Highsnobiety / Jared Pearson

You obviously don’t need us to tell you that a good pair of sneakers can elevate any outfit from the ankles up. But with so many options out there, the perfect kicks are not so easy to come by. While we can leave our trust in your good judgment on what to cop or drop on the hype releases front, the latest coveted Nike or Supreme releases don’t necessarily form the building blocks of a covers-all-bases sneaker rotation.

So, to help you upgrade your collection to one that has something for every occasion, we’ve outlined the five sneaker styles that you should always have in your arsenal. In our selection below you’ll find everything from resilient beater sneakers to the footwear that’ll add a little flex appeal to your ’fit, highlighting the grails of each trend and letting you in on some shopping inspiration to form a collection that’s the envy of any dedicated sneakerhead.

Read on to discover every essential.

For Classic Steez

These are the kinds of shoes that go well with everything, whether you’re going to work or just kicking it. A black or neutral pair from a timeless brand is sure to be a great touch to any fall ’fit you’re rocking right now, while also easily transitioning into next season’s wardrobe.

Take the Air Force 1. The brainchild of Nike designer Bruce Kilgore, the Air Force 1 first hit the scene (or better yet, the basketball court) in 1982. Nike actually discontinued it in 1984, but demand was so high that the sportswear brand was basically forced to bring the silhouette back. Featuring a leather upper, chunky sole and Nike Air cushioning, the AF1 is a staple for any rotation and the best indicator of the classic style we’re talking about.

Its worthy competitors come from styles such as the adidas Continental 80 and Vans Sk8-Hi, which each boast versatile designs primed for seamless pairing with any look.

For Staying Comfortable

Steez isn’t everything, and for someone who spends a lot of time in sneakers, comfort should always also be a priority. Despite what you may have been led to believe, this doesn’t simply mean a rotation full of Boost sole units. In fact, some might even say the Boost is too soft to be considered completely comfy.

That’s where a comfy shoe such as Nike’s Air Max 720 comes into its own. Released just a few months ago, the sneakers feature Nike’s tallest Air unit to date at 38mm. With even more air underfoot, these sneakers are not only neck-breaking, but extremely comfortable too.

If that 720 Air unit is too extra for you, however, you’ll find comfort in the YEEZY Boost 700 V2 “Geode” and PUMA Cell Venom.

For Beating Up

For the uninitiated, beaters are a cheap, durable, “IDGAF” pair of sneakers that you’ll never have to worry about scuffing. These sneakers will survive all kinds of wear-and-tear, so you’ll love them as much after 100 wears as you did when they were fresh out the box.

And when it comes to durable sneakers, Reebok’s Club C 85s come out on top. The sneakers are not only comfortable enough for everyday wear, but they’ll also last you forever thanks to their grained leather material. Pair that with the fact that they look even better with a bit of dirt, and this shoe becomes a must for anyone looking for a low-cost, low-maintenance rotation addition.

Alternatively, other low-cost offerings come from Vans’ OG Old Skool and ASICS’ Gel-Kayano 5 sneakers, which has a frills-free, off-duty design that’ll be your go-to for a good while.

For Flexing

So we have comfort, classics, and resistant shoes covered — now for the flex. A pair of YEEZY Boost or Nike x OFF-WHITE sneakers are one thing, but you’ll turn more heads with something you don’t see every day. There’s no doubting the neck breaking ability of a pair of Balenciaga Track sneakers.

First introduced to the masses in September 2018, the Track are some of the most head-turning sneakers to come from any fashion label, arriving with technical features such as a cage construction, several panels, chunky sole, as well as a USB port and LED lights. They may not be as bulky as the Triple S, but they’re definitely one of Balenciaga’s most interesting silhouettes to date.

If the Track isn’t quite your vibe, though, consider investing in 1017 ALYX 9SM‘s snakeskin-effect, Vibram-harnessed sneakers, which have fast emerged as a grail from luxury fashion’s SS19 output.

For Luxury

Last but not least, a pair of luxury sneakers is an essential investment for any covers-all-bases rotation. Sneakers aren’t the first thing you associate with fashion houses such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Dior, but a selection of their premium offerings come with interesting shapes and constructions not to be sniffed out.

In the world of luxury sneakers, Maison Margiela has undoubtedly released some of the most iconic kicks out there. Peep the Fusion, for example. First introduced in Margiela’s FW18 collection, the Fusion is one of the most head-turning sneakers to come from any fashion label, featuring a heavily-deconstructed upper and crazy glue-splattering details throughout it’s extra chunky shape. They may not be as deconstructed as 2017’s Future model, but there’s no doubting this is a luxury pair to get you noticed.

But on the lower key end of the luxe sneaker spectrum, Common Projects has also reigned supreme as the elevated, simple silhouette of choice with its classic Achilles sneakers, while newer luxury output comes from Jacquemus’ recent foray into men’s footwear with its summer-ready yellow Le Gadjo sneakers.

If you enjoyed the list, then the video below is for you.

For more shopping inspiration, check out these classic sneakers to add to your rotation.

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