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 July 2

by Carolina

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You might think being a professional famous person means eschewing cheap sneakers and stepping out in only the finest footwear, in shoes made of leather so supple A-list wattage is practically required to wear ‘em. Not so. See, at GQ it’s our business to stay abreast of what stylish men of note are wearing out and about on a daily basis, and in the midst of our ongoing investigation we made a startling discovery. Turns out, famous people like a bargain as much as any average Joe—hell, maybe more. How else to explain the surfeit of celebrities who consistently swear by one signature sneaker, rarely leaving the house—to sit front row at fashion week, to run errands, to mingle with other ludicrously wealthy people—without wearing them. Even the most famous men in the world are susceptible to the appeal of cheap sneakers, the type of widely available shoes sneakerheads lovingly call GRs, or “general releases”. All of which is good news for you and your bank account. Because the sneakers we’re talking about here are almost always in stock and almost never more than $100, which means the only thing separating you from Hollywood royalty might just be a shockingly affordable pair of kicks. 

The Adidas Samba 

Perhaps you’ve heard the Samba is having a moment. Well, few people have done more to put the sneaker back on the map than A$AP Nast, the Prada-obsessed, very stylish member of a Prada-obsessed, very stylish group of friends. Nast wears Sambas with just about everything— voluminous tailoring, old-school Harrington jackets, cocooning overcoats—and this summer, so should you.

Adidas Originals Samba OG sneaker

The Converse Chuck Taylor

Devin Booker in Phoenix, June 20, 2021.Barry Gossage / Getty Images

It’s a testament to Devin Booker’s personal style that every time he laces up a pair of Chuck Taylors—and he laces them up often—they look like a swerve. But you don’t need Book’s pedigree (let alone his handles) to benefit from the sneaker’s classic appeal. Make like one half of the world’s best-dressed couple and scoop a pair of Converse’s gently tweaked Chuck 70s or spring for the tried and true OGs—when it comes to Chucks, it’s impossible to go wrong.

Converse Chuck 70 sneaker

The Vans Old Skool

Harry Styles in Tokyo, December 4, 2017.Jun Sato / Getty Images

Harry Styles is not a bashful dresser. So it’s telling that when he wants to tone down an outfit he gravitates towards one shoe: the Vans Old Skool. In his infinite stylistic wisdom, the pop star intuitively understands the Old Skool’s ability to ground even the most exuberant of pants, from gently pooling rose-colored trousers to heavily flared caramel corduroys. If you dress with an iota of his moxie, you’ll find yourself reaching for ‘em again and again.

Vans Old Skool™ Core Classics

The Vans Slip-On

Hailey  and Justin Bieber in London, September 17, 2018. Eagle Lee / Getty Images

There’s something unabashedly Californian about the Vans slip-on, especially in the pattern made famous by a stoner-cosplaying Sean Penn. It’s fitting, then, that the sneaker found its most compelling advocate in Justin Bieber, master of a distinctly West Coast style all his own and a devoted wearer of the Spicoli specials. For styling tips, take a page out of JB’s book and pair ‘em with tailored trousers and an easy camp shirt for a look that says “Sure, I skate, but I also sell a line of graphic tees at Dover Street L.A.”

Vans OG classic slip-on sneaker

The Nike Cortez

Kendrick Lamar in Inglewood, August 27, 2017.Steve Granitz

Kendrick Lamar likes the Nike Cortez. A lot. (So much, in fact, that he designed one of his own in partnership with the Swoosh in 2018.) It’s not hard to see why. The Cortez is a bona fide piece of footwear history—it’s the first track shoe Nike ever released, helping make the brand a household name in the process. It’s also, as the sneakerhead in your life might put it, criminally slept on, which means you can find it (in your size!) at the local mall. The Cortez’s low-key popularity with discerning dressers like Kendrick proves once again that age-old adage: the best sneakers in life really are hassle-free.

Nike Cortez basic sneaker

The Nike Killshot 2

Shawn Mendes in Brooklyn, April 26, 2021.James Devaney / Getty Images

The Nike Killshot 2 needs little introduction—if you hung out within a stone’s throw of a J.Crew in the early 2010s you’re definitely familiar with the silhouette. When Nike first re-introduced the style in 2009 through an exclusive partnership with the oft-beleaguered retailer, the selvedge-clad menswear masses almost dropped their Saturdays-brewed lattes in excitement, snapping up the sneaker with a fervor otherwise reserved for the most limited of releases. A decade later, the Swoosh decided to make the shoe widely available through its own retail channels, which means today you don’t have to be Shawn Mendes to get your hands on a pair (though if the singer’s dedication to the style is any indication, it certainly helps).

The Puma Clyde

Jay-Z and Beyonce in Houston, May 10, 2019.Bill Baptist / Getty Images

Jay-Z might have a personal stake in the Clyde’s success—he’s been the creative director of Puma’s basketball division since 2018—but that doesn’t detract from the shoe’s retro good looks, a throwback to an era when hoopers like Walt Frazier actually wore street-ready sneakers on the hardwood. It says a lot when a man (or, ah…business, man) of Hov’s caliber actively chooses to make a highly affordable sneaker a staple of his style, so to err on the safe side you should probably do the same.

Puma Clyde core foil sneaker

The New Balance 997h

Timothée Chalamet in Manhattan, January 8, 2020.James Devaney / Getty Images

Timothée Chalamet earned his status as one of Tinseltown’s most daring red carpet sartorialists by wearing an array of wild designer suiting, but his off-duty style is far more restrained. Comfort is a priority, but not at the expense of personal style. Enter the New Balance 997h, a lesser-known silhouette the Boston-based sneaker brand introduced in the ‘90s. Timo might pair his with a Prada windbreaker or Gucci sweatpants, but the sneaker’s approachable silhouette and cheery mix of colors will help punch up your every summer outfit, no matter how mundane.

The Adidas Stan Smith

David Beckham in New York, July 7, 2015.Raymond Hall / Getty Images

What more is there to say about the Stan Smith that hasn’t been hashed out ad nauseam in message boards and reddit forums since Adidas ratcheted up production of the style in the mid-2010s? Certified design gods like Phoebe Philo and Raf Simons famously adore ‘em, as do style-conscious celebs like David Beckham, a formidable cohort of cosigns if there ever was one. Chances are you’ve owned a pair at least once in your life, but if it’s been a while since you last appreciated their infallible versatility, summer’s the ideal time to re-up.

Adidas Originals Stan Smith sneaker

The Nike Air Force 1

LeBron James in Los Angeles, October 29, 2019.Adam Pantozzi / Getty Images

The Air Force 1 is an icon in part due to its associations with other icons. (Think everyone from Nelly in the early 2000s to Charlie Hunman in Sons of Anarchy.) These days, though, when we think of the AF1 we think of Lebron, and Lebron only. The man owns every possible variation of the style, from sold-out designer collaborations to widely available versions you can buy without waiting on line or entering a raffle. Over the years, Akron’s prodigal son has made the shoe a staple of the NBA tunnel, where he’s worn it with standout tie-dye outerwear and the type of immaculate tailoring that remains his calling card. Cop yourself a pair and do the same.

Nike Air Force 1 ’07 sneaker

The Adidas Superstar

Jonah Hill in New York, September 11, 2019.Gotham / Getty Images

Long before Jonah Hill launched his own capsule collection with Adidas, the funnyman turned indie auteur swore by the brand’s sneakers—and the Superstar in particular. The shell-toe shoes made famous by Run-DMC offer a welcome alternative to the various heavy hitters in the Three Stripes’ lineup of classics. Its sturdy construction might naturally lend itself to slogging through the worst of an unforeseen spring shower, but to fully harness the shoe’s power wear it like you would any summer sneaker, e.g. with tinted shades, a vintage tee, and some very short—or very longshorts.

Adidas Originals Superstar sneaker

The Converse One Star

Tyler, The Creator in Los Angeles, May 08, 2017.Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images

Before Tyler, the Creator was a Grammy-winning paragon of good taste with an enviable collection of sweater vests and funky hats, he was a Supreme-wearing iconoclast whose personal style influenced a generation of fans. And for a while, the One Star was his go-to shoe. Think of the One Star as the surly younger cousin of the Chuck Taylor—a hairy suede sneaker with a heavy dose of skater-inflected attitude that masks a shockingly comfortable insole and a durable rubber outsole. If you’re looking to scoop a sneaker with the same timeless looks as its more famous relative but a touch more street cred, look no further.

Original posted at www.gq.com

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