White leather sneakers are the new black

Jerry Seinfeld was once lampooned for his fashion sense, especially his character’s habit of wearing white Nike sneakers with jeans. It looks like Jerry was well ahead of his time, because nowadays white leather sneakers are the must-have accessory for every man’s wardrobe. There are even sites like this one dedicated to chronicling every sneaker the comedian ever wore on the show.

It seems everywhere you turn blokes are slipping into the white sneakers before heading out on the town.

“White leather sneakers are everywhere,” says D’Marge founder¬†Luc Wiesman. “Matter of fact, I’m wearing a pair of Givenchy white leather sneakers at my desk right now.”

Sneaker ground zero

Wiesman says the trend was hot in Europe in 2015 when the now eponymous adidas Stan Smiths hit the catwalk. As white leather sneakers go, the Stan Smith is ground zero.

A simple design trimmed with grass-green padding and with the adidas stripes rendered as perforations, the shoe was launched in the early 1960s and originally named the Haillet, after French professional tennis player, Robert Haillet. In 1971 the sneaker was renamed after American tennis star Stan Smith and has remained largely unchanged ever since.¬†“The adidas Stan Smith is an affordable classic you should invest in,” Wiesman says.

Wiesman says he tends to team his white leather sneakers with a suit, albeit dressed down with a T-shirt. “White sneakers have become the go-to smart casual fashion statement that will take you from the office to the BBQ. The key is to always keep them really clean. As soon as they become dirty they cease being smart casual and just look scruffy.”

Rare Kingdom

One of the newest and rarest white sneakers on the market comes from the Melbourne studios of Kingdom Sneakers. Founded by brothers Ross and Paul Meeuwsen, the pair have recently launched a premium-luxe version tentatively dubbed the 3184 after the postcode where the design was born in Elwood, Melbourne.

“The design is a nod to heritage silhouettes from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s combined with premium fabrication,” says Ross Meeuwsen. “The 3184 is created from the finest grade leather available and is all hand-sewn. It features a custom sole, and an innovative rare earth magnetic strap.”

Although not yet officially launched, the 3184 is already creating a buzz with sneaker freaks and serious collectors; especially as it is limited to just 990 pairs worldwide. Meeuwsen says he wears his with a suit and to business meetings when he wants to make a statement. “Our design is not so conservative as the other leather sneakers on the market, even the packaging is unashamedly over-the-top.” (The shoes come in a full-metal gold box with laser engraved, individually numbered D-rings)