The chunky vintage-inspired white sneaker may have been resurrected as a flash-in-the-pan fad over the past couple of years, but we’re not raiding Dad’s closet for those anytime soon. And why would we? There are so many cool sneakers orbiting the shoe universe that you’ll find at least one—maybe, two, or more—that match your vibe.
So what does it take for a sneaker to earn a spot on our season’s best list, you ask? First off, they’ve got to live at the nexus of style and comfort. With seemingly infinite options out there, we’re honing in on those that have their own identity. Pairs produced in collaboration with famous artists, reimagined with innovative eco-friendly materials, or engineered to stand up to inclement weather.
To help expand your sneaker horizons, we’ve included not just perennially popular global brands like Reebok and Nike, but up-and-coming designers, too, like Rhude and Axel Arigato. No running shoes here, just solid lifestyle sneakers to beef up your wardrobe. Here are 11 picks that bring something different to the table. And hey, you never know. Maybe Dad will learn something, too.
1. Axel Arigato Clean 90 Contrast Sneakers
The Swedish founders of Axel Arigato fuse Scandi cool with Japanese minimalism in their sneaker collection. The simple silhouette of the buffed leather Clean 90 Contrast pair is punctuated with a subtle “Arigato” logo stamp near the laces and a contrasting heel tab. The rubber cup sole has a cushioned footbed and solid arch support for all-day comfort.
[$285; alexarigato.com]Get it
2. Brunello Cucinelli Leather-Trimmed Mesh Sneakers
Just shy of a grand, these Brunello Cucinelli kicks are a splurge for sure, and they’ll look just as good with a suit as they will with sweats. The paneled sneakers feature breezy honeycomb mesh accented with leather trims and two-toned soles that contrast the white uppers.
[$895; mrporter.com]Get it
3. Raf Simons Orion sneakers
Raf Simons modeled the faux leather Orion sneaker after a classic tennis shoe with a round-toe silhouette and rubber ropes. Contrasting heel tabs are emblazoned with the brand’s logo.
[$240.00; mytheresa.com]Get it
4. Nike FlyLeather Blazer Low ’77 sneakers
Nike partnered with Japanese artist Mayumi Yamase to produce these fabric-lined leather low-tops, which serve as a canvas for eye-catching Swoosh details inspired by the archives.
[$108; mytheresa.com]Get it
5. Reebok Keith Haring Classic Leather Legacy AZ Shoes
Another artistic collaboration, this drop from Reebok pays homage to graffiti legend Keith Haring with bold primary color details that embrace the playful nature of the street artist’s dancing figures.
[$90.00; reebok.com]Get it
6. Converse Bosey Chuck 70 Water-Resistant High-Top Sneaker
No sneaker wishlist would be complete without a pair of Converse chucks, and boy do we have a cool pair for you. The outdoorsy Bosey Chuck 70 is a sneaker-boot hybrid that stands up to inclement weather with a water-resistant leather exterior, hiking laces, and alpine boot eyelets. Customize your pair with an insulating sherpa lining to be winter-ready.
[$100; converse.com]Get it
7. Rhude Rhecess Logo-Appliquéd Distressed Leather Sneakers
Ain’t nothing rude about buying sneaks that have that broken-in feel, like this Rhecess pair from Rhude. The low-tops may have a pre-worn look with leather uppers and branding that cups the heel.
[$550; mrporter.com]Get it
8. Veja V-10 Flannel Snow Black
For this version of the handsome V-10 sneaker, French vegan footwear brand Veja chose a flannel made of recycled cotton and polyester for the uppers, and natural rubber from the Amazon forest to construct the durable insoles.
[$180; veja-store.com]Get it
9. Common Projects Track Classic Leather Sneakers
Go for old-school gym class vibes with Common Projects’ track classics, which are made in Italy with a leather trim and lining, finished with a bouncy rubber sole.
[$479; saksfifthavenue.com]Get it
10. Adidas Stan Smith Made To Be Remade Shoes
Aiming to reduce material waste, Adidas fashioned a version of its timeless Stan Smith tennis shoes that—as the name suggests—was “made to be remade.” These kicks are entirely recyclable, so once you wear them down, return them to Adidas, where they’ll be reincarnated into a whole new pair.
[$180; adidas.com]Get it
11. Vans Off-White Embroidered Authentic VLT LX Sneakers
These Vans are a funky update on the vintage classic lace-ups, embroidered with a striped pattern, zig-zag stitches throughout the body, and a tonal logo at the heel.
[$100; ssense.com]Get it
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