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 Stan Smith. Originally designed in 1963 for French tennis player Robert Haillet, the silhouette was rebranded by adidas in 1971 to become the cult shoe as we know it now. Featuring a clean leather upper, signature contrasting heel and side perforated details, the Stan Smith is a staple for any rotation and the best indicator of the classic style we’re talking about.
For Staying Cozy
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 Kendrick Lamar’s Nike Cortez Basic Slip comes into its own. Released last month, the sneakers are the epitome of cozy and convenient — featuring a laceless, drawstring closure and cushioned tongue. Designed to be the perfect house shoe, they make a quick stroll for groceries that bit less daunting on a truly lazy day.
As with many of Lamar’s releases, the sneakers sold out quickly, but they’re still available at resell websites for almost the same price as retail. If you’re not feeling the slip-on construction, however, the YEEZY Desert Rat 500 and Nike Zoom Fly each offer competitive comfort.
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, New Balance comes out on top. Its MX608v5 sneakers are not only comfortable enough for everyday wear, but they’ll also last you forever thanks to their hard-wearing internal shank. Mix that with its IDGAF dad-core design, and this shoe becomes a must for anyone looking for a low-cost, low-maintenance rotation addition.
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 glue-covered Margiela Fusions.
First introduced to the masses as part of Maison Margiela’s FW18 collection, the Fusions are some of the most head-turning sneakers to come from any fashion label, featuring a heavily-deconstructed upper and crazy glue-splattering details, as well as an extra chunky shape. They may not be as deconstructed as last year’s Future sneakers, but they’re definitely Margiela’s most outlandish silhouette to date.
If the Fusion isn’t quite your vibe, though, consider investing in Balenciaga’s Track sneakers for the same effect. The label’s latest trail shoe-inspired sneakers boast insane features such as a USB port and LED lights.
Last but not least, a pair of quality sneakers is essential to any comprehensive rotation. By quality, however, we don’t necessarily mean luxury, but high-end manufacturing that comes from the more premium offerings of beloved sports brands such as New Balance.
New Balance’s “Made in the USA” collection is entirely manufactured in the label’s New England factories, with a strong focus on quality American craftsmanship. In particular, the 990v4 model in our selection combines the 990’s iconic style with perfect cushioning, stability, and premium materials, all wrapped in a classic design that’ll outlast general releases.
Other noteworthy quality sneakers come from the likes of Diadora, with its Italian-made suede Tornado valanga azzurras inspired by Italian ski champions, and ASICS’ Skysensor Japan sneakers — a pair of kicks entirely designed, produced, and manufactured in, you guessed it, Japan.
For more shopping inspiration, check out these classic sneakers to add to your rotation.
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- Curated by: Rhianna Matthews