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In the hot sun of the southern Californian desert, there’s a surprising amount of distraction and activity. From the roar of a world-renowned music festival, to a string of high profile parties (with equally high profile attendees) there’s a lot to take in. But one thing has managed to cut through the noise and establish itself as a must-have menswear icon—not just during the course of the weekend’s festivities—but as a style statement-maker for the rapidly approaching summer months. It’s Classic Leather season.

Adding another layer to its over 30 year-long story, Reebok locked down an entire chateau in La Quinta, CA (aptly called the Reebok Classics Crib) and invited guests to get up close and personal with the Classic Leather during one of the biggest musical events of the year. Considering the area’s festival grounds host artists from all corners of the music and art worlds, it’s a rather fitting backdrop to showcase the Classic Leather’s own multilayered history,

Originally introduced in 1983, the Classic Leather has since evolved from an OG running shoe into a music and pop culture piece in its own right. Sure, we may associate the shoe with more sartorial ambitions today, but it still boasts plenty of comfort-driven tech. This includes a Bi-Density Shock Protection System for stability and breathable vents to keep the shoe as airy as possible. More importantly though, following behind the success of the Reebok Freestyle, the Classic Leather adopted a glove leather upper. This choice would help to define the style and set it apart from competitors, giving a luxe layer to an athletically-inclined silhouette right from the jump. While this treatment would keep it in line with the rest of Reebok’s footwear offerings at the time, its supple texture endeared it more to the sidewalk than the track—helping to establish it as an early streetwear and, by extension, hip-hop superstar.

As the late 1980s transitioned into the 1990s, the Classic Leather became a symbol for the style-conscious, especially in signature white leather. The accessible price and multi-functional silhouette made it a must have in any sneaker rotation. In the UK in particular, the Classic Leather fell right in with the rising garage and dance music scenes of the late 1990s—“No Trainers” pubs and clubs be damned. For guys who were dedicating their long nights out to dancing to their favorite tracks, the Classic Leather had both the sport and style pedigree to become a go-to sneaker selection.

When the history is taken altogether, the Classic leather has been…well, a classic canvas for both pop and subcultural movements. Like the Coachella Valley’s major music event, the Classic Leather has always been a piece that guys from all backgrounds can get down with. Worn with a pair of jeans and a faded out tour tee, or tucked under your favorite tracksuit, it’s a trainer that seems to be as varied as the fan bases that have adopted it over the last three decades. Even if you’re someone who sits on menswear’s more formal end, you simply cannot knock the Classic Leather’s ability to look right at home resting below the cuffs of equally crisp trousers.

When it comes to the Classic Leather, its appeal is conveniently packed right into its name. Both aesthetically old-school and casually contemporary, the silhouette has lived many lives across its storied history. Fortunately, those deep roots extend to guys from all walks of life even today, securing the sneaker a spot in the pantheon of shoes that will simply never go out of style. No matter what music you listen to, or what style tribe you align with, one thing is abundantly clear: this leather Reebok sneaker will always be a “classic.”

Wondering just how the Classic Leather captured our attention in the Coachella Valley? Scope our inside look at the Classics Crib above, and head over to Reebok to score your next pair of summer sneakers.

Looking to connect with the Classics community? Follow along over at @reebokclassics #ClassicLeather

  • Photography: Bukumi Grace / Highsnobiety.com
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