The seemingly boundless and irrepressible spell of loafermania continues on its unbroken march towards the heavens and possibly beyond into realms mankind has yet to grasp.

Penny loafers have gone mainstream. Tassel loafers have escaped the bank and the courtroom and are running amok in the streets, worn by people who wear wide legged pants and thoroughly fail to resemble your grandfather. So what do you need to make your mark on this upside down world?

A snaffle, apparently…

Grant Stone - Bit Loafer - Espresso Suede

The snaffle-ness of it all is quite relevant now, because Grant Stone just released their first Horsebit Loafer, and we must say they’re pretty darn wonderful—even for those who may have written off bit loafers as something that might never be in their stable (previously: us).

To back things up, the “bit” on a bit loafer is a Honey I Shrunk the Hardware homage to the part of a horse’s tack that lets a rider cue their steed. Back in the 50s, Gucci decided micro-versions should be on their loafers, which gave them an air of equestrian sophistication. The gag certainly worked, with bit loafers becoming a highly flexible stylistic piece worn by European female models and US Presidents, and even creating a bit of controversy when Gucci asked Alden to back off their own bits in 2016.

Grant Stone makes dozens of styles of the fantastic boots that put its name on the map almost a decade ago now, plus classic longwings, oxfords, and casual shoes like their Dirty Buck. The range is deep. But in many ways, Grant Stone is at its truest heart a loafermaker—founder Wyatt Gilmore basically always wears their Traveler penny loafer or some tassels, which means any loafer development is highly considered (lest Wyatt have zero shoes to wear).

This time, that multi-year development meant an entirely new last: the Campus.

Compared to the Alexander last used on Grant Stone’s penny and tassel loafers, it sports more vertical sidewalls, but retains the shallow toe. It also reads a bit rounder/less almond-y to us, at least visually from above.

The new Campus runs more true-to-size, and which means you’ll probably want to size up a half size relative to the Leo or Alexander. We tethered Ben to the treadmill all week to break in his preview pair, so he’ll drop in below with some on-foot impressions.

Hey all, Ben here. So yes I did get an advance pair—from the production run, not a sample or prototype—of Grant Stone’s horsebit loafers. And I do indeed agree with the true-to-Brannock recommendation Grant Stone is dishing. I personally fit well lengthwise in Grant Stone’s 

Also I have to say I legit love these things. The fit is a huge part of that, but I would never have gotten to that point if I wasn’t just struck by the shoe itself, especially the pattern + last. It’s a bit wider and rounder-toed and lower-slung than Grant Stone’s Traveler or tassel loafers, and just looks SOLID especially from above. I actually prefer the true moc stitch even to the Traveler variety, and its placement (further out towards the edge of the shoe) gives the whole thing some heft.

The little mini-beefroll helps to muscle things up a touch, and the bit itself is far more appealing personally than the rounder Italian, etc horsebits that have never really called my name before. Probably my best-fitting + favorite pattern Grant Stone product.

Grant Stone - Bit Loafer - Tobacco Calf

Ok thanks Ben. There’s indeed a 100% new pattern to compliment the last, with a higher vamp than previous models. The apron uses a technique new to Grant Stone—the French moc stitch—which lays the plug directly over-top of the vamp and then sews the two together (somewhat reminiscent of the overlap seam used by Russell Moccasin).

Then there’s the hardware itself: matte brass, more angular, industrial, and honestly more digestible than the more common rounded designs—and works quite well with a Goodyear welted shoe that’s overall slightly beefier than the pointier-lasted, ultra-slim Blake stitched Italian versions. All in all it’s certainly reminiscent of the original 1953 design from that certain Florentine fashion house, but with some distinct Americana spin to the proportions and maybe a little bit of Ivy DNA.

Grant Stone - Bit Loafer - Bourbon and Espresso Suede

At their introduction, the Grant Stone bit loafer is available in four leathers: black calf, tobacco calf, bourbon suede, and espresso suede. All of them are constructed with a 270˚ flat welt (extra points for fudging!), with butyl leather soles.

You can checkout the whole lineup here.

Grant Stone - Bit Loafer - Black Calf

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