Low-Tops Have Reached New Highs
A return to the old-school style of low-cut trainers is very welcome.
A tectonic shift has occurred in the world of footwear. Gone is the oversized (and rather bland) “dad trainer”, replaced by the rise of an even more old-school style—a sleek, low-cut offering that speaks of, well, an amelioration of the segment.
Before you pour one out for the passing of the deliberate awkwardness of our chunky-soled brother (whose nickname is as both reductive and condescending as “mum jeans” or “dad bod”), truth is, it was due. Perhaps overdue, with the novelty wearing off somewhere between Coachella 2018 and the Wall Street Journal describing them as “the hot shoe” in 2022.
Some would argue that the return to a more minimal footwear comes from the “stealth wealth” or quiet-luxury obsession, courtesy of the wardrobe team working on HBO’s Succession. But the reality is, the writing was on the wall for the oversized approach to footwear when Italian powerhouse Gucci collaborated with Adidas to launch a Gucci-fied Gazelle.
A pair was soon spotted on Harry Styles; more classic editions were then seen on the feet of Hollywood’s current crop of youthful golden boys, namely Austin Butler and Australian export Jacob Elordi. Even Brad Pitt has been spotted taking his own pair for walks on various red carpets.If those names prompt no connection, then perhaps the likes of Noel Gallagher, Bob Marley and even Mick Jagger will. All have been fans of the pared-back, effortless style that the low-cut Gazelle offers; a shoe that has dipped its toe into multiple subcultures: Brit pop, hip-hop, grunge, reggae and early rave culture.
If the Adidas Gazelle is the OG that sets the benchmark for the low-cut revival, other luxury brands have recently sat up and taken notice, implementing their own takes on the silhouette.
Saint Laurent, when not skewering rakish evening wear, has one of the most perfect examples of low-cut luxury; Reebok’s Club C 85 dips into that authentic nostalgia; while Italian label Golden Goose has cornered the market for pre-beaten footwear with their Super-Stars.
Closer to home, local tailor P. Johnson has launched his own run of low-slung sneakers, a hint that the relaxed, Neapolitan cut of his suits are better married to a shoe with the same laid-back presence.
What all these styles share in common is a similar standard—simple in demeanour and restraint in design. There’s no need to shout when you’re confident with what you’re throwing down when it comes to your wardrobe.