Launching two years ago with the Nora plain toe boot, Grant Stone’s women’s line is something of an outlier: Goodyear welted boots on patterns and lasts designed from the ground up with build quality and components identical to their mens boots.

Why that still makes them said outlier frankly leaves us a little baffled. There is certainly a dearth of recraftable, resolable women’s footwear in general. We also see brands making welted mens footwear, then charging the same prices for cemented women’s footwear…well it doesn’t quite add up (literally). But Grant Stone continues to be noteworthy, expanding the leather offerings on the Nora and introducing the Josephine, the headquartered-in-Michigan, ethically-manufactured-in-China brand’s first women’s Chelsea boot.

Grant Stone’s just-released Clara penny loafer follows this, um, pattern. It isn’t just an adapted Traveler loafer (one of the best-value great men’s loafers you can buy), but a genuinely original design, and a really darn nice one at that.

The Clara loafer is built with the same construction we’ve come to expect from Grant Stone: a vegetable-tanned insole is supported by a steel shank and cork filler, all sitting atop a veg-tanned midsole, and in this case, a single butyl oil-dipped leather outsole. That’s held together by a 270˚ flat welt which is fudged and bevelled at the waist. On the whole, the silhouette has an character-filled, strongly curved silhouette courtesy of the new women’s Ada loafer last, with a rounded toebox and visible swooping heel counter cover. Compared to the Traveler, it has a steeper 45˚ moc toe with higher SPI (and thus less visible stitching) on the apron stitch, in addition to a steeper drop from heel to toe.

At launch, the leather options include two C.F. Stead suedes, Espresso and Bourbon Repello, and calfskin in brown or black from Italy’s Conceria Incas. Staple leathers, staple colorways. With Grant Stone though, there’s always some chance of, at the tamest, maybe some colorful Kudu in the future? Sky blue? Let’s see it.

In the meantime though, Grant Stone continues to disprove the assumption that there isn’t a market for durable, high quality staples designed for women, and does it with models that can stand on their own. As they put it, “Our end goal is non-disposable footwear and a commitment to an ethos of buying better and acquiring less while supporting traditional craftsmanship.” A lot of brands make essentially the same claim, but this release is another small indication that they’re serious about it, and don’t mind challenging conventional industry wisdom.

Learn More About the Clara Loafer

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