J. Crew Kenton Boat Shoes in Suede – $69.50 ($198)
Note: These things are getting a super steep discount through today, 7/14. But J. Crew has been slashing prices lately. So, there’s always another promo train comin’. But 64% off is quite good. Especially for these. Read on for Adam’s impressions.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, these indigo suede Kenton boat mocs just walked into mine. I already own a pair of blue suede camp mocs from Maine Mountain Moccasin (formerly known as NEOC) and I *just* ordered two pairs of Rancourt Beefroll Travelers through their wholelsale pre-order/crowdfunding campaign. So, why then do I “need” another pair of slip-on Summertime shoes? Well, I recently changed careers and the new office dress code is on the more casual side of business casual. Think softer button-downs or polo shirts, casual chinos, and loafers instead of pressed dress shirts, wool slacks, and dress Oxfords. Also, it’s #2020 so who the hell knows what the rest of this year holds for us?! Let’s assume that we should probably be working from home (or the lake “office”) to maximize health and safety. So, here’s looking at you, Kenton..
Good proportions here. Not stumpy like a lot of basic dock shoes.
- Brand: J.Crew Kenton
- Style: Camp Moccasin/boat shoe
- Size: 10.5 US (44 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Blake stitched and glued?!
- Leather: Suede
- Sole: Rubber mini lug
- Details: Full leather lining, rawhide laces
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Morocco
- Price: $198 at full retail, but has been around $100 (or less!) as of late
Not your Dad’s docksiders.
About Adam’s Scoring System, The Adam Shoe Scale of Justice (A.S.S.J.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
Available in this “vintage indigo”, or a more standard “bittersweet chocolate” brown.
My pair of Kenton boat shoes in “vintage indigo” was ordered on a Friday and arrived exactly three business days later. In the current COVID-19 and post-J.Crew bankruptcy climate, I was honestly kind of surprised these arrived so quickly. That’s a win in my opinion. FYI: J.Crew offers a simple 30 day return policy for unworn, undamaged merchandise. As with any shoes, make sure you try them on at home on carpet or rugs to ensure they fit as they should.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering and fast shipping.
Shoe trees, shoe bags, and spare laces don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, although one or all would be nice when you’re laying down two bills for silky suede slip-ons. Unfortunately, none of those come standard inside the all-too-standard J.Crew black shoe box… but that’s pretty normal for the ‘Crew and especially normal for sub-$200 boat shoes. Nothing to rock the boat here.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Normally I’d want shoe bags or extra laces, but these are boat mocs.
All aboard the blue suede
You can burn my house, steal my car. Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar.
Well do anything, that you want to do, but uh-uh, honey, lay off of my shoes.
Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes. – Elvis Aron Presley (and Carl Perkins)
Just like Elvis, I have a thing for blue suede shoes. There’s just something about the effortlessly cool, lavish shade of blue and velvety soft texture that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s probably why I own a few pairs! The suede used on the Kenton boat mocs is decent. I’d put it somewhere between your mass market Cole Haan’s and higher-end Rancourts. Way better than that faux suede junk you’ll find at H&M, Old Navy, or similar usual suspects. The off-white moc stitching around the toe and at the heel is neatly done and the tonal navy stitching throughout the upper is well executed. The functional chestnut brown rawhide laces are threaded through antiqued brass eyelets. Design-wise, this is a home run.
Functional rawhide laces & antiqued brass eyelets.
Inside you’ll find a full leather lining with a roughout patch at the heel to prevent heel slip. I’m pretty sure it’s calf or some sort of cowhide, not deerskin or goat/pig, if that matters to you. The leather topped insole feels sufficiently squishy. That insole is ever-so-lightly glued down, so when gently peeled back you’ll find layers of open cell and closed cell foam which accounts for said squishiness. Some sort of celastic or thermally fused fiberboard piece helps secure the outsole to the upper… I think these may be Blake stitched?! My only complaint for the interior is that the suede patch at the heel isn’t stitched along the sides, so I can envision that piece coming unglued over time. It would be a simple fix, though.
Roughout patch at the heel to prevent heel slip.
The nonslip mini lug rubber outsole is soft, yet grippy, and is actually sewn through (Blake). The lugged heel pad (top lift) is simply glued down, though. As time goes by, I don’t suspect these soles will last for years and getting this exact outsole and heel topper will be nigh impossible, BUT these might be recraftable if you have an experienced cobbler near you.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Well made from above average materials and construction at this price point.
The nonslip, mini lug rubber outsole.
Fit, Sizing, and Comfort
Speaking of fit, I think they’re lasted very well and this 10.5 sized pair fit great right out of the box. Sizing is true to Brannock sizing; they don’t run too narrow or too wide, although you can adjust the fit slightly as needed with the functional leather lacing that runs around the perimeter.
Comfort is always subjective, but the full leather linings and dual-layer foam-backed insoles are a pleasant experience. There were no rough stitches or pinch points to speak of. While they’re not quite as plush as the deerskin liners in my NEOC mocs, they’re definitely better than most Sperry’s I’ve seen.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Vans and an 11 in most Adidas or Nike sneakers.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Fits true to Brannock size and comfort level is high.
Fulfilling their destiny. They are literally on a boat.
Joe, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. These Kenton suede boat shoes are an easy win for anyone who’s in the market for boat mocs like this – they’re gorgeous, comfortable, and feel pretty solid for the price, especially if you can catch a fairly frequent 40-60% off discount code. These should drop to under $75 and they are an absolute steal at that price. Go ahead and pull the trigger on them, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Avg. Score: 4.75/5 Stars – Pretty dang good for the price! Highly recommended.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething
technical trainer salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his dad bod father figure.