Dan is a budget-savvy young professional looking for quality picks at good prices.
I’ve been on the hunt now for a comfortable, practical pair of men’s dress shoes. As my review of the recent Bruno Marc from Amazon discusses, many men’s shoes have an unreasonably high heel and ultimately are just stuffy as heck, putting look over function and sometimes cost over comfort. Your average leather dress shoe also will need fairly frequent sole replacements based on your usage.
I started my hunt in the loafer section because I wanted something that still looked stylish and would work with a suit, but that I could slip in and out of quickly since I only have so much time at the gym and don’t want to waste precious minutes wedging my foot in or out of a tight dress shoe.
My Bass loafers tick all of these boxes and more. While I got mine on sale at the store, the average price for most of them online hovers around $43, which is pretty reasonable for a quality dress shoe.
The shoe is leather all the way around, in a sort of rugged fashion that will take polish, but you will never get that mirror-finish shine. While that might be a drawback for some people, it holds a lot of appeal for me as scuffs are readily visible, and routine buffings aren’t necessary.
It is uncomplicated in its design, a very traditional loafer (though they are marketed as a “driving” shoe), with visible silver stitching. This is the one low-point for the upper—the stitching looks like it would be a nuisance to try to apply black polish around, so a clear polish or other leather care may be the way to go. The upper build quality is solid, understated, and feels like it will hold up to years of abuse so long as the leather is taken care of.
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The soles, unlike most dress shoes, is ridged and gapped, abrasion-resistant rubber. After six months of walking in them you can hardly notice any wear. The sole design has excellent grip, and I’m never worried about sliding around the tiled corporate flooring or wet concrete. While this may cause some eye-rolling from the traditionalists who prefer the leather bottom, the truth is, rubber is a better soling material, and it shows.
The soles also have a nearly zero-drop heel, something I desperately needed as most dress shoes exacerbate my lower back troubles (and frankly are no fun to walk in). Frankly, I have yet to wear a dress shoe that I was as confident would hold up to years of use as I am with the Bass loafers.
Fit and Feel
The quality work continues here with the fit. They fit true to size (I’m an 8.5) and did so snugly with a pair of dress socks. The first day out of the box I was a little alarmed, as I noticed some repetitive rubbing on my left ankle and was worried either that foot was slightly too small or that the shoe just wasn’t quite the right shape. However, after a full day's use, this went away, and it appears that the leather, both interior insert, and exterior, has begun to mold to my foot. They are a breeze to slip in and out of, a guilty pleasure that I indulge in while sitting (and sometimes standing) at my desk. The no-tie style of loafers makes gliding in and out of them a breeze, and it’s amazing how much joy such simple flexibility brings (as well as not having to re-tie shoes throughout the day). I take a morning jaunt around the building regularly, and they are just as comfortable shuffling around indoors as they are navigating asphalt and concrete. As I mentioned, the zero-drop heel has done wonders for my lower back, removing an exacerbating factor while still making it comfortable to stand. You probably couldn’t run a marathon in them, but that’s about it. They are designed for all-day use, and it works.
While leather is not known for its robust breathability, these offer enough motion on the sides and top of your foot when moving that you do get some airflow throughout the day. Granted, if you’re already warm-blooded and prone to sweating, there will be no saving you from sweaty feet. But here the loafers still offer an advantage over regular dress shoes—you can slide out of them under your desk to give your feet a break. My only concern with the fit is that the small amount of elastic that holds the tongue to the upper (which gives most modern loafers their slip-in-and-out quality) will eventually wear out and may make the shoe too loose. But that would be years down the road.
For a mid-price range pair of shoes, the Bass loafers have a smooth, quality build with an understated, classy look. They probably shouldn’t be your go-to for a tuxedo event, but any typical day around the office would benefit from these comfortable, affordable shoes.
I would buy these again! My only true complaint is that I wish they had the same style in more colors. Bass, you won me over.
© 2019 Dan