The Product Review: ALDO Sneakers

Sneaker culture continues to intersect more and more with the world of #menswear on a daily basis through the influences of both hip-hop artists, athletes and the clash between streetwear and high-fashion brands. These competing influences can make it difficult to seek out sneaker styles that are, first and foremost, both wearable for the stylish guy and inexpensive (unlike, say, this style “on-sale” at Barneys New York). There are definitely welcome antidotes to both increasing trends and questionable designs, however. Thankfully, certain options will never go out of style (think low-profile kicks like the Jack Purcell sneaker or the similarly classic Chuck Taylor model), and the great thing about investing in a pair of clean, minimal sneakers is the potential for getting all kinds of wear out of them during the warmer summer months.

Casual sneakers in the summer. T-shirt by Gap. Jeans by Levi's (508 fit). Watch by Stuhrling. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Sneakers by ALDO.
Casual sneakers in the summer. T-shirt by Gap. Jeans by Levi’s (508 fit). Watch by Stuhrling. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Sneakers by ALDO. Photo credit: Liz Todd.

On the other hand, a pair of higher-cut sneakers can do just as much work leg work (pun intended) as a lower-profile pair of sneakers. While it’s always a wise move to have a relatively inexpensive, basic pair on-hand (like these from Urban Outfitters), a higher-cut sneaker rests more easily under jeans, provides more stability for walking around or exploring a big city (take NYC, for example!) and can actually team well with colored shorts in the right setting.

A recent purchase from ALDO (as seen above) definitely fits the bill for a solid, casual sneaker, despite being different than your average pair. The ALDO Gianpiero model (or the Gia, for short) does a few different things well. Available in light grey with a black captoe (or in a light blue option with a navy captoe), the sneaker is made out of a lightweight canvas that nonetheless provides good stability around the ankle. It’s free of any visible logos, another positive in a streetwear era where so much seems to be driven by having a large symbol splashed across an outfit.The construction of the sneaker and the upper part of the shoe also provides nice breathability.

These sneakers can be worn just as easily with a T-shirt as a casual button-down shirt.
These sneakers can be worn just as easily with a T-shirt as a casual button-down shirt.

The white sole is a welcome addition, a slightly stark pop against the light grey-and-black combo, and the black laces seem durable, yet could also be switched out for a more eye-catching pair. The most notable thing about these sneakers revolves around the fact that they combine certain elements we see in high-fashion sneakers — like the faux-leather captoe and black details — with a distinctly wearable quality and, even more importantly, a very affordable price point ($75, according to the ALDO product page).

In fact, the black captoe echoes the classic Jack Purcells or Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker, just in a different shade and on a slightly beefed-up model. The great thing about these sneakers is that they can also pair just as easily with the same type of casual outfits as a more conventional, low-cut sneaker. They’ve worked personally with a striped navy tee and olive jeans, ( as well as the above outfit), and they’ve also paired with light blue shorts and a black v-neck (sans socks on the feet). They can more than hold their weight under some slim denim, and the sleeker profile means they also won’t look out of place in a shorts-centric outfit.

Although it’s certainly tempting to reach for low-cut sneakers when the weather heats up, mix up your sneaker rotation with some higher-cut kicks. Better yet, pick up a pair that avoids the high-fashion trappings of most sneakers, and you’ll continue to add to a well-rounded wardrobe.

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