more (they have also had a lot more wear), but none of them to the point where they are too loose. I have also bought them in size 8 which is my regular size.


Hey Simon, I also own this pair and what’s interesting is that they look chunkier when you look down on your feet than when you look at others wearing them so they could just work with tailoring if you avoid anything in English cut. Or does visible apron stitching contribute to why you want to avoid wearing them with the tailoring?


Hi Simon,
i’ve been looking at a casual loafer for a while now and the Havard 2 in dark brown suede looks to be exactly what I’m searching for. At first I thought maybe I could get away with a less expensive shoe, but most of the time the styling is just a little bit of or a detail doesn’t fit for me. My first look went to a Loake on (Imperial is the name) which is totally my style, but sadly they’re very hard to get shipped to Germany let a lone to find a store who carries them so I could try them on (which I think is the most crucial, when shopping for a loafer!).
Back to the Harvard: It really does suit me, especially in terms of the city sole, which I love for it’s slimness and ease of mind while wearing it (still have a little bit of an aversion towards leather soles). But I’m worried about it being completely unlined… what will be the effects of it besides probably more creasing in the toe box? I would just go for the Boston model, which is lined, but has no city sole… what a dilemma ha!
Thanks as always!


Thanks vor the quick and comprehensive awnser Simon! I want to keep the Loafer casual, since a Loafer of this quality (sadly?) is a rare sight at my university anyways. It‘s going to be worn with jeans, chinos and maybea a grey flannel and that‘s about it. Have a great day!


As a fellow spade-shape footed man, I appreciate you highlighting our plight!

Recently picked up a pair of the Crockett Bostons after reading this review.

Crockett staff were pretty adamant that 10 fit me better, and that they’d stretch to accommodate. But they do feel a tad uncomfortable on the top and sides of my left foot / toes.

They’re definitely long enough, though, and generally feel fine elsewhere.

Given the similar foot shape – wondering if you experienced similar discomfort, and if you found it resolved itself over time?

I know you ended up getting the unlined versions and sizing up, thought that might’ve been because you tried on the size down and they felt too tight…

I’ve often made the mistake of buying loafers that are too big because they feel comfortable early on. So I generally feel like I should trust the judgment of the Crockett team – but it’s hard to kick the habit, and your decision made me think twice!


Hi Simon,
I know suede shoes are your default with ecru jeans yet, do you think this pair would also work with ecru jeans?


Would a dark brown slim loafer work with this same combination?