Maine Event: New US-Made Bass Weejuns

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Last week Bass unveiled some new models of Maine-made Weejuns. Priced at $295, they are made from Horween leather and come both with and without beefroll.

I’d attended a Bass spring preview back in October, but I don’t recall these shoes being ready then. But here’s what else caught my eye, which should be coming out about now.

There were some saddle-shoe-styled bucks:

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This handsome boat shoe:

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And this one for the kiddies, which is a kind of cross between a penny loafer and a Vans slip-on:

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There are a few pieces of memorabilia in the New York showroom, including this montage of ads:

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This old sign:

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And this plaque, made to commemorate the factory workers who fought in World War II:

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Finally there was this poster of Charles Lindbergh, who apparently wore Bass boots for his hop across the Atlantic.

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Even in our small genre you learn something new every day — or notice that the last two letters in Lindbergh’s last name are “GH.” — CC

34 Comments on "Maine Event: New US-Made Bass Weejuns"

  1. I like the one without the beef roll, called the “Lavin”. They’re are priced where every other USA made loafer is. I’d have a hard time choosing these over a new pair of Alden’s though.

  2. On the WWII honor roll, we see that GH Bass II and Robert Bass both served.

  3. Bags' Groove | March 1, 2015 at 1:50 pm |

    In this particular case does Maine-made mean Rancourt-made?

  4. Horween has a perspicacious piece regarding leather 101 on their website. Great share CC; too many Ivy enthusiasts overlook the importance of Weejuns.

  5. Yup – these are made by Rancourt. Certain styles are on sale on Gilt for $149.00….which makes them tempting. $295 is too high. Horween, in this case, doesn’t mean shell cordovan…it’s just branded cowhide.

    http://www.gilt.com/brand/g-h-bass-company/product/1055034606-g-h-bass-company-fenmore-loafer

  6. Would
    that I could trust the picture. I’d like them in British Tan but I’m not sure that’s it.

  7. @ AEV

    The Fenmore you linked to does look more like a Rancourt model. But the Weejun in the picture above actually looks like an old-time Weejun. I’m not saying it’s not made by Rancourt, just that I like the fact it’s a higher quality Weejun than what they’ve been producing.

  8. Can anyone testify to the durability of these when compared to Alden? I find myself in the market and am looking for a little feedback.

  9. I wore the imported Weejun since high school. I’m 32 now and finally sprung for 3 pair of Allen Edmonds penny’s to keep in rotation after GH Bass finally ticked me off… I find their outlet store pricing as pure garbage… They regularly sell the normal imported Weejun at around $80+\-, and then have on the price tag the the original price was like $195 or something crazy, when the regular price on their retail site is 125 or so… Of course it’s all an outlet/factory store gimmick to show a bigger % off… No thanks, I returned my last pair on principle had my old ones resoled as my beaters. I will no longer patron them… And that’s my GH Bass rant.

  10. @Watchmen,

    I can’t compare the quality of Bass/Rancourt to Alden, because I don’t own any Bass/Rancourt. But, I have 23 years under my belt as an Alden customer. They’re fantastic, I still have the first pair I bought. What I like is they service their shoes, unlike most companies. I don’t wear Alden exclusively, but when it comes to looking for a new pair of “classic” shoes, i’d never look elsewhere.

  11. Roger C. Russell II | March 2, 2015 at 8:42 am |

    I got excited and then realized they are not available in my size 7 1/2 E.
    I realize quality cost however I think the price is a little high to get really young guys to make this an every day staple. At maximum $200.00 I would buy them for my 13 year old son. However, I would not waste $125.00 on the present import with the composite leather sole that I personally have worn completely off the shoe in 30 days.

  12. I’ve had a pair of red weejuns on my list for quite some time. (Yes, red. I already have nearly every classic color, so I want to branch out.) I was so excited when I opened the Bass spring collection email. That is until I read the price tag. I’m sure these are made through a partnership with Rancourt, but do I want to bet $300 on that hunch? Which is a shame. I want to encourage Bass to make their shoes in the U.S., and with better quality leather. For now, I’ll wait for a coupon.

  13. @Ethan

    Thank you for that. I have a pair of Alden boots–made for J.Crew, which I thought was an interesting pairing–and they are indestructible. I’ve never owned any Bass/Rancourts before, so I have no real idea of the long-term quality. Alden has yet to let me down. I think I have my answer.

  14. First, the Logan model Weejun is the original.

    Second, Weejuns have always been cheap shoes, with the exception of this new model. They don’t compare to the once decent Cole-Haans and always great Aldens.

    Thirdly, my $85 oxblood Logan Weejuns bought on Amazon last year are holding up fine.

    I’ve been wearing the same model shoe for 50 years.

  15. Worried Man | March 2, 2015 at 3:01 pm |

    I believe some lace-up “Weejun Ties” are in the works too. Not sure when, or if, they’re supposed to be released in the U.S. Also not sure where they’re being made.

  16. Asked a gent on the Facebook group that used to work there what Weejuns cost in the 80’s, his guess being $80-$125. If Weejuns cost about $125 in 1989, that comes to about $245 in 2015. Not a totally outrageous price increase in my opinion. Cheers, Bass. Keep it up!

  17. I like the looks of the saddle/buck hybrid.

  18. Charlottesville | March 2, 2015 at 3:32 pm |

    Worried Man — Lace up Weejuns could be interesting. I wonder if they will bring back the old Sportocasin. I had a pair in the 70s, but gave them away somewhere along the line. I have a cousin who still wears his from time to time, and I confess being somewhat envious. Arguably a rather homely shoe, but I recall them fondly, worn with flannels and a blazer or tweed jacket. A saw a brand new pair in the window of a shoe store in a small town in Virginia a few years ago, but they had only a pair or two in size 7 or 8 which, alas, are too small for me.

  19. Worried Man | March 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm |

    ^
    I could see the Sportocasin being a more popular reissue than the Ties, although I like the Ties more. They’re just more oddball, which appeals to me, but they’re a bit homely too.

  20. Worried Man | March 2, 2015 at 4:26 pm |

    You could probably find some new old stock Sportocasins on ebay or etsy if you have the patience.

  21. Worried Man | March 2, 2015 at 4:48 pm |

    The Weejun posted about the Ties here:

    http://www.theweejun.com/vintage-bass-weejuns-tie-shoes/

    The reissue seems to do them justice, based on the small pic I saw. My guess is that they’re not being made here.

  22. I don’t think they’re Rancourt made. My guess is what used to be ansewn. The name of the company changed. I think it’s called Highland Shoe.

    If it is highland shoe, they they make shoes for Alden, Sperry, Red Wing, Yuketen, and Oak St. Bookmakers. Major player in Asian market.

    Good looking

  23. S.E. –

    It may very well be Highland (a Berkshire Hathaway Co, btw). Re: Alden, they only make the Cape Cod line, I believe…..

  24. I have a pair of lace-ups from the Cape Cod line — they are very well-made and durable. No difference in quality from my other Alden shoes. If the same company is making the Horween leather Weejun, that’s a good sign.

  25. Not a bad looking shoe or price. Strong alternative to Allen Edmonds price point.

  26. I am a fan of the new Allen Edmonds “Cavanaugh” model. American made and a near replica of the old Weejun. And I believe they are $25 less than these new Bass models.

  27. Roger C. Russell II | March 3, 2015 at 6:37 pm |

    In my interest in the Lavin shoe due to your information here I called Bass customer service. It appears they are not making my size of 7.5 E so I wanted to confirm this. The representative I got had never heard of the new shoe and I literally had to tell her the difference between a D and E. That was the strangest shoe experience I ever had.

  28. With due respect, the Cavanaugh isn’t a near replica of the Weejun. The strap design and stitching are off.

    The “stitch down” model by Rancourt comes close, as does the Russell Moccasins take on the penny. The McNairy attempt a few years ago–very good. And then there’s the old Alden 5611.

    Something about the Lavin is off–the strap design (what we might refer to as the penny slot) and the shape.

    Why somebody doesn’t just do a really well made replica (better leather) of the Logan is beyond me. A classic, American look.

  29. Is there anyone out there who remembers the “Bar Weejuns”?
    There were very popular back in the late 60’s early 70’s.
    Apparently I’m the only one who has any recollection of owning/wearing them.

  30. I would just like to second the comment about Bass’ near-criminal outlet pricing model made above. These new fancy Weejuns aside, I loved my standard model pair to death. When I went to replace them and discover the complete lie of a pricing model Bass has at the outlets, however, I vowed never to patronize the again. And I won’t. I’ll gladly spend 4-6X as much on Aldens, Peal/BBs, or something even house-labeled Rancourts. Oh, and Bass’ bucks are garbage, too.

  31. David Shaffer | August 27, 2015 at 10:54 am |

    I think tie weejuns in oxblood leather and sportocasins would both be big sellers for Bass. These should be produced in Maine. I urge Bass to make them again. I owned 4 pairs of sportocasins and 2 pairs of tie weejuns in the 70’s and the 80’s and have looked for their return for years now.

  32. Charlottesville | August 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm |

    Mr. Shaffer — I too am a fan of sportocasins and wish that I still had my old pair from the late 70s. An unusual and super traditional shoe that looked particularly great with tweeds in the fall. A cousin of mine still has an ancient pair that he pulls out on occasion and I am always envious.

  33. And then there’s the Horween-leather-made-in-El-Salvador Logan Weejun at Mr. Porter for $480.

    http://www.mrporter.com/en-us/mens/bass_weejuns/logan-leather-penny-loafers/573738?cm_mmc=GoogleUSPLAc-_-US%20-%20GS%20-%20Shoes-_-Shoes%20-%20Loafers-_–mt%3A-sn%3Ag&mkwid=s|43455173010|||c&gclid=CLuMts3-yccCFYVAaQodoe0LwA

  34. OK, Bass, if you’re gonna bring the business back home where it belongs, you just gained a fan. Still, at that price, are you sure you’re in Alden’s league? They have a couple of nice penny-loafs, too…plus an unimpeachable name. I’ll definitely look you over, though.

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