Just by looking down at the feet of your fellow passengers on the Tube, you’ll have realised that trainers are having quite a moment. Whether you’re heading out for the 9-5, or doing some shopping in St James at the weekend, they’re now as acceptable a mode of dress as a pair of polished Oxfords. Heck, even Emma Thompson wore a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths (albeit designed by Stella McCartney) to accept her damehood from Prince William earlier this week.
It just goes to show how much dress codes have flexed in recent years, making the prohibition of ‘sportswear’ by fancy restaurants and bars all of a sudden feel old-hat. So without further ado, here’s The Jackal’s pick of the best low-key trainers on the market. And yes, you can wear them with your suit – but that’s a story for another day.
Oliver Cabell GAT trainers
‘What are GAT trainers?’ I hear you ask. Well, get comfy, as they have quite a story behind them. Standing for ‘German Army Trainers’, the original design was commissioned by the German army in the 1970s. They asked brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler – who sneakerheads will know as the founders of Adidas and PUMA – to create shoes for the military’s indoor training exercises. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the trainers seeped down into civilian wardrobes – and the rest, as they say, is history. This year, Oliver Cabell has reimagined the GAT design, retaining the leather body and rubber soles of the originals, as well as their lack of branding. However, unlike the first iterations, the new designs are made from luxe full-grain Tuscan leather, and are hand stitched and lasted in Albacete, Spain. A slice of history remade for pounding 21st century streets.
£145, shop now
Paul Smith ‘Earl’ sneakers
Here at The Jackal we have a bit of a soft spot for Paul Smith’s sneakers. Like his tailoring range, they’re as minimal and cool as you could wish for, with a dash of that elusive mod vibe that Smith does so well. These ‘Earl’ sneakers are a case in point: they come in a clean, classic silhouette, but are given the Paul Smith touch with their low-top, collarless design, contrasting rubber outsole and that flash of burgundy at the back. Even better, they’ll go with pretty much everything in your wardrobe. You’ll be wearing them day in, and day out.
£285, shop now
Aprix corduroy sneakers
Aprix is one of those low-key sneakers brands that when you know, you know. First launched by Brendon Babenzien, former creative director of Supreme, in 2008, and then relaunched in 2016, the brand specialises in street-inspired sneakers, made for pounding the pavements and hunting down new experiences. This pair in navy corduroy come in a simple, low-top design with wide white rubber outsoles. And, not only is the silhouette sleek, but the navy corduroy fabric – unusual on footwear – also ticks one of this season’s top trend boxes. Wear these for indisputable cool points on your commute.
£170, shop now