#5. Tretorn Leather Nylite Hi 2 Sneakers — $100 (Available via East Dane)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Finding a great pair of sneakers for the spring is a move that can make it a lot easier to shop around for the rest of your gear. An awesome pair of well-made sneakers have tons of styling potential — jeans, chinos and shorts can all be worn with ease with some simple shoes. GREATS, out of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a brand that’s been featured a few times in recent weeks on this site (and elsewhere lately) for delivering innovative, modern sneakers at outstanding prices. They seem to be launching new models every couple of weeks, and they’ve also partnered with menswear luminaries like Nick Wooster on various designs.
But it was the brand’s simple Wilson silhouette that first caught my eye. This pair of sneakers made my spring style wish list a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to pick up a pair before jetting off to Florida recently for a weekend vacation (a few more photos of that trip can be seen on my Twitter and Instagram feeds). The Wilson is available in quite a few colorways — and in both canvas and suede options — but the all-white pair was my first pick, namely for versatility and crisp style potential.
The sneakers arrived in what you might call the brand’s signature blue-and-white packaging. Notably, they didn’t have any scuffs or marks on first inspection — sometimes tricky to do with all-white items. Out of the box, they came with thinner ripcord laces, in addition to a handy backup pair of thicker white cotton laces — although I found the hint of stretch in the ripcord laces to be a nice bonus.
The Wilson features metal shoelace eyelets, a canvas upper, pull-tab heel and captoe construction, which adds a nice bit of durability in a mold similar to the Converse Jack Purcell — no need to worry about the toe giving out on these bad boys. The branding on these is thankfully minimal, with only a blue-and-white Greats “G” logo placed on the back heel and the middle sole.
These sneakers feature sturdier construction and a thicker heel than other models of white sneakers I’ve had, which is a definite plus (no knock on those Tretorns, though). They felt comfortable with a pair of no-show socks when walking for several hours, and they broke in right away — no crazy stiffness or toughness to the canvas upper or heel. And as far as styling potential goes, these sneakers have definitely got it. On my Florida trip, I threw them on with both a charcoal pocket tee, khaki shorts and a white watch/patterned watch strap, as well as a patterned short-sleeve buttondown and lightwash jeans (as seen above). The clean white color would also work with dark denim or olive chinos, and I plan to try them out with a casual blazer & light grey chinos in the coming weeks, too. Standard khaki chinos would also work well.
As always, price was a big factor in my decision to pick these up; other minimal sneaker models are out there (and in more luxe materials like leather), but these are far and away the best bang for your buck at $49. For spring and summer style versatility, these are great to have on-hand — if you catch my drift.
Editor’s note: Get $10 off a pair of GREATS sneakers using the code ROOKIEX.
Do you have any experience with GREATS sneakers? What do you think? And how would you style them a pair like this?