Every year around this time, I get an itch to buy a new pair of sneakers. Warmer weather calls for lighter, more comfortable footwear. And while I like camp mocs and penny loafers, nothing really feels as laid back as a good pair of sneakers.
In years past, I’ve rounded up some styles I’ve been looking at each season. I still stand by those choices, but here are ten more if you’re looking to add something casual to your wardrobe this spring:
- Wakouwa Deck Shoes ($226): Wakouwas are a reproduction of 1930s US naval deck shoes, which used to be produced by Sperry. Designer Pierre Fournier remade them on a modified Alden last, gave them some interior arch support, and designed them in interesting color combinations. I like how the chunkier silhouette sits under fatigues and work jackets (sort of like the outfits you see below), as well as minimally styled, contemporary casualwear. There are also some great outfit ideas on Instagram, if you need more inspiration.
- Reebok Club C ($35+): Reebok, once the emblem of dad shoes, has been getting a lot of play lately, thanks in part to a renewed interest in British sportswear. The company’s Classics and Workouts are worth a look, although I’ve been wanting a pair of Club Cs – a spin-off of the company’s iconic 1980s designs. Finish Line has them on sale right now for a low $35 (the discount shows up at checkout). For something less dad-ish, check out the ones with gum soles.
- Buttero Carrera ($325): I like Buttero for their slightly off-beat takes on classics. These Carreras, for example, are inspired by running shoes from the 1970s and ‘80s, but look like they were striped down to their bare basics, and then remade with ridged panels, a chunky Vibram outsole, and thick leather laces. Clearly a designer sneaker, but done in a way that shows you don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Pilgrim Surf & Supply x Vans Slip-Ons ($75): No sneaker gets more wear in the summer for me than my Vans slip-ons – largely because I’m lazy. They take zero effort to put on and look great with anything. Solid white will always be unassailable. I also like this pennant design Vans did with Pilgrim Surf + Supply (a really cool shop in Brooklyn). The cream/ white design looks even better than last year’s pennant kicks in black/ white, which I regretted missing out on.
- Nike Air Max 1 Essential ID ($130): One of Nike’s most enduring designs, the original Air Max 1 is centered around a visually exposed air bubble at the heel. The silhouette here is aggressively chunky, but in a way that looks good with slimmer jeans. Nike allows you to customize your own pair through their ID program, although I like the pre-designed Wolf Gray colorway you see above.
- Novesta Star Dribble ($69): A funky take on the classic Chuck Taylor high-top silhouette. The minimalist uppers paired with a chunky, ribbed sole and slightly sloppy, utilitarian construction (you can see glue marks on a lot of these) make Star Dribbles the “anti-tech” of sneakers. I want to wear a pair of these with the kind of workwear outfits you see above. Team them with some fatigues that are rolled up a bit higher on the ankle.
- Vans Suede Half Cabs ($52): Before Vans released their Half Cabs, skaters used to cut down their Caballeros and put duct tape around the opening. The company has done a ton of collaborations on this model over the years (most recently with Gosha Rubchinskiy and Our Legacy). The mainline white suedes are also on sale right now at Need Supply for a reasonable $52. You don’t have to go skater cosplay here, but they’d look great with the sort of things you’d find at Self Edge. Just make sure the jeans are a little slimmer so they don’t swallow the shoes.
- Zespa ZSP4 ($243): White, minimally styled low-tops, such as those from Common Projects, feel like they’ve run their course these days. That said, they’re still useful for all the same reasons why they became popular. They’re understated and incredibly versatile, easy to wear with everything from dressier topcoats to casual field jackets. If you’re tired of seeing the Achilles Lows everywhere, you can check out Zespa’s ZSP4s. There’s a bit more branding here, but it’s done in a way that looks sophisticated.
- OAMC Marathon ($509): OAMC does these really great sneaker designs that sit between the designer fashion and streetwear. These Marathon Lows, for example, are inspired by classic running shoes, but are made from a combination interesting materials and contrasting panels. Too bad they’re wildly expensive.
- Novesta Marathon ($149): Like with the OAMCs, I like how these look with slim, tapered jeans and soft, lambskin leather jackets. The simpler design on the Novesetas, however, will also lend them to more classic casualwear looks (think: “Rugged Ivy” ensembles with mountain parkas, flat front chinos, and button-down shirts). Sort of like the classic retro runners we’ve rounded up in previous guides, but a bit more modern looking.