Just a few years ago, sneakers were deemed only appropriate for the likes of the treadmill and outdoors. Oh, how the times have changed. Thanks to a crop of luxury designers, and we mean virtually everyone from Raf Simons to Rick Owens, the casual silhouette made popular by Keds and Converse has recently received an ultra-fancy upgrade. But, as most guys realize, there’s a big difference between shelling out a couple hundred dollars for a pair of Italian leather brogues and using that money for a pair of sneakers. However, these five pairs of uppity kicks are totally worth the sticker shock.
1. Dressy gym shoes from Brooks Brothers
Depending on your office’s dress code, you may not have to wait until casual Friday to sport these suede kicks from Brooks Brothers. Consider this pick a footwear mullet: business on the top, party on the bottom. The suede covering and traditional wingtip stitching offers an upscale twist on sneakers, yet the wide white rubber sole keeps this pair from looking too stodgy. The result? A pair that will look equally appropriate in the office and off duty. If you need any additional incentive, these shoes are only $298 and most likely cheaper than your trusty work brogues.
2. Adidas’ Instagram-Bait Collaboration with Raf Simons
Even if you don’t know the actual style name — they’re Stan Smiths, by the way — we’re sure that you’ve seen this Adidas silhouette everywhere: on celebrities, models, “real men,” and in magazines, to name a few. If you’re a little late to getting a pair of your own, you may feel more like a trend zombie than a sartorial trailblazer. These kicks, which are the same silhouette but gifted an extra fashion flair by Belgian designer Raf Simons, are a fitting solution. Sure, an embossed logo and vibrant hue doesn’t make themworthy of a $400 bill; however, we have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be wearing these all the time. And unlike the white options, these will be a lot easier to maintain, making them a smart investment.
3. Valentino’s take on gym-friendly sneaks
Although there’s a seemingly endless array of luxe sneakers on the market, very few of them are exercise-friendly. Should you stroll up and down Runyon Canyon in these Valentino Rockrunners? No. However, the ridged soles make these a great option for some light treadmill or stationary bike action. Sure, these shoes don’t come cheap — $645, to be exact — but being able to wear these with your sweats to the gym and jeans for a cool, normcore vibe will help soften the blow.
4. Sleek slip-ons from Tod’s
No laces? No problem. This perforated alternative from Tod’s has the style cues of upscale dress shoes but the ease of skater-friendly slides. Translation? These are a happy medium between formal and casual. What makes these kicks worthy of a $475 price tag lies in the details. With a nubuck exterior and a smooth leather lining, the textiles that make up this shoe scream luxury. And thanks to the lack of laces, these shoes are a great option for virtually any occasion.
5. Statement shoes from Saint Laurent
If watching endless hours of Sex and the City with your significant other taught you anything, it’s that your shoe collection doesn’t always have to be functional. Just look at Carrie Bradshaw, who has a studio apartment full of 5-inch Manolo Blahnik stilettos (which cost well over $500 each). So why not treat yourself to a pair of shoes that are more artful than versatile, such as these high-tops from Saint Laurent? Between the animal print paneling around the ankle and zesty silver laces, these shoes have “street style blog” written all over them. But unlike Carrie’s collection, the rubber soles offer a more wearable quality.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs