Samurai Jeans S710XX – Review

Samurai S710 Honeycomb Fading

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.

Samurai S710 Front and Back Views

Details

  • 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

Denim

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.

Samurai S710 Pockets

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.

Fit

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.

Samurai S710 Leather Tag

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.

Hardware

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.

Samurai S710 Selvedge Line

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 Samurais 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.

Construction

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.

Samurai S710 Fade Pattern

Conclusion

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.

Kyle

Kyle lived in Japan for several years and has worked in the denim industry. He likes writing, playing electric guitar, and listening to Japanese indie rock bands.

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  • Marcus David Tranberg

    Great review

  • Wilson Ong

    Great editorial.
    I’ve always love the “bulging belt loops” on my Momotaros. Getting pair of Samurai soon.

  • kayumochi

    I lived in Japan 16 years and knew many, many denim aficionados who never washed their jeans and preferred the dark wash. In fact, Japanese would laff at Americans love for faded jeans …

    • cincinnatus

      cool story bro, I “laff” at the red tab and pocket arcs on japanese denim. I’m sure they are great jeans but it seems like the people who wear them think they are the only jeans that exist.

      • Devan Prithipaul

        they are the best jeans that exist.

    • Kyle

      Uh huh… I know what I’m talking about, I’m immersed in the Japanese denim community, it’s my *job.* I read the Amekaji magazines and routinely meet the people who work for them. I’ve asked dozens of coworkers and other denim fans about their washing habits. If you’ve been hanging out with hipsters who drape themselves in the shroud-like silliness of most Japanese fashion magazines, they probably wear their jeans differently. I’m not talking about them.

      My focus is on the dominant denim/Amekaji subculture, the kind of people who wear brands like Samurai, Flat Head, Sugar Cane, the people whose style aligns with magazines like LIghtning/Daytona Bros/2ND (the magazine, not the store of the same name), and so on. These people don’t have any concept of what a “soak” even is; they throw their jeans in the washing machine, all the time. They use driers and buy one-wash, when it’s available. They are a lot more conservative in their attitudes than, say, the Superfuture community. They seem to view jeans evo in terms of how light the overall color is, they hardly pay attention to contrast.

      Of course exceptions exist, and there are Japanese denim fans with really nicely faded pairs with good contrast, and I know people who go longer without washing; but it’s not the most common attitude. If the overseas denim fan is in his twenties, wants high contrast, goes for a long time without washing, and prefers slim or skinny fits, the average Japanese denimhead is probably about a decade older, likes vintage straight or relaxed fits, likes lighter denim, and washes often.

      Note that I’m NOT endorsing this: I’m somewhere in the middle, preferring a good balance between washing and contrast. My point is just that the average Japanese denimhead has a very different attitude from the average non-Japanese fan; hence the very real disconnect.

      • kayumochi

        Uh huh … Otaku English teacher. I know all about your type. First went to Japan to live in 1990 when you were … how old? Were you even born?

      • Guest

        .

      • kayumochi

        I didn’t have time to fully respond to Otaku English Teacher aka Kyle yesterday but now I do: his original comment made it seem like Japanese denim aficionados in general prefer washed jeans with a looser fit. Then in his response to me he states that he is actually writing about a particular sub-population of denim lovers and not Japanese denim fans in general. Fair enough. But he didn’t make this clear in his article then contradicted himself in his reply to me. I don’t agree with his assessments regarding the average Japanese denim fan. It seems silly to go there because the artisanal denim market is a long-tail market made up of many micro-niches. There is no “general” in a long-tail market. So he really isn’t doing his *job* at all because because he doesn’t understand the realities of the long-tail and dismisses the Japanese fashionista niche pejoratively, mocking their love of fashion magazines then goes on to write that the *his* denim subculture aligns with other (better?) magazines.

        I will call out Kyle. He knows a lot about denim but he is not the businessman he makes himself out to be: he is a gaijin in Japan who teaches English to support himself and works at a denim company part-time handling whatever English language duties they give him like social media, etc.

        • Kyle

          No, you are wrong. I do not teach English, at all. I do not care about anime, manga, or other “otaku” interests, I became interested in Japan in the first place because I liked their noisy chaotic indie rock and 20th century literature (although if someone wants to call me a denim otaku, I’ll own up to that.) I work for full time for a Japanese denim company, and I do a lot more than stuff that shows up on denim sites.

          I don’t mean that Japanese prefer pre-wash jeans (did you seriously get that from anything that I posted?), I mean that they wash their raw denim much more often than raw denim fans on sites like Rawr Denim, Reddit, the Thai/Indonesian sites, Superfuture (though there’s more variety here), etc. I’m talking about the Amekaji scene (and associated magazines) because that’s the style with the most brand overlap with overseas raw denim fans; and most Japanese who are really into denim are into this subculture. My point is that MOST Japanese within this subculture have different wearing and washing habits than non-Japanese into these same types of jeans. The average non-Japanese denim fan wears a pair of Samurai or Sugar Cane jeans very differently from a Japanese person wearing the same brand.

          I do not care about Japanese fashionista styles or their magazines because, among other reasons, it’s not relevant to the discussion of repro-influenced brands; there is comparatively little denim in these magazines, most of the jeans are prewashed, and brands like Nudie or APC are the best you can expect to see here. You talk as though there’s some bigger scene of denimheads that I’m excluding, but the fact is that the vast majority of Japanese who are really into denim fall into the Amekaji scene.

          I show coworkers pictures of high-contrast jeans worn by somebody from Thailand and they’re amazed at the contrast and the fact this person goes six months without washing. Of course there are probably SOME Japanese who never wash their jeans and give them ocean/bathtub soaks, my point is that it’s not the normal attitude among people who like the same sort of jeans. And again, I’m not criticizing one way or the other, I simply say this to explain my statement at the beginning of the article and give some context to the S710xx as a pair of jeans that’s very popular overseas but not in Japan.

    • swissjeansfreak

      I’m one of the never wash or soak guys since 40 years now. This is just because I like the original colour much more then the washed colour tone since on all raw denim the colour tone changes more to a royal blue after washing. That’s all, not just because I love dirty jeans.

      So when I’m reading about this wash or no wash discussions there is no big deal for me. There is not a good or bad way in either of this 2 possibilities. I respect people who wash there jeans the same like the others. And I know that because of never wash and no soak I have a higher rsik of getting cracks at the joneycombs or earlier crotch blow outs. But still the color is more important to me.

      I have the following 2 suggestions:

      First of all: Jeans are made to be used.
      Second: Use your jeans at your best way.

      Everything else is not important to me, neither specific fashion styles or whatever.
      If somebody really wanna buy an expensive raw denim to wash them very often from the begining is up to him. Of course you could say, that in that case this man would probably better buy prewashed items, but it’s still his decision, what he wanna do with his jeans.

  • Ryan Chinaski

    solid review kyle. slay some japanese bitches for me

  • sgs

    Nice review denim looks incredible. Just curious how long you wore these particular jeans and how many washes?

    • Kyle

      Thanks! These have been worn for four months of real wear time, and washed once, at something like 110 days of wear.

  • Maurizio

    hi, i own 2 pairs of S710XX and i love that fit, denim, details etc…i’m 46 old and collect old denim since mid 80s, then recently (3 years ago) i have decided to purchase the japan jeans..Eternal, Flat Head, Warehouse, Sugar Cane…well, in my opinion the S710XX and the Real McCoy’s 004 are one of the best jeans. Greetings from Roma!

    • swissjeansfreak

      Yeah those brands are excellent. I have the same passion like you. I’m 54 and started collecting jeans in 1973 with 12’000 items so far. and building up the little Jeansmuseum of heaviest fadings in Switzerland. Whenever visiting Switzerland you have to stop at my place. Send me an email for more infos about the Jeansmuseum ruedi.karrer@jeansmuseum.org
      Cheers
      Ruedi

  • Ox

    Great article Kyle! I have a samurai S710 as well and I agree with you about the color. In full sunlight it is very blue and somehow I wish it would be darker as well. But I love the slubby denim and the fit!
    I would like to know if you gave them an initial soak before you started wearing them…I did, but now I think it wasn’t that necessary as I thought it was. My pair almost didn’t shrink. Also, have you already washed them? they look like you did.

    • Kyle

      Yes, I did soak them. The surprising thing is that they don’t shrink a whole lot, even though they’re unsanforized. I still think it’s best to pre-soak them. And yes, these jeans have been washed once (just under four months of real wear time.) Since I’m in my Flat Heads most of the time I don’t get to wear these as much as I like, but I’ll bust ‘em out on weekends this fall.

  • swissjeansfreak

    Great review and good pics, tahnks