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How To Start A Sneaker Collection In 2024 (9 Models You Need)

  • Jan 3, 2024
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How To Start A Sneaker Collection In 2024 (9 Models You Need)

When you hear “sneaker collection”, your mind probably wanders to images of middle-aged sneakerheads, or rappers on MTV Cribs. You might picture shoeboxes containing different Air Jordan colourways piled ceiling high, or walk-in wardrobes full of shelves lined with hard-to-come-by collabs. But as far as we’re concerned, such collections are largely useless when it comes to actually dressing well day to day.

Is there anything inherently wrong with collecting sneakers purely for collecting’s sake? Obvious environmental issues aside, not really. But is there a better way to build a sneaker wardrobe that’ll serve you well from a styling standpoint? Absolutely yes.

To curate a useful sneaker collection, focus on filling all the gaps as opposed to simply buying whatever happens to be rare or hyped. You want a pair of sneakers for every occasion and outfit rather than 100 pairs that don’t go with anything.

To help you whittle it down, we’ve created a list of key styles to cover all bases. From simple and understated to winterised and weatherproof, here’s every kick you need to build a truly versatile rotation.

The Dad Shoe

Asics GEL Kayano 14

Sporty, chunky, maximalist and with no shortage of mesh panels, the so-called ‘dad shoe’ is another term for the athletic shoes popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. With styles from this era back en vogue, these comfortable kicks have experienced a seismic resurgence, and despite their conspicuous appearance, they’re actually very easy to style.

One of our favourites – and a shoe we feel encapsulates the look – is the Asics Gel Kayano 14. It’s a mesh-heavy sneaker with metallic panelling and retro sporty looks. It makes a great daily trainer thanks to its comfort factor and its surprising degree of versatility. Team it with anything from jeans to joggers.

Shop now at ASICS

The Canvas Classic

Chuck Taylor All Star 70

Way back before sneakers were even a thing, the Chuck Taylor All Star was laying the framework. These simple canvas high-tops have barely changed in over 100 years. And that’s testament to how great the design is.

This particular model gives a nod to the version of the shoe that was produced in the 1970s. It’s essentially a regular Chuck, but beefed up a bit in key areas. The canvas is thicker, the insole is cushier and the rubber rand comes up slightly higher above the midsole.

It’s an all-time classic that can be dressed up or down with ease, making it a must in any good sneaker collection.

Shop now at Converse

The All-Roader

Norda 001

Sometimes you need to venture off the beaten track, but you might not want to go all-out with a pair of clumpy hiking boots. When that time comes, it’s good to have something sporty, comfortable and with a decent tread on it to handle a bit of light rambling on uneven terrain.

Regardless of how fast you’re moving, a trail runner is one of the best tools for the job, and Norda makes some of the coolest ones in the business. Yes, they’re designed for athletic purposes, but their minimalist design and tasteful colour palette mean they work great in casual settings too.

Shop now at END

The Simple Skate Shoe

Vans Authentic

Chunky silhouettes and lots of detail might be on trend for now, but simplicity will always look good. A basic canvas skate shoe in black or white will go with everything, won’t go out of fashion, and is a great option for the summer months when you need something light and breathable.

The Vans Authentic is the model that started it all for the Californian footwear brand. It’s a basic canvas plimsoll with a grippy waffle sole in gum rubber and next to no visible branding save for a small fabric tag and the iconic red rectangle on the rear midsole. We challenge you to find an outfit it doesn’t work with.

Shop now at Vans

The Winter Weapon

Salomon XT-6 GTX

The weather can’t be perfect all the time, and when it’s not, you certainly don’t want to be heading out in something easily spoiled by rain and dirt. The solution is to arm yourself with a weatherproof sneaker that can easily handle whatever the elements throw its way. That way, you can stride out of the house in confidence, whatever the weather.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last five years, you might have noticed Salomon’s sneakers cropping up on the feet of style-savvy urbanites as well as alpine athletes. The XT-6 is the brand’s most popular fashion crossover style. It has quickly earned itself ‘modern classic’ status, and thankfully is available with a Gore-Tex membrane, meaning it can be enjoyed all year round.

Shop now at Salomon

The Dressy One

Common Projects Achilles Low

Our money is on minimalism making a comeback in the near future. In which case, now would be a good time to invest in the greatest minimalist sneaker of all time, the Common Projects Achilles Low.

This premium piece of footwear will fill a special spot in your sneaker collection, as it’s one of the only trainers that can legitimately be teamed up with smarter pieces like tailored jackets and pants.

This is a sneaker you can wear with your smart-casual outfits, or simply pair with a T-shirt and shorts in the summer. And its simplicity means it’s largely immune to the ebb and flow of fashion, remaining a constant throughout.

Shop now at Mr Porter

The Slim One

Adidas Samba OG

Chunky sneakers have been everywhere for a long time now. They’re great, but they’re not particularly versatile when it comes to what pants you can wear them with. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have something slimmer at your disposal. A nice streamlined, low-profile sneaker will still work with a wide leg, but unlike a chunky one, it’ll work with slimmer silhouettes too.

One of the most popular slim sneakers of the last couple of years has been the Adidas Samba. Granted, it has reached a point of saturation now, but it was a cool shoe 20 years ago, it’s a cool shoe today and it’ll still be a cool shoe another 20 from now. Plus there are plenty of nice subtle colourways to choose from.

Alternatively, go for a Gazelle if you like the look but fancy something a little bit different.

Shop now at Adidas

The Chunky One

New Balance 990v6

The chunky sneaker trend may have reached its peak, but it’s still worth having something a bit more substantial in your collection to keep things interesting. One of the greatest chunky sneakers of all time is the New Balance 990, and its most recent iteration, the supremely comfortable 990v6, continues this theme with its tasteful mesh-and-suede panelling and updated sporty silhouette.

Not only does the 990v6 look great, it’s also packed full of NB’s latest tech – lifted straight from the brand’s award-winning running shoes. The midsole features the brand’s FuelCell foam, which is cushy, bouncy, comfortable and makes for a cloud-like feel underfoot. For us, it’s one of the best everyday sneakers money can buy.

Shop now at New Balance

The Basketball Shoe

Air Jordan 1

A minimalist basketball shoe is another excellent option when it comes to cross-outfit versatility, and its subtle shape means it won’t date easily. It’s a great flat-soled alternative to the more aggressively sporty styles that have been prevalent across menswear for many years now, and while this type of shoe is experiencing a huge surge in popularity right now, it’s still a classic style that’s worth having in your rotation.

We’d suggest swerving the uber-popular Nike Dunk Low and going for a classic Air Jordan 1 instead. They’re both extremely popular models that look similar, but the Dunk Low is experiencing insane levels of hype right now, which will no doubt see it tank in popularity very soon.

Shop now at Nike


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