Growing up, my dad used to refer to white sneakers as “nurse’s shoes.” Oh, how the times have changed. White sneakers are now the shoe, the singular sneaker that I can honestly say everyman needs. Regardless of your respective style, no wardrobe is complete without a pair of blanked out sneakers. From Italian leather lace-ups, to dirt cheap plimsolls, the sneaker marketplace is inundated with white sneakers of all material, shape, and price. To help you chart your own course through this sea of white, we’ve rounded up our favorite colorless lace-up sneakers. Wear ‘em till they’re no longer white, and then start all over again.
Great design is an intersection, lying at the point where all these different features, details, and ideas converge. The crucial component to this meeting is balance – if one point outweighs the others than the center shifts and the perfect X collapses. From the light blue JP stitching on the tongue down to the molded cork footbed, the sneakers of the Converse Jack Purcell Cross Stitch sneaker collection are perfect X’s all the way through.
It’s hardly a recent revelation that the pieces that define “American style,” are so rarely produced in this country anymore. If you’re reading this site, it’s safe to assume that you’re aware of the steady deterioration of America’s garment industry, but (thanks in part to our shared awareness) there has also been the reactionary effect of bringing production back to the states. This can be seen in the multitude of shirt factories, denim labels, brands, and sites such as this across all categories that have opened over past decades.
These contemporary companies were not formed to compete with the mammoth conglomerates that produce overseas, rather they provide a higher quality product for a conscientious consumer. Again, this is not at all new revelation, but it does place the sheer resilience of America’s hand-sewn footwear brands in context. While many industries exported their production and have only recently begun to see a continental renaissance, our country’s small-scale hand-sewn shoe businesses have endured all along. These footwear brands, some of which have been around for over one hundred years, were able to convert the Native American moccasin tradition and weather the mercurial attitude of the American consumer year after year.
If you plotted out footwear styles from the past few years on a Venn Diagram, you would find the relationship between sneakers and dress shoes has become more and more involved. Not long ago, brogues, saddle shoes, bucks, longings and cap-toes were everywhere. Then dress shoes and sneakers started to merge together into what many saw as the best of both worlds. Things seemed to be led by the menswear magazines, Pitti street style and comfort-loving guys everywhere. It seemed perfectly normal to wear sneakers with a suit. More than that, it felt stylish and right. Then boom, this past month Alex Williams in The New York Times declared sneakers the new black. Sneakers are the new dress shoe and, as it happens, sneakers are the new everything. To further prove that they look good with (almost) anything, I recently spent a few days in NYC wearing the new Converse Jack Purcell Cross Stitch collection all over town.
Leather shoes are all about potential. The real appeal of a pair of leather soles lies not in how they look today, but how they’ll look tomorrow. “Character,” is that intangible factor that compels us to purchase a pair of shoes based at least partially on its ability to age along with us. Japanese footwear label Hender Scheme is driven by this notion, as their collection of raw leather shoes are distinguished by their promise of an incomparable patina. Unlike most leather sole labels though, Hender Scheme isn’t best known for dress shoes (although they have recently begun to enter into this market), instead they focus primarily on sneaker silhouettes. These shoes, much like paying a visit to your hometown as an adult, are at once both familiar and unknown.
At the Pop Up Flea this weekend, Red Wing Heritage is launching two new and exclusive (never before sold in the U.S.) styles. Inspired by Red Wing Heritage’s style no. 101, known as The Postman. Originally developed to meet U.S. Postal Service requirements, The Postman style is probably best known for being featured in an iconic advertisement by Norman Rockwell. After many years of status quo, the Postman shape is getting a much desired update. and just in time for summer.
More details about these two new Red Wing styles:
For the first time since 1954, Red Wing is expanding this style. The new Postman are built with the same features as style no. 101, including a dog tail, blind eyelets and Goodyear Welt. They are crafted with premium leathers made at Red Wing’s own S.B. Foot tannery. The cushion crepe outsole gives these boots as much comfort as the original shoe.
It began with a smile.
More even than the man himself, the Jack Purcell line is best represented by a smile. Not everyone can recall that Jack Purcell was a Canadian badminton player, but we can guarantee that most people can recognize that subtle black “smile” that’s stamped on the front of his signature sneakers. And now nearly eight decades after Jack first took to the court in those white plimsolls, Converse is taking the brand to new heights thanks to that smile.
Converse has transformed that upturned line into a logo, stamping it proudly on a tee alongside their straightforward, unflappable message, “Smile.” That t-shirt is just the start of the brand’s newly formed apparel collection, which includes a polo (again with an all-over print smile motif that is almost reminiscent of waves), a lightweight blazer, and a unique barn jacket/blazer mash-up. Of course, the sneakers are still the most extensive part of the collection, adding a premium edge to the iconic silhouette, most notably on an indigo colored pair that features the wavy smile pattern.