What brand is this sneaker?

I recently saw a men’s classic white leather sneaker featured in a fashion mag. Very minimal in design—thin sole, narrow laces. It has no visible branding, only a small stamped serial number on the side of the heel. Blurb said they’re a hot item in the art community.

An associate tore the page out for trend research and ended up not using it, and it was tossed. I can’t remember the mag or the shoe brand. Can anybody help?

The are most likely Maison Martin Margiela

Good logical guess, Shoenista. But my associate just found it. It wasn’t tossed after all. The brand is Common Projects, and here’s the shoe…

Just out of curiosity, do you guys over at the big athletic companies ever feel like taking things in this direction? Brands like Common Projects, The Generic Man, Margiela and Pierre Hardy, to name a few, are filling a huge gap in the market for hipster clients who crave a shoe that is in between a high-end dress shoe and a trendy sneaker (i.e. a high-quality, well-crafted, minimalist “fashion” trainer).

Every once in a while, Nike or Adidas drops an LX version of some classic sneaker or collaborates with an “it” brand like A.P.C. to keep the kids happy. But we need more of this from you guys, no? Who wouldn’t love to own a pair of simple-yet-beautiful, Norwegian vegetable-tanned, capretto-lined, hand-made Converse Pro-Leathers? (Yo, you can have that one, no charge)

Maybe the problem is that such products fall into the high-fashion (high-price)/less volume category? Definitely. But the lower sales would be balanced out by increased brand visibility and recognition in fashion mags/crowds. What do you think? Can you make it happen?

Nice idea, ok!. Nike has sort of done that with the Blazer, but I think most of those are more bold in color than whan you’re talking about.

Here’s a smokin’ high-top from Common Projects…

But would the customer who buys those kind of shoes buy it if it was by a big brand?

Nope. That’s the whole point I think. Most of these “hipster shoes” (well put) are essentially heavily “inspired” by old sneakers (Chucks, Keds, Jacks…) with a material/color spin, made in a dress factory (maybe)… totally different kind of designer. I think most performance designers are more interested in the future, what’s next…

I’d wear one of those Skippy shoes for sure, I love 'em… just wouldn’t design them.

Sticking to either cannon can be boring, I’d be interested in hybridizing the two together.

part of the appeal for these “hipster shoes” is that they are an obscure brand. while nike and the likes have “premium”/“limited” versions of select styles, im not sure it could translate well to the market. closest i can think of is Nike White Label, but not sure if they ever did footwear.

Adi also has the y-3 collection with some styles in this genre and Puma has/had the Rudolf Dassler collection.

Funny thing though when i see most of these “hipster shoes” is that i just find them even less original and overpriced that the bogus limited edition mainstream products. $400 for basic vulcanized styles even if made in Italy is nothing more than elitism to me.

R

I agree. I’d personally be interested in it, because I dig the hipster look AND like Nike. But many of that shoe’s customers are all about the exclusivity and anonymity. There’s even an anti-big-brand group in there (see Blaskspot shoes).

Can you find the Blazer in white with a natural suede swoosh anymore? That’s what I’d like.

(ed. Sorry Rich. Didn’t mean to repeat what you said. I started typing before you posted and got interrupted by a phone call.)

You’re all absolutely right. The exclusivity/elitism is a huge part of the appeal of these ‘hipster’ shoes. But let’s not ignore the nostalgic element… the naivete in the simplicity of a plimsoll - people can’t seem to get enough of that stuff.

Now I’d like to digress just a bit because Yo mentions something interesting… Creating hybrids of old-school sneakers crossed with more ‘futurisitc’ performance sneakers.

It seems like whenever we do see such shoes on the market, they are usually old-school sneakers that have been reinterpreted and updated by a performance footwear designer. The results usually have no appeal whatsoever to the old-school consumer. Please have a look…

The legendary AF1, before and after.





The Adidas Pro Models got some muscle in the new millenium…




And so did these babies… Converse All-Star 2000!!

So here’s an idea that’s sure to please a more than few nostalgic sneakerheads out there… Do the opposite! Take a ‘futuristic’ performance sneaker and run it through an old-school filter. Maybe this happens more often than I think but I rarely see it. Can you think of any shoes that have been done in this way?

Actually, come to think of it, I did come across something close. About 5 years ago, in Japan, I saw the most amazing Chuck Taylors I’ve ever seen… Check this out - the upper was a canvas replica of the Converse Weapon in the Lakers colourway but on a Converse all-star hi-top, with no toe cap. Totally bananas, no?? It almost feels like I am making that up but it’s the truth.

Bonne nuit.

I’m a little bit obsessed with plain, plain shoes. Recently I found a new source - an army spurplus store in the North of England. Perfect shape, perfect colour and absolutely label and logo free, even the sock.

ok!, do these fit the bill?

Mr.Holler, those are fantastic!! I’d forgotten about them.

Shoenista, you are making me drool… It’s so exciting to hear about army surplus stores around the world. I am originally from Canada where, in the stores I’ve visited, I have only ever found one type of trainer. It’s a 14$, Canadian military-issue, plain, grey mesh running shoe with grey EVA midsole and gum-coloured rubber outsole. I’ve got a picture of it somewhere- will post it later, maybe start a “military sneakers from around the world” thread. I have yet to explore the offerings of the local surplus stores where I now live in Spain but I’ll definitely let you all know if the Spaniards got it going on.

ok!

I wouldn’t call the above examples hybrids… they are more of a veneer of old visual cues over top a modern shoe… I was thinking of more of a conceptual/construction hybridization.

For example the All Star was the most innovative piece performance footwear in the world when it was introduced in the late 1920’s (yes 20’s). It did this by being light, flexible, durable, intuitive, extremely simple to produce with few parts that where painstakingly thought out… the example of a reinterpretation of an All Star above is none of those things.

My director in New York just went to Nordstrom’s to look at those Common Projects sneakers. She said they look much better in the web photos.

word

Funny thing though when i see most of these “hipster shoes” is that i just find them even less original and overpriced that the bogus limited edition mainstream products. $400 for basic vulcanized styles even if made in Italy is nothing more than elitism to me.

word, i do not see the appeal of these sneakers? a few hundred bucks for these? wow!

ok!, do these fit the bill?

dig those, probably because i LOVE the zoom bb’s:




It seems like whenever we do see such shoes on the market, they are usually old-school sneakers that have been reinterpreted and updated by a performance footwear designer. The results usually have no appeal whatsoever to the old-school consumer.

as to pointed out, none of those update seem to hold true to the canons of the originals, furthermore even if they did, i do not think the old school consumer would look twice at 'em…

You’re right - I don’t see any difference in that kind of a rip off and an AF1 artist collab, made of action leather in a Chinese factory. It’s still emperors new clothes, to me.

I hate the old skool reworks though - horrible.

:wink: