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Yesterday, I launched my new style and pop culture podcast, Club Cool, on Grandex Labs. I’ve been ruminating on it for some time now, and I’m extremely excited to get it going. I’ve kind of always flirted with my role as a content creator here, and I think it’s finally time I staked a little more ground. I can’t promise dozens of forthcoming columns, but I’ll definitely be pouring myself in to the podcast for the foreseeable future.
On v1 of Club Cool, I chatted with my longtime friend and collaborator, Ross Bolen, about a bunch of different things, but a large part of our discussion was dissecting the way sneaker culture has infiltrated our perspectives of the style game as a whole. We also answered some mailbag questions, a couple of which revolved around wearing white sneakers. One of my listeners was trying to figure out what type of clothing to pair with some new white UltraBoosts and another wanted suggestions on white sneakers for the summer. Since it seemed to be a popular topic, I’ve decided to put together a list of my top picks for white summer sneakers.
Before I go any further, however, I have to disclose my own personal aversion to solid white sneakers. The only pair of all-whites (or “triple-whites”) that I own are the Cream Yeezy 350s, and I think I’ve worn them a total of three times. There’s just something that doesn’t look quite right to me aesthetically about a pair of sneakers with zero contrast so when it comes to white sneakers; I almost always opt for something with a tonal midsole, an accent color, or some type of textural variance. That’s why I’ve included the caveat that my choices are “almost” white, and here’s what I’m going with:
Yeezus himself based his Powerphase sneaker on the archival Continental 80, but personally I think this classic version blows his variations out of the water. The Off-White colorway isn’t nearly as blinding as the Cloud White version plus it won’t get dirty nearly as quickly. The red and black racing stripe breaks up the potential bulkiness of the silhouette and is a nice, subtle accent that sets these apart from a standard white sneaker.
Originally titled the Iniki Boost, the I-5923 is Adidas’ best new silhouette since the rise of the UltraBoost. It’s one of the only men’s downstream options that’s really grabbed my attention. It’s got the modern Boost sole and comfort combined with a really slick old-school runner look. If your wardrobe is made up largely of athleisure and casual, sportier pieces, you need a pair of these. Navy accents are the perfect compliment to the white upper, and the gum sole is a cherry on top.
This is as classic as a white sneaker gets, and believe me when I tell you that the Chuck 70 is a significant upgrade over the less expensive base model. The sole is thicker and more cushioned, the toe cap is slightly smaller and therefore less clownish, and it comes in this tonal white Parchment color which is so much better than the overly bright white offered in the regular All-Star. At $80 they’re still very affordable, and you don’t have to worry about keeping them clean because they look great a little scuffed up.
If you like these, don’t walk, run, because most of the vendors have already sold out. Much like the Converse Chuck 70 listed above, Vans creates some premium silhouettes under their Vault line that are slightly altered and more archival variations on the cheaper, mainstream versions. Vault by Vans has also been teaming up with Brooklyn-based LQQK Studios to create some absolute fire. The Epoch Sport is not nearly as popular as the classic slip-on, Sk8-Hi, or Old Skool, but it’s the perfect summer sneaker and this colorway is hitting all the right notes for me. A not-quite-white suede upper with optic white accents and laces, gold-rimmed eyelets, and a striped sidewall make all the difference in the world. The devil is in the details.
Golden Goose Superstars in White & Grey
Before everybody freaks out, let me start by saying that I personally would not pay retail for these. Most colorways are pretty easily attainable come sale season for 30-50% off. Here’s the thing though… Golden Goose is awesome, and I wear my pair of Superstars all the time. The high price and pre-distressing is definitely not for everybody. If you’re the type of guy that can’t understand why anybody would EVER buy jeans with holes in them, then you can move on to the next pair on the list. If you’re intrigued though, let me continue. You know what sucks about nice sneakers and white ones in particular? If there’s even a chance of inclement weather, they stay in the closet. Not so with your Geese. The fact that they’re already beaten up to perfection means you can throw these on rain or shine. Hitting the bars? Wear ’em, who cares, they’re already dirty. They are supremely comfortable to boot, and there’s a reason the team behind GGDB won’t say much about their hand-distressing methods. You could try a thousand times on your own, and you’d never get them to look as cool. It’s a je ne sais quoi that you either get or you don’t.
I’ve talked numerous times about the Common Projects Achilles, the OG of minimalist luxury sneakers, so here I’ll shine a light on one of CP’s competitors. Just like Common Projects does, Koio use a Margom sole and are made in Italy, but they retail for around 40% less than a typical Achilles does. I’m particularly fond of this neutral, cloud-like Nuvola color, and the use of both suede and leather on the upper is superb. If you’re looking for a shoe that would transition well in to fall and works with both shorts and jeans, this is an excellent choice.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a dad sneaker on this list. New Balance has been a major benefactor of the swerve in to dad fashion, and they’ve done a really nice job of capitalizing on the extra attention as well. The 990v4 is one of the hottest dad shoes out right now, and New Balance continues to release dope colorways of the silhouette. Arctic Fox is the one I’ve really had my eye on recently, as it strikes a perfect in-between of white and grey.
Here’s the reality of the situation: It’s extremely likely that I’m going to take the L today on the Element React. (UPDATE: I did.) After I strike out, I’ll be frustrated and pouty with a hole burning in my pocket. I’ll pull up Nike.com and come right back to these which share some features with the top-notch Element React. The EXP also draws some inspiration from the Zoom Fly so they’ve got a cutting-edge running look, and I know they’ll be super light and comfortable, plus they might have some of that sick transparent thing happening too. There’s a high probability I end up giving them a try.
Veja is a French company that is making their kicks in small Brazilian communities to help support their economies. You can feel good about that, and you can feel good about the soccer trainer inspired look of the brand’s V-10 model. The extra white uppers get toned down by the tonal midsole and the bright blue logo, a perfect accent color for a pair of summer sneaks.
This pair is probably the most tempting on the list for me right this second. I’m a big fan of rag & bone’s stuff in general, and these would fit in to my wardrobe seamlessly. The extra discount code offered right now also drops them to 60% off, right in your boy’s wheelhouse for designer cops. The suede looks like it has a beautiful, textured nap to it which helps break up the monotony of the shoe, and these would look equally nice with a pair of rolled-up chinos as they would with any number of shorts. These are a very solid choice if you’re going for the casual, contemporary, and cool look that I think a lot of you guys are after.
For more content like this, make sure you follow the Grandex Labs podcast feed and tell your friends about Club Cool. v2 of the poddy will be dropping very soon, and I’ll follow up with more columns like this as well..
Listen to Club Cool v1