“In Japan, consumers want English things to be from England, French things to be from France and American things to be made in America. It’s a quality that I believe is derived from a devotion to authenticity.” —Michael Williams
In search of the perfect penny loafer, I found them in Ralph Lauren’s Singleton Burnished Loafer ($475). Proudly made in America by Mainer craftsmen, these embody the panache of genuine Maine hand-sewns. Previously Ansewn (until around 2003), Bangor, Maine’s Highland Shoe Co. hand-sews leather shoes for the likes of Polo, Bass (Weejuns), Paul Stuart and Sid Mashburn. The hand-stitched leather sole and outside reinforced heel feel solid on my feet. Apparently only available at RalphLauren.com, I found myself fit testing with other American made models in Ralph Lauren stores and moved a half size down. They fit brilliantly. And despite its presence in the current trend, the penny loafer is a simple, classic and understated shoe with practical, long-term fashion value.
*The penny loafer originated in the 1930s. Somewhat unbelievably, this fashion started with the Spaulding company when they produced shoes styled after those of Norwegian dairy farmers that had appeared in an article in Esquire Magazine.