Last summer I wrote a post about penny loafers.  I’d been sporting a pair of Cole Haans for about 4 or 5 years up until that point, and it was safe to say they were starting to…decompose.

Around the same time, my personal favorite store J.Crew started stocking their classic penny loafer (below). 

J.Crew Classic Penny Loafer

I really liked the look of these, but was hesitant to buy them based on my past experiences with J.Crew shoes.  They tend to not be very well made and have a history of being uncomfortable.

A few years ago I purchased a pair of black venetian style loafers that I ended up leaving in a Las Vegas hotel room – long story (that will stay in Vegas).  Last spring, however I bought a pair of lace-ups which after breaking in a bit have turned into a fairly comfortable pair of shoes.

I looked at a lot of penny loafers over the winter.  Few compared to these in terms of looks.  I finally decided to buy them when they marked them down from $150 to $110.  They only sell them online, so I ordered them in my usual size for loafers, a 9.  I got them, and they were too big.  They looked real nice though.  So, I sent them back and ordered the 8 1/2.  Well, apparently they were back ordered and wouldn’tbe available until August.  Then I saw them online again…yet, my order was still back ordered.  Weird.  I called up, and they fixed the issue.  I got the 8 1/2’s and guess what?  WAY too small.  I was about to throw in the towel, but figured three’s a charm so I tried again.

I got the second pair of 9’s, and they fit perfectly.  They come with a leather sole, so I took them to my shoe guy and installed a rubber strip on the bottom.  I wore them twice and noticed the vamp was torn in one spot.  Kristina suggested I return them again, but I was determined.  My shoe guy stitched them up for free.  It was barely noticeable.  I was happy again…until the inner lining started to bunch up making it feel like I was walking on bunched socks all day.  I dealt with this for about a week or so until I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I wrote a long e-mail to their customer service explaining the situation.  They couldn’t have been more helpful.  They refunded my shipping, and sent me a $25 gift card.  Last Saturday I returned them to one of the stores.  I’m now on the hunt again for a penny loafer.

My experience in dealing with their customer service was positive – very much so.  It’s just disappointing that after all these years they still can’t get it right with footwear. 

The last few seasons have seen the introduction of outside labels into the J.Crew family including Sperry, Converse Jack Purcell, Red Wing, and now AldenThe Liquor Store presently carries a few Alden selections, and starting in the Fall J.Crew‘s partnership with Alden will expand to carry their Indy Boot among other styles.

For now, however the Bass Weejun is looking pretty good.