This photo shoot originally appears in the April/May 2016 issue of Complex.
The impact that sneakers have on society today is undeniable. They've become a way we communicate our personal taste and ideas. It's not just about young people in search of hyped up or rare shoes —athletic footwear has a far and wide reach that spills over into other sides of society with sports and fashion (streetwear and high-end) at the forefront.
Sportswear brands have tapped into high-end luxury with sneakers, and plenty of luxury brands have implemented sneakers of their own on the runway. It’s evident that brands are trying to appeal to all types of consumers, but eventually hype dies and trends fade regardless of the quality. That means the latest streetwear brand sneaker collaboration and those thousand-dollar designer sneakers equipped with zippers, buckles, and tassels might not always have a spot in your rotation, if they aren’t already collecting dust.
So, how do you find a happy medium between sporty and high-end when trying to pick out a new pair of shoes? The answer is to go after footwear with simplistic, yet classic styling cues — no glow-in-the-dark outsoles, crazy all-over prints, or futuristic designs. Sneakers with classic style can often be found right under your nose, too. Certain designs from sportswear brands have stood the test of time, so it’s only right they keep pumping them out. Silhouettes like the adidas Rod Laver and Puma Suede Classic come to mind right away. As for luxury brands, search for silhouettes with high-end quality that are reminiscent of other time-tested designs like the adidas Stan Smith, Vans Authentic, or Converse Chuck Taylor.
A lot of these shoes gained their status for not only their clean designs, but also how they looked on the tennis and basketball courts, on the feet of b-boys, musicians, and football casuals, or for the fact that they can literally be worn with anything.
With so many options from sportswear and luxury brands alike, we’ve weeded through all the duds to present the best selection for this season.