Samurai Jeans S710XX – Review
There’s often quite a disconnect between the tastes of Japanese denim fans and enthusiasts living in other parts of the world. While Japanese denim fans wash their jeans often and prefer looser fits, denim heads in other parts of Asia, North America, and Europe often lean toward producing sharp contrast fades through infrequent washing and much slimmer initial fits.
This disconnect is particularly evident with S710xx jeans. While this pair is virtually ignored in Japan because of the slim fit, it’s by far the most popular pair of Samurai Jeans outside of Japan. This popularity comes for good reason: the S710xx is quite simply one of the best pairs of jeans on the market today.
- Name: Samurai S710xx
- Weight: 19 oz.
- Fit: Slim straight
- Denim: Unsanforized Samurai Kiwami denim
- Further details:
- Bulging belt loops
- Jacquard pocket bags
- Goatskin leather patch
- Original buttons
- Hidden copper rivets
- Navy arcs, red tab
- All-cotton construction
The denim is one of the S710xx’s main draws, though at first I wasn’t very impressed with the denim on my pair. The initial colour was greyish and much lighter than a pair of Flat Head‘s I’d already worn for several months. However, my opinion quickly changed as I wore the jeans daily through fall and winter, shovelling snow in the northern mountains of Japan.
The Kiwami denim fades fast – incredibly fast – maybe the fastest of any jeans I’ve ever worn. Four months in, the colour has changed dramatically from a dull, almost grey colour, to a vibrant shade of blue.
The texture is certainly an important part of the draw of the denim as well, the 19 oz. denim is unsanforized and as a result feels extremely rough. The denim has a textured feel that hasn’t gone away after months of wearing (though the jeans do feel softer and more comfortable than before.)
This is unsanforized denim at its best – it has a very unique, irregular texture to its fades that is still quite different to the vertical fading of brands such as Flat Head and Eternal. The denim is very warm, which makes these jeans an ideal choice for cold weather.
Unlike heavier, sanforized denim that brands like Iron Heart uses, the unsanforized denim doesn’t breathe very well and isn’t the best choice for wearing in hot weather. The creases are very well-defined, and the rough surface of the denim lends itself to high-contrast fading.
My only real complaint about the denim is my wish that it was dyed darker. If it started out as dark as Flat Head or Eternal denim, it would be just about perfect.
Even if it weren’t for the denim, the S710xx would probably still be popular around the world for its fit, as the slim-straight cut is well-adapted to suit many different body types. At 6’3”/191cm, I am much taller than the average guy. I’m slim, but I’ve often had problems with tapered cuts because of my proportions. Tall people have longer thighs, and often this results in our thighs digging into the ‘knee’ of the jeans where tapering begins. This can result in an awkward fit where the middle of the leg is too tight in comparison with the rest of the cut.
The S710xx is one of the only pairs I’ve encountered where this wasn’t a problem. The top thigh is slim, but not tight, and the leg gradually tapers down to the knee finishing off at a slim opening of about 7.75”. Additionally, these jeans have a good rise, avoiding the underwear bearing problems of the low rises of many slim fitting jeans. The S710xx has a longer rise that’s much more comfortable to wear.
The S710xx has a pretty flexible fit; allowing many people to size down for more of a slim tapered look. I went true-to-size at a 31, but it would have been possible to go down a size if my body was willing to endure the additional pain at first.
The S710xx has, unsurprisingly, a number of attractive details. As someone who is very particular about front pockets, I have to compliment Samurai for a job well done. The pocket openings are wide and deep enough to accommodate my entire hand. Additionally, the pocket bags are made of a jacquard fabric with “Samurai Jeans” woven into the pattern; I have no idea how they managed to do this but it’s quite impressive. The pockets don’t seem like they’d be as durable as a heavy canvas or twill material, but they look very nice.
The belt loops have a bulging shape that will lead to contrast fading, an important detail for me after I first noticed it on my Flat Head jeans. Now jeans with conventional flat belt loops look somewhat two-dimensional to me. The button holes, rather regretfully, are the conventional type (cut, then sew) as opposed to the ato-mesu technique in which the shape is sewn before the hole is cut in the middle. As a side note, the button holes were insanely tight at first; making buttoning these jeans literally painful until the holes worn in over time.
The hardware is fantastic and shows Samurai’s traditional attention to detail. The rising sun fly buttons look and feel great, and the copper rivets are a nice touch as well. What’s really nice are the hidden rivets, branded with 諸行無常, a Japanese phrase meaning that all material things are impermanent.
The S710xx is immaculately crafted. I could find no problems at all with the sewing or other areas of my jeans. Looking inside, the stitching is extremely neat and well-done, so I had no complaints and since the initial look I haven’t had any problems with inseam or pocket threads coming undone; a nice change from other high-end Japanese jeans I’ve worn.
The hem is, of course, chain-stitched, as are a number of other parts of the jeans. The construction is virtually perfect, the only thing I might’ve changed would have been to use poly/cotton core-spun thread for stitching. The rationale here is that because these are heavyweight jeans, a more durable sort of thread would have been nice.
It’s hard to imagine a better pair of unsanforized Japanese jeans than the Samurai S710xx. From the denim to the fit, this is an all-round excellent pair of jeans. Although I am a bit of a perfectionist, it’s very hard for me to imagine finding a better pair than this.
Honestly, a darker-dyed starting denim is the only thing I’d really want to change; as well as the rather painful ordeal of getting them on and buttoning the jeans for the first time. These minor gripes aside, it would be hard to think of a better pair than these.