Meermin Unlined Penny Loafer

Don’t let the price fool you, these are fantastic loafers.

Note: Meermin provided these loafers for review.

I am a boot guy, or at least I was pretty sure that I was a boot guy. But, my pal, kept telling me that I needed to up my loafer game and that they are vastly better than I think they will be. I dipped my toes in a while back with some suede tassel loafers, but had been longing for a classic penny loafer.

When I saw that Meermin was releasing this unlined, soft calf leather loafer, I couldn’t wait to give them ago. In the world of loafers, pricing is all over the place, and climbs rather quickly. Meermin, by contrast, offers a really nice looking loafer at an extremely competitive price.

I’ve been wearing these for a few weeks now, and they are my favorite shoes to wear right now.

Materials & Construction

There’s a lot you can know about loafers, I’ll speak to what these are, and lightly touch on what it all means. I am far from an expert here.

These are an Italian Penny Loafer in style, with a ‘Flex’ Goodyear welt, unlined, with soft calf leather. This means it’s a little sleeker and dressier than an ‘American’ penny loafer. It’s fully rebuildable by a cobbler, whenever the leather sole wears out. And the leather is very soft to the touch, with a slight pebbling to the texture. Being unlined means that this has no additional materials coating the inside of the shoe, so it should wear cooler (also why it’s called a summer shoe).

The leather itself is noted as: “French Softcalf from La Tannerie d’Annonay & fitted with veg-tan leather insoles, outsoles & stacked heels.” I love this leather and think that Meermin’s description of a glove like fit is spot on. The leather is absurdly soft to the touch and looks very nice.

The overall construction is well done, even before you consider the pricing of those loafers. Generally, I am very happy with them, though you can see some slight asymmetry to some of the stitch lines if you inspect the loafer close enough. But it also took me a week to notice it.

All in all, the materials and construction are very nice.

Wear Comfort & Style

I am going to do these backwards. I want to touch on style first. Before I dove into loafers a few months ago, I always felt they were for older generations — not for me. This, I think, is a part of what I saw growing up — where the men in my life wore loafers and they always felt like an older person thing to wear. I am older now though, so it feels only natural that I gravitate towards them.

At the same time, it seems pretty clear to me that if you want to look put together in the warmer months, there’s simply no stylistically better way to do so than with a well chosen loafer. Of the variants out there, this more Italian styled loafer looks more refined and dressier than others, but the pebbling on the leather helps to dress that back down. It’s exactly the type of penny loafer I can wear to the office with chinos and socks; and again out to dinner later with linen pants and no socks.

What surprised me the most was how versatile these are. They simply work well with everything I pair them with, and seem no less versatile than any other classic shoe I’ve purchased. You only need to know where it’s not appropriate to wear these, and you are good to go (and really in today’s world there are few times these are not appropriate).

There’s two parts to the comfort of any good shoe: the feel on your foot; and how much you can walk in it.

When I first slipped my foot into these, I was surprised by how soft the upper leather was. It felt immediately comfortable and with little to no overall structure — it also gave me confidence to wear them for a full day right out of the box. What I did not expect was how cool these wear. The first week of wearing these was before the heat really ramped up here in Houston, and at times my feet felt chilled when I was standing in my office. I am looking forward to having these in my rotation during the very warm summers.

The next part you face is the sole, and how fast your feet tire walking in a loafer with a leather sole. I have enough boots and other leather soled shoes that I know to expect a firm and rather unpadded experience. My first half dozen times wearing these, I felt as though my feet were a little tired at the end of the day, but not too bad.

Fast forward, after the loafers are nicely broken in and molding to my feet, they present little to no discomfort through a whole day of wear. That’s over 5,000 steps, and standing for the vast majority of the day.

What I don’t want your take away to be is that these are anything but a leather sole. There’s no magic in here. So if you are coming from wearing sneakers, or sneaker soled ‘dress’ shoes — you are going to find these a vastly different type of comfort and it will take your feet time to adjust to this. I wear boots most days, and have for the last five years, so my feet are accustomed to a very firm footbed, and little bounce from a rubber cushioned sole.

For me then, I found these very comfortable out of the box, and even more so now that they are formed to my foot. I do stand in them all day. I do walk upwards of 6,000 steps in them each day. My feet don’t bother me doing this.

If you’ve never worn a leather soled shoe, I would very much expect these to feel rather tiring to wear after only a couple hours for some amount of time. For those not used to leather soled shoes, you are going to need to break in these shoes, and get your feet themselves used to this — it’ll take time so take it slow.

But, for those used to leather soled shoes, the break in has been fast with these loafers. I dislike wearing shoes like this on back to back days, but sometimes I grab these two days in a row because of how much I enjoy wearing them.

Overall

I’m a huge fan of these shoes. They are style I can easily wear casually (or as casual as I get), as well as wear to the office. The unlined nature means my feet stay cooler and thus I can wear them for longer stretches, and in warmer weather.

They are absolutely going to find themselves a constant wear and travel companion this summer. At just under $200, these seem like an outright bargain to me.

Find them here, $195.

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