With CoViD-19 putting most social activities on hold, there’s no better time to stay home and catch up on the latest sneaker releases. Although working from home has its perks, one cannot be blamed for developing a creeping case of cabin fever. On the rare occasion that you do set foot outside — probably for sustenance or some much-needed exercise — why not take that as an opportunity to field-test some of the most covetable sneakers out this month? Let’s kick things off. Just remember to wash your hands.

Salomon S-Lab XT-6 ADV

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The current darling of the sneaker world, Salomon has been a mainstay in the hiking community for years thanks to its reputation for comfort, utility and durability.  This model was originally released in 2012, and was designed to provide stability on jagged rocks whilst still offering a comfortable ride. Over the past few years, however, the streetwear community has embraced the utilitarian shoe as an anchor to wider, exaggerated and tech influenced outfits with the signature rainbow stripe down the centre of the shoe acting as a welcome pop of colour. Popularised by French retailer The Broken Arm, the luxury department of Salomon’s largely function-focused catalogue exploded, leading to other ongoing collaborations with dystopia chic label, Boris Bidjan Saberi.

Approx HK$1,700, available now on Salomon’s

Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 ‘Light Patina’

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Not everything that we feature in Kicking Off has to be a limited edition or an exclusive colourway. Sometimes, it’s perfectly sensible to opt for a shoe that has more versatility and longevity. The Nike Blazer has weathered fleeting trends and fads, and has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1973 as a basketball shoe. Clean lines rendered in white leather dominate the Blazer, but the highlight comes in the form of lux Vachetta swooshes, emblazoned on the lateral and medial side. Matching heel branding complements the otherwise simple (but by no means basic) shoe. There will always be another grail release around the corner, but everyday styles like this look great when thrown together with almost anything and will only improve with age.

Approx. HK$800, available now at Nike

New Balance M997SOA ‘Soft Pastels’

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Another month, another pair of incredibly difficult-to-resist New Balances. Although the U.S. brand has been consistently dishing out well-received collaborations, their run-of-the-mill styles need some love too. It is fortunate then that these are downright easy to appreciate. The colour palette is eye-catching without ever getting corny, combining just the right shades of beige and grey with touches of pastel blue, red and green. As ever, the construction is top notch — these are from the brand’s American factories — so you can count on this pair to help you rack daily steps for years to come.

HK$1,875, available now from End Clothing

Kapital MA-1 Sneakers

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Are you a fan of milspec clothing? Do you dig the aesthetic of an MA-1 but wish that it also came in the form of a shoe? Kapital has you covered. No detail is ever too minute for designer Kiro Hirata: something that’s abundantly clear in his reinterpretation of the military standard issue jacket. Recognisable elements such as the arm patch have been taken from the outerwear design and transposed to the realm of sneakers. ‘Inspiration’ would be an understatement: the sneaker even features the iconic olive nylon material and contrasting orange inner lining. Understandably, these won’t appeal to a large section of the population — but for that small percentage that thoroughly enjoy the wonders of wabisabi, this shoe is a Godsend.

Approx. HK$1,800, available now on Kapital

Doek Court in Navy

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Though classic silhouettes from brands such as Converse and Vans will never go out of style, their ubiquity can be something of a problem. These Kurume-made plimsolls are not your average canvas sneaker though. For one, the deep inky colour is difficult to ape in a more mass produced product, and the cork insole elevates a deceptively simple design to the next level, providing breathability as it slowly moulds to the shape of the wearer’s feet.  The canvas used in the uppers is painstakingly handwoven on old shuttle looms, and will only develop more charm with wear. These aren’t technically new releases — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Treat these as grown up versions of those well loved sneakers during childhood years.

Approx. HK$1,000, available now at Good Weaver

Rokh x Asics Gel-1090 in black/white

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Let’s get weird. Reminiscent of images you stumbled upon whilst browsing the seedier side of the internet, it goes without saying that these shoes exude a bondage aesthetic. Your first reaction might well be ‘grotesque’, but the more you look at them the more they make sense.  These Asics are also more wearable than you’d initially think: just think of them as an ordinary black low-top, save for some chunky embellishment. We think they look great paired with oversized trousers, say from brands like Issey Miyake Pleats Please.

Approx. HK$1,900, available now exclusively at Dover Street Market

Alexander Esmail

A lawyer by training who moonlights as a fashion enthusiast, Alexander is a huge proponent of relaxed tailoring, in-the-cut sneakers and the meticulous tradition of Japanese workwear. A native Hongkonger who went to school in the U.K., he embraces a transatlantic lifestyle (minus the bewildering 1950s accent).