Standard Fair Sport Camp Sneakers – REVIEW

Part of being a classic menswear guy for me is the ability to have products that last a long time. We oftentimes rationalize higher priced purchases because of the quality that goes into them. Suits with full canvassing, tailors cutting a pattern with extra seam allowance so the suit can still be modified fit when we gain or lose weight, or shoes welted instead of glued so that they can be resoled, thereby having a longer lifespan. While for many this is a justification, it also serves as a deciding economic factor or a philosophical factor when purchasing a product.

In the case of Standard Fair, they have designed a product around quality and lifespan. Whereas most other sneakers are not designed to be resoled, Standard Fair bucked that concept and designed a piece of footwear from the sole up, building it to be resolable. The shoes are made in the United States in Maine, sourced with quality leathers from Italian leather mills that work with historic, labor intensive methods to produce vegetable-tanned full grain leather. They have selected leathers from two members of the Italian True Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium, Conceria Walpier (for white vegetable tanned leather), and Conceria Tempesti (for the other colors). Created on top of camp soles (more on that in a bit), the shoes are stitched using blake methods to allow the sole to be replaced. And while it is difficult to find individuals to resole blake shoes in the USA (not as difficult in countries like Italy), Standard Fair offers a resoling and refinishing service, to help keep your shoes nice and functional. Overall, the company is aiming to provide you with a product that will last a long time with proper care.

 

When asked to provide a review as a Styleforum user–more so lurker–I decided to let Standard Fair send me whichever color pathway of the Sport Camp they wanted. It didn’t matter so much to me because I own a pair similar to them from another small footwear manufacturer Collegium, also from a similar leather mill, and I own Buttero in both black and white color pathways. In the end, Mike, the well informed, friendly proprietor and creator of Standard Fair, opted to send me black. While they wouldn’t have been my first choice, I had decided that I would go into this review focusing on the quality and design, not on trying to make sure I am overly biased based on choosing a preferred color pathway (which would have been the white for me, seeing as how veg-tanned white leather sounds utterly strange and exciting to me). I’d like to think that this helped make me a touch more objective when considering the shoe.

So you understand, I’m not unfamiliar with “stitched construction” sneakers, especially margom soles. I have bought several pairs of margom cup stitched sneakers thinking that I could get them to be resoled. In the end, I am incredibly disappointed with the longetivity of the margom cup soles, seeing as how I feel the soles wear through rather quickly. After a little under two years of semi-regular wear (with rotation), a pair of shoes from Buttero has horrible soft spots on the rubber. I had reached out to Buttero to inquire as to if they were resoleable, seeing as how they are stitched, and the Italian company confirmed with me and their factory that they cannot be resoled because they are glued, that the stitching is superficial.

As I wrote earlier, part of what separates Standard Fair from other makers, besides the construction, is the transparency in sourcing and material design. Mike is willing to let you know exactly where materials are being sourced, and they have a space on their website showing you from where each component, down to the most minute like the insole or laces, are being manufactured or originated. Their openness is refreshing, seeing as how few other brands are willing to discuss their manufacturers or sourcing. In addition, the choice of manufacturing the products in places such as the USA speaks to their commitment to quality manufacturing. Mike acknowledges that just because a product says its made in a certain country (England, USA, Italy) does not mean that the product is going to be of good quality. However, his careful sourcing of suppliers and manufacturers has put Standard Fair at the top of the game in terms of quality. I feel that the quality of the materials that went into this shoe are better than those that went into Buttero. To me, having felt the two sneakers side by side, Buttero feels more like a fashion brand, while Mike’s Standard Fair feels truly like a quality focused brand.

Aesthetically, Standard Fair opted for a few little stylistic choices to set them off from more minimalistic competitors. The shoes have heel and tongue patches of the same leather, flesh out. In theory, this leather should continue to develop a patina through wear as well. The soles are tone on tone, matched against the leather upper color. There is also a loop on the tongue, to run the laces through and keep the tongue up. Overall they are fairly streamlined, and I can picture the white pair being a staple in my wardrobe. The black works well especially in winter since it doesn’t attract too much attention, especially as the leather has gained a matte patina through the few weeks of pretty intense wear, giving the shoes a more lived-in look.

The camp soles are something that you don’t really see on sneakers. For those of you that are not aware, they are found on a lot of preppier, New England styled, casual footwear, including moccasins from makers Quoddy, Rancourt, and Yuketen. The concept behind the camp sole was to have a lightweight, sturdy yet comfortable rubber sole that would allow comfort based footwear, like a moccasin, to be worn when lounging around outside–during a weekend getaway for instance at your local New England summer lake. Prior to Standard Fair, it would be only common to see a camp sole on a moccasin, oftentimes handsewn. Because the soles have a nice grain to them, they provide good traction, and the wedge cutout found on many of them keep the sole nice and light. It makes a lot of sense to pair this sole with sneakers for that reason and thinking about it, I can imagine we will some other manufacturers emulating this in the future.

Because they are Blake stitched, the sole breaks in a bit more rapidly, seeing as how it features a thick, rubber sole sourced from Sao Paulo. The sole material feels comfortable. I don’t feel any stress standing on my feet since the support on the arch especially is incredibly nice for a sneaker.

While they are true to size, for individuals with a higher instep or a wider foot, I would suggest a half size up. Having gone TTS based on the suggestion of Mike, I found that my feet, especially when laced tightly, by the end of the day wanted a little bit more breathing room. The leather, while it has broken in, is still a stiffer leather (its a feature of the specific leather mill), and so it probably would have been beneficial to have extra space at the beginning, especially seeing as how with thicker socks, my feet feel rather tight in the shoe. Going forward into warmer seasons, the shoes will work nicely with thinner socks.

Would I buy these shoes? Yes. Because of the resolability, the quality materials and the ability to gain a patina, through wear, especially on the Chestnut and Honey colorways, you have a pair of shoes that can last you a very, very long time with upkeep and wear. If you are someone who truly respects quality and craftsmanship, these are for you. They also have a design that many may find that they like, even if it is a touch less minimalist because of the flesh out patches on the heel and tongue. Don’t let those patches deter you from considering the shoes since they are less distracting when on the foot than it appears in photos. Personally, my pick would be the white or Honey color pathways. You really aren’t going to find other sneakers that will last you a lifetime with proper care with good support that will gain a nice patina over time.


Join the discussion on the forum on the Standard Fair Official Affiliate Thread.

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How to Wear Sneakers with a Sport Coat This Summer

suit with sneakers sneakers with sport coat sport coat with sneakers sneakers with suit styleforum

Picture this: you’re packing for your summer vacation. You’re trying to pick the ideal shoe – something you can wear sockless while carrying your towel bag down the rocks to the beach, but something that also works in the evening when you put on a jacket and trousers – or even a suit.

What you want is a white canvas sneaker.

Before you accuse me of telling you lies, let me assure you that wearing sneakers with a sport coat is a fine thing to do, and it’s pretty common in places that aren’t the USA. Arianna tells me that she can remember seeing Fiat managers wearing sneakers with their charcoal and navy suits, and of course sneakers are all over Pitti Uomo. You don’t have to go full-on captain of industry or Pitti peacock-hashtag-menswear to make the sneakers work, though – you just have to avoid the pitfalls of looking like a Disney star or a child playing dress-up.

Let’s talk about those pitfalls first. If you’re going to wear sneakers with a sport coat or a suit, and you’re after inspiration on how to do it, the first images you’ll find on the internet will probably be of either actor-slash-model types standing on the red carpet wearing really tight clothes and designer high-tops, or waifish Scandinavian dudes wearing black suits with white leather slip-ons inside their million-dollar Youtube-content-creator-slash-graphic-design-influencer offices.

Not that I’m jealous.

The point is, a lot of people try really hard to build their tailored outfits around the sneakers they’ve chosen. Along the way, they often pick up a few more trends – really tight trousers, gingham shirts, skinny ties – and this has the effect of making them look, well, childish. Like they’re playing dress-up. That’s not what you want! What you want is to wear sneakers with a jacket and trousers and look like a well-dressed adult.

So, instead of sizing down on everything you own, treat a pair of canvas plimsolls the same way you would a pair of loafers or espadrilles. Wear them sockless, with a lightweight trouser that’s hemmed at the ankle (or even just above, if you’re really feeling the warm weather look). If you’re wearing a suit, it’s probably safest to go with one that’s obviously made for the warmer weather – say, a cotton number in khaki or even green, or natural linen if that’s what you’re after, but an odd jacket and trousers will work just as easily.

There’s no need to buy something fancy, either. In fact, that sort of goes against the intent. White canvas plimsolls from brands such as Vans or Superga will look great, but if you’re really wanting to branch out you could try a leather slip on from Common Projects or Buttero. In all cases, stick to low-tops. Once you’ve picked your sneakers, the next and final step is to put them on your feet and never think about them again. After all, you’ve a life to enjoy.

suit with sneakers sneakers with sport coat sport coat with sneakers sneakers with suit styleforum

5 Stand-Out Takes on the White Court Shoe

The white court shoe has taken its place atop the throne of the sneaker world following the rise of the Stan Smith. The latter is now (still!) found on the feet of half the people at any trade show, with only mild competition from Adidas’ shell-toe and three stripe options. But if you’re looking for a simple, good-looking sneaker, there are many brands that offer pleasing design – and, let’s face it, a price that makes Common Projects Achilles look like a joke. Here are 5 white court shoes that you can wear all through the winter – and for a long time to come.


  1. Greats “Royale”

    Photo: Greats


    Luxury court shoes are nothing new, but we all know that Common Projects are no longer the must-have they once were. Greats’ take on the classic design is a little bulkier, a little cushier, and little less ubiquitous (and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of rarity with their sneakers?). The suede models are stand-outs, and will look great with worn-in raw denim or even casually-worn trousers.  And at 1/4 the price of CP’s, what’s not to like?119$, Greats.com


  2. Adidas Stan Smith Primeknit OG pk

    Photo: SSENSE

    What would a list of tennies be without at least one variation on the original? Adidas has updated its classic Stan Smith silhouette with a primeknit upper that offers breathable comfort and keeps you from looking like the rest of the fashion-obsessed sneakerheads out there. And since we’ve reached – and passed – peak Stan Smith saturation, a slight re-config means that you can wear these without feeling self-conscious. Although you can find Primeknit Stans at several retailers, this OG-pack version has a different knit and a slightly lower profile than the all-leather model, but pairs equally well with denim or slim black trousers (yeah, yeah – we see you, fashion week attendees).

    Best part? The added airflow means your feet will stink less.

    130$, ssense.com


  3. Common Projects Court Low
    Photo: Need Supply

    Photo: Need Supply


    Instead of going for the by now ubiquitous Achilles, spend those hard-earned dollars on the CP Court Low instead. We’re big on suede sneakers for a bit of added character, and this even-more-minimal take on the tennis shoe is perfect for fall. Stack your jeans on top of the low cuff, roll ’em up, or even wear a pair of (gasp!) shorts. Common Projects is really the original luxe sneaker brand, and they’ve stayed relevant for a reason.

    435$, NeedSupply.com


  4. Ann Demeulemeester Suede Low-Top

    Photo: FWRD



    While not exactly a court shoe (they’re more of a take on the venerable Converse), these suede low-tops nonetheless offer a great alternative to your standard tennis shoe. They’re much more versatile than the brand’s die-hard fans would have you believe, and are equally at home with head-to-toe Ann D. or a rolled-up pair of Engineered Garments BDU pants. The suede upper takes on added character with wear, and well-read forumites will know to ask their cobbler about adding a Vibram (or other rubber) outsole for increased longevity and grip. At this point, they’re a modern classic.

    830$, fwrd.com


  5. Filling Pieces “Low Top Tabs White”

    Photo: Filling Pieces

    Looking for a little more flash from your court shoe? Streetwear brand Filling Pieces could be right up your alley. This take on their classic Tabs low top adds a gum sole and toe-cap perforation for a does of athletic style. Prices, while firmly upmarket, aren’t Givenchy-high, which means you’ll have some cash left over for a fancy pair of sweatpants. Long live athleisure!

    EUR240, Fillingpieces.com

5 Must-Have Fall Sneakers That Aren’t Tennis Shoes

  1. Adidas Ultra Boost

    Photo: Adidas

    Forget Kanye and his spat with the Beavertonians-that-shall-not-be-named. Adidas’ latest footwear offerings stand on their own in terms of comfort, design, and utility. Unlike that other company’s more adventurous products, most of Adidas’ sneakers both perform well and look great. The Boost sole offers excellent comfort, and you can find it on everything from trail shoes that double as urban-exploration footwear to indoor soccer kicks. However, our pick is the new UltraBoost_Uncaged model, which will look great with all of your techwear, offer slipper-like comfort, and (theoretically) allow you to launch into a sprint at any time. I’m sure we’ll see them worn with skinny trousers next time Pitti rolls around, too.

    180$, Adidas.com

  2. Adidas Y-3 Qasa High

    Photo: Adidas

    Yes, another Adidas project, this one the fruit of the Three Stripes’ ongoing collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto. Although the Qasa has been around for a while now, that doesn’t keep it from being one of the coolest-looking athletic sneakers out there. The choice of everyone from Yohji-wearing artistes to bike messengers sporting Acronym, the Qasa is a gem in the world of sneaker design.

    400$-500$, Y-3 Store

  3. Nike Sock Dart
    Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.15.17 AM

    Photo: Nike

    Once a NikeLab exclusive, this stand-out is now available as a general release on Nike.com. The Sock Dart offers a lightweight upper with minimal support, and is something of a strange beast. It’s not going to work as a real training shoe, but if you enjoy wearing slightly futuristic, modern clothing – think Peir Wu or nonnative – you’re going to like the way these fit into your wardrobe. And because of the easy slip-on factor, it makes a great travel shoe.

    130$, Nike.com

     

  4. Diemme “Fontesi”
    Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.35.11 AM

    Photo: SSENSE

    Although several seasons old by now, Diemme’s forward-looking “Fontesi” high-top really feels as though it has come into its own. Offered in a variety of leather and suede make-ups, the fall colors really do justice to the laser-cut patterning, and although the cup sole they’re built on may look familiar, the rest of the sneaker is anything but. For an added bonus, wear pants that are cropped just at the sneaker cuff to show off the suede detailing.

    430$, ssense.com

     

  5. Salomon “Speedcross” 4

    Photo: Salomon.com

    Photo: Salomon.com


    If you’ve fully embraced urban techwear – and you should – the Salomon Speedcross series is the sneaker to beat for trail-ready toughness. Though not as easy to style as the options listed above, the Speedcross offers great support and comfort (we’re all about comfort), quick-lacing ease (we’re all about ease), and stand-out-from-the-pack style (and we can’t say no to quirky style). And since they’re now found in avant-garde shops worldwide you’ll be one nod and wink away from being a true sneaker insider. The fashion set will try to sell you the blacked-out models, but we prefer the outdoorsy stylings of the Salomon original.Also, if you ever have to climb over a muddy log in the middle of a downpour, you’ll be all set.

    130$, Salomon.com