The fancying-up of the humble sneaker has been happening for some time now.
First it was haute fashion brands putting studs and wings on them. And then a few loving homages. But now it seems brands aren’t even trying to disguise the fact that they’re making the same shoes, nearly stitch-for-stitch, as the non-fancy ones we’ve been wearing since childhood.
You can always wear boots. We’ll never stop you. They might be part of your personal uniform, and we support that. But here at Kempt, we’ll be happy to put those motherfuckers away for the next several months and jump back into the world of sneakers.
Epaulet has been on a real tear lately. What started as a well-appointed menswear shop on a sleepy Brooklyn block selling Aldens next to Japanese selvage has turned into a bona fide menswear label with an ever-growing line of oxfords, chinos, suits and even leather café racer jackets.
Really, it’s closer than you might think. But we’re not there yet. (We’re still about a month out from white bucks and sundress season.) Though, with spring rains giving way to warmer sunnier days—we promise—it’s time to start easing into the summer spirit.
Which is why we’d like to direct your attention to our leftmost column—where we’ve refreshed our seasonal crop of must-haves for this warm-but-not-yet-hot time of year we’ve dubbed “pre-summer.”
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.
We’ve seen the future of your footwear, and it’s right here. The gents over at The Hill-side took us through their upcoming spring/fall collections and, aside from the standout selvedge indigo covert stripe they’re using just about everywhere, the real star is their new sneaker collection.
It’s the first time they’re delving into footwear independently and they’ve done a stellar job—sourcing materials and construction from the best of Japan. They’ve got low-tops hitting the shelves for spring, and a range of high-tops and chukkas coming for fall ’14.
Like wearing jorts. Or casual-ing up your daily suit-and-tie routine with some sneakers. Today, we discuss the latter.
A staple of haphazardly dapper rebellion long before modern menswear editors brought it to the mainstream, the suit-sneaker combo is not, in fact, a recent development. (Check out the guy on the right in this iconic image if you don’t believe us.) And when perfected, it’s a look that oozes nonchalant cool. But attempting it (and succeeding) can prove a weighty endeavor for even the most seasoned sartorial veteran...
By this time of year, white canvas sneakers are thick on the ground.
And while we’re fans of the simple, utilitarian pleasures of the common plimsoll, they’re nearing their saturation point—meaning, it’s about time you started venturing into the even summerier depths of footwear. Madras. Linen. Seersucker. Swimsuit material. All proven summer fabrics that have found their way onto shoes, so we rounded up your best options.
The Fourth of July is so close, we can nearly taste it.
And we’ve always been of the mind that when it comes to dressing for the most patriotic day of the year, you’ve got permission to get loud. Therefore, to fully commit to the spirit of the day, we’ve rounded up your finest options for donning an all red, white and blue kit—made entirely in the good old US of A, naturally.
We’ve been tracking the meteoric rise of menswear’s all-around stand-up guy, Todd Snyder, and his eponymous label for the past couple years now.
And here’s proof, once again, that the guy can do no wrong: his new line of sneakers (in collaboration with Kempt summer-footwear favorite, SeaVees) has just launched.
They’re the sort of rubber-bottomed, city-to-beach weekenders that are right on time for the warmer months to come—and they’re a little more #menswear than your average cotton sneaker. Case in point: the navy pair have a herringbone weave that looks a lot like your favorite tweed blazer. Our favorites have to be high-tops, with a Chuck-like silhouette and Japanese twill upper.
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.
But sometimes you want to be even lighter on your feet. And for that, you’re going to have to go mesh.
Luckily, Clae has just unveiled the Bruce—their latest citified sneaker, which keeps the time-honored look of the plimsoll but replaces the cotton upper with an even more breathable mesh, resulting in a shoe that’s beach-ready and a definite step up from wearing sandals around town (oh, the horror). We’re declaring them our favorite shoe for summer... well, as of today.
We’re of the mind that if you’re going to wear sneakers, they should be working for you, not against you—and most sneaker hybrids these days seem to be veering more toward high-fashion abstraction than utilitarianism.
Hence, we liked what we saw when we got a sneak peek at the New Balances coming out of their most recent shoe-plus-luggage collaboration with the Herschel Supply Co. They’re decidedly boot-ish and have a good amount of grip to assist in any climbing of subway stairs. Our favorite of the bags has a shoe compartment that makes an interoffice shoe change a cinch (because sometimes, your happy hour plans involve a hike). The whole collection is getting a limited release, launching tomorrow, so keep an eye out here for the drop.