Introduction

I suppose this article should could be called something like ‘My Top 5 Favourite Sneakers That I Think Every Guy Should Own’, but the title chosen gives the piece a sense of grandeur that I quite like.

If you read my 2014 Fashion & Style Resolutions article, you will know that something I am personally trying to do this year is focus on the areas of my style that I have previously neglected.

When I first started out on my long and winding sartorial road, I leaned toward the more formal end of the style spectrum. At the time, there was a big focus in most magazines, blogs and websites on tailoring and other smarter pieces such as dress shirts, ties and trousers.

As this was my first real foray into menswear, I was heavily influenced by the pictures I saw and articles I read, which meant those were the aspects of fashion and style that I drew the most inspiration from.

However, due to the fact that I now tend to wear tailoring most days of the week, when it comes to the weekend or evening I’ve begun to favour a simpler, more casual aesthetic. Aside from being more comfortable and relaxed, it also allows more room for drunken mishaps and spillages that won’t end in a hungover morning trip to the dry cleaners. Which, as we all know, is the worst walk of shame in the world.

5 Of The Best Sneakers Of All Time

With the above in mind – and along with a renewed interest in denim, cotton t-shirts and Harrington jackets – I’ve started to build my own sneaker collection.

As with most things concerning style, I’ve done plenty of research: tried on hundreds of pairs, looked at each one’s merit and considered whether they will go with the pieces already present in my wardrobe.

I’ve concluded that I like simple designs in classic neutral palettes, with a shot of colour here and there. These are the most versatile options available to the modern man and can even be used to dress down tailored pieces such as tweed trousers or the smartest of blazers.

So here are the top five sneakers I think you should own/consider:

Adidas Samba

Created over sixty years ago, they were made as a football training shoe with a gum outsole to set it apart from other trainers.

The Samba’s simple design and slim lines make it the perfect sneaker for pretty much every occasion – whether paired with jeans and a t-shirt or chinos and a blazer.

I’m not going to lie, I already owned these before I started this journey because SAMBAS WILL NEVER DIE, PEOPLE!

  • Adidas Originals Samba SuperAdidas Originals Samba Super
  • Adidas Originals sambaAdidas Originals samba
  • Adidas Originals sambaAdidas Originals samba
  • Adidas Originals Samba M – Trainers – White/blackAdidas Originals Samba M - Trainers - White/black
  • Adidas Originals Samba – Trainers – GreyAdidas Originals Samba - Trainers - Grey
  • Adidas Originals Samba – Trainers – RedAdidas Originals Samba - Trainers - Red
Converse Jack Purcell

Yeah, yeah, yeah – “what about Chucks?” I hear you cry.

Well, what about them? Seriously, try on a pair of Purcell’s and compare them to classic Chuck Taylors – you’ll understand what I mean. They aren’t even in the same league.

Plus, there’s just something about all-leather, all-white Purcell’s that are just so God damn sexy. They are the perfect summer shoe, and because they are made from leather they are easier to clean when inevitable muck and grass stains occur.

  • Converse Jack Purcell Leather SneakersConverse Jack Purcell Leather Sneakers
  • Converse Jack Purcell – Trainers – BrownConverse Jack Purcell - Trainers - Brown
  • Converse Jack Purcell Leather SneakersConverse Jack Purcell Leather Sneakers
Puma Clyde/Suede

It’s a bit of a controversial choice, I know. But when it comes to starting a sneaker collection, you don’t just consider the make and style, but also the heritage and history associated with them.

The Puma Clyde/Suede was the prototype Air Jordan. Made from (you guessed it) suede and coming in non-traditional colour ways, it pretty much paved the way for every modern age sneaker that came after it.

They were ahead of their time (they were originally called Clydes after Walt Frazier), which may explain why no one really paid attention to player endorsed shoes until the next on our list arrived…

  • Puma suede ClassicPuma suede Classic
  • Puma suede ClassicPuma suede Classic
  • Puma suede ClassicPuma suede Classic
  • Mens Puma Suede Classic TrainersMens Puma Suede Classic Trainers
  • Puma Suede Classic Blue GrassPuma Suede Classic Blue Grass
  • Puma Suede Classic Grey WhitePuma Suede Classic Grey White
Air Jordan

You could write an entire article on the different incarnations of Jordan’s, their differences and the impact they’ve made on other designs and sneakerheads across the world.

All you have to do is go on twitter when some new J’s launch and see the disappointment first-hand as people watch them sell out in minutes. They are a classic sneaker with an iconic silhouette that automatically gives you more confidence as soon as you pull them on.

Definitely not a shoe to be worn with anything close to formal clothing, but with jeans, a tee and a leather jacket? Perfection.

  • Air Jordan 3 RetroAir Jordan 3 Retro
  • Air Jordan Retro 10Air Jordan Retro 10
  • Air Jordan 5 RetroAir Jordan 5 Retro
  • Jordan i 89Jordan i 89
  • Jordan 1 MidJordan 1 Mid
  • Jordan i 89Jordan i 89
  • Nike Jordan Jordan 1 Retro High Og TrainersNike Jordan Jordan 1 Retro High Og Trainers
  • Air Jordan 1 MidAir Jordan 1 Mid
  • Jordan 1 MidJordan 1 Mid
Vans Slip-Ons

Simplicity is the ultimate expression of sophistication. As stripped down and comfortable as you can get, these shoes are always my go-to for high summer or holidaying.

Grab yourself a navy pair and they can be combined with absolutely everything, especially when it comes to shorts and polo shirt season. And if they ever get dirty, just chuck them in the washing machine and they come out like new.

  • Vans Classic Black Slip-on TrainersVans Classic Black Slip-on Trainers
  • Vans Classic Slip-on Red Canvas TrainersVans Classic Slip-on Red Canvas Trainers
  • Vans Vans Classic Slip On Navy CanvasVans Vans Classic Slip On Navy Canvas
Lookbook Inspiration: Sneakers

In order to show you just how versatile a pair of sneakers can be, we will finish the article with some modern lookbook inspiration, which features a range of brands, styles and silhouettes:

Men's Sneakers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

river island aw13primark aw13primark aw13h&m ss13tommy hilfiger westcoasting ss14valentino ss13scotch & soda amsterdams blauw aw13sandro ss13j crew fall 2013hartford ss13ami aw13bal aw13river island aw13two angle ss14ami ss14
Final Word

So there you have it, the five sneakers I have every intention of blowing all my Christmas money (and more) on.

Honourable mentions go to some of Nike’s other transcendent styles such as the Air Force 1, Air Max and Dunk Hi, along with the likes of the Adidas Stan Smith, Onitsuka Tiger Corsair, Reebok Pump and New Balance 576s.

But as always, I want to hear from you guys. What are your own all-time top five sneakers? Should I have focused more or less on styles that had an influence on sneaker culture? Am I crazy for getting obsessed with sneakers in the first place and neglecting my penny loafers?

Let me know in the comments section…