Hey Sneakerheads, Leave Some Shelf Room for These

The best sneakers from the best online brands. No regrets.
June 28, 2019
June 28, 2019

A good sneaker (or two, or three) is essential to any closet. Hell, you may even have shelves of kicks that are just waiting for the right occasion. And you wouldn’t be alone - Millennials & Gen Z’s are driving growth in the sneaker industry in a very real way. Back in 2014 Millenials alone spent over $21 Billion dollars on sneakers… and that was 5 years ago (btw if anyone can find the updated facts, send em our way - we tried). As our demand for comfort and versatility grows, this trend will only continue. One thing is clear: we are in the age of the sneaker.

Much of the growth in the sneaker market has been due to status symbols - Air Jordans, Balenciaga Triple S and Yeezy’s. But in full disclosure, our scene is a little less Gucci and a little more subtle. We don’t need logos on our shoes to prove that we have style. And we don’t need retail markups either, for that matter. With handmade options hailing from Italy (Oliver Cabell, Greats and M.Gemi) and fabric low tops perfect for everyday wear (Atoms & Allbirds, we’re looking at you), why would we ever stray?

So before you Google “men’s sneakers” and get all kinds of overwhelmed, let us help you out. We’ve done our homework. These sneaks (rounded up below for your convenience) are actually legit, known for comfort, and trusted by customers and the media alike. Would we ever recommend anything less? We know you don’t have time to evaluate whether those shoes you found on Instagram are for real - or if that purchase will only leave you with cheap sneakers on a slow boat from China. Stick with us and that’ll never happen again.

We cover the most trusted online brands with the fairest prices all the time. Turns out you don’t need that “semi-annual sale” with endless items that have been marked up just to be marked down. You aren’t falling for it this time.

Allbirds

These days, it’s all about sustainability, and rightfully so. In addition to swapping out your straws, you can finally wear a more practical and sustainable brand on your feet too. Allbirds are all about their unique, sustainable merino wool material. Native New Zealander, and former soccer pro Tim Brown partnered up with Joey Zwillinger to replace the synthetic materials that the footwear industry traditionally thrives on - and together they created something new. Allbirds are made of three main materials: wool, tree, and sugar. That’s right, we said sugar. And one of the coolest parts of the website isn’t just the stylin’ sneaks, it’s the Meet the Materials, where you can learn about the sheep and trees that take part in making your shoe. Now that is what real sustainability looks like.

The Goods

✓   Runners, Loungers and Skippers styles for every occasion

✓   Merino wool for a breathable shoe

✓   Sugar for bounce in the shoe soles and all day comfort


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Sustainable materials and production methods 

✓   Soles4Souls- gives lightly used sneaks to people in need

✓   Lyocell tree fibers use 95% less water than synthetics


Greats

If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that everyone loves a good vacation. At Greats, the shoe journey begins in Citianova, a chill beach town on the shores of the Apennine mountains where your shoes are handmade. A single-family factory that’s been in existence for generations takes pride in handcrafting these timeless sneaks. Greats are made for everything from taking a trip with the boys, to casual Fridays at the office. With such fine handcrafted detailing and genuine materials, you won’t have to worry about wearing them down. These babies were made to last. 

The Goods

✓   Handcrafted and sewn

✓   Made in Italy 

✓   Leather and mesh lining for comfort

✓   100% waxed cotton laces


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Working to get their carbon emissions to zero

✓   Recycled materials in shoes and in packaging


Koio

We all know that posh feeling we get when we buy something that says Made in Italy and Koio takes it to the next level by giving us the full scoop. At Koio, your shoes are made in a factory with exactly 42 people who handcraft and sew them, day in and day out. Founders Johannes and Chris have challenged quality every step of the way. For us, this means we get super fly kicks that complete our everyday look. And it’s worth noting that their collaborations are off the charts, including a recent partnership with Nina Agdal and their super exclusive GOT collab. We’re definitely keeping an eye on this brand at ALL times.

The Goods

✓   Softest leather for all day comfort

✓   Made in Italy

✓   Hand painted edges

✓   Multiple style choices


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Fair employee treatment

✓   Locally source all materials from Marche, Italy before manufacturing


M. Gemi

M. Gemi sneakers are made with love. Co-founder Maria Gangemi uses her intricate knowledge of footwear and her Sicilian nostalgia to provide us with soft, classic sneakers in a bunch of style options. And good news - this includes slip-ons (because sometimes there just isn’t not enough time for shoe laces). M. Gemi is made up of people who are genuinely passionate about footwear, and they’re paying attention to every detail to give us maximum foot comfort from morning ‘til night. To do this they don’t just rely on one artisanal factory for all of their goods. They use many different production locations to ensure that each style receives the best care and creation specific to it’s design. Talk about craftsmanship. 

The Goods

✓   Italian suede and leather

✓   Made in small artisanal workshops across Italy

✓   Standard and wide width

✓   Genuine materials

✓   Cotton laces


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Transparent production process

✓   Offering quality at a fairer price


Oliver Cabell

Oliver Cabell is taking the craftsmanship of the old and adding innovation to the new. Not only do these sneaks look good, but they stand up to our schedule. ‘Cause if you’re looking for sharp shoes that can handle an impromptu game with the boys, you’ll need ones that will have you flexing, not trippin’, all over the court. With a rubber sole and super soft leather, these bad boys won’t leave your feet chafing in blisters. They’re guaranteed to challenge the status quo (as seen on their website) – and we’re definitely on board with that notion. 

The Goods

✓   Perforated 3oz full grain calfskin leather from Veneto, Italy

✓   Italian calf-skin over removable molded in-sole

✓    Italian waxed cotton laces

✓   Combine old-school shoe making techniques with new school technology


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Price transparency

✓   Ethical factories and materials


Taft

Taft is the shoe company breaking the Italy trend and making their shoes in another one of our favorite European countries: Spain. Kory and Mallory Stevens were in their two-bedroom apartment when they came up with the idea for Taft – they wanted beautiful shoes at beautiful prices. Too much to ask? They thought not. The artisans who make these sneakers in Spain take extra care - and in our opinion, they seriously knock it out of the park. No one has prints as cool as these. Your new go-tos for comfort while getting noticed.

The Goods

✓   Soft calfskin lining

✓   Painted by hand

✓   Hand cut and stitched

✓   Full-grain leather

✓   Blake-stitched for longevity and comfort


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   Taft Style Blog let’s us know how to keep our shoes looking great

✓   Price transparency


Atoms

Meet Atoms - the new hot sneaker brand in town. The simplicity is the beauty of it. At Atoms, they’re keeping it real and accepting the fact that our feet aren’t exactly the same size... so they’ve started using quarter sizes. So now when you place an order, you’ll get three pairs of shoes shipped to your home and you can pick the best fit per foot (even if they’re two different sizes). It’s a game changer, we agree. Atoms are super lightweight which means you won’t be scuffing your feet all day at work. And who knows, maybe you’ll even spice it up and throw in a moon walk here and there. 

The Goods

✓   Outsole non-slippable rubber

✓   Antimicrobial copper lining kills bacteria (aka no smelly kicks)

✓   Stretch laces so you only gotta tie ‘em once

✓   Lightweight midsole for extra comfort


Why We Stand Behind Them

✓   They get that one size does not fit all (or even the one person since we’ve got two feet)

✓   Believe in function and innovation


Submit Comment
Image Credit: Allbirds, Allbirds/ Greats, Greats/ Koio, Koio/ M. Gemi, M. Gemi/ Oliver Cabell, Oliver Cabell/ Taft, @blakescott, @luxdres, @taft, @rule_of_thumbs/ Atoms, @wearatoms, @greengaskell, @samscheffer, @chetyeary/