For a grey and rainy day…
The Canvas Sneaker
I suspect that now summer is upon us not everyone of you will be going sockless in your double monks, tasseled loafers, or other hard-soled dress shoes on a daily basis. Some days will require more casual footwear—if for no other reason than the fact that sneakers are generally more comfortable than even the most comfortable dress shoe, or because you’ve got to give your dubs a break to let them aerate and get cedared up with their nice custom shoe trees…I jest, but only slightly.
Above are what I think are the gold standards in the canvas sneaker universe. Converse Jack Purcells, Converse Chuck Taylors, Vans Authentics, Supergas, and Tretorn Nylites. All of these can be had for under $ 60, much cheaper if you’re patient, and for the Converse and Vans much, much cheaper if you don’t mind a slightly used pair.
To my mind they’re fairly interchangeable as far as what they can bring to an outfit, but there are significant differences in comfort. Here’s my totally subjective (remember, everybody’s feet are different—the vast archive of custom lasts in the warehouses of cobblers of distinction proves this rule),and by no means exhaustive, opinion on the relative comfort and merits of each. They are listed in order of comfort:
1. Tretorn Nylite: Most comfortable by far. Super lightweight. Could walk many a sockless mile in these. A bit of a ‘squishy’ feel when you walk in them, like pillows for your feet. Could easily make walk from Uniqlo to Paul Stuart. Probably the most menswear-ey to own right now. They come in some pretty cool colorways. Size up a half size.
2. Converse Jack Purcell: Second most comfortable of the bunch. Also a nice cushioned feel, good for long days on your feet. Classic. Buy true to size.
3. Superga: Bloggers choice. A little stiffer feeling, but still very comfortable. I can easily walk all day in these, but wouldn’t do so without socks as the toe box is a little cramped feeling for me—and I even sized up a half size. The heaviest shoe of the bunch—probably because of that thick rubber sole. Not that many color choices, but navy is really all you need
4. Converse Chuck Taylor: The quintessential canvas sneaker. A must have in every man and woman’s shoe collection. Color selection is massive. Very comfortable, but not particularly supportive—they feel very flat. These get better with age. Buy true to size.
5. Vans Authentic: A solid and simple shoe. Goes with everything. Color choices galore. These run a little narrow for my taste—especially towards the toe area. Size up a half size, and if you have a wide foot you might want to steer clear. Could do the trek from Blue in Green to Balthazar…