Sometimes, we have to put our foot down (pun intended).
In the year 2018, that has meant not hopping aboard the chunky-sneaker trend train, that runaway sartorial Polar Express. Instead, we’ve chosen to champion shoes that run the gamut from fledgling sneaker brands to top-notch wedding kicks that are no less compelling, but far less puerile — to continue the train metaphor, an Orient Express approach.
Then a curious thing happened. At a press preview last month for something completely unrelated, an attendee was heard saying, “The chunky sneaker is over,” citing a trend piece in the New York Times bearing the headline “The Season of Peak Sneaker Silliness.”
The article asks questions like: Is the sneaker bubble about to burst? Or more specifically, “Are sneakers the Dutch tulips of the early 21st century?” While the story mainly focuses on women’s and designer shoes, men are not spared, with the “dad shoe” aesthetic receiving this denunciation: “… [they] really look more like Frankenstein monsters of the foot, cobbled together from references and peer pressure, unwieldy and aggressively clumpy.”
[Cue DJ air horn.]
But on the same day I heard, from one New Yorker and one Times writer, that chunky sneakers were so over, I was finishing up a month-long test of something extraordinary:
The first “chunky” sneaker we, in all sincerity, endorse: The Avalanche from Koio.
Card-carrying InsideHook readers may remember the shoe from our profile of 15 new sneaker brands to know, but after 30-or-so days on city streets (even a few amongst the freshly-shined dress shoes of our midtown office) I can confidently say this is one sneaker for the ages.
That is, when the inevitable chunky/dad/Frankenstein-sneaker fad does flame out, the Avalanche will still pass muster. It has the trademark thick-cut outsole, but reigns in the alien protrusions and zany colorways spearheaded by Balenciaga in favor of a geometric white slab that mirrors its name. (If you’ve never slipped on this style before, be aware you’re basically wearing a platform shoe, and it will take a few blocks to get used to.)
The rest of the shoe follows suit with Koio’s other offerings, pairing premium materials with meticulous construction. These are real-deal, no-BS, made-in-Italy sneakers (the eastern Marche region, if you’re Google Maps-ing). And the upper is Frankensteinian in a good way — a mix of Italian calf leather, suede, patent leather, nylon and mesh. Though it is a smidge thinner than I’d like, my main criticism.
Koio Avalanche (2 images)
All that said, there are some at InsideHook who still disavow the chunky sneaker (and shall remain nameless). If you, even after all this, find yourself in that camp, we completely understand.
Not wanting to deprive you of Koio’s sneaker prowess, here are three of our other favorites.
A relatively simple silhouette, but with a navy suede upper and calf-leather lining it’s a masterclass in understated luxury. Also available in Roccia (gray) and Arena (sand).
Capri Red Chili Perforated
Who doesn’t love a perforated sneaker? Breathable, sure. But more importantly it’s the most underrated shoe detail out there. Also: red accents, because why not.
To be honest, I’m more wary of this style of high-top than I am of chunky sneakers. Anyone else seeing Stormtrooper here? But this cream-colored nubuck leather style is undeniably cool (as long as your don’t wear skin-tight denim like the model on the product page).
All images courtesy of Koio
Note bene: If you buy through these links, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.