It’s safe to say the designer sneaker is firmly established as a fashion must-have. Though the style was once strictly confined to sporting events, the luxury market has brought the luxe sneaker to the forefront of the fashion scene with even the biggest style icons trading their slick oxfords for a pair of trendy designer kicks. These days, owning the newest, rarest and most-coveted lace-ups is essential for maintaining any semblance of street (style) cred. Keep your look current with our roundup of the hottest styles on the scene right now.
1. The Trophy Sneaker | Buscemi
Buscemi boasts “obnoxiously high quality” — an appropriate tagline for a footwear company that set out to create the Hermès Birkin of sneakers. Stockbroker turned shoe designer Jon Buscemi seems to have succeeded in the task, designing some of the most buzzed-about men’s footwear in recent memory. From the gold-plated padlock and key to the signature belt and guards around the collar, every Buscemi sneaker contains the brand’s own version of the iconic markings the Birkin is known for.
But it’s not simply the hardware that makes these sneakers Birkinesque.“These are limited-production items, handmade in Italy,” says Men’s Category Director Mayola Martinez. “They’re only now beginning to carry them at Barney’s. Keeping supply low has been Buscemi’s self-professed strategy for maintaining interest and the fleeting cool factor. For sneakerheads, it’s the idea of having a holy grail or an exclusive item that you know no one else has.”
Kanye West has come a long way from stunner shades and brightly printed BAPE jackets. From his collaborations with fashion heavy-hitters like LouisVuitton and Martin Margiela to his well-documented loyalty to Balmain and Givenchy, West has parlayed his rap fame and cultural prevalence into full-on fashion insider status.
West’s clout is perhaps best illustrated by the extreme popularity of the Yeezy Boost collection. Each time a new style is released, it’s only a matter of hours (and sometimes minutes) before it’s sold out. The collection’s scarcity has completely disrupted the secondary market, with pairs selling upwards of $900 — over four times more than their retail price. How do sneakerheads justify it? “The rise of social media like Instagram and Snapchat has fueled the obsession,” muses Martinez. “How many likes or shares can you get if you snap a pic of yourself in your Yeezys?
3. The Avant-Garde Sneaker | Rick Owens x Adidas
With a star-studded roster of big-name collaborators fromStella McCartney to Raf Simons, Adidas has cemented itself as a street style power player. “It’s a timeless brand that has given fashion credibility through the ages. It’s not just a sports shoe, it’s a part of fashion DNA,” says Martinez.
So leave it to fashion iconoclast Rick Owens to design an envelope-pushing footwear collab with silhouettes drastically different from Adidas’ core styles like the timeless Stan Smith and classic Superstar. Most pairs from Owens’ collaboration feature hoof-like, two-piece soles, giving the shoes the unique Rick Owens touch that shoppers expect. With styles like the futuristic Springblade Low and the sneaker-boot hybrid Runner Stretch, Owens, true to form, challenges his customers to expand their idea of what’s wearable.
4. The Minimalist Sneaker | Common Projects
While every guy definitely needs a good pair of statement sneakers, there’s something to be said for a low-profile version for everyday use, which is where Common Projects shines. From comfy slip-ons to simple lace-ups, the brainchild of Peter Poopat and Flavio Girolami is all about quiet minimalism. Their streamlined styles can be incorporated seamlessly into anyone’s wardrobe, which is why the brand has gained such a wide cult following.
Unlike the logo-heavy designs some more established brands employ, Common Projects’ pared-down footwear features only a simple gold foil stamped code indicating the style, size and color of the particular shoe. “The idea here is to keep it simple and not take away from your outfit but enhance it,” says Martinez. “Even better if you can keep them pristine white.”
Ready to step up your shoe game? Shop our selection of authentic designer sneakers.