The Product Review: GREATS Brand Leather Wooster Slip-on

The infinitely wearable Leather Wooster slip-on from GREATS Brand. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Dark denim by Mott & Bow.

The infinitely wearable Leather Wooster slip-on from GREATS Brand. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Dark denim by Mott & Bow.

If you follow this site with some regularity, you know the importance of buying some of the best sneakers for men and then wearing them with abandon this summer. And you’re well aware that I’m a fan of the quality and classic styling potential of sneakers from GREATS Brand. In fact, these leather slip-ons have popped up here before as a Style Pick of the Week. And, I’ve previously written on them for GearHungry. But in the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to go even more in-depth with what’s quickly becoming a summer footwear staple — thanks to some assistance from the brand’s PR team, of course. I’ve absolutely been pleased with what I’ve experienced — although they’re different than a classic pair of white sneakers, a slip-on (especially one made with lux Italian leather) is worth a go this summer if you want to give your footwear a shot in the arm.

The perfect type of shoe to wear with some rolled denim. Dark jeans by Mott & Bow. Leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand.

The perfect type of shoe to wear with some rolled denim; shown after a few days’ wear. Dark jeans by Mott & Bow. Leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand.

GREATS produces these sneakers in Italy using premium and supple leather uppers; the quality of the upper on the shoe actually feels somewhat thicker than that of a dress shoe thanks to the calfskin lining, but it doesn’t show at all — in fact, that lining creates an added benefit. The leather isn’t too stiff or starchy, and because of that, the shoe has been comfortable to wear with both no-show socks and sans socks for a brief period of time (a note on sizing: the brand says that they do run about a half-size larger than normal; I found the size I was sent, a 9.5, works just fine). The Margom sole is thick yet flexible and pliable — it makes for a fairly comfortable walking experience. The construction of the upper, with small elastic side inserts, makes it easy to slip the shoes on and off your feet.

One of the more unique touches of any pair of GREATS sneakers, this time stamped in gold lettering. Photo courtesy of GREATS Brand.

One of the more unique touches of any pair of GREATS sneakers, this time stamped in gold lettering. Photo courtesy of GREATS Brand.

The interior of the shoe, lined in calfskin, features a cool touch that GREATS has been known to incorporate into its other models — a listing of locales around the world where GREATS shoes are sold; this small design touch is one of those neat things that elevates this slip-on above offerings that are oftentimes more expensive. And it’s a good thing they provide such good value for the price — just $149 — when other brands like Common Projects charge more than twice that.

Two of the other colors in which the Wooster is available.

Blanco and Cadet — two of the other colors in which the Wooster is available.

You definitely get a bang for your buck from GREATS, generally speaking, as $150 is still more than some would spend on sneakers, to be sure. However, the fact that these slip-ons come in shades from white (Blano) and navy (Cadet) to the olive (or Cargo) option pictured here means that there’s a color out there to satisfy every preference. Especially when incorporating something a little different into your wardrobe — that is, switching out captoe sneakers for something sleek and lace-less — a neutral color that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself is definitely the preference.

A look at the initial packaging of the GREATS Leather Wooster.

Instagram-ready: A look at the initial packaging of the GREATS Leather Wooster.

While the white, black or navy pairs would be more fit for wearing with a crisp summer suit, any option could be worn with some more adventurous tailored get-ups, as Mr. Wooster himself does when it comes to the slip-on style in general. These shoes are perhaps best suited though to casual weekend wear — with a slim T-shirt and rolled dark or lightwash jeans, and absolutely with a well-fitted pair of shorts, too. And when in doubt, it also makes sense to sub them in whenever you might wear white sneakers — so definitely with a blazer and T-shirt combo, or a dialed-in polo and chinos ensemble on a Casual Friday. Another bonus to these sneakers, however slight, is the packaging as seen above — you get a sturdy blue cardboard GREATS box and a small notecard, plus that out-of-the-box smell that only great leather sneakers have.

Ernest Alexander

Whether you’re willing to pony up the money right now is up to you, but this is a top-notch pair of kicks well worth the investment as long as they’re treated with care — and a shoe made with this much attention to detail should last long past this summer season and into future warmer months.

Do you have a pair of the GREATS Leather Wooster? Considered picking one up?
Ben Sherman US

Style Pick of the Week: GREATS Brand Wooster Leather Slip-on

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here. Please note that the below post has been updated to reflect the pre-sale release date and price of these shoes.

Who needs laces indeed? The newest pending release from GREATS Brand.

Who needs laces indeed? The newest pending release from GREATS Brand. Photo courtesy of GREATS.

Summer time is almost here folks, and if you haven’t made the transition from your sturdy winter boots to some crisp white sneakers or classic runners, now is definitely the time to start doing so. All of this talk of transitioning seasonal styles is also bringing out some more unique footwear options — specifically the evermore ubiquitous slip-on sneaker. Some retailers like J. Crew have been producing this style for a while now, but there haven’t been many that combine so many nice elements into one package — like the soon-to-be-released Wooster leather slip-on from Brooklyn’s own GREATS.  The pre-sale for these shoes launched today (Thursday, May 21) — and if you’re on the early access list, you can get the shoes here for $149 now.I’m a  huge fan of the brand and the quality sneakers they produce for the price, so when I saw news of the latest release (named for #menswear icon Nick Wooster), I was effectively sold (on writing about them, at least!).

A close-up look at both the Blanco and Cadet versions. Photo courtesy of GREATS Brand.

A close-up look at both the Blanco and Cadet versions. Photo courtesy of GREATS.

The brand has already produced multiple different runs of the same style using the Wooster name — two colors of a wool slip-on, a white bison leather version with accessories maker Parabellum and a  Wooster x Lardini collaboration designed in conjunction with the style legend earlier this spring. The leather Wooster in particular looks like the best of the bunch though — five different colorways (a few of which also made it onto my Wish List Pinterest board linked in the Editor’s Note), beautiful-looking leather and the perfect mix of summer cool and sharp style. The Cadet or Blanco pairs in particular (that’s a deep navy and white for the uninitiated) could easily be styled with everything from shorts and a short-sleeve henley to chinos and an easygoing blazer-and-tee combo — keep your eyes peeled for the release of these early next week because if history tells us anything, they’ll go fast.

Have you picked up any sneakers from GREATS? Would you buy these? How might you style them?

Ben Sherman US