Summer is good. Beaches, fireworks, Choco-Tacos, the Yankees: all good. Still, for too long, summer’s footwear has lagged behind the rest of the season — the hot weather renders your collection of sumptuous leathers impractical; the proper socks-to-shorts ratio is a fragile equilibrium; nobody wants to see your toenails.
This summer, though, you can break free from the clutches of Big Flip Flop. During the last half-decade, sneakers have become the primary focus of streetwear and high-fashion circles alike, creating a new array of options that demonstrate how varied and interesting summer style can be. Whether you’re looking for something stylishly clunky, beautifully simple, or built for the sea, here are 11 aestival sneakers that complement pants of all lengths. And, hey, even if lockdown means that you can’t parade your new duds around, you can at least take solace in knowing that your neighbors have never felt so flexed on.
Karhu Fusion 2.0 “Marathon” Pack 2
Karhu, a Finnish athletic company, makes the trendiest sneakers that don’t seem too concerned with trends. As such, Karhu displays many of the same overly-structured stylistic hallmarks of high-priced fashion-house offerings, but in a sunnier, friendlier and more accessible way.
Nike Air Monarch
More than any other, Air Monarchs are Dad Shoes, an outlet mall staple around the world. Nonetheless, they’ve become a most unlikely grail, gaining a newfound appreciation in 2020 post-ironic sensibilities. Sure, they might make you look as though you designed your house after Bass Pro Shop, but that’s kind of the point.
Gucci Tennis 1977 sneaker
There’s a lot going on here. It’s all good. An attractive green sneaker is a rare and wonderful thing; the thick red stripe and and the squiggle on the side create a photogenic, Wes Anderson-y quality that’s as appealing as it is precious.
Common Projects Original Achilles
Handcrafted from Italian leather by the finest haberdashers in the New World (or at least that’s what I’d assume), Common Projects launched the wave of ultra-luxe minimalist kicks. Admittedly, they’re expensive, but their quality promises that you might never have to buy another pair of white sneakers ever again.
Sperry x Rowing Blazers Cloud CVO Corduroy Deck Sneaker
Once again, Rowing Blazers has teamed up with a prep favorite to bring that subculture into the 21st century. Seriously, the only thing better than normal corduroy is corduroy when it’s fashioned into a shoe the same deep blue of an early-dusk sky.
Nike Air Tailwind 79
Originally one of Nike’s first running shoes, the Tailwind is perfect for bodega runs. The mesh exterior keeps things breezy and the low-top shape lends itself to socklessness, making these the ideal summer beater shoe.
New Balance 327
With the 327s, New Balance reached back into its archives to bring back a truly delirious model. The design? Asymmetrical. The colors? Loud. The sole? Gummy. The logo? Huge.
Just when it seems like 2020 can’t get more bizarre, the cosmos hurls another curveball. First, murder hornets. Now, water shoes. No longer relegated to hiking trips and summer camps, waterproof sneakers have flooded the mainstream (get it?), thanks to their non-conformity and breathability. If you’re going to commit this hard to drip, you might as well keep your feet dry.
Puma Clyde Core
You will never be as cool as Knicks legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier, but that’s ok—nobody will. As part of the brand’s recent resurgence, Puma has revived Frazier’s signature shoes from the 1970s, which were integral to the early hip-hop and skating scenes. Styling and profiling, indeed.
Axel Arigato Dunk 2.0 Sneaker
Taking cues from the aforementioned Common Projects, these Axel Arigatos are another premium white leather sneakers, albeit without the self-importance. The presence of additional flourishes—suede overlays, perforated stripes, colors—suggests a latent chillness.
Beckett Simonon Morgen Trainers
Maison Margiela and its Replicas may have made the former German Army Trainer iconic, but Beckett Simonon has certainly made it more affordable. Crucially, the Beckett Simonon iteration is still built to last—the leather is conditioned with oils that cause it to mature and evolve with use, enabling each pair to develop its own distinctive character over time.
Nike x Odell Beckham Jr Air Max 720
This collaboration is as eccentric, confusing and layered as the Cleveland Browns’ superstar receiver himself. The Air Max sole gives these bad boys a comfortable yet buoyant literal foundation, which is a nice complement to the shoe’s ideological one: Velcro shoes, but make it fashion.
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