WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
Alongside your colorful, conspicuous and otherworldly (Foam Runners, we’re looking at you) kicks, it’s vital to keep a selection of dependable sneakers within your rotation. You know, the kind you can throw on with whatever you’re wearing – whether that’s an Amiri tee and joggers look, a Homme Plissé blazer and trousers ensemble or a Diesel denim ‘fit.
How does one recognize a rotation mainstay? It’s the kind of shoe that never goes out of style, can be appreciated by all that you surround yourself with and is relied upon by the cream of society. Shoes like the Air Force 1: an affordable yet timeless crep worn by millions everyday, including A-Listers such as Dr Dre, Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
Below, we take a look at 15 failsafe footwear options from the likes of Balenciaga, adidas Yeezy and New Balance that will get you from A to B in style for years to come.
Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG
The OG Air Jordan is often credited as the silhouette that kickstarted the never-ending, community-building sneaker hype. Ever since its original 1985 release date, the high-top silhouette has been a key pillar of sneaker collections worldwide because it’s a timeless silhouette that encapsulates a pivotal moment in fashion history.
JJJJound x Reebok Club C 85
In 2019, Reebok collaborated with normcore deity Justin R. Saunders – the Montreal-based founder of JJJJound – who subtly enhanced one of their most popular sneaker silhouettes: the Reebok Club C 85. Today, this premium crep is one of the most sought after Reeboks in existence as it represents high craftsmanship and, in turn, eternal elegance.
If retro 'fits are kinda your thing, the Puma Suede is arguably the most suitable classic sneaker for you. Born in the late ‘60s, the streamlined sneak has been relied upon by generation after generation – and now it’s time for you to put your trust in the steadfast silhouette.
Nike Air Max 1
Inspired by The Centre Pompidou in Paris, legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield dreamt up an Air-soled shoe for the Swoosh – complete with the once-revolutionary Air window – during the late ‘80s. Needless to say, we’re talking about the Air Max 1 – the quintessential Air Max model that’s still immensely prevalent in contemporary society.
Nike Air Force 1
Sure, every entry to make it to this list has been dubbed a ‘style staple’ at one point or another, but the Nike Air Force 1 is a bona fide essential to a first-class wardrobe. Affordable and appreciated by people from various subcultures, there truly is no reason why you shouldn’t consider copping a pair of these kicks.
New Balance 990
It's hard to go wrong when it comes to New Balance sneakers but, arguably, the most hard-working silhouette formed during the brand’s 116-year history is the New Balance 990.
Now in its fifth version, the shoe is more supportive and comfortable than ever, chiefly thanks to the addition of a TPU power strap and an Ortholite insole.
adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2
The Yeezy Boost 350 V2 (the adidas Yeezy line’s magnum opus) is a coveted kick that looks just as fresh with a flight fit as it does with fitness class attire. Crafted with a Primeknit upper and a Boost midsole, it’s difficult to find a classic sneaker that provides a more comfortable feel.
adidas Yeezy 700 V1
Speaking of adidas Yeezy, the collaborative line’s answer to the dad shoe, the Yeezy 700 V1, has enduring appeal – especially when presented in its OG ‘Waverunner’ colorway. Personally, we like to pair ours with oversized sweatpants during the colder months and some shorts and a pair of tube socks in summer. But, that’s just us.
Saint Laurent Court Classic
Minimalism and elegance go hand in hand. Case in point: the Saint Laurent Court Classic sneaker. Constructed with first-rate leather and a slip-resistant rubber sole, these sophisticated sneaks are equipped to tackle any urban terrain you tread. Plus, they look mighty damn fine.
Fila Arcade Low
The Fila Disruptor may’ve tarnished the reputation of Fila sneakers to a certain extent (apologies to those Disruptor fans out there), but the Fila Arcade Low always has been – and always will be – one of our favorite classic sneakers. Why? It’s refined, affordable and completely unproblematic.
New Balance 550
Ever since Teddy Santis – founder of Aimé Leon Dore – revived the 550 as part of his collaboration with New Balance, the ‘80s basketball silhouette has been considered a must-have by sneakerheads and style connoisseurs alike. Grab yours today, and you’ll find yourself reaching for them before every outing. Seriously, we find it hard to take them off.
adidas Forum Low
The adidas Forum Low is an ‘80s crep characterized by its structured upper (featuring an embossed three stripe sidewall) and striking velcro strap that’s both novel and functional. Readily available in an abundance of tasteful colorways (‘White’ being our personal favorite), there’s room for a pair of these classic kicks in everyone’s collection.
Converse Chuck 70 High Top
There are plenty of reasons why the Converse Chuck 70 High Top is the go-to sneaker of athletes, creatives and generally cool people worldwide. It’s durable, supportive, pretty easy to care for and, most importantly, utterly versatile. Think about it, what can’t you wear a pair of Chucks with? (Don’t say a tux, because we’ve managed to pull that look off before.)
Vans Old Skool
No matter your age or background, you can count on the Vans Old Skool to keep you on your feet all day, everyday. The strong and sturdy kick has been relied upon since its late ‘70s release, and is sure to continue to serve its purpose decades into the future.
The Nike Cortez is a bit of a Hollywood icon – it’s starred in more movies and shows than any working actor, including Stranger Things, Forrest Gump and The Wolf of Wall Street. Plus, it’s beloved by some of the greatest musicians to ever do it, from Eazy-E to Kendrick Lamar. Bearing all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that the Nike Cortez deserves to claim a spot in your rotation.