5 White sneakers not named Adidas Stan Smith
About two years ago, when the simplistic/activewear trend really reared its head in Soho and BK, I started to see a shift in what fashion heads considered the last point of emphasis on their outfit. The uniform usually consisted of a tailored trench coat over dark slim track pants or sweats (elastic leg opening) with a cap of some sort. The final piece was a pair of Adidas Stan Smith Originals. This was THE uniform for Lower Manhattan.
Kudos to Adidas for their ratcheting up their marketing efforts, especially with the Originals line. Investing heavily in in a diverse roster of brand ambassadors in tandem with the bubbling renaissance of the Stan Smith paid off big time. Today, every blogger from the middle of wherever rocks a pair of white Stan Smith's with the green back.
Inevitably, this trend will curb the same tastemakers that made this a "thing" in the first place. When Joe Everyman starts to rock the same threads, it's past time to move on to a more nuanced version of the option. This adds up to finding a more obscure white low-top offering perhaps different fabric combinations, accents and silhouettes. They don't necessarily have to be more expensive or be limited in nature, but we need a break from the Stan Smiths. Below are five options you may want to consider, ranging from the old classics to new luxe brands and the all whites that I think will be the next to pop.
1. The Runner Up: Common Projects Achilles
Where as The Stan Smith's may have been the mainstream winner in the white low top of the summer sweepstakes, the Common Project Achilles was the better made but more expensive runner up. Offering both a gum soled and all white options along with the Common Projects signature numbering system, this is a very clean and sleek shoe. My then roommate and I first spotted the clean sillouette at Unis on Prince St. a few years ago and ever since then, the cult status of Common Projects has grown and grown. The price point will always keep it somewhat submerged below mainstream status, but that may be a good thing.
2. The Wine and Cheese Option: Feit Hand Sewn Low
Times are changing and we as Americans are starting to understand that luxury doesn't necessarily mean the biggest or gaudiest. Quality, natural products that have been carefully constructed by actual people are now beginning to become characteristics of that often-tossed word of "luxury". With my sermon coming to a close, I present to you, the Feit Hand Sewn Low. Imagine little elves working day and night on a white sneaker so pristine, you may not ever want to walk on a dirty NYC street with them on. Just look at the production process as detailed on the Feit official site:
The Hand Sewn Low is built by hand from start to finish by one master craftsman using an advanced Goodyear construction technique that produces a superior shoe
The seamless one piece upper of the shoe is made from a single piece of vegetable tanned leather, hand stitched at the heel. Gusseted tongue reinforces the waterproof construction. Leather is left on the last for 10 days where light steam and humidity are used to tighten the leather, ensuring shape and fit. Buffalo leather is used for the footbed.
The leather is dyed with natural pigments so that the hide retains its natural state and ages richly over time. The superior construction technique and use of natural materials ensure that the shoe breathes and does not retain sweat or odor.
As you know, quality doesn't come cheap. These will cost you around six hunna, but what do you expect? This is a premium shoe that will last way past those Adidas, which were cooked after one summer of just walking around the neighborhood.
3. The Wild Card: ETQ Low 1
Coming straight out the Netherlands and into your heart is under the radar brand ETQ- Amsterdam. Their Low 1 model fits the the theme of stripped yet sleek design and quality craftsmanship. I've spotted only a few people wearing them so far, but the moderate price point of $199 and limited production tells me that it'll be hard to find a pair in your size. Calf leather insole should make this a very comfortable option with a cup rubber sole adds durability not found in most mass produced sneakers (looking at you, Vans!).
4. The Reboot: Nike Cortez
Ever since the 80's, the Nike Cortez has really never bubbled back into the mainstream. Sure, in Cali, they are a uniform staple, but they haven't had the breakout appeal of the Air Force 1, Dunk or Air Max. Now, Nike has tinkered with the OG model to add a little more comfort into the equation. This is a god send as the leather model was never comfortable to me. A new cushion system along with along with the new herringbone bottom should handle that problem. As one of Nike's heritage models, I could see the all white or white/black option becoming a hit in summers to come. Click here to see the new Cortez
5. What's Next: Reebok Classic
In 1999, Juvenile's "Ha" video boasted that the streets of New Orleans were theoretically signed to Reebok. We as neighboring southerners were soon on board. Everyone in my 9th grade class switched to all white "Soldier" Reeboks. That wave kept steady until streetwear really started to hit mainstream America and Nike took back the championship belt with the Air Force 1 and SB Dunk craze. Like back in '99, music culture is ushering in a resurgence of the Reebok classic. This time, UK's rave scene, which encompasses a number of different genres (house, bass, trap, grime), is just about to push this classic sneaker over the top. Simple and iconic, the Reebok Classic is the ultimate case of grandpa/nurse shoe turned "must-have" by an underground culture.
I've seen spatterings of heads wearing these and they tend to be the people that are really ahead of the fashion and footwear curve. Me thinks this will be the next mass distributed shoe to blow up everywhere.