The Ultimate Whiskey Shell Cordovan Penny Loafer
Living in San Diego, the perfect loafer is the Whiskey Shell Cordovan loafer. It just fits in perfectly with the vibe of San Diego. Because of my enamored state with Whiskey Penny Loafers, I have collected a few different pairs which have different flairs to them from a few different manufacturers. I thought that it would be fun to do a comparison between them.
In this post, I am going to look at the Alden Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS, Alden x Brooks Brothers Unlined Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS, Edward Green Bourbon Shell Cordovan “Duke”, and Rancourt x Ralph Lauren Caramel Shell Cordovan Penny Pinch Loafer. An obvious other Penny Loafer to consider with this group is the Crockett and Jones Harvard, which they currently offer for around $900 in Whiskey Shell Cordovan. I don’t own the design, but it is probably the closest purchasable alternative to Alden’s Unlined Whiskey LHS. Since I don’t own it, I didn’t include it in this comparison.
To get started, I wanted to introduce the line-up…
First up, is the Alden (Lined) Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS. My pair is from 2016. This model is made on the Van Last. Price is around $750 currently.
Next, from Alden is the Alden x Brooks Brothers (Unlined) Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS. My pair is from 2009. This model is made on the Van Last. Price is around $750 currently.
The most expensive loafer here is the Edward Green Bourbon Shell Cordovan “Duke”. My pair is from 2017. This model is made on the 137 Last. Price is around $1650 currently.
Last but not least, I have the Rancourt x Ralph Lauren Caramel Shell Cordovan Penny Pinch Loafer. My pair is from 2012. Price is around $650 currently.
Below is a direct comparison shot with the Alden (Lined) Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS (2016), Alden x Brooks Brothers (Unlined) Whiskey Shell Cordovan LHS (2009), Edward Green Bourbon Shell Cordovan Duke (2017), and the Rancourt x Ralph Lauren Natural Shell Cordovan Penny Pinch Loafer (2012).
Just to get started, all of these loafers are absolutely incredible. It’s really hard to go wrong with any of them. As the most expensive, the finish on the Duke is impeccable and it is an amazingly beautiful loafer. The other three are all around the same price point, both Alden and Rancourt do a great job with finish, but I feel like the finish on the Alden is a little tighter. That may be due to style, but it feels slightly better finished.
If you were to ask me my favorite purely in terms of aesthetics, I personally would go (1) Lined Alden, (2) Unlined Alden, (3) Duke, (4) Rancourt. I will say, that I really love the Alden hand stitch look and I am only okay with the whole two pieces of Shell lining up on the vamp concept (this is done on both the Duke and the Rancourt). I realize in the first Duke, that was done to be two toned, but this guy isn’t.
If I had to rate them in terms of formality, I would personally go (1) Duke, (2) Lined Alden, (3) Unlined Alden, (4) Rancourt. I will note that formality is a good and bad thing for a Whiskey shade loafer. In San Diego, I can wear Whiskey shade loafers with Slacks, but other environments may not be as tolerant.
Finally, if I had to rate them in terms of comfort, I would personally go (1) Unlined Alden and Duke, (1.1) Rancourt, (2) Lined Alden. Note that the numbering there is 1, 1, 1.1, 2 (meaning that it is really stinking close). I will say that the Unlined Alden is amazing. I do have a Sole Guard on them and have walked miles in them in major cities and they are amazing. I also have to add that I have only worn the Duke on carpet for a few hours, so I really can’t do a complete assessment of them. Also, the lined Alden’s just don’t feel that comfortable on me until I have fully broken them in. If you can’t tell by looking at my pair, it is still unbroken in.
If I had to recommend a purchase to someone, I would actually recommend that they get the Rancourt due to availability and price. The Duke is gorgeous, but wow it is expensive. The Alden’s are amazing, but they the lined version is nearly impossible to get and the unlined version is impossible to get. The Crockett and Jones is lovely, but its nearly $300 more and it doesn’t have the hand work. Obviously, since this is Alden of San Diego, if you have the time and patience, go for the Alden, 7 days a week and maybe wear through your Rancourt while you patiently wait…