The Wild West that is the sneakerverse is not a place you want to go out into alone. Amid the surprise drops, the brand collaborations, the limited-edition reissues; the Air Maxes, Air Jordans and Dunks; the high-tops, the low-tops and every top in between, even the self-proclaimed sneakerhead can find themselves in a tailspin, in desperate need of navigation.
No, what you really want is a guide. A list, curated by a crack team of expert fashion editors, that cuts through all the noise, and simply informs you of the must-have investment pieces from Nike, Balenciaga, Fear of God and others that are deserving of your hard-earned cash. A list that looks curiously like our edit of the top-10 new-season sneaker styles below. How handy, indeed.he Wild West that is the sneakerverse is not a place you want to go out into alone. Amid the surprise drops, the brand collaborations, the limited-edition reissues; the Air Maxes, Air Jordans and Dunks; the high-tops, the low-tops and every top in between, even the self-proclaimed sneakerhead can find themselves in a tailspin, in desperate need of navigation.
No, what you really want is a guide. A list, curated by a crack team of expert fashion editors, that cuts through all the noise, and simply informs you of the must-have investment pieces from Nike, Balenciaga, Fear of God and others that are deserving of your hard-earned cash. A list that looks curiously like our edit of the top-10 new-season sneaker styles below. How handy, indeed.
The Balenciaga dadcore icon
Ever since Balenciaga weighed into the sneaker arena – the one-two of its culture-resetting Speed Sock and Triple S models – the boundary-pushing Paris-based label has continued to offer up an array of instant classics and carved out a permanent space for itself alongside the sportswear stalwarts. This season, tastemaker-in-chief Mr Demna Gvasalia declares the “ugly” dad-shoe trend very much alive and kicking with the return of the 1990s-style normcore Runner, tricked out here with kaleidoscopic accents.
The gentlemanly Brunello Cucinelli classic
The commitment to quiet luxury that forms the foundations of the Brunello Cucinelli brand – all cashmere knits, sumptuous suedes and oatmeal hues – can feel somewhat antithetical to the notoriously hype-fuelled world of high-end streetwear. And yet, upon first glance at these cream-coloured leather shoes, we’re reassured that the decades-old label’s decision to make a brave step into sneakerverse – albeit in suitably gentlemanly fashion – was a very wise one indeed.
The contrast CELINE HOMME high-top
How exactly does Mr Hedi Slimane transpose his grungy-gothic Left Bank aesthetic, which he’s stuck fervently to through his tenures at Dior, SAINT LAURENT and now CELINE HOMME, onto a sportier silhouette? The answer lies in these contrast leather high-tops, which play ruby-red panels against a black-and-white backdrop, and will slot seamlessly into a Slimane-approved rock ’n’ roll wardrobe.
The smart Louboutin basketball shoe
In the hands of expert shoemaker Mr Christian Louboutin, the humble basketball sneaker is elevated to the elegant-yet-easy ranks of, say, a velvet loafer or a tan brogue. That’s all down to the pared-back, flourish-free upper, itself fashioned from a rich full-grain leather, which allows the Rantulow to perfectly toe the line between dressed up and dialled down. (And rest assured: those devilish red undersoles retain all their charm in rubber form, too.)
The laid-back Fear of God suede sneaker
Minimal construction, clean silhouette and hushed sand tones – these panelled suede and mesh sneakers may not come emblazoned with the Fear of God logo, but those in the know will confirm they betray all the hallmarks of a Mr Jerry Lorenzo creation. In a field renowned for its flashiness, the Los Angeles-based streetwear disruptor has consistently championed quiet design, sumptuous fabrics and top-tier craftsmanship, in this case made in Italy. It’s perhaps no surprise that he’s also earnt himself an impressive roster of A-list disciples in the process.
The Nike hall-of-famer
Sneaker trends may come and go, but the Nike Air Max is for ever. Among its more famous sub-iterations is the 95 (so called because of its birth year), which more than merits its position in the streetwear hall-of-fame thanks to those instantly recognisable undulating panels that travel from toe to heel. This season, the iconic design arrives in in a cool-toned colour palette that pairs perfectly with an off-duty wardrobe of jeans, tees and sweats, and is versatile enough to carry you comfortably through the year.
The graffitied Givenchy collectable
The spirit of Mr Matthew Williams’ Givenchy – strong streetwear influences underpinned by haute-level artistry and a reverence for the maison’s rich legacy – is neatly encapsulated in this irreverent update to the traditional tennis shoe. Engineered from a smooth calfskin leather, it forms part of a one-off collaboration with celebrated Mexican graffiti artist Chito, who here has mirrored the silver-toned 4G logo on the tongue with his own street-smart take on the emblem.
The seamless Officine Creative running shoe
Alongside refined Derbies and perfectly patinated penny loafers, family-run Fermo-based Officine Creative also applies its old-world nous and time-honoured techniques to more athletic forms. And with surprisingly forward-thinking results. Take its running-inspired suede Race sneaker, which eschews bells and whistles for a seamless, futuristic design that immediately stands out in crowded competition, and is topped off a with tasteful gold-stamped logo on the reverse.
The all-black TOM FORD everyday shoe
Sure, it’s rare to see the rakish Mr Tom Ford in anything other than a buffed-to-a-shine black dress shoe. Frankly, we’d be unsurprised to discover he stayed true to his famously crisp uniform even in the depths of lockdown. But nonetheless he grants the sneaker his highly prized endorsement in the shape of the Jago. Despite its ultra-casual appearance, it’s a style that stays steadfastly in keeping with the Texan designer’s brand of sleek, sexy glamour by way of the inky all-black colourway that extends from sole to shoelace. Meanwhile, a clever tag-team of cushioned in-soles and chunky rubber outer soles provides optimal bounce and comfort for everyday real-world wear.
The embroidered Gucci staple
With its streamlined Ace line, Gucci has struck upon a contemporary goes-with-everything staple to rival its legendary loafer. In many ways, the bestselling sneaker follows a failsafe formula: a minimal tennis-inspired low-top cast in a pristine white calf leather. However, the unmistakeably Gucci finishing touches – namely the embroidered gold bee motif and the clashing house web stripes – imbue it with an identity all of its own.