Gone are the days when the humble sneaker was confined to the gym or running track. Favoured by style icons the likes of Victoria Beckham and Gigi Hadid, the shoe has, in recent years, made its way into the sartorial world as a fashion staple.
While most sneakerheads would be familiar with big names such as Adidas and Nike, which have produced iconic designs such as Stan Smith and Air Yeezy (in collaboration with Kanye West, of course) a number of cult sneaker labels are becoming steadily popular for their innovative fabrics and distinctive designs.
From sneakers fashioned in vegetable-tanned leather to stylish knitted basketball shoes that can improve one’s jumping prowess, check out these 5 under-the-radar brands for some super stylish kicks.
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If you’re more inclined towards clean and simple designs, here’s a brand that does minimalistic sneakers really well. Established in 2009 by architect Guillaume Philibert, the Amsterdam brand aims to provide consumers with affordable, premium quality sneakers.
Founded by twins Ryan and Adam Goldston, this brand made headlines in 2010 when the US National Basketball Association (NBA) banned its basketball shoes. According to the NBA, the shoes gave wearers an unfair jumping advantage. The ban turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it proved how well their “Load ‘N Launch” cushioning technology worked. Today, the brand is popular amongst athletes and sneaker-heads alike for its propelling technology and stylish “Techloom” knits.
Specialising in contemporary sneakers incorporated with retro elements such as canvas and thick rubber soles, this Swedish label is so under-the-radar that it doesn’t have any social media accounts. It was created after its founders Christoffer Brattin and Fredrik Johansson came across an old Slovakian shoe factory with interesting vintage moulds from the 1950s, and were inspired to start their own brand.
Hender Scheme’s shoes are exclusive and beautiful, which is exactly why it’s so popular. One of its most iconic collections is its 2014 “Homage” line, which puts a twist on classic sneaker designs from other brands. For instance, it offered Nike Air and Vans skate shoes in premium vegetable-tanned leather instead of the usual knit and canvas. Since 2010, Hender Scheme has displayed its products in Paris showrooms, and collaborated with big brands such as Nike and Sacai to produce unique collections.
This family-owned Spanish brand has been making shoes since 1939, but only became popular with the launch of its 1980s “Goal” range, which was catered to football players. It later began incorporating its signature “X” logo from the “Goal” range into each and every one of its sneaker designs. Munich recently launched their new Autumn Winter collection, which features shoes that can be customised to any colour of your choice.