It’s on Sale: The Corner

Luxury retailer the Corner has begun its private sale, putting many items at 40% off with code privateus40. Some brands are excepted, but the code seemed to work on Common Projects shoes, a favorite of mine: Ts(s) clothing, Porter bags, Arcteryx Veilance technical outerwear, and White Mountaineering.

-Pete

It’s On Sale: Shoes at Tres Bien Shop

Tres Bien is offering a 20% discount on all their fall/ winter 2013 shoes. The sale seems to apply to the Common Projects and Maison Martin Margiela sneakers you see above, which get dropped down another 20% if you’re exempt from European taxes. Discounts are automatically applied at checkout and the promotion ends November 26th.  

Five Sneakers for Summer
As much as I like leather hard-bottom shoes, summer is really a great time for sneakers. They go well with chinos and madras shirts, jeans and t-shirts, and even the occasional casual button-up with shorts. I mainly rely on five different models for my rotation.
German Army Trainers: If German Army Trainers (GATs for short) seem new but familiar, it might be because the two brothers who invented them would later go on to launch Adidas and Puma, two classic sneaker companies that often make shoes bearing a familial resemblance to GATs. They were also used by German soldiers for indoor exercises during the 1970s, which is how they got their name.
You can find GATs today at a pretty affordable price. They’re about $30 if you’re in Germany and can get to a military surplus store, but if you’re not, you can find them between $60 and $90 on eBay and through German proxy sellers. Jesse wrote a great article on how to score them here.
There are also a couple of slightly modified designs by Svensson and Maison Martin Margiela (the second of which issues them in a number of different colors every season). I have the black pair you see above, the grey ones here, and the classic white leather/ grey suede combination. The last is probably the most popular among style enthusiasts, but I find myself wearing the black and grey pairs most often. You can get Margiela GATs for about $250 on eBay or during sale seasons. 
Common Projects: Enough has probably been said about how useful this minimalistic design is, so let’s talk about alternatives, in case Common Projects are too expensive for you. The good news is that there are a ton of alternatives. Check, for example, these by Acne (some on sale here), ETQ, Erik Schedin, Vor, Marc Jacobs, Svensson, National Standard (some on sale here), Twins for Peace, Kent Wang, Zegna Sport, Aspesi, Buttero, Generic Surplus, Superga, and Adidas (Stan Smiths, Soloist collaboration, and Campus 80s). Admittedly, the last few don’t look very much like Common Projects, but they’re somewhat similar and it’s nice to have options.  
Hydrogen-1: A few months ago, Hydrogen-1 offered to send me a free pair of sneakers to review. I was skeptical, to be honest, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give their black Oxygen high-tops a try, so long as they knew a positive review wasn’t guaranteed.
I’ve been happily surprised with them and find they’re just as well made as my Common Projects or Margielas. The slightly pebbled black calf leather doesn’t show creases easily and the padded collar makes them exceptionally comfortable. The sole looks chunkier online than in real life, but they do give the shoe a nice casual look. Like the aforementioned minimalistic options, the simplicity of these high-tops makes them very versatile.
I also like these grey chukkas. Hero, the founder behind the company, tells me they’ll be doing an end-of-season sale in a few months, and that both models will be coming out in different colorways and materials this October or so.
Billy Reid: Billy Reid has a collaboration line with K-Swiss that I really like. It’s a very sporty, slightly retro design that goes well with a grey sweatshirt and pair of jeans. A bit more “designed” than the other options on this list, but in a way that still feels simple and basic.
Canvas sneakers: The great thing about sneakers is that they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, aim for something classic and made from canvas. My go-tos are Superga 1705s in white and navy, but you can read about a number of other options in this old post I wrote a couple of summers ago. It’s hard to go wrong with any of those models.
If you want something more unique, check out these other designs by Superga, Converse, Twins for Peace, Industry of All Nations, and Nigel Cabourn. Wooden Sleepers also has a pretty neat-looking Italian military sneaker that I’ve always admired. Like with all the models mentioned in this post, I think they’d make for a really great pair of summer shoes.
(Pictured above: Margiela GATs, Common Project Achilles, Hydrogen-1 Oxygens, Billy Reid x K Swiss, and Superga 1705s. For what it’s worth, I’ve found all these run true to size, except for the Supergas, where I had to take a 10 instead of my regular 9).

Five Sneakers for Summer

As much as I like leather hard-bottom shoes, summer is really a great time for sneakers. They go well with chinos and madras shirts, jeans and t-shirts, and even the occasional casual button-up with shorts. I mainly rely on five different models for my rotation.

German Army Trainers: If German Army Trainers (GATs for short) seem new but familiar, it might be because the two brothers who invented them would later go on to launch Adidas and Puma, two classic sneaker companies that often make shoes bearing a familial resemblance to GATs. They were also used by German soldiers for indoor exercises during the 1970s, which is how they got their name.

You can find GATs today at a pretty affordable price. They’re about $30 if you’re in Germany and can get to a military surplus store, but if you’re not, you can find them between $60 and $90 on eBay and through German proxy sellers. Jesse wrote a great article on how to score them here.

There are also a couple of slightly modified designs by Svensson and Maison Martin Margiela (the second of which issues them in a number of different colors every season). I have the black pair you see above, the grey ones here, and the classic white leather/ grey suede combination. The last is probably the most popular among style enthusiasts, but I find myself wearing the black and grey pairs most often. You can get Margiela GATs for about $250 on eBay or during sale seasons. 

Common Projects: Enough has probably been said about how useful this minimalistic design is, so let’s talk about alternatives, in case Common Projects are too expensive for you. The good news is that there are a ton of alternatives. Check, for example, these by Acne (some on sale here), ETQ, Erik Schedin, Vor, Marc Jacobs, Svensson, National Standard (some on sale here), Twins for Peace, Kent Wang, Zegna Sport, Aspesi, Buttero, Generic Surplus, Superga, and Adidas (Stan Smiths, Soloist collaboration, and Campus 80s). Admittedly, the last few don’t look very much like Common Projects, but they’re somewhat similar and it’s nice to have options.  

Hydrogen-1: A few months ago, Hydrogen-1 offered to send me a free pair of sneakers to review. I was skeptical, to be honest, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give their black Oxygen high-tops a try, so long as they knew a positive review wasn’t guaranteed.

I’ve been happily surprised with them and find they’re just as well made as my Common Projects or Margielas. The slightly pebbled black calf leather doesn’t show creases easily and the padded collar makes them exceptionally comfortable. The sole looks chunkier online than in real life, but they do give the shoe a nice casual look. Like the aforementioned minimalistic options, the simplicity of these high-tops makes them very versatile.

I also like these grey chukkas. Hero, the founder behind the company, tells me they’ll be doing an end-of-season sale in a few months, and that both models will be coming out in different colorways and materials this October or so.

Billy Reid: Billy Reid has a collaboration line with K-Swiss that I really like. It’s a very sporty, slightly retro design that goes well with a grey sweatshirt and pair of jeans. A bit more “designed” than the other options on this list, but in a way that still feels simple and basic.

Canvas sneakers: The great thing about sneakers is that they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, aim for something classic and made from canvas. My go-tos are Superga 1705s in white and navy, but you can read about a number of other options in this old post I wrote a couple of summers ago. It’s hard to go wrong with any of those models.

If you want something more unique, check out these other designs by Superga, Converse, Twins for Peace, Industry of All Nations, and Nigel Cabourn. Wooden Sleepers also has a pretty neat-looking Italian military sneaker that I’ve always admired. Like with all the models mentioned in this post, I think they’d make for a really great pair of summer shoes.

(Pictured above: Margiela GATsCommon Project AchillesHydrogen-1 OxygensBilly Reid x K Swiss, and Superga 1705s. For what it’s worth, I’ve found all these run true to size, except for the Supergas, where I had to take a 10 instead of my regular 9).

It’s On Sale: Common Projects and Margiela Sneakers

Oki Ni is having a spring/ summer sale for customers in the United States and Canada. Take 30% off with the code SUMMER30. The code works on the Common Projects and Maison Martin Margiela sneakers you see above, both of which come out to about $275 after discount. You can then email the store and ask for VAT to be refunded. That’ll knock these down even further, to about $220. Shipping is free. 

(These run true to size, from my experience. Also, note that in order to get the code to work, you have to specify your shipping destination to be either the US or Canada). 

Kent’s White Sneakers v. 2.0

Kent Wang just released version two of his plain white leather sneakers. I bought the first version late last year, but winter weather being what it is, I haven’t been able to wear them until the last month or so.

Kent’s design can be most easily compared to Common Projects’ Achilles, a white low top that has been immensely popular with style enthusiasts for the last five years or so. Like the Achilles, Kent’s is plain and minimalistic, which is a nice break from all the over-designed sneakers we’ve seen in the last two decades or so. The biggest difference between the two, however, is the silhouette. The Achilles is a bit sleeker, the sole comes up a bit higher on the shoe, and the shoe itself comes up a bit higher on the ankle. You can see this difference in the last two photos above. Kent’s second version, however, improves on the first by elongating the toe, so it looks a bit less stubby, and also pushes the sole ever so slightly so that it comes on top of the toe box.

The remaining sizes of Kent’s first version have all been discounted to $65 and the second has been introduced at $95. Not cheap, but in comparison to other white minimalistic sneakers – Saint Laurent Paris ($500), Common Projects ($350), Svensson ($300), and Erik Schedin ($135, once you deduct for VAT) – Kent’s is the most affordable around. Of course, affordability does come at a price. The Achilles, for example, is made from a higher-quality leather and the sole is reinforced with stitching. Still, for $95, these are pretty nice and would look great with jeans and chinos this coming summer.

Available sizes right now include 7, 8, and 9, but sizes 10 and larger will be made available in about six weeks.

Q & Answer: What Shoes Should I Bring On Vacation?

Ben writes: This May, my wife and I are honeymooning in Europe for two weeks. I know that I will be doing a heavy amount of walking. Do you have any suggestions for footwear that will allow me to keep pace with my wife without looking like the ugly American?

Packing shoes for a trip - especially one that requires more than one level of formality - is always tough. When I travel, I fight not to bring more than two pairs of shoes, with one of those pairs on my feet. I don’t always win the fight.

I’ve got plenty of dress shoes that are perfectly comfortable, but none that I’d want to walk miles in. So if I’m bringing a pair of dress shoes to make a big presentation or what-have-you, I’m usually looking to compliment them with a “walking shoe.”

Depending on the season and context, that usually boils down to one of two things: a simple sneaker, or a comfortable boot.

I actually own the Grenson chukka boots pictured above, in a slightly darker brown. I find they work great with jeans or khakis, though I obviously wouldn’t wear them with shorts were I headed somewhere hot. In fact, they’re sort of a three-season shoe - fine anytime but summer. Sometimes I’ll substitute the chunkier, hardier Alden Indy Boot for these. Most importantly, I can put in a few miles on these, and be happy to see them the next day.

I also frequently bring sneakers on trips that will involve walking. As usual, I’d say the simpler the better. Above are a classic, the Adidas Samba. I usually wear Common Projects, which are great but expensive. I’m hoping Kent Wang gets in a full size run of his plain white sneaks soon. And of course if it’s summer, there’s stuff like Jack Purcells and Supergas, among others.

Traveling’s really an exercise in building a capsule wardrobe. You want to carry as few pieces as possible, and have as much interchangability as possible. So: keep it simple, and you’ll be fine.

Kent Wang’s Plain White Sneakers
Kent Wang’s specialty is making simple, unbranded clothing. He aims to produce the quality of luxury brands, but without the marketing budgets and corresponding inflated price points. That’s a philosophy we can get behind at Put This On.
I’m pretty excited about his new sneakers. They’re a lot like the Common Projects Achilles, perhaps the ultimate fancy sneaker. Like the CPs, they’re plain, unbranded and relatively sleek. Unlike the CPs, though, they cost less than a hundred bucks. I bit the bullet and bought some Achilles last spring, and I’ve been happy with the decision, but at a retail price usually north of three hundred bucks, they’re what you might call stupid expensive.
For the moment, Wang is offering only sizes 7, 8 and 9, with more to come in the spring. At $95, these look to me like a heck of a deal.

Kent Wang’s Plain White Sneakers

Kent Wang’s specialty is making simple, unbranded clothing. He aims to produce the quality of luxury brands, but without the marketing budgets and corresponding inflated price points. That’s a philosophy we can get behind at Put This On.

I’m pretty excited about his new sneakers. They’re a lot like the Common Projects Achilles, perhaps the ultimate fancy sneaker. Like the CPs, they’re plain, unbranded and relatively sleek. Unlike the CPs, though, they cost less than a hundred bucks. I bit the bullet and bought some Achilles last spring, and I’ve been happy with the decision, but at a retail price usually north of three hundred bucks, they’re what you might call stupid expensive.

For the moment, Wang is offering only sizes 7, 8 and 9, with more to come in the spring. At $95, these look to me like a heck of a deal.

Derek mentioned Markkt recently on the blog. They’re a UK-based sample sale site with a very cool collection of brands. At the moment, they’re offering both one of my favorite brands in the world, Nigel Cabourn, and Common Projects, the ultra-premium sneaker brand. CPs are very, very expensive (and rarely on sale), but if you’ve got the dough, they’re pretty much the perfect sneaker. I bought a pair last year at a very high price, but I’m happy I did. And I’m a real miser. Markkt is running them at £170, which is about $250, around a 35% significant discount from their sticker price.

Derek mentioned Markkt recently on the blog. They’re a UK-based sample sale site with a very cool collection of brands. At the moment, they’re offering both one of my favorite brands in the world, Nigel Cabourn, and Common Projects, the ultra-premium sneaker brand. CPs are very, very expensive (and rarely on sale), but if you’ve got the dough, they’re pretty much the perfect sneaker. I bought a pair last year at a very high price, but I’m happy I did. And I’m a real miser. Markkt is running them at £170, which is about $250, around a 35% significant discount from their sticker price.

Marrkt

I usually don’t post information related to designer clothing on here, but Marrkt seems worth talking about. It’s another one of those online companies that does limited-time sales on deadstock garments and sample pieces. Nothing new as a concept, but they’ve taken in much more interesting brands than many of their competitors. Their last sale, for example, was with Nigel Cabourn (though the stock is now kind of decimated), and Common Projects is scheduled for November 6th. Designer clothing, to be sure, but stuff that I think may be of interest to young men with slightly more classic sensibilities. 

The prices here are not low by any stretch of the imagination, but they do bring things down from astronomically high to just very high. For what it’s worth, they’re crediting accounts £10 if you like them on Facebook. 

Casual Summer Footwear

Like most men of my generation, I rarely wear more “formal” clothes such as dark wool suits and black oxford shoes. Much of my wardrobe consists of more casual items, though I admit it leans towards the dressier side of things. That means lots of odd trousers and sport coats, casual button-up shirts, and shoes such as derbys, boots, and slip-ons. With the passing of Memorial Day and the unofficial arrival of summer, I thought I’d review some casual footwear options for the new season. Basically things that will work with what I think most men already have in their closet.

Generally speaking, I think men tend to look smarter in a pair of leather shoes than trainers. The one exception is white sneakers during the summer. For some ensembles, such as a pair of navy chinos and a colorful madras shirt, there may be nothing better. My favorites in this category include Superga, Chuck Taylors’ All Stars, and Vans’ Authentics, but there are many others. I covered a bunch of them last year in a post about plimsolls. In addition to those, you can consider the Common Projects and German Army Trainers that Jesse has talked about, as well as Svensson’s Classic Low Whites, Superga’s 1705s, and Superga’s decks. Svensson is a bit more refined looking, like Common Projects, but comes at a lower price point and even less branding. Men of Ilk is offering a 20% off discount code right now (GLCCW49), which puts the Svenssons at $180 for American customers. As for the Supergas, I bought a pair of the 1705s a few months ago and have been really enjoying them. The branding is less obvious and the design is basic enough to pair with most things.

For something slightly dressier, you can consider chukka boots. I know boots are a bit of an odd suggestion for summer footwear, but depending on your regional climate, I think they can work quite well. Alden’s unlined suede chukka, for example, is so soft and buttery that it wears very much like a slipper. The lack of leather lining inside makes the upper more malleable and breathable, much like a canvas shoe. My friend Stephen at The Simply Refined has said everything I could say about them. For something similar, you can consider Church’s Sahara and Allen Edmonds’ Amok. The brown version of the Amok is on clearance right now for $125.

If you prefer a bit more structure in your leather chukkas, you should check out Loake’s Kempton, Sahara, and Camden. Brooks Brothers also has a suede boot that gets discounted to $130 or so at the end of every season, and there’s of course Clark’s desert boots that everyone already knows about. If you have a bit more money to spend, I would also recommend A Suitable Wardrobe’s crepe sole chukka. I really like the shape of the toe box and think the crepe sole/ suede upper combination helps underscore the casualness of the shoes.

Finally, I’ll also suggest you get a pair of loafers this summer. Like with chukkas, these can be worn mostly year round, but feel especially nice for the warmer seasons. There are a good number of styles to consider, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll stick with the classic American penny loafer. Inspired by the Norwegian moccasin, the penny loafer was the sine non-qua for the post-war “Ivy Look,” and still looks quite sharp today. I recommend getting them from American manufacturers such as Alden, Allen Edmonds, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Rancourt, and Oak Street Bootmakers. Bass also has some, though their quality is much lower these days. Outside of American companies, you may also want to look into Markowski, Herring, and Loake, as well as some of the models that Crockett & Jones offers.

Of course, there are dozens of good causal footwear styles, and some may be better suited for warm weather conditions than the ones above (e.g. espadrilles, white bucks, and spectators). However, for good, versatile basics that can work well for summer and transition into fall, I think you’d do well with white sneakers, suede chukkas, and leather penny loafers.