Style Q+A: Redefining Sneakers with Brooks Heritage

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a great pair of stylish sneakers. Now,¬†I’m by no means what you would call¬†a sneakerheard, but there’s no question that the footwear preferences of The Style Guide venture far beyond rugged leather boots and the like. Be it a pair of white canvas sneakers or perhaps a more adventurous pair of basketball-inspired high-tops, there’s room for every style ¬†in a well-rounded sneaker rotation. That’s what first intrigued me about the footwear innovations going on at Brooks Heritage (led by the subject of today’s Style Guide Q+A, Global Heritage Director Shane Downey). I guarantee you, even if you’re not that into sneakers, you’ll enjoy this — and if you’ve ever wanted more insight into footwear design … you got it.
Frank & Oak
Brooks as a brand is lauded for its quality among those who pound the pavement as racers and casual runners, and they’ve supplemented that approach with the lifestyle-focused Heritage line (which you might recognize from my December trip to Baltimore). Think classic retro runners inspired by past Brooks designs and injected with some modern cool, plus versatile styling potential. That’s certainly the case with the Brooks Heritage Grand Slam Collection. Featuring two silhouettes inspired by classic Brooks tennis shoes, it’s a modern revamp done right — and it proves that a brand can surprise you with what they stock beyond just, say, running shoes.¬† Yes indeed, I took a pair from the Grand Slam Collection — the Brooks Heritage Renshaw¬†— for a spin on a spring break trip to Florida and was more than impressed with the comfort and style of these soon-to-be essential kicks. All of which is to say, if you’d like to learn more about the design inspo behind the Grand Slam Collection, read on for more insight from Mr. Downey. In the meantime, check out your neighborhood menswear guy (that’s me) on Instagram for spring sneaker styling tips and a look inside my footwear collection. Now, onto the questions!
Greats

The Renshaw is a clean update of a classic — the next sneaker to add to your spring rotation? Perhaps.

TSG:  Tell me about the design and research process that went into the new collection?

SD: The process to bring to life the Brooks Grand Slam Collection took about 16 months in total (Editor’s note: 16¬†months!)¬†with the first 4 months just researching the past, looking through old tennis magazines and publications and then purchasing products off of eBay.¬†We bought multiple samples and secured old catalogs that we didn‚Äôt have in our collection as a way to really educate ourselves on our previous position and what we wanted to accomplish in the re-launch of this collection.¬†Getting the midsole and outsole right was the biggest priority and obstacle‚ÄĒwe wanted an outsole that could be executed in both gum and solid rubber, which are staples of the sport while being soft in fit and feel (Editor’s note: The Renshaw is shown above — the Doherty features an all-rubber outsole and equally stylish looks).¬†We had to create this new construction through old photos and similar outsoles, as we were working on a modern interpretation of what we had done in the past.

The Renshaw in action in the Florida sun. Marco Polo by Life/After/Denim. Renshaw Sneakers by Brooks Heritage. Calypso Watch and Runaway Aviators by MVMT Watches.

TSG: The brand has all sorts of retro-inspired runners, but what does the introduction of a tennis shoe silhouette mean for Brooks Heritage?

SD: Court silhouettes are a classic in the athletic/lifestyle world.¬†Classic white leather ebbs and flows with trend, but is a mainstay around the world for all generations — representing a timeless aesthetic.¬†For Brooks, the tennis shoe silhouette was the most natural extension beyond just trendS and the vintage element of the sport. This is a category that we‚Äôve participated in the past in a strong way with marquee athletes, signature technology stories and success in the sport.¬†Brooks has a tennis history that dates back to the early 80‚Äôs. … From our research and archive exploration, we identified a great history of product and technology innovation. It is the perfect way to celebrate our past and look beyond the run as we explore over 100 years of sport and style.

TSG: For the guy who wears stylish dress shoes or tough leather boots more often than sneakers, how would you style these?

SD: Right now — with the simplicity of street wear and overall fashion — ¬†the basics of white, black and grey are driving the industry as consumers are seeking a simple-yet-refined aesthetic that matches their apparel selections.¬†The starkness of the white shoe along with a simple shirt/pant combo is absolutely on trend right now, as less is more.¬†I personally would pair the pair the white-and-white leather Renshaw with a pair of slim-fit chinos for the spring with a printed button-up that would allow for great diversity from day to night on the weekend.¬†It‚Äôs a classic pairing that is timeless in look and relevance.

Beckett Simonon

TSG: Lastly, do you have a favorite shoe in the new collection?

SD: I personally love the White/Navy Blue Renshaw‚ÄĒit has that classic athletic/collegiate aesthetic that I like from a court shoe. I have memories of court shoes as far back as a I can remember, and what stands out is the white leather and subtle color hits like the navy blue on this Renshaw, and what it meant. From young consumers to the old timers, the white leather court shoe is a shoe and a design that stands the test of time.

Well, folks — Shane said it better than I could. For more on the brand, visit the Brooks Heritage site and shop away.

Thanks, as always, for reading — stay stylish!

-Beau

 

#OOTD: How to Dress for Fall Travel

Editor’s note: You’ve surely seen this hashtag lots of different places, including on Instagram. But how does that carry over to real life? The #OOTD will take one great item and put together a versatile, stylish outfit around it. Look for past features here. Portions of this post use affiliate links, from which a small commission might be earned.

Can you believe we’re talking about fall travel — November travel, even —¬†today on the blog? The year, and this fall season in particular, has really flown by. So, maybe you’re looking ahead toward *cue audible gasp* what to wear for Thanksgiving, ¬†or perhaps you’re just looking ahead to what to wear when you travel next. For most of us, fall travel is a bit of a different animal than dressing for summer travel — while comfort and style are still top of mind, the temperatures are a bit colder (to say the least), and you need layers that move with you as you go. Let’s say you start in a chilly Northern city, but move through to a more temperate climate — the below bomber¬†jacket in this #OOTD can go in your durable weekender bag¬†as you travel. And the rest of the pieces are versatile, classic and easy to wear on the road. If that’s got you wondering what’s next, simply scroll down. If you’d like more menswear inspiration, check out The Style Guide on Facebook or check out yours truly on Twitter.

Mixing the classics - like a chambray shirt & denim -- with a comfortable bomber & travel accessories.

Mixing the classics – like a chambray shirt & denim — with a comfortable bomber & travel accessories.

The Jacket: Public Rec Crosstown Bomber Jacket, $128 — The makers of your favorite pair of everyday pants are back in a big way, namely with a heck of a wearable, comfortable and versatile bomber jacket. It’s the perfect travel layer to get you through a chilly morning and a warmer afternoon — at a very fair price, to boot.

The Shirt: Taylor Stitch Everyday Chambray Shirt in Charcoal Chambray, $118 — If you’re surprised that Taylor Stitch is the pick here, don’t be.¬† The Everyday Chambray is a slim, well-made four-season essential — so, perfect for fall travel.

The Denim: Flint & Tinder All-American Slim Tapered Jeans, $98 — Why go with dark blue denim here? Well, it’s another four-season essential, and this pair from Flint & Tinder is made in America with¬†a hint of stretch.

The Sneakers: Brooks Academia Chariot Sneakers, $79.99 — From summer weekends to fall travel, the Brooks Chariot Heritage series¬†gets it done — and the Academia is a¬†fall-centric update with a pattern inspired by professorial fabrics.

Huckberry

The Socks: Anonymous-ism Fair Isle Crew Socks, $25 (Available via East Dane) — The Anonymous-ism brand is a sleeper hit for fans of subtly designed, well-made socks, and the neat pattern here is another fall-centric bonus.

The Watch: Timex for J. Crew Watch, $128 — J. Crew’s third-party efforts are a consistent hit, and this simple, effective and subtly stylish watch is one of ’em — it’s low-key enough to wear on the plane, then to drinks after you land.

The Weekender Bag: Sword and Plough Blue Weekender Bag, $359 — Behind every company is a great story, and behind every guy is a great weekender bag — right? The Sword and Plough team repurposes military material for its products, and does a fine job with this stylish weekender bag.

The Finishing Touch: Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit, $40 (Available via East Dane) — Instead of hauling your toiletries around in a plastic bag, reach for a durable dopp kit — this one has served me well on trips from upstate New York to Washington, D.C.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

So that closes the curtain on another #OOTD — what did ya think? In this author’s opinion, a breathable, slim-fitting bomber jacket that merges athletic inspiration and a versatile color is a can’t-miss win. And when mixed with some of your favorite pieces — we’re talking American-made denim and a slim chambray shirt — it’s a surefire travel success. The grey sneakers add both texture and comfort to the outfit, while those red patterned socks offset the outfit’s darker shades with a slight touch of color. And, you can’t really go wrong with a straightforward, stylish casual watch¬†— that goes for your travel day, and that goes for a nice dinner afterwards. Wherever you’re headed this season and beyond, safe travels — and stay stylish!

-Beau

Banner