Our editor-in-chief, Jasper, is incredibly picky about his sneakers. I know this because he has told me, every time the subject comes up, that he has not bought sneakers in years. The subject comes up a lot. He constantly gripes about having to be on his feet all day - in leather soled boots - when he is traveling. Things are either the wrong style, not versatile enough, too expensive, or any combination of the three. At the time this article publishes, I am probably enduring his griping yet again. It’s unlikely that he will mention this in his Pitti Uomo daily dispatches.
Here are some of the options that were rejected, and the reasons Jasper “gave.” If you’re busy and 600 words is 600 too many, here is synopsis: Jasper wants to pop some tags, he’s got about $20 in his pocket, and he’s annoyed that the thrift shop down the road has no swaggy kicks. My response – I am not responsible for your decision to live in suburban Colorado.
The lone fruits of this otherwise pointless quest were Jasper’s insights on some of the best sneakers from the past Fall/Winter season. Some of these may even be on sale right right now - so you might even snatch something from right under Jasper’s nose.
Common Projects Basketball high (BB High), white (Jasper only wears white or off white sneakers):
Nice. Really great sneakers. Maybe a bit too “street”. Comment: “If I had enough money, I would have gotten these already.” Said while lounging in a collector’s item of a shearling jacket and a Margiela pants and boots. While not cheap by any reasonable standard, with the retail floating around $450, Common Projects has long lost its status as “ridiculously priced” status, and while not actually “affordable”, (brands like Filling Pieces and ETQ Amsterdam have taken up that mantle) it’s definitely in the “affordable luxury” category for fashion-minded people.
Kris Van Assche multi-lace (a.k.a “Crazy Lace”) sneakers:
Jasper: “Not versatile enough. I want to be able to rock them with a leather, dropped crotch black pants, but also with a tee and beater jeans. These work for the first, but not the second.” I try to point out that they are white sneakers, and will most definitely “go” with jeans. Jasper: “They are maybe too chunky.” He’s never watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or any videos from the 80s, so... moving on.
Dries van Noten hikers:
Cool. They are technically hikers, but yeah, probably very comfortable, and very current as well, with that technical hiker shape. Jasper: “They are perfect, but too expensive. Also, I only like this one, specific, color, that is the hardest to find and least likely to go on sale.(editor’s note: this is not verbatim)” And then, when I find out for him that they are on sale for 50% off: “I have no idea what I’d wear them with.” I think that GQ would say that they are versatile, and could be worn with cords and a wool sweater for a cool weekend look. I meant that sarcastically, but it’s actually a not half bad idea.
Ann Demeulemeester high-tops – white:
Jasper: “They are perfect.” The problem is that although Ann Demeulemeester makes a version of low, mid, and high tops of these every season, they hardly ever make the same colors more than just the once. So, it’s down to months and months of browsing Ebay auctions.
Margiela Velcro three strap Velcro high-tops – white (of course):
Jasper: “I love them. But they are not on sale. Oh, wait, they are on sale, at Matches Fashion, but I was too lazy to have bookmarked a webpage/checked a website occasionally/set up a price drop alert for a pair of sneakers I’ve been looking for months, and now they are sold out of my size.”
Sneakers, once reserved for athletic footwear, have morphed into shoes for lazy dads, into symbols of youthful rebellion, into status symbols. For me, they are the perfect shoe for pretty much everything. They’re the footwear of choice for everyone from Marty McFly to Martin Margiela, and don’t let Jasper’s curmudgeonly behavior convince you otherwise.