J. Crew Trail Runners – $66.59 FINAL w/ SUNNY ($148)
5/18/22 UPDATE: J. Crew has moved these into the final sale section, where they’re getting an additional 50% off with that SUNNY code. Drops them to the $66.59 price. See Adam’s fit perspective towards the end of this post. He recommends trying a half size larger. But that’s enough to scare a lot of us off now that they’re final sale. Final sale = no returns or exchanges.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Is it too early to say that J.Crew is back in business? It feels like that upscale, slightly edgy preppy vibe is back in vogue for a hot menswear minute and J.Crew’s new men’s Creative Director, Brendon Babenzien, may be perfectly poised to take advantage of it. Streetwear and streetwear-adjacent brands like Noah, Aimé Leon Dore, and Abercrombie and Fitch all have fantastic prep pieces available right now, but few can do it like J.Crew does at this mid-tier level of the menswear pyramid. Looking through the newest arrivals on their website, we’ve got a collection that’s chock full of colorful polo shirts, relaxed fit chinos, canvas tote bags, and horse-bit loafers. If that’s not the perfect outfit for a weekend on Martha’s Vineyard, I don’t know what is. Today we’re taking a look at their latest sneaker release – some fun trail runners in a cool navy blue and grey color combo. Are they worth the price of admission?
Offered in the navy being reviewed, as well as an almost all-white “natural”.
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: Trail Running Sneakers
- Size: 11
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Glued
- Upper: Suede and Mesh Textile
- Sole: Vibram Fuga Megagrip
- Details: Vibram SPE Midsole, Removable sock
- Extras: Spare laces
- Country of Origin: China
- Price: $148 USD
Contrasting laces. Suede & mesh uppers. Retro looks for sure.
My pair of navy trail runners was ordered late one Wednesday afternoon. The package shipped out on Thursday via UPS SurePost and was delivered on Saturday afternoon. Most retailers have caught up to the benchmark that Amazon set with two-day Prime shipping, so there’s nothing to complain about here. If you’re in a rush, you can always choose an overnight option.
FYI: J.Crew has a 30-day return or exchange policy, although you’re on the hook for return shipping with your own label or a prepaid one from J.Crew that’ll set you back $7.50. I do understand that shipping isn’t free – someone has to pay for it on either side of the transaction – but I wish J.Crew would start rolling this fee into their business model. I feel that customers would be more likely to try something on at home if they knew returns were completely free.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Easy ordering and quick shipping, but you’re on the hook for returns.
Not a bad unboxing experience, but still has room for improvement compared to some.
This pair arrived in the standard brown cardboard J.Crew shoe box. This unboxing experience is certainly better than some I’ve seen this year, but it’s still leagues behind brands like Grant Stone, Tecovas, and Alden. Granted, these are fast fashion sneakers, so I’m not sure that kind of pomp and circumstance is really warranted either. I’m rating this one slightly above average, mainly because J.Crew had the wonderful foresight to toss in an extra pair of sneaker laces.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Overall slightly better than average unboxing experience. Not bad!
Fresh out of the box, I’m REALLY impressed with the overall look and feel of these sneakers. The silhouette is great and the materials look pretty good. When fashion brands take inspiration from a specific item category or another brand’s goods, the new item’s silhouette or fit and feel can sometimes take a nosedive towards weirdness. Materials get cheaper and finishing gets overlooked in order to hit a certain price point or quarterly sales goal. That isn’t the case here – these sneakers look great and all of the materials are legit to the niche outdoor fashion sphere. Are these (overall) on par with comparable Saucony, New Balance, or On Cloud trail sneakers? No, but.. they’re really, really good and that says a lot about J.Crew’s current style direction.
The suede and mesh uppers harken back to New Balance 574 classics.
First and foremost, these are fashion sneakers that just happen to have the look and feel of a trail runner. They’re not nearly as lightweight or as tech forward as something from those other athletic brands. However, the J.Crew version is constructed well with a lovely navy suede and mid-tone blue mesh upper. The upper’s panel design forces my smooth ape brain to harken back to the New Balance 574 classics that I used to wear years ago – they pair mesh where you need ventilation and suede where you want durability. Around back, the heel tab is made from a subtle and tonal nubuck leather. The tongue is a lightweight nylon and foam sandwich, whereas the rest of the ankle opening is more heavily padded for comfort and ankle support.
The design team matches that grey sole on strategic places on the sneaker, like the upper most eye stays.
One interesting note – the design team was really focused on details, such as the grey plastic eyelets at the top of the eye stay and the small pop of grey reflective tape below the laces, both of which match the grey Vibram midsole and heel counter. My particular pair was shipped with a set of white, flat cotton laces installed. Those are fine for most people, but if I were to keep this pair, I’d swap those out for the spare set of grey laces that shipped inside the box for a more tonal or monochromatic look.
Looking inside, you’ll find a fully synthetic sockliner and a removable OrthoLite insole. Unlike similar offerings from other mall brands (I’m looking at you, Banana Republic), this OrthoLite insole seems like it’s a bit thicker and more supportive. It’s almost comparable to the Lunarlon insoles from Nike; these have a slightly more noticeable level of arch support. The synthetic fabric sockliner is nothing special and not worth wasting extra words on. It’s adequate here.
Vibram Fuga Megagrip mini-lug outsole for multiple weather conditions.
Moving further down, the midsole and outsole on the J.Crew trail runners are surprisingly good. The design team chose a Vibram SPE (specialized performance elastomer) midsole, made from a unique blend of rubber and EVA foam, for a super lightweight and supportive base layer. Underneath, a Vibram Fuga Megagrip mini-lug outsole is glued on to enhance the grip in both wet and dry conditions alike. This exact same midsole and outsole combination is used by other industry vets like Danner Boots on their Mountain 600 boots. Not bad at all, J.Crew!
Score: 4/5 Stars – Not bad! I like the style and the materials are solid for the price tag.
Sizing, Fit, and Comfort
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size larger than your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in an 11 U.S. and even with my usual Darn Tough lightweight athletic socks, these were on the cusp of being too short. The overall fit is fine and comfortable with a well-cushioned heel cup, a bit of sculpted ankle support, a slightly tapered waist, and a nicely shaped almond toe box. However, these do run a bit short in length, so if you typically need a wider width or prefer extra room up front, size up one whole size.
Comfort is always subjective, but I do find these to be pretty comfortable right out of the box. The upper is lightly cushioned and has a bit of extra padding around the ankle zone. The removable Ortholite insole (or sockliner, whichever you prefer) feels dense and supportive. That Vibram SPE midsole is doing a lot of work, too, adding an extra layer of support and cushion.
The Ortholite insole on these sneaks is almost comparable to the Lunarlon insoles from Nike.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy 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 Converse/Vans and an 11 in most Adidas/Nike/Jordan/Yeezy sneakers. Have a size question? Email us!
Score: 4/5 Stars – These run slightly small, so size up. Comfort is great out of the box.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the J.Crew Trail Runners. They look great, they feel pretty good on foot, and the materials seem to be good enough to last a while. Are these as solid as a pair of dedicated trail runners from Salomon or Hoka? No, the J.Crew model is first and foremost a fashion sneaker, but they do have some similar guts as those other brands. The J.Crew version could certainly be one man’s entry point into the world of trail running. I dig ‘em! I’m looking forward to putting a pair of these through the paces this Summer as I attempt to burn off yet another Taco Bell value meal. Cheers!
Avg. Score: 4/5 – I think these are decent, fashionable “crunchy” sneakers for most guys.
Well done by J. Crew on these. Impressive.