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Go Beyond the White Canvas Sneaker This Spring

  • Najib Benouar


Now that you’ve made the all-important seasonal footwear shift, it’s time to start thinking about your canvas sneakers.

You may have noticed over the past weekend: you weren’t the only person wearing a pair of white canvas sneakers—or “plimsolls” to the Anglophiles—not by a long shot. Hence, it might be time to start considering a pair cut from a different, more colorful cloth.

Herewith, the seven not-white cotton sneakers to consider for spring...»

The Stat Sheet: Nigel Cabourn for Converse CT Plimsole Ox

  • Najib Benouar


In the way of warm-weather footwear, you won’t do much better than the classic canvas sneaker—known as the plimsoll to the real heads.

And this pair might be the finest example we’ve seen this season—a collaboration between the military-minded Nigel Cabourn and sneaker stalwarts Converse that’s just landed at End. Here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: Nigel Cabourn based the shoes on 1940s British military-issue sneakers, built them on a similar-era Chuck Taylor last and sourced the Ventile canvas upper from the material still used in pilot suits to this day. The shoe comes in track brown, gray and the summeriest of all: eggnog.

Who to Channel: Steve McQueen on his day off; a ’40s-era tennis player at Wimbledon; a trad on summer leave in Nantucket.

When to Wear Them: Anytime between today and Labor Day, especially when it’s feeling like a “chinos and oxford-cloth button-down” kind of day.

Degree of Difficulty: About as hard as it is to tie shoelaces. (Once you’ve done that, wear the hell out of them all summer.)

And now: your moment of inspiration, after the jump.»

A Head Start on Your Summer Kicks

  • Kempt Staff


You might recall that about a week ago we broke the good news of Todd Snyder’s latest collaboration with SeaVees—resulting in the finest city-to-beach footwear you’ll find all summer.

Now we’ve got even better news: our comrades-in-style over at UrbanDaddy Perks are giving you essentially 30% off anything in the SeaVees webshop (including the aforementioned collaboration).

The Snyder stuff is decidedly more #menswear, with its Japanese twill and herringbone patterns, but there’s plenty more to like from the surfer-y shoemakers—including some beach-faded plimsolls, rubber-soled suede mocs and Baja-striped slip-ons.

Get a closer look at our favorites after the jump.»

Your Spring Awakening Begins Now: The Checklist

  • Najib Benouar

Spring Menswear

Wednesday marks the vernal equinox and thus the official end to winter and beginning of spring.

Which means you’ve basically got this week to check off any lingering items on your winter bucket list, and then get yourself fully into spring mode. (And you know what that means: the reappearance of sundresses. Lovely, lovely sundresses.)

So, during this week, we’re helping you out with a little series we like to call “Your Spring Awakening.” And we begin with your spring preparedness guide (you may want to print this out and tape it to your bathroom mirror).

Herewith, everything you should have done by week’s end.»

The Shoes of Summer Have Come

  • Najib Benouar

If you haven’t already switched out the shell Cordovan for canvas, here’s all the reason you need: the Beresford canvas plimsoll from Fred Perry’s Olympic capsule collection, the Champion’s kit—a study in classic tennis whites. They dug into the archives for a classic model based on the tennis shoes they were making for athletes back in the ’60s and ’70s—giving them a timeless look—with a stripe of color down the heel to represent the Olympic rings.

We’re declaring them Kempt’s favorite summer shoe... for now, at least.

The Return of the Plimsoll

The early spring sneakers are already trickling into shops, and we’re quickly remembering just how much we love a good plimsoll. Case in point, this Borstal model from Generic Surplus, which lifts its hickory-stripe pattern from classic railroad overalls, just busy enough to keep things interesting. Now all we need is some sun.

Our Favorite Summer Shoe


As you may have noticed, there are a lot of plimsolls out there, but we’re ready to call the game for one all-purpose model. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on Kempt’s favorite plimsoll. (At least for now.)

They aren’t as eye-popping as some of the other models, but they make up for it with two important tricks. First, those uppers are linen, which means they’ll be a good deal more breathable than its canvas competitors. Second, the sole is heavy rubber—one of Seavees’ specialties—giving it a sturdiness that’s usually missing from plims.

That means, unlike the brighter, more disposable versions, you’ll actually want to take these off before you dash into the ocean on your next Caribbean jaunt…but they’ll also still be around next summer.

Cotton Candy


We’re strong believers in the power of the colorful shoe, especially in the case of the plimsoll. Zuriick makes one of the better ones, and they just released a new crop of colors for spring. This model manages to pull off the patchwork look without treading into clown territory-and that includes the purple sole.

This Year’s Plimsoll


The canvas sneaker—known to heads as the plimsoll—is quite possibly the perfect summer shoe. It’s a shoe that won’t be too bothered by a few drenching runs through the surf and roughly the polar opposite of the stomping winter work boots you may or may not be wearing right now.

So naturally, we’re always on the lookout for the newest model. This one comes from ur-chav Fred Perry, arriving on the site next week. It’s about as classic as they come—based on an archival model from the 50s—which makes it a less adventurous alternative to flashier plims like these. (For the record, we have a pair, and they’re awesome.) Either way, it’s something to look for once your boots go into storage.

The Plimsadrille

  • Najib Benouar


In our continuing coverage of the summer shoe, we present you with the “plimsadrille” as we’ve begun to affectionately call it. A combination of an old standby in our summer footwear arsenal the plimsoll and a more recent favorite the espadrille, that should serve to meet your need for either.

On a recent trip to Uruguay, the fellows at Industry of All Nations stumbled upon a small factory producing these shoes by hand, exclusively, for the past century or so, and decided that these were too good to let live in obscurity forever. We totally agree. If you want to snag a pair for your weekend sunning, take a look at the list of boutiques that have already begun to carry the shoe, and if there aren’t any in your ‘hood, you’ve got a few webshop options as well.

And if you’re averse to portmanteaus, you can always just call them what they are: laced espadrilles. But where's the fun in that?