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Looking for the latest, sure-to-sell-out Air Jordan 1 OG Dior collaboration? Or simply your next wear-everywhere sneakers? We’ve scoured through some of the world’s finest boutiques to get an expert view on the best styles of all time, from limited releases to super-rare finds, and the ones you need to own this season. Find the curated picks below.
The timeless sneaker experts: Vietti, Italy
Located in the small town of Arona, Vietti is a third-generation-owned boutique that sources innovative global brands and pieces that will stand the test of time — including modern-classic sneakers. ‘The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70s, the Asics Gel-Nandi, the Common Projects Achilles Low, the Prada America’s Cup and the Gucci Ace,’ lists the boutique’s ecommerce manager, Andrea Vietti, on the styles that everyone should own. These fail-safe silhouettes can be refreshed based on seasonal brand updates. ‘Soft shades are really popular this season,’ notes Vietti, ‘and the chunky sole is now inflated.’ But you don’t have to be a typical collector to appreciate sneakers, he explains: ‘A lot of our consumers buy the same sneakers every year – it’s a matter of comfort.’
For those looking for a new pair for this season, the Nike Dunk Low is one of the boutique’s most popular styles, says Vietti: ‘It’s very similar to the Off-White “Out of Office” sneakers.’ If you opt for the latter style, Vietti notes that they size slightly larger than your usual size and recommends opting for half a size down.
The limited-release sneaker experts: Spazio Pritelli, Italy
With a diverse selection and a special eye for trends, family-owned boutique Spazio Pritelli is the perfect place to unearth the coolest sneakers of the season. Its exclusive Sneaker Shop — filled with limited-release sneakers and highly praised collaborations — is where ‘sneakerheads and trendsetters’ can get their hands on the world’s most sought-after releases.
Dealing with very knowledgeable consumers on a daily basis, Gaia Corradi, the boutique’s head of buying, highlights Raf Simons’ Runners as the style to know right now, while on collaborations to look out for, she recommends ‘the adidas x Prada, the Margiela x Reebook and the Comme des Garçons x Nike’. If those prove too difficult to get your hands on, she lists ‘the Nike Air Force 1s, the Converse Chuck 70 High Top and the Nike Dunks’ as key styles for the upcoming season. With sneakers as distinctive as these, she suggests styling each pair with ‘light blue jeans and a white T-shirt to set the focus on the sneakers themselves’.
The versatile sneaker experts: Smets, Luxembourg
‘Sneakers reflect one’s youthful personality,’ says Smets boutique buyer and art director, Pascaline Smets, whose first-ever sneakers were Nike Force 1s — a style she still considers a love-forever buy. ‘It’s an iconic design that has undergone subtle updates during the last decades to reflect the current moment, but without sacrificing its distinct DNA,’ she says. ‘They’re classic OG sneakers, and the first ones with the Nike Air technology.’
Another of the Luxembourg boutique’s most popular sneakers is ‘The Nike Air Max Plus, known as the ‘TN’ for its Tuned Air technology. It is one of the biggest cult favourites in Nike history,’ says Smets. ‘A combination of steep pricing and distinctive design meant the shoe was always destined for great things.’ Both styles have a huge cult following on the street-style scene, but Smets can also recommend more classic pairs for those looking for a more pared-back aesthetic, such as the America’s Cup by Prada. ‘One of the Italian luxury fashion house’s most iconic silhouettes, the America’s Cup sneakers have become a signature style for the brand,’ she says. ‘You can even team these with a black, charcoal, or light grey suit and an oxford shirt,’ she suggests.
The rare sneaker experts: Stadium Goods, United States
Since opening in 2015, Stadium Goods has established itself as a community for sneaker and streetwear connoisseurs. Its flagship store in New York’s SoHo ‘is where SoHo high fashion meets Downtown youth culture,’ says Jack Erwin, vice president for content and communications. For Erwin, the essential style for any collector is a pair of Air Jordans. ‘The sneaker of the year this year is actually the same Jordan 1 I was pining for 35 years ago, when I was 8 years old, due to the immense popularity of The Last Dance documentary on Michael Jordan earlier this year,’ he says. ‘There is a colourway for any taste in the Jordan 1 line now, so you can’t go wrong.’ He also calls out the Yeezy 350 as a key style, adding: ‘It’s another model that has come out in so many colourways so it’s very easy to find one that fits your mood. [But] many people feel Yeezys run a bit small due to their cut, so it’s best to look at those a half size up.’
Erwin’s other sneaker of choice is the Nike SB Dunk. ‘2020 has seen a resurgence of the SB Dunk, which is a “canvas” for a really cool set of collaborative models this year,’ he says. Erwin’s favourite Nike SB Dunk collaboration is ‘the faux fur trio of “Grateful Dead” Nike Dunks. It’s a fantastically creative use of materials to tell a story about the collaboration behind the model. Similarly, the dripping Swoosh in the “Ben & Jerry’s” Dunk is a perfect example of the lighthearted side of sneakers.’