The Perfect Black Sneakers If You Find Sneakerdom Exhausting

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Greats makes sneakers that look like sneakers, but not any specific sneaker.

I have a surprising amount of fashion do and don’ts. I think you should always wear a belt and that your shoes should match your belt, and since I don’t know where I would buy a belt that is, for example, blue, that leaves brown and black. (Note: Brown sneakers are weird and black boots look like you’re wearing a costume of a rock-and-roll dude.) At this point, you might start thinking that this box I have built around myself that looks strangely like the prison cell of masculinity sounds at best joyless and at worst like I’m some tech VC. If that’s the case, good news, you don’t have to follow suit, but I do think my lewk is nice-looking and good, and I used to get sort of measured compliments when I was out and about. It’s not really about trying to look fashionable or even fun; it’s just trying to look put-together.

I recently got a pair of Adidas that are like cool Adidas, and every time I put them on, I want to take a nap. All the widgets and gizmos, they just feel like little factories for your feet. I think they accidentally glued a Lego piece on. So I am going to buy another pair of Great sneakers. It’ll be my fourth.

I first found them searching for “cheap sneakers no logo” and the Greats homepage came up. Greats makes sneakers that look like sneakers, but not any specific sneaker. I like the Rosen because it looks maybe ’80s, but not too ’80s. They kind of look like Saucony’s without that garish sprocket on the side, or New Balances without that N or alt-right dog-whistling. And they are sleek without looking like they wish they were dress shoes. I’d never think of wearing them with a suit, which is good because I don’t want to feel tempted to look like a cool professor or rock-star CEO. Also, they don’t look like I am going to start running any second now, which is good because I like nonverbally communicating to people that I am present in this moment with them. My friend Kelly said they don’t look like a marshmallow, like so many sneakers do, and that point was so good that I am crediting her and not passing it off as my own observation. They just feel like the platonic ideal of “sneaker.” Are they comfortable? Yeah, I think so. I don’t really know; they haven’t proven to be uncomfortable, but it’s all relative — is anyone else just constantly in like a whisper of pain at all times? Anyway, yes, they have them in colors that aren’t black, but if you care about that, you’re obviously not me or a person who for some reason wanted to dress just like me.

Well, it seems like I’ve made a pretty good case for these sneakers. Oh! I should say that they don’t cost that much.

Other Strategist-Approved Men’s Black Sneakers

These are Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen’s favorite sneakers for traveling in. He writes: “Lunars aren’t just great gym shoes — they’re perfect for traveling. There’s no need to switch shoes once you arrive at your destination, either, especially if you’ll be bopping around on foot. The super-soft cushioning of the soles might be built for cross-training and 5Ks, but they’re incredibly comfortable for sightseeing, too.”

And these happen to be Jay Ellis’s (he plays Lawrence on Insecure) favorite black sneakers. He told us: “These are like walking on butter, if you could do that. They’re just so comfortable and have a mesh top that lets your foot really breathe. I wore them like every day of filming season two. It got to the point that my castmates would look at me and ask if I had any other shoes.”

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The Perfect Black Sneakers If You Find Sneakerdom Exhausting