The Sneakers That Help Me Stand Out From Other ‘Creatives’

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Unlike Vans or Common Projects, you won’t see these on the feet of everyone else.

The team here at New York is nothing if not opinionated, especially about the stuff they’re grabbing (and giving) for the holidays. We’ll be posting items that our staffers really stand behind — that also make great gifts. Below, editor-at-large Carl Swanson on the sneakers that break from the pack.

Last year my boyfriend gave me a pair of Armando Cabral sneakers, which solved a problem for me. Actually a couple of them. Of course, I own several pairs of grown-up leather-soled shoes, but I don’t wear them that often — they’re slippery. Because I ride my bike around the city, I need nothing more than rubber-soled shoes. My boyfriend, who works in fashion, knows all this.

So when he gave me the Mercers, he zeroed in on the perfect gift. They’re sneaker in form but made with the materials, craftsmanship, and attention to detail of something much more elevated. The leather is supple. The perforations are clever but subtle. I’ve since bought a few other Cabral shoes, but these are still my favorites.

Most of all, they solve the problem of what sneakers to wear when you’re not a 25-year-old, or under the impression that you need to wear the shoes of one. I hesitate to wear Vans or Nike Dunks or those ubiquitous Frees, however practical (I wear my Frees to the gym, but feel like they should stay there, despite the many athleisure victims I know who wear them all the time). I’m always coming across “creatives” in pricey Common Projects — many of them are my friends — trying, in a lemmingish way, to not be hipster basic. It only reminds me how happy I am in my Mercers.

Update: There are more sizes available here for 50% off.

The white versions are also on sale.

The Strategist is a new site designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best notebook, black T-shirts, fashion-editor-approved jeans, toothbrush, and apartment décor. Note that all prices are subject to change.

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The Sneakers That Help Me Stand Out From Other ‘Creatives’