With sneaker boutiques popping up faster than hipster handbooks, it’s harder than ever to figure out which cool shoe is for you. We assembled a trio of sneakerheads—Bobbito Garcia, author of Where’d You Get Those? New York City’s Sneaker Culture: 1960–1987; Clarence Nathan, owner of Fort Greene’s Premium Goods; and graffiti artist Earsnot—to size up some of fall’s best.
Nike’s Laser Project
The Story: Want a $275 laser-etched shoe that looks like the tattooed face of a Maori warrior? Good luck: 175 people lined up to clean out Nort 235, the only store in the city to get some.
The Wearer: “The dude with those,” says Garcia, “wears sunglasses at night and probably has a trainer.”
The Story: Yohji Yamamoto ignited the designer-sneaker trend ($230!) when he teamed with Adidas three years ago.
The Wearer: “Oh, yeah: fashionistas,” scoffs Nathan. Adds Earsnot: “People who want to say, ‘What can I buy that’ll let people know I can crush them with my wallet?’ ”
The Story: The retro $75 choice of cinematic ass-kickers, from Bruce Lee in Game of Death to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.
The Wearer: “You’ve got the guy with the corduroys and the leather bike bag,” says Earsnot. Adds Garcia: “Harlem high-school girls also rock Asics wrestling shoes—it’s really trippy.”
Converse All Stars
The Story: Classic Converses (above) have always been cool. Now John Varvatos has taken this CBGB staple to Barneys with a $95 version.
The Wearer: Everyone from punks to models to kids in the projects. “Everybody’s had a pair of Converse,” says Nathan. “It’s in a class by itself.”