Doek tennis shoes: How great things age
I have had these Doek canvas trainers - what could usefully be called tennis shoes - for five years. They have been worn once or twice a week, every week, during that period. So hundreds of times.
With bare feet in the summer, they've occasionally become smelly - but a deodorising spray deals with that.
With muck and rain during any season, they've become dirty. But I soak and then scrub them with soapy water, and that comes off.
The result is shoes that look very worn in, that are scuffed, frayed and even ripped - but not dirty or stained. Which is what you want I think. The kind of condition I like to find vintage in.
They’ve ripped where canvas shoes always do for me - at the joints, where the foot bends. This is pretty common, but exacerbated because my foot is wider than average for the length.
This always used to happen with the Converse and Vans I wore when I was younger. The difference with Doek has been that it took rather longer, and that the rubber around the sole has not cracked (presumably reflecting the vulcanisation).
Inside the shoe, the lining has slowly rubbed away around the heel, and the sole has become smoother. But again in both cases, a lot slower than with those cheaper brands.
These are probably not big things for most people. It’s certainly debatable whether they’re worth paying a lot more money for. But they’re practical differences, rather just aesthetic. The shoes are more comfortable (particularly without socks) because the lining is still intact; and because the sole hasn’t split, they’re more functional.
In terms of style, I also think there’s something rather elegant about a beaten-up tennis shoe.
Modern sneakers don’t really age in this way, either because they’re synthetics (so they just dull over time) or because they’re a thin, treated leather (where the surface comes off).
A canvas sneaker is really very similar to a workwear chino, or a duck-cotton chore jacket - it’s just a tough cotton that can get worn in and worn in. A leather trainer, by contrast, isn’t really the same quality anything else leather we might cover.
Thinking about it, that might be a reason I wear canvas shoes so much more these days than the smart Common Projects-like trainer. Another is certainly their smartness, but even the best leather trainer doesn’t age like a leather loafer.
As with last week’s article about loafers and jeans, there’s also something Ivy about tennis shoes worn in this manner.
It recalls a student putting on his sports shoes with the more expected chinos and button-down shirt, running off to a lecture. Perhaps even with a blazer if he’s feeling subversive.
And because they’re sports shoes of that era, they’re necessarily smarter - fairly slim, simple off-white, with a design driven purely by function. Certainly no branding.
Which is why today they can have a sense of old-world elegance, even with holes in them. And why to my taste they’re a nicer match for chinos and a button-down shirt than something much bigger and brighter.
There might also be, I think, a similar effect here to the one discussed in that loafers-with-jeans article. Except it’s the other way round: a shoe that is more casual than the rest of the outfit, rather than smarter.
It’s more limited, as I wouldn’t wear these Doeks with grey flannels. But with smarter chinos or cotton trousers, and then a tailored overcoat over the top (as Oliver does below), you can see how the contrast works.
On the specifics of the shoes, Doek are a little slim and I size up slightly - to a UK 9, Japanese 28.
That means they’re a little roomy with no socks in the summer, but perfect with a chunky sock in the winter. And no single size is going to cover that whole range of sock options.
I have tried the ‘Basket’ from Doek and the oxford-laced style, both in ecru. But somehow this ‘Court’ pair gets 90% of the wear. I think the derby style might be more versatile, even if the oxford is easier to wear with smarter things, and the Basket is a bit more chunky. (Though that might mean it fits more people.)
I haven’t tried Wakouwa, from Anatomica, that now seems to stocked everywhere (Clutch, Drake’s) partly because of that preference for a derby.
Are these Doeks a ‘great thing’? Well, perhaps not. But they are more expensive (and in some ways better made) than the more common versions of the style, and I’ve certainly enjoyed how they’ve aged.
So I think we can allow them into the ‘How great things age’ series.
The chinos shown are the dark khaki Officer’s Chino from Rubato (just the perfect shade - a little dark, a touch brown) and the shirt is a PS Oxford in white.
The watch is a seventies Speedmaster (much, much more detail here). And the belt is a woven suede from @tightly_stitched covered here.
Photography: Milad Abedi
At last I find someone who has experienced cleaning a pair of Doek with cork insoles, etc. I’d be very interested in some details on how you proceed: do you thus soak the shoes entirely in water then scrub/rinse/let dry? I always thought I should avoid having the cork insole getting wet…
They’re not soaked in water, but the cork does get wet – you scrub the canvas with warm soapy water, then rinse it off with cold water, and the insoles have always been fine
Baby wipes are really good for canvas. I’ve used them for years and not had any issues with discolouring
Thanks Peter. I find baby wipes great on the smooth surfaces, like leathers or the rubber around the sole on these Doeks, but usually not tough enough on the canvas. Maybe I’m dealing with worse stains!
Can’t go near a baby wipe these days. They take me right back to full nappies!
Needless to say guys I’m sure, baby wipes are for the bin & not WC. Simon’s suggestion sounds a good option. Simon, do you not try to brush off dust to reduce wet dirt soaking into the canvas – unless you don’t want such a clean look & want a more lived in appearance.
I don’t really, but you’re right that would help a bit too
I’m a big fan of my Doeks (and Moonstars, which are made in the same factory I think). They’re the “no need to think” option when I want something super casual. Staining can be an issue though, for me at least – even the toughest canvas eventually turns a miserable grey. I now tend to favour a navy pair when the weather is wetter, which helps keeps the lighter colours going for longer.
Thanks Tom – I’m not sure if you think mine are that colour of grey, but they don’t seem to have changed much despite years of cleaning and wearing. Maybe there’s something different going on there in terms of how I’m cleaning them
Do you have darts on your oxford shirts?
Yes generally, though actually these days I like a slightly fuller fit and don’t on casual shirts like these
Did you again alter the leg line on those rubato chinos? If I remember correctly you slimmed down your ivory ones.
Yes, I have done on all three I own
Sorry to butt in, by how much have you slimmed the leg/ hem? Thank you
Details on the review of the chinos here Marvin
Nice and timely article, Simon, as I bought a pair of Doeks to wear primarily over the summer months; now that they’ve worn in a bit they’re increasingly becoming a staple all-season shoe. I’m looking forward to seeing how mine age over the months and years.
Hi simon have you been working out or has the rubato chinos shrunk? They seem very tight/small on you in comparison to the top half of your body
I have been a little, but not that much. The chinos are slimmed in the leg as mentioned previously on coverage of them though
“Are these Doeks a ‘great thing’? Well, perhaps not. But they are more expensive (and in some ways better made) than the more common versions of the style, and I’ve certainly enjoyed how they’ve aged. ” Am i the only one thinking that “expensive” here sounds like “perhaps not great, but whatever, at least they are expensive”
Sounds a bit different from rest of article of “they are a little bit better, expensive but im ready to pay for small improvements, and i do enjoy them”
I bought plain white leather converse this summer, but somehow it just doesnt work for me. Somehow this article makes me think canvas would have been a better choice…
I think you’re reading something more cynical into that quote than is there Martins. I’m certainly not valuing them because they’re expensive – I’m saying they are a level up from other examples of this type of shoe, in price and make.
You may be right about the Converse. Leather doesn’t look as great on a cheaper shoe, and I’m not sure it can ever age in as elegant a way as canvas does. Also, Converse has its own associations, some good some bad. They’re so common today among middle-aged women and teenagers (at least where I live) that I think they can look a little too young on an older guy. If they have that red line around them it’s not as nice as a plain style either I think
I know you didn’t mean you value them because they are expensive. I just let you know that sentence sounds different from rest of article. maybe it’s my English but after “not great but….” follows justification for why it’s good.. and there good starts with expensive.
but as I said, I know that’s not the case…
took me a while but I found a plain white converse. I did not want any ornaments! still didn’t work.. plus my sizing preferences seem to have changed (or their sizing).. I had 10, was too small, remember some years ago returning 11 because it was too big but now 10.5 seems almost too small!
I don’t know, plain white converse has associations? I see black everywhere, white with some ornaments, but plain white is quite rare… for me associations comes up more when I see skater Adidas…
True, plain white is easier
What is your opinion on the white Converse canvas tennis shoes you highlighted (and recommended) in the past?
It’s fine as a basic option – like a pair of Vans authentics. That’s why I talk here about what you get and don’t get for a better make. As mentioned above though, Converse without the red stripe, as plain as possible
In the US, at least, it looks like Converse’s website will let you do a custom order. You can start with the Chuck 70 model, which avoids the embroidery on the tongue, and then skip the red stripe in the custom selections.
That might be an option if it’s hard to find that design in the wild, and the Doeks don’t work either from a sizing or price perspective.
I picked up a pair of the Doeks on your recommendation. I do like the quality, but to be honest the main selling point was the very plain/simple design.
Thanks for pointing that out. I’d prefer the Docks, but none of the Japanese footwear is offered in a size that fits my large feet. The Chuck 70 in an ‘all natural’ colorway still fits both the look and my feet.
I have a set of black Converse High Tops, they are maybe 2 years old, get worn maybe 5/6 days a week to go to work and back (not at work, I spend 90% of my workday in PPE), and out and about during the weekends, shopping, running kids about etc. The black canvas is now fading beautifully, especially right at the front and on the heel, they are becoming personal in the same way a pair of jeans fades. The joy of them not being so expensive, is that I am quite willing to throw them in the washing machine when they get grubby, at a low temperature, brings them up a treat.
They are not resoleable unfortunately, what I would really like would be to be able to send them back, and have another pair made using original canvas.
Mark, check out the ‘Made In Italy’ series Converse do – they are pre-distressed – last year they stocked black, white and a red in low top – they were all quite beautiful (I thought) and the advantage being you buy them new in the faded state you mention in your comment so in theory should last longer in that state.
Separately, will be trying out a pair of these Doeks as I’ve been disturbed reading that Simon says Converse can look too young on an older guy – I’m 48 and I have five pairs. Sad times.
Super! I bought the exact same trainers from Doek because you reviewed them in one of the older articles. I am very happy with them. Your statement on sizing is is very true. I bought 41, which fits me fine with most shoes (sometimes I even go down to 40), but with Doek I needed 42.
A PS to my previous comment: One of the main reasons I like the Doek trainers is that they are “very” ecru and not pure white. I think it goes better with almost everything, less flashy and a bit better with dirt.
Ecru is a shade of brown, not a variant of white.
I guess you’re saying that’s strictly true Johnny, but I’m not sure it’s that helpful – with clothing, ecru is most usefully seen as an option for white clothing that isn’t as stark, a little softer and with a little brown in there too
Sorry, I have a tendency to pedantry!!
I think it’s pretty common among PS readers (and me)
To add to the discussion: Ecru seems to translate into German as raw-white („rohweiß“) and is described, in German, as white having a slight sting of green. It is always fascinating how language forms reality in our mind. Only by looking at another language do we often realize that supposedly clear categories are not so clear.
Do you wear them with white socks?
Sadly had to get rid of my Doek oxfords as the heel never softened – though I loved the appearance.
Now have several Shoes Like Pottery and can’t praise them enough as another great quality alternative.
Thanks CJ, great to hear.
Do you mind the little blue blob on the Pottery shoes? That always irked me for some reason. Or did you find those rarer ones where I think it’s white?
Ha yes it irked me; it is like a piece of chewing gum that has got stuck to the side of the shoe.
The soles are that colour as well… but I have to say simply because of the positioning of the blob I don’t see it in my line of sight very often and it’s just about small enough I can forget about it.
I completely understand though why others may find it an unsatisfactory addition, it certainly put me off for the same reason whilst I cycled through Doek, Moonstar, Converse…
I have found the shoes like pottery immensely comfortable and very wearable. I was also a little worried about the blue dot but turns out doesn’t bother me at all and I now find it rather charming when I occasionally remember it’s there. I’m MUCH more offended by the common projects gold numbers (which seem a bit bling/signalling the product is expensive) and turned off more by the weird extra rubber layer at front of the Doeks. But what’s fun about all of this is we all have slightly different tastes/priorities. Good article Simon.
Perhaps you could do one on “How bad things age” as a comparitor.
Nice idea. I’d like to think I have no bad things, at least this point in my life/journey!
None of these higher end canvas sneaker manufacturers construct their sneakers in half sizes which immediately alienates me from them being usually a solid 7 & 1/2.
I wouldn’t worry too much over the size differences Ian, at least certainly if you haven’t tried them in person.
I wear these both with no socks and with super thick white sports socks, and that’s probably a half size in difference.
Thank you for articulating so well something I’ve found myself doing more and more recently. In my case wearing my slightly beaten up Moonstars (I prefer the toe box to the Doeks) with jeans, chinos, button downs, etc Seems to hit the right notes of style and casual. In many ways I think they work better in this combination than they do with shorts and tshirts.
Hi Simon, great article as always. I’ve been keen to try Doek but the sizing always seems to cap out below my 45 euro size. And seems from article / comments that sizing up is common. Do you know if they simply don’t do the larger sizes or am I just not looking hard enough?
I don’t know I’m afraid ED, but I can see how they might not do if they’re primarily aimed at the Japanese market
I’m a pretty regular size 45 and Doek oxford size 10UK/11US/29cm fit like a charm. When I looked around some shops put this size as a EU44 and others a EU45. I would definitely say these are a similar or larger than my UK 10,5 dress shoes (EG, G&G, Alden, Carmin) So maybe no need to size up in regards to larger Doek sizes?
Bought them early spring and they are now my favourite shoe for a relaxed summer look, very versatile!
That’s interesting to hear, Northwall. The approximate conversion from EU to UK/US sizes seems to vary between retailers and brands. I’m a narrow 11UK but inconsistently a 45… In any case, ED, I wanted to add that the Wakouwa’s go all the way up to a 12.5US at Drake’s this season. Which depending who you ask is at least a 45.5
Could you please explain in more detail how you soak and wash the shoes? Do you soak the whole shoe? For how long? How do you dry it?
On a different note, you notice fatigue pants in many different articles. I think it would also be very interesting to have an own article on them and how to combine them.
I don’t really soak them, that’s probably the wrong word. Just:
– Make a bowl of warm water and a little soap
– Hold the shoe over the water and use the water to scrub with a brush. Use enough water so the canvas is saturated though
– Rinse with a little cold water
– Leave to dry somewhere with some air circulation, eg outside
Sure, can do
Thanks Simon for another great article! I have the navy/white version of the shoe. I noticed that sometimes the navy canvas can stain the white parts when in contact with water. Any tips on cleaning without ruining the shoe?
The navy is natural indigo I think, so it will bleed a little bit, and fade. By the white bits do you mean the rubber sole? If so then baby wipes or soap and a cloth/flannel should be good
The white bits I am referring to are the rubber sole and the white canvas ininterior of the shoe. I will try the baby wipes next time. Thanks for the advice! On a different note, (might be useful to readers) I found the Doek Oxford trainers too narrow compared to the Doek Basket trainers, which I have. I ended up getting a pair of ecru Wakouwa by Anatomica Oxford trainers from Drake’s. They have more room compared to the Doeks and fit much more comfortability (in my case).
Yes, the Wakouwa is a more comfortable fit generally, more ergonomic
Dear Simon, great article, thank you. Two questions:
How do you compare the Doeks to the Moonstars?
Also, would you wear canvas sneakers like this all year (you mention winter socks) and, if yes, in what weather conditions?
Very much obliged
I don’t have the Moonstars, but the make is basically the same. Style wise I prefer these just because they seem a little simpler
I wear them in the winter, yes, but not when it’s really rainy or mudddy
My apologies that this is slightly icky, but I’d written off white canvas trainers as mine would eventually be stained yellow from sweat. Is that an issue you’d experienced in your wear of the Doeks, and if so would it come out through cleaning?
I haven’t, no, but I’m sure it could be dealt with with cleaning, you might just have to do it a little more often. Like sweat stains on the armpits of a white shirt.
To me, canvas sneakers are the denim jacket of footwear: They might look borderline ok with certain outfits, but there are always better options, so why bother? The same way my denim jacket always loses out to my leather and down jackets for both aestetic and practical reasons (rain, etc.) and gets zero wear, my canvas sneakers always lose out to casual shoes that either look nicer (loafers, fancy suede sneakers) or are more practical (thick-soled running sneakers).
Yes I can see that – I think it’s largely about liking a particular style. I wouldn’t wear running sneakers with most things, for example, and don’t wear fancy suede/leather sneakers either any more. The latter in particular isn’t that Ivy or classic look, much more modern/tonal
I was going to throw away my van canvas sneakers this summer because I developed a hole in one of the sneakers but glad that I didn’t after reading this article.
Never hear of the brand of sneaker in this article but surprised to read comments about how expensive they are. The look like a prototype for a cheap sneaker
Wearing a canvas summer type sneaker with a winter over coat looks really odd. This man is trying too hard to make a statement.
In terms of price, they’re the quality that a lot of old sneakers, that these are all based on, used to be made to. And the price proportionately is similar too. It’s just that quality has eroded so much over the years (and it’s what we’ve become used to).
On the last point, points appreciated but try to keep things civil please. Cheers
I see this come up quite often, how clothing enthusiasts obsess over things made in the old fashioned way. sweatshirts, jeans, leather goods, shoes and trainers too. i understand this point if one seeks that old fashioned look..say a 1950s jeans fit. but usually its quality that is cited as a factor. intuitively i would expect production methods to have improved over time, but thats clearly not the case. would you say old methods of production were objectively better than production methods today? or is it a matter of taste? also, why do things produced the old fashioned way cost so much more? did a loopwheeled sweatshirt cost (equivalent of) £200 50-60 years ago?
So, in some areas quality was definitely better in the past – whether it’s making (eg loopwheel) or materials (often stronger, if not finer). But of course in others it wasn’t, particularly in areas like sports clothing that really has to perform well.
I think it’s important to separate quality and style though. The two don’t necessarily go together. Have a look at my piece on The Real McCoy’s for instance – even though they talk about reproductions of styles, they will nearly always make tweaks. And there are people like Cabourn who try and update and rework styles more.
On cost, two factors. One, yes clothes did used to cost a lot more proportionately to income. Clothing has never been as cheap as it is now. But second, often it’s very expensive to make the old qualities because the machinery is rare, or has to be made from scratch, only very specialised people know how to work it, parts are hard to get hold of, and so on. That’s also something in that McCoy’s interview.
Hello, Simon. For years, I swore by Common Projects plain Achilles. Those, along with the least loud traditional athletic shoes that I could find were my two choices for situations where trainers were appropriate. Since I purchased my own Doeks around two years ago, I find that I rarely reach for the CPs. I recall you have worn plain CP in the past. I am curious as to whether you continue to get use from those, or if your experience with is similar to my own. If the former, where to you find the CPs to continue to be your preference?
Hi Chris – yes, I mention this in the article?
My experience is similar, I don’t really wear them at all anymore. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just a different style – a sleeker, maybe more contemporary one. If I’m wearing anything like that I prefer a loafer
Love my Doeks! The indigo ones age very nicely as well, like indigo always does.
Is the cork footbed removable? I hove shoes like that but need to put an insole in them nowadays
Simon have you tried them in black ? I find cream and white a little overwon the last years and i was thinking to try something in black but cant decide between theese or common projects. By the way check out the svensson shoes. They are like the cp ones( same factory ive read) cheaper and without logo. I have the gray for 4 years and they are still really good.
I have tried them in black, yes, and I do like them. I find I wear them with only a specific set of colours/outfits though, eg brown chinos and a white shirt. It’s a nice alternative still
I could imagine them with a grey wool trouser in a very relaxed form and a dark purple shirt/t-shirt but of course thats not for everyday
True. I think the thing with a smarter trouser is definitely trying to avoid them looking like a smart shoe substitute – another reason why the leather sneaker doesn’t work as well, at least in black
Did you get these darker officer chinos slimmed down too, or is this the original width? Thanks!
Slimmed down as well, yes – answered above, though I appreciate that’s a few comments ago!
Hi Simon: You mention suede and/or leather trainers. These seem to be more prevalent these days, and seem to look smarter than the typical canvas trainer. I see people wearing them to work as well. Have you considered reviewing them and what are your thoughts in general about these shoes. Thanks
I have covered them quite extensively in the past. See these posts:
– My trainers
– Trainers: Design
– Trainers: Style
– Trainers: Quality
“They’ve ripped where canvas shoes always do for me – at the joints, where the foot bends. This is pretty common, but exacerbated because my foot is wider than average for the length…. This always used to happen with the Converse and Vans I wore when I was younger.”
In my painful experience, you are at risk of getting bunions later in life. Cheap shoes or trainers are certainly not worth the risk and it seems that you can afford the best. It’s worth searching for footwear of the correct length and width even if you pay more.
David Evans (aka The “Grey Fox” menswear blogger) lives round the corner from me and writes a column for The Chap. I definitely not a Chap but, as I get older, its Manifesto’s eighth rule becomes more apt – “thou shalt never wear plimsolls when not doing sport”. 🙂
Thanks Gary. I think the last point is really a question of the style you’re after. As hopefully outlined here in reference to Ivy.
I’ll certainly watch out for bunions!
I have a pair of pretty similar looking shoes from a Korean brand called Catch Ball. I just find they’re so much more comfortable than my pair of leather trainers, as well as far more breathable and cool for wearing in the summer. They’ve become shoe I wear for long plane flights now.
I haven’t had them for that long yet so we’ll see how they age but so far they’re holding up nicely.
I have unpleasant memories of cheapish canvas tennis shoes in my (much) younger years. I was intrigued by your comments on the Doeks, but didn’t feel like splashing out on them only to find that I didn’t like them. I picked up some CQP canvas sneakers from Trunk in their sale. They’re a pale, faded yellow which I was dubious about when looking at them online, but I rather like them. I’ve worn them a lot and found them to be much better than my previous experiences with canvas footwear. I’ll certainly try some more this summer and I’ll be interested to try Doeks. I can recommend the CQPs, though.
Nice, thank you RT. I can see that yellow with a mid-blue denim and white shirt or tee. Sounds lovely
Absolutely great with my much loved and faded Levi’s 501s, also with various shorts, particularly ones in olive and stone, though I was less keen on them with chinos in the same colours. I get the expanse of skin between the shorts and the shoes helps. Not something I’d thought about before (and perhaps not words I’d ever expected to use!)
Ha! Yeah I know what you mean.
And yes, sometimes with a similar colour of trouser it doesn’t look quite as good
I really like these “how great things age” posts.
Inspiring and it’s nice to see other people who are also interested in these things quality related and patina etc.
Makes me feel less strange :).
Keep up the good work!
Hello Simon. Another interesting article. I prefer my canvas sneakers to white leather trainers too, especially given how ubiquitous the latter have become. You mentioned your Common Projects. There’s an interesting video on YouTube on a channel called Rose Anvil where he cuts a pair in half and analyses the quality. The results are interesting.
Thanks Alex, yes I’ve seen that – it seems to come up every time someone mentions CPs! To be honest though it doesn’t say anything that new, just shows it visually really well. They were never the best quality trainer, but that wasn’t a problem until they started increasing in price.
Sorry. I’ve read many of your articles, including the archives (despite being a newcomer) and not seen this, so sorry for cluttering up the comments 😂
Not at all, happy to reference everything for you Alex
Hi Simon, can I ask, out of these Rubato chinos and your Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy pair, which colour you find most versatile? You said in that piece that the beige was a perfect, universal shade and I’m just wondering if you find these even more useful still. Thanks.
I think the beige and these are both really useful, I’d be hard pressed to pick between them. Perhaps the lighter colour is a touch smarter, but there’s not a lot in it
I think the Moonstar “Gym Classic” and Doek “Court” (and “Oxford”) vulcanised natural rubber and cotton canvas sneakers are some of the coolest shoes made today. As far as I know, there are no better-made natural sneakers available. These have the real old school qualities. I have not tried Doek yet, but I hike regularly in the Moonstar. Nice to see you give them some use.
1) What do you think of canvas black sneakers with white soles?
2) In the article you mentioned about off white sneakers and therefore just wanted to calrify as to whether do you think white canvas can look equally good
1) See above, someone else asked about black
2) No, I think off-white is better
Well, i have to say Simon, that the last two pieces you made on both jeans with loafers and this one, i really find myself into that kind of style. It it just perfect for my daily life of PRM resident where i often need to put scrubs on, thought i do love more tailored clothing it just can’t fit with that life. Maybe later who knows ?
Since i just bought a pair of springcourt, i am very glad to see that this kind of shoe can hold up after all.
I’ve found I do not like to match colour when there’s a break in colour; white trainers, blue jeans, white shirt or hat. Monochrome outfits are fine, but the matching of colour when there’s a break (to me) confuses the eyes.
I pointed this out to my wife when she threw on her grey blazer, when wearing her grey NB 990 trainers; she agreed. If the chap at Pitti changed his cream cap to navy, or any colour other than dark brown (brown shoes), I think he’d appear taller and look better. The man on the boat looks great with his bottom half matched in colour. Your outfit of course looks lovely, Simon – I’d personally change the Oxford shirt to pale blue. I am not sure if this theory already exists, or I’ve made it up.
Tks for this write up on canvas shoes…it never occurred to me to compare these with worn-in jeans and chinos…Great insight here.
I have a pair of Shoes Like Pottery… black with white laces… timeless black beauty I would say… luv it so much… I wenr on to get another high-cut grey which they did with Sunspel … another beauty.
I thought De Bonne did pretty good job with the collaboration with Novesta….
Hi Simon. I’ve had a pair of Doek Oxfords for a while now, but I rarely wear them as they’re too long, while a size down ends up being too narrow.
Owning both, did you find there to be any difference in size between the Court and Oxford?
Not really, no, though I found these a little easier just because there’s more lacing to play with
I wear an orthotic and wondered if the Courts had a removable insole. I’ve always been a fan of the Jack Purcell and these Doeks look like the more unusual, more interesting logical conclusion of that.
They don’t come out, no
I see. Perhaps they can slip over the cork and not squash the feet.
Hi Simon, any reason why you prefer the ecru over the indigo doeks? I’m currently debating which colour to purchase.
I find the ecru goes with more things, and also stands out less. Perhaps there’s also something about the coloured canvas shoes that can look a little younger, or more of a look, than the plain ecru. Ecru also feels a little more classic – like the imagery used here
Great thread. Just like to toss in ARKK Copenhagen as a trainer/sneaker manufacturer to look at. Make ultra modern styles as well as canvas/leather tennis . Great trainers to walk long distances in.
Love the frayed sneakers. The balance at the top is a Brooks Brothers button-down shirt with frayed collar- quintessential Ivy League.
Exactly. Cheers Ned
Glad to see this article as I’ve been a long time fan of ecru canvas sneakers and prefer them to Common Projects as they show more character with wear (as compared to my Common Projects which ended up looking ratty). Plus, while it might be a little too high/low, I do love them with chinos, a button down shirt and casual sports jacket (something I ripped directly from Mark Cho). There also appears to be more brands doing these vulcanised shoes, such as Paradise Rubber Athletic Shoes (at Clutch) and Catch Ball (at Son of a Stag), both of which look tempting as my next pair when my Doeks fall apart.
On the topic of wear, my Doeks do not look as good as yours after about 2.5 years, but that’s because we’ve had nothing but rain this year. Because of this, I’ve been considering Moonstar’s Alweather (http://store.goodweaver.jp/?pid=98135605) for really wet days, i.e. when it’s too wet to wear leather shoes/boots (referencing your “cap and cordovan, or felt and suede” article). What are your thoughts on these? I can’t tell whether I think they’re ugly in a good way (like LL Bean duck boots), or just ugly, but I’m leaning towards the former.
I quite like them, but I think they’re a very different style, which is the most important thing. More a street style kind of option
Great Post Simon! Do you ever fully wash / immerse in water them?
No I don’t
Nice, but not better than nice leather Common Project like sneakers which can be worn in more occasions. Not great with socks.
I think they’re just very different styles Eric, more than anything
Interesting read. I’ve been a big wearer of white leather sneakers (especially Artisan Lab – basically CP but a bit cheaper and without the gold text) but increasingly prefer canvas, for the reasons you outline.
Just as a heads up, for you and interested readers, Goral have introduced the Skelton range, including an off-white option. Blake stitching, made in UK, etc. Could be a good-quality option if Doek aren’t quite right. I’ll give them a try when my Converse finally give up the ghost.
Seeing how fond you seem to be of your Rubatos, how likely are you to commission bespoke chinos again from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury? And how significant of a difference is there between the two?
Well, the point of the Whitcomb project was to create a proper chino that could be made bespoke – because no one was really doing it right.
I wouldn’t have my chinos made bespoke usually, but I know there will be some readers who want to – either because they like that process, or for things like fit issues.
Very nice write up esp the connotation to Ivy and US east coast 60s.
Also the Fred Perry persona is there and onto mod culture, to me at least;
The problem I can have then is when the outfit turns into full blown nostalgia. As in entering a Midsummer murder epidode. So easiest avoid some garments as fe heavy cotton knitteds (as in cricket) I think and really not try too hard as in combining w heavy coats. Best used to bring a nice, relaxed vacation vibe I think.
The article did touch on a lot of good points that was my biggest gripe when I wore converse regularly years ago they would sorta fall apart and become uncomfortable, but considering I wore them more than once a week and walked a fair bit in them.But obviously Doek’s do not have that problem they strike me as having a similar design to converse but are a bit more durable in terms of construction, and as a result are more comfortable not sure, if that is the same conclusion you came to?
Also in terms of hard wearing trainers , I’ve heard good things about the brands Uniform Standard and Axel Arigato although they are not cloth trainers and instead they have minimalist ranges made from materials such as leather and nubuck , not sure if those maybe of interest to you?
Yes I’d say it is.
Those two brands are pretty much fashion lines, I don’t know that much about the makes but I’d be surprised if they were that high quality or value
I think it’s hard with a shoe like that, because it does rely a little bit on the clean look.
It is nice to see that it wasnt all bad in socialism. Because all the kids in Yugoslavia wore domestic Startas by Borovo (very cheap tennis shoes) which were very similar to Doeks. And then if you wore them when we turned to capitalism when Reebok and Nike came in you became laughing stock. And now they are popular again selling them all over EU.
What would you say are the main differences between the Courts and the Baskets? Are they both similar lasts? Is one shorter and/or wider than the other?
Yes, similar lasts, not shorter or wider. Just the design
Thanks, Simon. That’s helpful.
Hi Simon, did you narrow these chinos as you did with your previous pair of from rubato?
Yes Charles – it actually says so in the comments above, but I appreciate that’s a fair bit to get through
As you mention, this piece immediately reminded me of your “Wear Loafers with Jeans” article. I love loafers with jeans because they class them up in a fun, unexpected, yet coherent way. Chinos do the same with sneakers. Jeans and sneakers, and perhaps also chinos and loafers, are too dull, too safe. Jeans with loafers and chinos with sneakers, on the other hand, strike just the right high/low balance without veering too far into the extreme.
Nice. Pleased that came across
Thank you for this post. I like how the blog is increasingly embracing an ’omnivorousness’ perspective.
I have a slightly narrow question. My biggest problem with canvas shoes of this type is that the laces get discoloured from the eyelets. Yours, however, look pristine. Is it the case that Doek eyelets don’t bleed into the fabric of the laces, or do you simply replace/wash them often?
Additionally, I have noticed that I look for slightly different designs when wearing a shirt as more of an undergarment, rather than the centerpiece of the top of the body. In my experience, shirts worn without a sweater/jacket/cardigan can benefit from a fuller body, a slightly lower collar stand and collars a little more spread (even for OCBD:s).
I certainly haven’t seen the eyelets leak, no. I don’t replace them, and don’t wash the laces that often.
Yes, I know what you mean on shirts. I personally like the same height of collar on anything, but other things like fit I’m with you. Unfortunately it’s pricey to have two versions of every shirt!
Thank you, that would add a whole lot of value to the Doek trainers as opposed to most other brands!
hello simon, question for you about how the soles of your doeks have done over time. mine have been worn down by the heels after two years to the point where the insole is starting to show. have you had similar issues with the soles and are there any ways to fix this and extend their ware, as the rest of the shoe is holding up well?
I can see how this could be happening – mine aren’t there yet, but it is a little thin. Perhaps it’s a question of how you walk – where you place your weight most heavily. I don’t think there is anything you can do about it unfortunately
Any recommendations of where these can be bought in the UK, including online? Thanks.
A few places I think, but start with Trunk
Thanks – I had checked but out of stock. As was everywhere else I looked! I couldn’t actually find them in Japan either where I was last week….
Sorry. Sometimes Goodweaver in Japan have them?
I am planning on going for a MTO off white canvas sneakers as I was unable to find something of my liking in RTW.
I read your article on cotton trousers and how the look of a Bespoke or MTM would be totally different to garment washed casual cotton trouser and so just as to be sure about the purchase I need to know,
Is there any caveat going MTO for casual shoes such as canvas?
Not really, though I’ve never had MTO canvas shoes
Hello Simon, i was wondering how you feel Doek’s compare to the Margaret Howell Mizuno trainers you have in white, in terms of how you would decide to wear one and not the other? I guess the MHL trainers are more sporty, yet them and the Doek’s naturally pair with chinos and jeans.
I have a pair of the MHL trainers and i really like them – a nice retro/understated touch without going for full sports wear. I only wish the size range they had was larger, which i guess is small as they are made in Japan and perhaps targeted for that market.
I’d say it’s mostly a question of a different style, John. The Mizuno are modern trainers, and so fit into that bracket, whereas the Doeks are more classic, an older and less modern sport in style.
Personally I wear the Mizunos less, and usually only with chinos, but then that is mostly a question of style I think – I prefer the more classic in most cases.
Doek looks great.
I want to find cheaper options though and wonder if anyone has tried Woobies mod 1? Often difficult w trainers w wide feet. A long shot perhaps since its a small American brand. I like the style. Unfortunately not in white.
What is your opinion on white canvas sneakers with red outerlining such as on Converse?
I prefer a plain style myself, with Converse at least in part because I associate that design with a teen look, but also partly because I prefer a more classic aesthetic on most things, without decorations like that
Simon, I would argue that the off-white Converse All Star has the “more classic aesthetic,” given the long history of that design compared to the relatively new Doek style.
Without the red stripe, yes I probably agree. There is something more tennis shoe and plimsoll-like about the low profile of the Doek though
Can I put in a plug for the L & Harmony (landharmony.com) store in Tokyo where I recently picked up a couple of pairs of Shoes Like Pottery. L & Harmony have a great range of Japanese made / Japanese brand shoes including Doek, Moonstar, etc. Great knowledge and insight from the owner. Also, great value to buy in Japan if you have the opportunity relative to the much higher prices online.
They do seem to offer an online purchasing service including for international customers, but I can’t vouch for this.
Thank you Tom
A question on the Rubato chinos – these dark khaki look darker on the Rubato website, here they look (to me) as a rather standard khaki. Would you say these are visibly yellow/orange? Not sure how to describe it, I guess the question is, does this seem like a strong colour, compared to their new light khaki, or other khaki chinos you have? Would they easily fit in your cold-colour capsule?
And another question, I thought you considered Rubato chinos as ‘smart’ rather than ‘workwear’ chinos, yet this outfit looks more like the latter. Is it because of their colour (while cream lends itself more to casual chic)? Or am I just overthinking an essentially versatile garment?
The dark khaki I’d say was not visibly yellow/orange, does fit into the cold-colour wardrobe, and I wouldn’t say was a strong colour, no.
I think this colour is more versatile than the others, but it’s still fairly smart. I wouldn’t wear them with more casual things like, for example, work boots and a flannel shirt
Is crewneck sweater with grey tropical wool trousers and white canvas sneakers a good look?
I was thinking it could be a smart casual one.
I wouldn’t put canvas sneakers with tropical wool trousers myself – the trousers would be too smart
I have purchased the same kind of sneakers Simon with the top bein off white and the other half being white.What do you think about these trainers and whether do you find it elegant?
This is how it actually looks. Your advice would be appreciated.
Yes, they look nice and clean. Perhaps ideally they’d be a little slimmer and longer, but it’s a nice classic tennis shoe
Hi Simon, I own a pair of Rubato chinos in light khaki but would it be worth getting the ones you are wearing as well? Would there be anything that couldn’t be worn with the light khaki trousers but would be okay with yours?
A small number of things, like black for example or dark olive, those cold colours, might be better with this shade. But it would probably be overkill to have both