Clarks x V&A
As part of Clarks’ sponsorship of the V&A museum’s ace exhibition on the history of footwear – Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – the near two-century-old British brand was granted access to an archive encompassing four centuries of everything from clogs to high-tops.
Thankfully, Clarks surfaced from this deep dive clutching not a pair of Chinese foot-binding boots (they’re in the exhibition, and they’re terrifying), but menswear emblems from the 50s and 80s; the teddy boy brothel creeper and the gothic ankle boot. The former’s gleaming leather upper rears on a chunky crepe sole, and the latter comes in either faux-snakeskin or a buckled take on the desert boot you can imagine Nick Cave stepping out in. It’s a collection that deserves its own glass display case.
The Clarks x V&A collection is available from £100, at clarks.co.uk
Oi Polloi x Reebok Classic
This coming together of two northern institutions – Bolton-founded sportswear giant Reebok and Mancunian menswear destination Oi Polloi – is an instant classic. Fitting, considering it’s a reworking of a 30-year-old Reebok Classic, the NPC UK II, – which crossed from tennis courts to streets thanks to an all-white upper and abrasion resistant outsole that kept your look super clean – constructed from a buttery leather and sock lining stamped with minimal Oi Polloi branding. It’s as subtle as all-white sneakers get.
Which makes them perfect for today too, since boxfresh bleached trainers have spent the last couple of years transitioning from trend to style staple. Rock them beneath pinrolled denim, deploy them to inject new life into your navy suit, or nod to their origins with an oversized sweatshirt and tennis shorts. Just ensure the rest of your outfit isn’t all white, unless you’re actually on centre court at Wimbledon.
The Oi Polloi x Reebok Classic is available from £75, at oipolloi.com
Yeezy x Adidas Boost 350 Pirate Black
Ahead of the first Yeezy 350’s drop, we saw some enterprising hypebeasts camped out in front of a nearby Foot Locker two days before the shutters went up. So don’t expect this all-black version to hang around any longer than its siblings. We think it’s worth the overnight exposure, though.
The monochrome styling, bulbous base and monochrome one-piece knit upper will draw appreciative looks ever from non-sneakerheads. And if you do manage to grab a pair and decide you don’t like them, the fact the previous version is selling for almost $2,000 on eBay should cushion the blow. Almost as effectively as its Boost sole.
The Yeezy x Adidas Boost 350 Pirate Black is available on Saturday 22 August from £150, at mrporter.com
Drake x Nike OVO Air Jordan X
Kanye’s Adidas hype makes it easy to forget that Yeezy was once all about that swoosh, until a falling out over cash and creative control sent him into the German brand’s three-striped arms. Filling his shoes – literally – is the man currently perched on rap’s throne and Canada’s foremost exponent of emotional bars.
Drake’s take on the Air Jordan 10 is as luxe as ‘Ye’s is gritty. A white stingray leather version is queued to launch in September and its black cousin purportedly lands later this year. A handful of the year’s most-hyped trainer appeared at an LA pop-up in April and disappeared in minutes, reappearing almost instantly as the most sought after trainer on the resale market; with eBay price tags currently approach £10k. If you’re not feeling the 10s then an equally monochrome take on the Air Jordan 12 is also pending. No confirmation yet that the leather is specially treated to ensure it’s not stained by tears.
The Drake x Nike OVO Air Jordan X is available on 12 September from £150, at selected Air Jordan retailers
Christopher Shannon x Cat Footwear Colorado Boots
Christopher Shannon and Cat Footwear is a perfect mix. The Liverpudlian’s designs are always utilitarian, a sports-inflected take on streetwear that fizzes with youthful rebellion; tracksuits that un-pop to the crotch, or the kind of cozy knitwear your nan would send you out in, were it not emblazoned with a “Thanks 4 Nothing”-stamped plastic bag.
So it’s natural he’d hook up with a brand whose boots are popular with builders, the Wu-Tang Clan and school kids giving an up yours to their uniform’s demand for black lace-ups. Shannons version of the Colorado swaps the eyelets and leather for nylon mesh and canvas, reimagining an iconic shoe for a future where ruggedness and durability are vital. It might not be a fun future, but it will look sensational.
The Christopher Shannon x Cat Footwear Colorado Boots are available soon, price on application, from catfootwear.com
Saucony x Offspring Shadow 6000 “Stealth”
Ignore the logic of taking a shoe inspired by the Stealth Bomber – an aircraft with a $45bn design aimed at avoiding detection – and giving it panels fashioned from super reflective 3M material. Focus instead on how Saucony’s 27-year-old Shadow 6000 has been given an otherwise all-black makeover courtesy of sneaker mecca Offspring, whose name appears in a rather harder-to-spot rubber heel stamp. Then grab a pair as soon as you spot them. A torch should help.