More and more quality sneakers are flooding onto the shoe market, both styles and available quality has developed in several regards since last time I wrote about the topic two years ago. Here’s a new roundup of a bunch of sneakers and trainers that could be of interest for the quality conscious shoe buyer.
Crown Northampton make some of the best sneakers available. Not handmade as the way they market them might make you believe, but made with proper leather insoles and corkbed, real leather heel stiffeners, and with good upper leathers. Here’s a version made in Horween Shell Cordovan, priced at €780, calf leather models cost €420. Picture: Crown Northampton
Trainers have lately been taking market shares from the minimalistic Common Projects styled sneakers. They lack the possibility to resole them as the sidewall stitched sneakers does (something that more and more cobblers can do nowadays), but they are often very comfortable. Here’s the model Goodwood made for British webstore Herring Shoes. Price €190. Picture: Herring Shoes.
Also some of the top shoemakers in the world dip their toes in the sneaker world. These luxury sneakers by Japanese Hiro Yanagimachi are made to the same standards as their bespoke shoes, same material (just some more padding), hand lasted and hand welted, but without a sole stitch, the replaceable rubber outsole is cemented on. Launching soon as a MTO product, but can also be made on a MTM or bespoke last. Picture: Hiro Yanagimachi
As most readers likely know by now, I work for the shoe and shoe care webstore Skolyx. We have developed a new range of premium sneakers and trainers together with a Portugese factory, where we’ve really tried to push in superb specifications at a great price. Veg tanned leather for both upper and lining, real leather midsole (so no lousy fibreboard that sweat will brake down within a couple of years, which is more or less standard also on really expensive sneakers), leather board heel stiffeners (instead of plastic which is standard on sneakers), metal shank for proper support where the shoe isn’t supposed to bend, and so on. Price only €136. Picture (also top image): Skolyx
JC Lutz is a pretty interesting French sneaker brand who focus completely on customisable designs, made to order with two weeks delivery time. A basic model which you can have made in more or less any version imaginable, with parts in different colours etc, including these new painted patina versions. Picture: JC Lutz
Swedish brand Morjas has a new version of their minimalistic sneaker, with a nice looking rather low profile, which cost €160. As many others they insist on stating that they are “made by hand”, and as you know I already think that calling Goodyear welted shoes “handmade” is wrong and a devaluation of the word (read more here for example), to call this type of regular sidewall stitched sneakers “made by hand” is just ridiculous, in my opinion, since they aren’t more handmade than basically all cheap Asian-made shoes offered in any shoe store out there. Let good shoes be good shoes without trying to make them into something they aren’t. Morjas also has a new trainer with a nice retro design. Picture: Morjas
British brand Loake’s new trainer model Bannister, here in a dark navy calf leather and rather dressy waxed laces. Part of the Design Loake range and made in Portugal, price €220. Picture: Loake
Very cool Goodyear welted sneakers made by German brand Shoepassion, in a burgundy calf leather with subtle burnishing. Nice mix between classic and contemporary. Priced at €300 (though on sale at the moment, down with 30%). Picture: Shoepassion
Finishing off with perhaps the best you can get in this segment. A very cool sneaker, made with a type of old-school blind welt construction, by German bespoke shoemaker Patrick Frei. Superb stuff. Picture: Patrick Frei