J. Crew Kenton Suede Pacer Boots – $84.99 FINAL ($278) or Plain Toe Boots – $82.49 w/ SALEONSALE ($278)
Editor’s Note: This review was originally slated to run next week, but we expeditated publishing because of the unexpected deal that J. Crew is running on them today. They added a bit of stock overnight to their sale section, which some of is getting an additional 50% off with the SALEONSALE code. And these suede boots are part of it:
- Kenton Suede Pacer Boots – $84.99 FINAL ($278)
- Kenton Suede Plain Toe Boots $82.49 not final? ($278)
- Sperry for J.Crew chukka boots – $43.99 ($135)
- 100% cashmere crewnecks – $34.99 FINAL ($118)
- Garment-dyed slub cotton crewneck T-shirt –
$11.25($29.50) update: daggummit. These things aren’t getting the cut (anymore?) I swear they were. Thanks to Josef S. for the correction.
- Printed linen pocket square – $12.49 FINAL ($49.50)
The navy pair, reviewed by our man Adam below, are final sale. The PLAIN toe in snuff suede don’t seem to be final sale? For now? Beats me guys. It’s a rock fight in retail right now. So even new arrivals like these suede boots might go on deep discount sooner than usual. Which is the case here. Off we go with the review…
J. Crew Kenton Suede Pacer Boots – $84.99 FINAL w/ SALEONSALE ($278)
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on on his
dad bod father figure.
As we have remarked before, J.Crew has been on a positive upward swing here lately and they keep releasing new, highly desirable (to me) items to market in 2021. I recently reviewed their Kenton leather cap toe boots, which feel like they lean more business casual. Today we’ll be taking a look at their more stylish cousin. Enveloped in plush, inky blue suede and hailing from Central America, the latest Kenton Pacers are the more modest man’s version of the Alden Indy boot. How do they stack up in person?
Alden Indy vibes. For a lot less.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 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.
- Brand: J.Crew
- Style: Moc Toe Heritage Work Boot
- Size: 10.5 D US (~44 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: 360° Goodyear Storm Welt
- Upper: C.F. Stead Suede
- Lining: Full length leather lining
- Sole: Vibram “Tuscany” mini-lug rubber sole with Gumblock heel.
- Details: Antique brass eyelets and speed hooks, navy blue waxed cotton laces
- Extras: Two flannel cloth shoe bags
- Country of Origin: El Salvador
- Price: $278 USD
All hail the Adam Shoe Expert Box Shot™
My pair of navy blue suede Pacer boots was ordered on a Wednesday night, shipped out Thursday morning, and arrived during brunch on Sunday via UPS Ground. I’m about a full state away from J.Crew’s main warehouse in Lynchburg, VA, so I do consider myself somewhat lucky there. Not bad!
FYI: J.Crew has a standard 30-day return policy, but you’re on the hook for $7.50 if you use their label. Returns can be made for free in person should you have a brick and mortar store near you.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, quick shipping, and a standard 30-day return policy.
Apron toe. Inky navy suede.
My Pacers arrived in a standard J.Crew black shoe box with minimal branding. Inside, the boots were lightly wrapped in standard tissue paper and each boot was stuffed with paper to keep the toe boxes from collapsing. Nothing too fancy going on in here, but at least the box arrived in one piece.
Also included were some nice J.Crew branded cloth shoe bags, but sadly no spare laces or anything else. The shoe bags are a nice addition to the package, especially when you consider the real price point of sub-$200 where most people will be purchasing these. Given a 20-40% off discount, this isn’t too bad.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Simple, but solid. J.Crew has stepped up their shoe bag game. Wish for spare laces.
Fresh out of the box, the first thing I noticed was how dark this shade of navy suede is. Honestly, it almost looks pitch black in most lighting conditions except for direct sunlight. Looking back at the J.Crew website, their photos are actually pretty accurate but wearing them outside on a sunny day, little wisps of inky indigo start to pop through. I imagine these will fade a bit and start looking even better after a few months of hard wear and exposure to the elements. In contrast, my J.Crew x Alden Indy boots are much more vivid indigo blue right out of the gate. Funny enough, both J.Crew and Alden typically source their suedes from the same British tannery, Charles F. Stead. Their suedes are among the best out there.
Charles F. Stead suede. Nice.
The upper stitching is clean and well done throughout with no noticeable faults. The moc toe stitching was done in a tonally dark black thread and runs neatly underneath the facings. The contrasting antiqued brass eyelets and speed hooks add some visual warmth and the wide, flat waxed cotton laces are a pleasure to use. I wish all of my boots came with laces like these. Around back, there’s a handy pull loop made from two layers of the suede and it’s tacked in place very well. I don’t think that’ll tear off.
Nicely tacked pull loop. Sturdy. Not just for looks.
Inside you’ll find a decent full leather lining that runs from heel to toe. It appears to be kip leather and feels buttery smooth to the touch. The leather topped insoles are glued down, so without tearing these things apart, it’s hard to say what’s underneath. It looks to be layers of foam glued on top of a stiff fiberboard midsole, which would be a corner cut for cost savings compared to the vegetable tanned leather insoles found in Grant Stone, Alden, and Allen Edmonds boots. Granted, these things retail for almost $100 less than Grant Stone’s Brass Boot, the next most similar model. Take that for what it’s worth.
Full leather lining
This generation of Pacer boots is using OEM Vibram “Tuscany” rubber mini-lug soles and Gumblock heel toppers that are equal parts grippy and discreet. Their chocolate hue pairs well with the medium brown lacquered leather storm welt. The Goodyear welt sole stitching is done well and there are no noticeable faults here. The best part? Any cobbler worth their machine can easily resole these with factory OEM Vibram components, whereas other brands that use proprietary parts (IE: Alden Commando soles) can require factory refurbishments if you want to maintain the same look and feel.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Above average materials and craftsmanship, but some corners were cut.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
Comfort is always subjective, but I find these Pacer boots to be very comfortable. The soft and smooth lining feels great on foot, sockless or with my usual Darn Tough medium weight wool socks. The foam insoles are supportive, yet need no breaking in or time. They’re instantly comfortable. I could easily wear these all day and should have no complaints about comfort or foot pain.
The Kenton Pacer boots fit true to size, so stick with your usual Brannock sizing. Have you ever found a shoe that fit so perfectly out of the box that you could hear the air fwoosh out as you put your foot in? Yeah, that’s what happened here. This pair in 10.5 D fit very well. No noticeable pain, pressure, or heel slip. The widest part of my foot lines up perfectly with the widest part of the boot. I’m not sure what last they’re using here, but I wager our friends at Grant Stone probably had a hand in developing it for them.
OEM Vibram “Tuscany” rubber mini-lug soles. Grippy, but discreet.
Fits true to size, so stick with your usual Brannock sizing
Note that if you regularly need a narrow or wide option, you may be out of luck as J.Crew only offers the standard US medium D width in these boots. My suggestion would be to try a half-size larger to start.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in wider-fitting 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 size, great overall fit and comfort. Stick with your Brannock size.
All in all, I’m a big fan of these Kenton suede Pacer boots. They’re essentially the college grad’s budget version of an Alden Indy. They certainly look and feel the part with plush suede from C.F. Stead, a comfortable leather topped foam insole, and a ruggedly reliable Vibram outsole. While the dark navy color may be more difficult to wear as compared to a more versatile brown, I think there’s room in every person’s closet for a pair of statement boots. Elvis loved his blue suede shoes and you can, too. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4.5/5 Stars – Pretty good! They look good, feel good, and should last a while. I dig ‘em.