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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
These shoes come from Oliver Clark, a new project from the cobbler behind zuriick’s air-light plimsolls. This time, he’s more focused on leather boots and nubuck oxfords like the pair above. It’s a sharp design, with all the retro minimalism we’d expect from the man. APC should be taking notes.
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.
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.
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.
Most of us have a loose pair of cloth sneakers kicking around the back of our closet, whether it’s Chucks, plimsolls or something even more summery. After a few summers, they usually look a little worse for wear—and become prime candidates for a little experimentation.
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?