It’s Not The Years, Honey, It’s The Mileage

When I first posted about Jay Butler loafers almost a year ago I was pretty happy about them.  If you are new here, and 3/4’s of you are, a quick Jay Butler primer for you.

This is Justin – he owns Jay Butler. He is a shoe artisan. If you click on this image you will see a quick video about how the shoes are made. It will impress.


Jay Butler shoes are different in that they were designed like moccasins.  So you wear them for a bit (that’s a wwwaaayyy inside bit loafer joke) and they feel like moccasins.  But they don’t look like moccasins at all.  Here:


That’s a pile of Jay Butler bit loafers (they make regular loafers too, stay with me for a minute) from their website with a subliminal message embedded. If you click here, guess what happens?


Because of their design they have a thinner profile sole than loafers you might be used to.  Ok.  And I don’t wear socks.  Like almost ever.  So the one concern I had was that I was gonna wear these things down like cheap tires on a NASCAR track.

Except you can’t.

I have had three pair now for three seasons, and worn all of them, almost all the time.  And I wanted to show you how they held up to my pounding, and this was before I lost the weight.

First, my black bit loafer.  I don’t wear black shoes as often as I do brown, so these got the least amount of wear.  But they were worn and walked in twice a week.  Look how they stood up:


They look new, they have I bet 320 hours on them. Yes, I have a formula. Click on them to learn more about them on the site.


The brown bit loafers, those took a pretty good lap around the year.  But here:


Look at the inside of them. They look barely worn. These were worn at least twice as much as the black, and you would never know it. Click on them, go ahead.


All of which is pretty amazing.  Yes.  But wait.  My everyday shoe isn’t a bit loafer, it is the penny loafer.  Almost every day for a year.


I have had relationships shorter, and with less miles, than these shoes. The shoes look better than the people.


These have serious odometer readings.  And with that sole being thin, I did not expect this:


These soles are substantive. I don’t know how they do it, but these really, really hold up.


Have a great weekend!  And do take a look at these shoes.  They are affordable, ridiculously comfortable, and can take a beating for sure.


37 Comments on "It’s Not The Years, Honey, It’s The Mileage"

  1. AlveySinger | July 8, 2022 at 9:19 am |

    The one thing I used to be able to rely on when visiting the States was the ability to pick up loafers in the traditional American style.
    I’ve noticed over the years a steady decline in what’s generally available.
    Take for example Allen Edmonds. The Waldon was discontinued and now sadly the Cavenaugh is being phased out.
    The Cole Haan loafer range has disappeared too.
    These loafers now look a really exciting addition to the small range of options still available.
    Your shot of the brown penny loafer also makes them look better than some of the images on their website

    • Having lived with Cole Haan and AE (particularly the Cavanaugh) loafers, I can tell you the Jay Butler offerings are far more comfortable and heartier. They also look great with a much broader array of pants/shorts.

      You’re right, there’s a strange paucity of options in this space.

    • John Burton | July 8, 2022 at 4:17 pm |

      Thank you! These shoes are remarkable. They are loafers, but the fit and wear are beyond that.

    • G. Ellery Cobbold | July 10, 2022 at 4:22 am |

      Alden makes the most traditional American penny loafer: the LHS. That shoe is generally available in America and has been for decades. To my knowledge, J. Press, O’Connell’s, The Andover Shop, and H. Stockton keep them in stock. Of course, many shoe stores carry the LHS and other Alden loafers. Among them are Alden of Carmel, Sherman Bros., Leather Soul, and the Shoe Mart, which sells Alden seconds online.

      I own one pair loafers not made by Alden. They are Rancourt beefroll penny loafers in Carolina brown. I love them.

  2. Alright, so I think in a prior post I was somewhat critical of the penny loafer’s low-vamp (which to me always makes a shoe look slightly feminine), but this “long term road test” is giving me second thoughts about these Jay Butlers … hmmm …

  3. Alex Littletone | July 8, 2022 at 9:22 am |

    When you wrote “These soles are substantive”, I was going to suggest that you change that to “substantial”, but that didn’t make any more sense than “substantive”. Perhaps if we change “soles” to “souls”, both substantive and substantial would make sense.

    • John Burton | July 8, 2022 at 4:18 pm |

      Hey Alex – yeah, even my proofreader noted that, but then said I was ok with it in there. 🙂 And I love your second note.

  4. Your shoes must have serious odometer readings if you hardly ever wear socks. 😄 Keep up the good work!

    • whiskeydent | July 8, 2022 at 11:23 am |

      Did you mean odorometer?

    • John Burton | July 8, 2022 at 4:19 pm |

      I am one of those weird people who can get away with no socks always. I know people who cannot. I have regrettably been in their presence. 🙂

      • whiskeydent | July 9, 2022 at 1:58 pm |

        I sometimes develop advanced cases of stink foot. It’s usually not a big deal, though explaining to a neighbor why her poodle just sprinted 30 yards to sniff my shoes is a bit embarrassing.

        If another human gets a whiff, well, them’s the breaks (actually, that’s not my real opinion but I was looking for a way to use Boris’s exit line). I of course wear no-shows on those occasions when an outbreak of stink foot could spoil a friend’s afternoon aperitivo.

  5. OK, consider me impressed. Those thin soles are the one thing that gave me pause with the Jay Butler shoes. I’ve got my eye on the dark brown pennies now. …But the problem with buying things that are made to last is, I’ve really no need right now for new loafers. My current pairs suit me quite well and getting another would border on excess. But I can probably safely say that when I do get a new pair for warm season wear, it’ll be these.

    • John Burton | July 8, 2022 at 4:20 pm |

      You are going to be happy. I am doing my best to break them down, and you can’t. And they fit and feel like moccasins. Let me know what you think when you do?

  6. These loafers should be marked as dangerous. Once you experience the comfort, flexible style, and good looks, you’ll want to go on a wild acquisition spree.

  7. Looking good, sign me up

  8. Pass. No thanks.

    Promotion and praise aside, most guys will be better off with Goodyear welt construction and a well made last that supports a, uh-well-uh, substantial frame.

    Moccasin construction is what it is, but this does a foot— nay, body — good. Better.

    Plus, I mean, they’re Alden,
    for Christ’s sake.

  9. John Burton | July 8, 2022 at 8:02 pm |

    Hi! Disagree. First off, when I got these I was… substantial. On some people, that whole Goodyear thing makes you look like, well, a car. Second, there is a gigantic boatload of evidence to the contrary regarding just how much better your feet do with different constructions. Third, Alden is nice. I don’t know why some people get into either/or.

  10. Saying that Alden is “nice” is a bit of an understatement compared to some of the superlatives being tossed around for these Jay Butler loafers, which I would describe as “fine” but not exactly anything to write home about. Alden is in another class entirely which, to be fair, is not a knock on Jay Butler. Alden charges about two to three times as much depending upon the model. There really is no fair direct comparison. It’s like comparing a luxury German automobile with a Toyota. Both will get you where you want to go.

    • John Burton | July 9, 2022 at 5:55 am |

      Hi Harrison – again, I don’t know why people go either/or. Right there with you.

  11. Price Hunnington | July 9, 2022 at 12:35 am |

    Enjoy your Jay Butlers, but let me be happy with my Bass Weejuns.
    They take me back to better times.

    • Love my Weejuns. They’re comfortable, they manage to last a good long time, and they still go with everything.

  12. Jay Butlers may be nice, but why would I care about a shoe that does not fit me? I am tired of the ever-growing trend of shoe manufacturers not offering their products in widths. Huzzah to Alden, Allen Edmonds, Bass, Cole Haan, J & M and Sperry, who all continue to make mens shoes in varying widths.

    • John Burton | July 9, 2022 at 5:35 pm |

      Brother Rob, check their site before you go off 🙂

      • John, I didn’t see any widths listed for a horse bit loafer I examined If I am mistaken, I stand corrected!

    • I feel your pain, Rob. I wear a wide width too. Don’t need any loafers at the moment but Jay Butler not offering wide widths would be a dealbreaker for me too.

      • Scroll all the way down and they have a selection of bit and penny loafers in the common colors in wide widths. I don’t have personal experience with the brand but it’s on my list of loafers to try.

  13. I love articles about American made products.?

    • John Burton | July 9, 2022 at 5:34 pm |

      Then there is plenty to read on the site! 🙂

    • AndrewK247 | July 9, 2022 at 10:28 pm |

      They are made in Mexico. Per website – “Cordwainers trained in traditional moccasin construction and sewing techniques make all our loafers by hand in the legendary shoemaking town of Leon, Mexico.”

      a) They are open about it on their site.
      b) Made in Mexico supports their economy which enables them to buy American stuff 🙂
      Better than made in Asia; keep it in North America.

  14. Hardbopper | July 9, 2022 at 8:20 pm |

    1981. I had a pair of Kinney loafers. They were odorous. They did not last long. Never before or since have I experienced that odor problem, even under conditions where I’ve had to go days at a time in the same footwear. I’m thinking now it must have been due to “man-made materials”…some sort of chemical/biological reaction.

  15. These look cheap to me. It’s also hard to get excited about them when you can get American-made Rancourts with much higher quality leather from Horween for about $100 more. Buy less, buy better.

  16. Thank you for the review Ivy Styles, I will be looking at a pair.

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