Remember that post I did on Bit Loafers? Well, my closet is in a constant state of evolution. In some years the wardrobe evolves more than others, but there’s always movement. I’m currently doing some serious re-evaluation in every aspect of my wardrobe – just like Notre Dame is doing with every position after their loss to Duke. At home. Let me repeat: Notre Dame lost to Duke at home.
After doing that post, it was clearly obvious to me that I needed a good pair of brown bit loafers. Specifically, loafers that would cover 80% of outfit situations. I’m a huge believer in the 80-20 (Pareto) rule. Not familiar? Look it up. From a rotational perspective, I was looking for a pair of loafers that I would wear all the time. I chose the Oak Street Bootmakers bit loafers based on my past experience with the beef rolls, and after a couple wears, I am glad I did.
Out of the box, the loafers are exactly what you want: a well constructed shoe out of quality materials. Check and check. The leather is Horween, so it’s not shiny, but not dull. It’s made to be polished, and then patina’ed. These will look outstanding in about six months. The inside is lined with calfskin, making it extremely soft – especially for those of us that will sport these sans-socks.
What is most important for me is the vamp. A lot of bit loafers have a vamp that is too low, which makes them a little dainty, or too high, which makes them look a little too formal. I wanted something in the middle, and the OSBM option is just right. Why do I want a mid-vamp loafer? As I mentioned above, I want to wear these with 80% of the outfits I put together, which includes jeans, khakis, trousers, and even shorts. These work with all of those options, and dress it up just right.
The construction is right where I want it. I wear a size 9 in OSBM (reference: vs. a 9 in Alden, a 9.5 in most Allen Edmonds), and these were ever so slightly tight out of the box. This is good, because they will stretch out and mold to your feet. From a care perspective, I use cedar shoe trees and give them a good brushing before wearing. I’ll probably wait on polishing them until they get a good ten wears or so.
Team: I am a big Oak Street Bootmakers fan, and for good reason. This is my third pair of their loafers (first, and second), and I will continually buy more as needed. The style is classic, the quality is outstanding, the price point is dead on, and the company is outstanding to work with. They have an excellent value proposition. Get on board, folks. It’s hard to go wrong here.