Thursday, December 13, 2012

JGIC Product Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A big "thanks!" to J.Crew Guy In Canada who is graciously reviewing Men's items from J.Crew with us. In this review, he looks at his top picks of shoes for for men:

J.Crew's men's shoes, the title says it all.  I've owned many pairs of shoes from J.Crew purchased at various times over the past ten years, some I've loved and worn into the ground; some collect dust on the shelf and some I just shake my head and question my sense or lack of.

One pair of shoes I've enjoyed for years is the Allerton blucher (#55751) in a
dark chocolate colour.  Years ago I read how the Italians wear dark richly coloured brown shoes with everything, from grey flannel to navy to black.  Believing that these are the most stylish men in the world I jumped on the dark brown train and for the next five years wore only dark brown shoes with eveything.  The key is making sure your shoes have a rich dark brown colour.  You make make so so brown shoes look far better by simply pilshing them with black shoe cream.  Sounds crazy, but it works, adding a deep dark patina to the shoe, a real depth of colour.  An occassional use of the black polish/shoe cream really does better the brown shoe.  Don't do it everytime, but just until you reach that glorious desired colour.

The Allerton is no Allen Edmunds or Alden; but let's keep some perspective here.  Compared to the American made shoes the J.Crew ones pale, but are a pair of Aldens three times better?  Guess it depends on the guy paying.  For me a $600 pair of shoes is out of the question, unless I only get one pair a year.  In all honesty I want some variety and a more inexpensive pair or two or three allow that.  The fist pair of Allertons from five years ago were the go to pair, from flannel grey wool to washed out denim to cords and chinos they did it all.  Sadly they wore out, both the sole and the interrior.  So I scored a new pair on promo this fall.  Not quite the same quality leather, but they beat many of the mall brands.

The other well worn shoe is the MacAlister (#79438).  My first pair was from
eight years ago and I loved these suede boots.  They did overtime from spring until fall with chinos, denim and even shorts.  When they finally were done I tried the replacement MacAlister in a store.  They were unlined and lacked the quality of the previous pair.  I tried them and they are fine, but not what I had before.  Looked at and tried Clarks which are so poorly sized and uncomfortable I pitched them after a few weeks.  So back to J.Crew and the current offereing.  I wear them but still miss the previous ones.

Harington bucks (#64609) are a new addition in rockface grey.  The bucks
reddish colour sole and green grey colour will be a real help to my spring summer wardrobe.  They are very light in weight and fit pefectly.  Comfortable and the slightly reddish sole are right on trend.  While other companies show bright soles, I'm more preppy and conservative so these suit me so much better.  Not too sure how they will hold up over the long term.

Ah Sperry shoes, transport me back to my youth and the 80s, Levis or shorts
with deck shoes.  The Sperrys I have are the first ones offered (#13509).  These are possibly the most limited shoes as they work best with shorts.  I find the profile to just look slighly off with pants, even the beloved washed out Levis 501.  And unless my feet were more cushioned in the 80s they shoes are not great for walking, better suited to looking good.

I do have other shoes in my closet and they fall into the hit and miss zones as well.  Hugo Boss boots from seven years ago, a true hit in the deep rich Italian brown leather.  But the recent Boss shoes in black, yeah I actually bought black shoes this fall after so many years without, show the company living off it's name and a dive in quality and wearabilty.  Allen Edmunds are beautiful, but for $400 they should be.  There's even a couple of mall brands that are pretty good for the price.  But for sneakers for me there's just one name, ASICS.  The Japanese sneakers are the best for comfort and style.  The models with Tiger name are my favorite; sligtly retro with so many colour choices.  Come summer they're the only ones for me.  My red ones and blue ones took me all over NYC in 2010 and my feet never complained once and they gave me some style as well.  How many walking shoes tourists wear can say that?

As an online shopper a real bonus to J.Crew's men's shoe offerings is the fit.  Their sizing is very consistent.  While the quality seems to be lower than previous years they still offer styles that work for me.  If they'd only bump up the leather quality and construction.

So which shoe is the good, the bad and the ugly?  Guess it all depends on your wallet and need.
"Thanks!" again to J.Crew Guy In Canada for his in-depth look at the various types of footwear that J.Crew offers! I am sad to hear that the men's collection is also experiencing a decline in quality over the years. I thought it was just the Women's line. :(

What are your thoughts on any of the J.Crew footwear for Men discussed in this post? Do you own any of these shoes? If so, please share with us your review. :)


  1. Thanks for the review of the shoes. It's great to also hear some reviews about the men's items.

  2. J crew guy, Do you have any recommendations for men's sweaters especially now with the promo?

    1. Hey Sunny, you can go two ways, the merino sweater are great, long wearing, light weight and very versatile.

      The other choice is lambswool offered in a number of styles. These are warmer and a little more casual.

      Hope that helps.

  3. That's such a bummer. I wanted to get my guy the MacAlisters, but I'm sad to hear their quality has gone down. Thanks for the review, JGIC.

  4. Great post! It's good that you have some years of experience share the change in quality. I love all the details you shared.


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