What used to be kept exclusively or running errands and exercising, the sneaker is pushing wing tips to the side as the preferred shoe for a suit. Leather, suede, muted or bright colors, the sneakerhead is no longer a way to describe the skater or urban culture. Office culture has adapted. Baby boomers too!
No longer are socks the way to show of personality below the ankle, especially for men over 40.
Keep in mind, that I haven’t tested these myself but as a woman, I know what I like on a man. So that should stand or something, right?
BESPOKE SNEAKER ART: L’ATELIER DU TRANCHET
Parisian shoe maker, Cristophe Corthay has take bespoke sneakers to a whole new level. They are definitely for the man who wants to peacock for a certain occasion. Jeans, t-shirt and high-tops like these make a bold and unique statement. Check out this unboxing video from The Shoe Snob. They retail for $750. Made in Portugal. Designed in France.
BEST MINIMALIST/MODERNIST SHOE: ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA
Maker of the twin tie and now the triple stitch sneaker. Zegna blows their competition away because they understand that men of any age still have some “cool” left in them. A slip on that comes in an array of muted colors, made in either suede or deerskin. I think I am partial to the suede, but the deerskin is sleek too. Decisions, decisions! Part of their Su Misura service, these sneakers are easily customizable. After all, the Zegna brand is the epitome of the modern man – elegance and dynamism. I don’t say this because I worked on their ad campaigns in a previous life.
Zegna takes the quality of their products very seriously. The triple stitch retails or approximately $900.
BEST SNEAKER FOR THE BUDGET-CONSCIOUS: VANS
Vans is classic American. The slip-on sneaker is their hallmark. Their branding is on point: you know Vans when you see them. The best part? You can own a pair for under $100. Did I mention Vans offer custom? Americana since 1966. These sneakers are just for skaters and surfers anymore.
BEST SNEAKER FOR LUXURY ECO: KOIO
Move over Tom’s. Koio sneakers are made from regenerative leather. Designers, Johannes and Chris had a very specific vision trifecta: style, the best quality and benefiting the ecosystem. In the Alps, there is a specific farming method that works to restore the ecosystem, thereby preventing the over-farming of livestock and plants. This makes the leather more unique in touch, and appearance. Vegan “leathers” are made with materials that are derived by fossil fuels, so by sourcing leather from farms with a specific agricultural ethos, not only is the quality in the leather noticeable but also representative of that natural, truly free-range quality of life. These sneakers don’t have the $900 price tag of a Zegna or L’atelier but at an average price of $250 – $300, it is definitely a steal.
No matter what your budget, style or occasion, sneakers are giving the gentleman’s wardrobe versatility and a true personality makeover. Never think you are too stiff or boring, you just need to find the pair that works for you! Hopefully, my 2022 Sneakerhead recommendations will be a helpful start!