- Adidas Ultra Boost
Forget Kanye and his spat with the Beavertonians-that-shall-not-be-named. Adidas’ latest footwear offerings stand on their own in terms of comfort, design, and utility. Unlike that other company’s more adventurous products, most of Adidas’ sneakers both perform well and look great. The Boost sole offers excellent comfort, and you can find it on everything from trail shoes that double as urban-exploration footwear to indoor soccer kicks. However, our pick is the new UltraBoost_Uncaged model, which will look great with all of your techwear, offer slipper-like comfort, and (theoretically) allow you to launch into a sprint at any time. I’m sure we’ll see them worn with skinny trousers next time Pitti rolls around, too.
- Adidas Y-3 Qasa High
Yes, another Adidas project, this one the fruit of the Three Stripes’ ongoing collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto. Although the Qasa has been around for a while now, that doesn’t keep it from being one of the coolest-looking athletic sneakers out there. The choice of everyone from Yohji-wearing artistes to bike messengers sporting Acronym, the Qasa is a gem in the world of sneaker design.
400$-500$, Y-3 Store
- Nike Sock Dart
Once a NikeLab exclusive, this stand-out is now available as a general release on Nike.com. The Sock Dart offers a lightweight upper with minimal support, and is something of a strange beast. It’s not going to work as a real training shoe, but if you enjoy wearing slightly futuristic, modern clothing – think Peir Wu or nonnative – you’re going to like the way these fit into your wardrobe. And because of the easy slip-on factor, it makes a great travel shoe.
- Diemme “Fontesi”
Although several seasons old by now, Diemme’s forward-looking “Fontesi” high-top really feels as though it has come into its own. Offered in a variety of leather and suede make-ups, the fall colors really do justice to the laser-cut patterning, and although the cup sole they’re built on may look familiar, the rest of the sneaker is anything but. For an added bonus, wear pants that are cropped just at the sneaker cuff to show off the suede detailing.
- Salomon “Speedcross” 4
If you’ve fully embraced urban techwear – and you should – the Salomon Speedcross series is the sneaker to beat for trail-ready toughness. Though not as easy to style as the options listed above, the Speedcross offers great support and comfort (we’re all about comfort), quick-lacing ease (we’re all about ease), and stand-out-from-the-pack style (and we can’t say no to quirky style). And since they’re now found in avant-garde shops worldwide you’ll be one nod and wink away from being a true sneaker insider. The fashion set will try to sell you the blacked-out models, but we prefer the outdoorsy stylings of the Salomon original.Also, if you ever have to climb over a muddy log in the middle of a downpour, you’ll be all set.