003 - the white tennis sneaker
Updated: May 13, 2020
The first "tennis shoes" with rubber soles and canvas uppers were designed for the British Navy in the late 18th century for use on slippery ship decks - their modern equivalents will serve you just as well for navigating the tennis court to the dance floor.
Since the 1950s, tennis shoes have become ubiquitous in the world of mens (and womens)wear for good reason - they're comfortable, stylish, and incredibly versatile. Brands from Adidas to Tom Ford have put their own spin on this classic style, but with so many options to choose from, which one will make you stand out from the rest of the pack?
In my mind, tennis shoes fall into two categories: single-season and investment pieces. Some of my favorites cost less than $80 (I've been wearing my New Republics to death the last few months), but they likely
won't last longer than a season or two. It may seem hard to justify dropping $300+ on a pair of sneakers, but high-quality leather versions from brands like Common Projects will last you years with a little maintenance.
Take Care Taking proper care of nice things is a big part of the joy of ownership. I'll use a gentle cleaner and brush (Jason Markk makes a great starter kit) to get rid of dirt and subway grime as needed on all my sneakers - Magic Erasers also work wonders on tough-to-clean midsoles - along with a basic polish to cover up bad scuffs. I'll also use cedar shoe trees or stuff the toes with tissue paper to help retain their shape and discourage creasing over time. Once or twice a year I'll have my "investment" pieces professionally steamed/polished at Leatherspa (your local cobbler will also do) to maintain optimal crispiness. You'd be shocked at how far "back from the dead" you can bring a pair of high-quality leather shoes with the right tools - something for the DIY-inclined to keep in mind in the following section.
How to Buy
With a little research and determination, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to find your grail kicks at a deep discount on the secondary market. Resale sites like Grailed, Poshmark, Vestaire Collective, and even Ebay have some absolute steals waiting to be discovered - be sure to set email alerts for your favorite brands so you can jump on great deals as they come online. Happy hunting!
New Republic - $66.75 (on sale) Everlane: $73.50 (on sale)
Adidas - $80 Adidas by 424 - $105 (on sale)
Veja - $124 Alex Arigato - $140
Maison Martin Margiela - $285 (on sale) Moncler - $341
Golden Goose - $495 Tom Ford - $534 (on sale)