If you need a wardrobe refresh, GREATS has your new favorite summer sneakers covered. The Brooklyn-based brand has made waves in the industry for its blend of style, efficiency and affordability — not to mention a slew of clean, classic kicks, and the brand’s shown a keen eye for detail that just works.
Starting with crisp-yet-versatile silhouettes like the Royale (one of its best-sellers) and carrying through more classic staples like the Rosen (a retro-style runner), the brand offers plenty of choices for the shopper just dipping his toes into rocking sneakers on a daily basis. Even if guys are hesitant at first to trade out their leather loafers or chukka boots, GREATS co-founder Ryan Babenzien says wearing sneakers can be made easy when they’re paired with other style staples.
“I think every guy should have a clean canvas, suede or leather lace-up sneaker in white,” Babenzien said via email. “You can wear it with a suit, shorts, denim or anything else for that matter. A good white sneaker is as timeless and classic as a good white T-shirt or a good pair of jeans.”
GREATS has certainly built a foundation off the classic white sneaker, as the captoe Wilson sneaker is an easy-to-wear silhouette that’s developed something of a cult following. The very agreeable price tag (under $50) is partially a driving force, but the quality behind the simple shoe is an even bigger contributor to its success. The brand recommends burgeoning sneakerheads check out styles that run even lighter in weight and construction, though.
Particularly in the summer months, Babenzien thinks “knit uppers will continue” to be a popular trend, citing the brand’s comfortable G-Knit sneaker as a prime example.
The brand is also developing an Italian knit upper to complement its other releases — such as its recent collaboration with streetwear brand Noah,a label launched by Babenzien’s brother Brendon (formerly of Supreme).
The GREATS x Noah collab is an update itself of the GREATS Royale Chukka, an extremely wearable style that blurs the boundaries between a sneaker you can wear with a T-shirt and a sneaker you can wear with a blazer and dark denim.
Styles like the GREATS Pronto also play off the brand’s affinity for making sneakers that transition from style scenario to style scenario — the Pronto is one silhouette that you can style with a chambray blazer when it’s hot, and with wool trousers and a crewneck sweater in the fall. Of course, the perils of weather can be an issue no matter the time of year. That’s another tricky obstacle for sneaker fans — how exactly to care for your kicks?
“Leather is fairly easy to care for — mild soap and water will do the trick,” Ryan Babenzien said. “With suede, it’s so porous, you should really spray it first with something like Crep, which will protect it. Cleaning suede is a bit more challenging — we recommend Jason Markk.”
With those care tips in mind, GREATS devotees (and new fans alike) should be able to keep their sneakers in good enough condition to withstand the wait until the brand’s next hotly anticipated release.
“We’re always thoughtful about what we develop and have a few things on the board,” Ryan Babenzien said. “All I can say is that the next style will be Italian and something you’ll wear at the pool, the beach or on your Riva boat off the Amalfi coast.”
For plenty of fans of the brand, that sounds like good news ahead.
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