Updated April 27, 2019 – Daniel Craig’s 007 wore the suede J Crew Kentons during the Morocco scenes in SPECTRE with the Matchless Craig Blouson, the Brunello Cucinelli chinos and belt, and both the Tom Ford polo and the Orlebar Brown linen shirt.
The original J Crew Kentons are no longer available in this color, although they sometimes show up for sale on Ebay and the fan forums. This model had actually been around for a while. But then Bond happened and they flew off the shelves.
Features Wanted for the J Crew Kentons
- Darker beige or sand colored suede
- Higher cut with speed lacing
- Brick red sole
So about that brick red sole …. One of the big drawbacks of some of the less expensive alternatives is they go with a “natural” colored rubber or leather outsole. And for some that can be a deal breaker. But there may be a solution.
Warning! DYI Moment!
I did a little research into dyeing shoe soles. And I found that the Angelus Sole Dye Kit ($25.55 plus $7.35 shipping) is available in “Brick”. Which means we can actually change our boot soles to the more screen accurate color! Here’s a video from Angelus showing how the dye works.
I haven’t tried this yet. But I have a Kit on order and I’ll share my experience once I’m done. Now, on to the alternatives!
Best Option for the J Crew Kentons
1892 by Thorogood Kenosha Tan 813-3363: on sale for $177.00
They’re slightly lighter in color, a little lower cut and they have that extra stitching around the heel. And there’s also that strip of full grain, dark brown leather running down the back seam. But at their current sale price, these are a great deal. Union made in Wisconsin, they’re constructed with rough out leather and come with that distinctive brick red sole we all hunt for. The links above go to Context Clothing, which specializes in heritage/workwear styles. They have the best price and the widest selection of sizes.
Goofing around on Instagram pays off! I found these on the feed of Golden Fox Footwear and when I saw the price on their website, my jaw dropped. Double stitched suede service boots with a Goodyear Welted construction for under $120? Sounds good to me! They are unlined, which has its pros and cons, and missing the speed lacing hooks. But the reviews for these boots on the style forums say they’re a solid boot for the price, as long as you keep your expectations in check. You can also get these at Amazon U.S. for $90.99 to $139.00, depending on your size, plus $6.95 shipping.
Update: I wrote a review of the Boondockers more than two years ago (you can read that here). Over the last 24 months, I’ve put the boots through their paces. And I have to say they’ve held up incredibly well. There’s still almost no wear on the soles. The uppers haven’t gone soft or floppy and really kept their structure. And they’ve definitely broken in and molded to my feet. So they’re super comfortable to wear. Overall, I’m very happy with them and have no hesitation continuing to recommend them.
Frye Bowery Lace-up in Ash Washed Waxed Suede: on sale for $161.10
Well, the color is a good match. And the overall style has that Kenton vibe. Even with all the extra stitching. Plus, you know Frye makes a pretty decent boot, especially at the sale price. But then you see the BIG zipper running up the instep side of the boot. And you frown. Because you know that no matter how close the rest of the boot may come, that zipper is going to cause most readers to just scroll on past this alternative ….
Oh yeah. They’re available at Zappos.
I’ve had zero experience with Shoe the Bear. So I honestly can’t discuss the quality of this particular alternative. On the product page, the suede color looks a little more “golden” than ideal. Plus, there’s a strip of darker leather running up the back seam, topped off with what looks like a black webbing pull tab. Having said all that, they definitely have a cleaner look than the Fryes above. And the don’t have zippers! Zalando still has a decent selection of sizes left, but stock is running real low.
The Investment Piece
No, they’re not cheap. But you definitely get what you pay for with Oak Street. Made in the USA from Horween’s Rough Out Chromexcel leather and a Goodyear Welted Dainite sole, they’re built like tanks. I have a pair of Oak Street Moc Toe Camp boots, and they’re among my favorites: very well made and very comfortable. These trench boots will stretch the wallet and require some break-in time. But I think it’ll be worth it over the long haul.
If you have some suggestions for great Kenton alternatives, leave them in the comments below. And we also post affordable alternatives and deals from around the net (as well as other fun and informative stuff) on our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest boards!