Grant Stone Tassel Loafer: A Perfect Combination?
The Grant Stone Tassel Loafer offers high quality materials, great build quality, and a last that actually fits most people, at an extremely reasonable price.
The Grant Stone Tassel Loafer leans on the more casual side, so if you’re looking for something to pair with a suit this might not fit the bill.
|Materials||Suede / Leather|
|Weight||630 g / 1 lb 6.2 oz|
|Country of Origin||China|
Today, Grant Stone is probably most often associated with their boots. If you do a quick Google search of “Grant Stone,” the first page is entirely focused on their boot line. And the Second. In fact, you have to go all the way to the bottom of the third page – after the UK-based “Grant & Stone Delivery Service” – to find a review of their non-boot footwear.
That’s always struck me as a bit unfortunate. Looking back at their Instagram from when the company was first founded, boots are scarce. You can tell there is a real passion for all types of footwear, shoes included. When I was talking Wyatt Gilmore (the founder of Grant Stone), he said that their tassel loafer is his favorite pair. In fact, he had a coffee suede pair on at the time.
With my own passion for tassel loafers, I thought there might be value in doing a bit of a deeper dive into this shoe. To see – are the Tassel Loafers getting the short end of the stick? Or, should the brand shift it’s focus entirely to their boot line?
Disclaimer: Grant Stone sent me this pair for review, however they were not given the opportunity to preview or edit anything on this review. Further, the opinions below are accurate to the shoe I received.
The upper of the Grant Stone Tassel Loafer is a slightly casual take on the classic tassel loafer design. A look that the Coffee Suede used on the entire upper only emphasizes.
Really driving the casual vibes home are the wide stitching on the faux-moc toe, and the slightly loose tassels. I’m personally a big fan of the second, tassel loafers always risk looking a bit too “try hard,” and I’ve always felt that a bit of floppiness helps keep the shoe from trying to be too serious.
Elsewhere on the upper, the lace – which is a single piece all around – runs the entire throat of the shoe. You’ll also find a bit of leather finishing the opening, which should help from a durability perspective.
Inside, the entire loafer is lined in a soft tan leather, with a bit of suede at the heel to keep your foot in place. A leather heel pad – with the Grant Stone logo – runs half way down the insole. The only flaw with this pair is here, though it’s pretty minor. There is a bit of excess glue on the edge of the heel pad. That being said, it’ll probably wear away quickly. Overall, nothing I would really be concerned with.
Perhaps my favorite part the shoe, though, is the last. I know that the original tassel loafer was fairly pointed, but this rounded design (similar in shape to a penny loafer) is so much more versatile in 2022. I don’t know why it took so long for a manufacturer to do this.
The upper on this shoe is great. The only thing I would change if I designed it myself would be the addition of some foxing on the heel. That’s it.
Mid- and Outsole
The bottom half of the Grant Stone Tassel Loafer really continues that more modern/casual take on the style.
Of course, there are the classic design features. This shoe has a full-length leather outsole, along with a dark welt featuring Grant Stone’s signature clean welt stitching. However, when you get closer you find a few features that separate these from a traditional design.
First, Grant Stone used a 360-degree welt on this pair, as opposed to a 270-degree. What that means is the welt goes all the way around the shoe, rather than just the midfoot and toe. With the more visually heavy heel and better water resistance, a 360-degree design is more typically associated with casual footwear.
Second, Grant Stone built a bit of contrast into this part of the shoe. The welt stitching itself is a mid-brown against the dark brown of the welt, and the dye on the side of the outsole carries a reddish hue. I should point out that while the suede, Chestnut, and Tobacco use this design, the Black color is non-contrasting.
Neither of these changes are going to knock the monocle out of the tassel loafer traditionalist, but they do add a nice change of pace.
Overall, I really enjoy the design of the Grant Stone Tassel Loafer.
Sure, the changes mean these probably won’t work with a suit the way a more traditional tassel loafer will. However, for just about everything else, these are incredibly versatile. I’ve been able to wear these with everything from a tweed jacket and wool pants, to sockless with some no-break chinos and a polo. I think the right guy could even pull these suede ones off with shorts, though I’m not sure I would suggest that with the leather ones.
As with any tassel loafer, it helps if you have a bit of ivy-style in your fit, but they are surprisingly easy to style.
Fit & Comfort
That same last that makes the Grant Stone Tassel Loafer more versatile in shape also makes it so much more accommodating in fit. For many guys, there is simply no other tassel loafer on the planet that will fit them, in any size.
Built on what Grant Stone calls the “Alexander” last, the Tassel Loafer is fairly generous in the toe, but is narrower at the heel and midfoot.
This narrow back does a great job at keeping your feet in place. Though that narrowness means you’ll want to make sure you get the fit here correct. Going too tight could be uncomfortable across the top of your foot. They do make them in both D and E width, so nailing the size should be possible for most.
I’m between an 11.5E and an 11.75D on the brannock. I got these in my standard go-to size of 12D, and they fit perfectly with dress socks. For reference, I wear a size 12 in the Alden Van last (lined), and size 11.5 in the Alden Van last (unlined). A size 12 in the Grant Stone Leo last, and a size 12 in the Alden Barrie, are both ever so slightly loose. For a full list of sizing for every shoe reviewed on 100wears, click here.
This is slightly different than what Grant Stone suggests, which is a half-size down from your typical dress shoe. If you are not sure, you can email them with other shoes that fit you well and they will give you a recommendation. And, if all else fails, sizing exchanges are free, though pure returns have a $10 restocking fee.
Did I mention the last Grant Stone used on the Tassel Loafer? Because it’s great. I really can’t stress enough how much better this makes this loafer feel compared to other tassel loafers out there. Being able to flex your toes without also sliding around means these are actually wearable when doing anything other than sitting at a desk.
Last aside, the loafer definitely errs on the more structured side over a minimalist feel. In other words, it’s got good support (for a loafer), but the trade off is a bit of flexibility. As I’ve mentioned here before, a little over a year ago I injured my foot running and can now pretty much only wear supportive shoes. This only drives home my belief that Wyatt had a picture of me on his desk as he designed these. Though, in fairness, others may prefer something more flexible.
As with pretty much any loafer, you probably don’t want to be doing physical labor in these, but I would have no hesitation wearing these all day in most scenarios. If I am going to actually be walking around and want a tassel loafer, this is the only pair I would consider.
Materials & Construction
As mentioned above, the upper of this particular pair of Grant Stone Tassel Loafers comes in a brown suede. While some suede can feel cheap, this suede (sourced from C.F. Stead) feels nice and thick. While I will have a full review after 100 wears once I hit it, I have no doubt about the durability of this material. Seriously, check out what Reddit user u/burstaneurysm did to his pair of boots.
Inside of the suede, Grant Stone uses three pieces of kip (or kipskin) leather to line the majority of the loafer, with a bit of suede at the heel for lockdown. Between the suede and the lining, you’ll find leather heel and toe stiffeners, though Grant Stone opted for a thinner version here compared with their laced shoes and boots.
Underfoot, a vegetable tanned leather insole is half hidden by a leather heel pad. There is a very small amount of padding between these two pieces, used to make sure you don’t feel the nails in the heel. Below that is a cork footbed with an embedded steel shank. The insole and footbed should do a good job of conforming to your feet over time.
Finishing off the loafer, the only outsole currently offered by Grant Stone is their single-leather outsole with the leather and rubber dove-tailed heel. It is sewn onto a veg tanned welt that runs the length of the shoe.
There is pretty much nothing to complain about here. All of these materials are clearly high quality, and should be very durable. That being said, if I was going to make a change, I would consider swapping the steel shank for a wood or fiberglass alternative. I know a lot of people, myself included, look to loafers for airport wear, and the less metal the better in that environment.
Grant Stone uses a goodyear welt construction method on all of their footwear, Tassel Loafers included. If you’re looking for a more in-depth article on this type of construction, click here. For the short version, when making a shoe this way, first you attach a piece of leather (known as a welt) to the upper. Then, you sew an outsole onto that piece of leather. Since the outsole is sewn to the welt and not the upper, replacing it does not add additional holes or stress to the actual upper of the shoe.
Most people consider this to be the best all-around choice for making a pair of high-end footwear. This style of construction benefits from easy resolabilty and above average weather resistance. The drawbacks are the higher initial price point, and the longer break-in time.
Ease of Care
The Grant Stone Tassel Loafer’s care will depend on what material you get it in. For the suede upper, there really is no conditioning that needs to be done. Instead, you’ll want to use a Suede Eraser (Grant Stone, Amazon) as needed. If things get really bad, there is Suede Shampoo, but one of the benefits of using the higher end suede is that you’ll almost never need this.
Suede, especially from C.F. Stead, is tougher than people give it credit for, but it’s not bullet proof. If you plan on wearing these in areas where they can get wet – either from the weather or from alcoholic beverages – you may want to consider a waterproofing spray.
Further, you will want to make sure you keep shoe trees in these when not in use, even for the suede models. While creases are not a concern, shoe trees will help make sure the shoe retain its shape and will prevent the toe from curling up.
When the sole finally wears out, the goodyear welting on these should make them easy to resole. Grant Stone themselves do not offer this service, but just about every big town should have several cobblers who can. Figure on paying around $100-$200 depending on your location, choice of outsole, etc.
Pricing & Value
This pricing puts the Grant Stone option well under their competitors. Here in the U.S., the most commonly recommended tassel loafers are Alden, at $593, and Allen Edmonds, at $395 (though they are almost always on sale). Over in Europe, you’ll find Crockett & Jones for $640, Carmina for $495, and Cheaney for $428 (though, like Allen Edmonds, these are easy to find on sale).
There are other options out there that are less expensive (Meermin at $195 for example), but I would argue the construction quality of the Grant Stone is much closer to the previous brands than Meermin.
It’s pretty clear that the Grant Stone Tassel Loafers offer a fantastic value. Coming in at a lower price than their competitors, when it comes to materials and construction there isn’t much (if anything) you’re giving up. This pair is close to flawless, and is comfortable to boot.
Just like with the 100wears review of the Edward, it wouldn’t be a Grant Stone review if I didn’t mention China. Unlike all the compared shoes above, these shoes are made in China. Country of origin definitely matters to some buyers, so it’s important to mention that here.
At the same time, unlike a lot of brands who list their US or European headquarters proudly and try to hide where they make their shoes, Grant Stone is very open about it. When you click on their story page, they list Xiamen, China in the first sentence. Even before their U.S.-headquarters in Michigan. They leave it up to the buyer to decide.
As you can probably guess, in my opinion the Grant Stone Tassel Loafer is the one to get.
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but you can’t ignore the last. Not only is it more versatile in today’s style environment, but it’s actually wearable. It doesn’t matter how great your shoe looks, if you never take it out of the closet because it crushes your toes, it’s worthless. This would be the one to get if only because of the last.
At the same time, it’s more than just the shape. The construction and the materials are both top-notch. And, to put a cherry on top, it’s the most affordable choice among it’s competitors too.
Of course, there are little nit-picks – I do review shoes after all. I’d love to see a fiberglass or wooden shank to save on weight and improve metal detector use, and maybe a bit of foxing at the heel. But this is all personal preference, and using a single shank across the line help keeps the costs reasonable. It isn’t a a major concern.
After spending the last few months looking at a number of tassel loafers ranging from this one at $282 all the way up to Edward Greens at $1,275, I can honestly say this is my favorite. If you’re looking for a tassel loafer and nothing above is a deal breaker, this is the one to get.