I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box to see a pair of cedar shoe trees included with the loafers. Handmade in Portugal, the construction was sturdy and the suede had a nice, rugged feel to it. I loved the contrast stitching and colored soles, plus the calfskin lining added that touch of lux to the shoe.
While the shoes were extremely comfortable and ordered a size down (per Austen Heller’s suggestion), they still fit too big. I usually run about a 11.5 or 12 and at an 11 they were sliding off the back of my feet with socks on. Since I would most likely wear these sockless during the Summer, the sizing just did’t work for me. Half sizes aren’t available, but I can’t imagine I would fit into a 10. That being said, I think Austen Heller may need to re-evaluate their sizing. Something like this could only benefit the company in the future.
I tried the loafers out with a couple of outfits at home and while I loved how they looked, in the end I decided they were a bit too casual for my taste. Even with their generous discount, I didn’t feel comfortable spending the money on a pair of shoes that didn’t really fit and wouldn’t be worn all the time, so unfortunately I’ll be returning them.
I still think that Austen Heller makes a sharp looking loafer, and they do a fine job of combining a casual look with a luxury feel. Their color combinations are great and if the wife hadn’t threatened me with castration, I would have considered the Red Rovers. Sadly not for me, but I highly recommend checking out their site and seeing if you can’t find a pair to suit your needs.