5 LUXURY TRAINER BRANDS YOU SHOULD KNOW
THE LEADING BRANDS SHAPING THE ATHLETIC FOOTWEAR TREND
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years you've probably noticed a rising trend for athletic footwear paired with anything and everything. It's a style we can fully get on board with and there are few things more versatile than a pair of Stan Smiths or Chuck Taylors, but sometimes you just want to take it to the next level. Those in the know are happy to fork out a little extra cash for cleaner lines and premium materials; we're talking Italian leather and fine European craftsmanship. This is what happens when age-old shoemaking techniques are fused with 20th and 21st century designs; the results are beautiful. So if you're ready to inject a bit of luxury into your sneaker game then why not start off with one of these brands?
Filling Pieces - Founded: Amsterdam, 2009
Filling Pieces have only been in the premium sneaker business since 2009 but already the Dutch brand have forged a name for themselves as one of the essential premium trainer brands, minus the hefty price tag. You can spot them by their trademark over-length tongue, D-ring eyelets and experimental use of materials and dye.
VISVIM - Founded: Tokyo, 2001
Former Snowboard apparel designer HIroki Nakamura finished his eight-year stint at Burton and set up his company VISVIM in 2000. Although the brand now produce all sorts of clothing, their primary focus was initially footwear; namely the FBT, which is essentially a Native American moccasin with an air max sole. With high-profile customers such as Eric Clapton and Kanye West, they must be doing something right.
ETQ - Founded: Amsterdam, 2010
Another fledgling Dutch brand making a noise at the moment - ETQ have only been in the game for 6 years but already they're becoming the go-to guys for modestly priced, high quality sneakers. They are firm believers in under-stated, under-branded products that just radiate class and cool. If you're not in a position to shell out top dollar then why not save an extra £40, leave the Stans on the shelf and take a pair of these bad boys home instead.
Common Projects - Founded: New York, 2004
Arguably at the forefront of the luxury sneaker market, Common Projects have been topping best sneaker polls in any fashion publication you can imagine with their timeless classic, the Achilles Low. Featuring the subtle trademark gold numbering to the outer heel, the Achilles Low are often seen adorning the feet of some of the world's best dressed men. Anyone in the know will tell you that these are the ultimate mid-price luxury trainer.
Spalwart - Founded: Stockholm, 2010
After stumbling across an old shoe factory in Bratislava, Christoffer Bratton and Fredrik Johansson shifted their focus from design and product development work for fashion brands and decided to start a sneaker company of their own. Since 2010 Spalwart has been manufacturing footwear of the highest possible quality using painstakingly sourced parts and materials. So much time and effort goes into every component on a pair of Spalwarts, from the vulcanisation of the soles - which takes 10 minutes and can only be performed on one pair at a time - to the 100% cotton laces, which are manufactured by a small company who have been in the business for over 120 years. If it’s more of a retro-inspired runner that you’re after then these are your guys.