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6 Stylish Guys on Their Favorite Sneakers, From Nike Runners to Memphisto Tennis Shoes

Comfortable designs by Brunello Cucinelli, Nike and Balenciaga are just a few to make the cut.

Mephisto Match Sneakers Supplied

Shoes, it’s said, make the man. That old adage is often thrown out in making a case for keeping your cap-toes polished but, these days, men of all stripes are increasingly sporting sneakers. Respectability is no longer reserved for oxfords and derbies; even the most distinguished guys are trading formal footwear for rubber-soled ease. The options abound—from collectible Air Jordans to minimalist Common Projects to luxe designs by the likes of Hermès and Loro Piana—which begs the question: What sneakers are you? With that in mind, we asked six stylish dudes about the pair that they reach for on the regular.

Michael Apa, D.D.S., Dentist, Apa Aesthetic

Brunello Cucinelli Calfskin Sneakers

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Brunello Cucinelli Calfskin Sneakers

“For me, when it comes to sneakers, the most important thing is that they look elegant, because I’m wearing them with nicer clothes, trying to not look like I’m wearing sneakers. I love Brunello’s calfskin sneakers—the leather’s super soft; you can see that it looks rich. They have these natural brown-rubber soles, and they’re low-cut to the ankle, so you can pair them with a suit. I also have huge feet—size 13—and these make my feet look a little smaller, whereas others can make me look like a clown.”

James Gardner, Restaurateur and founder, Grupo Gitano

Nike Free Run Trainers

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Nike Free Run

“Sneakers are definitely part of my daily uniform, and the most comfortable go-to that I just replenish and replenish and replenish is the Nike Flyknit running sneaker. It’s not in your face, it’s not a trend statement, but it’s still chic. I like things that feel comfortable and are elegant but not necessarily a statement. The Flyknits in black, they just sort of fade away. If I’m going to a meeting, I’ll change into a Margiela or Saint Laurent boot, but a good 80 percent of the time, I’m in sneakers. Is that bad?”

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Sid Mashburn, Retailer and designer

Tretorn Nylite Plus

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Tretorn Nylite Plus

“I love the basic, basic Tretorn low-tops. I’ve been wearing them for over 45 years—I got my first pair in junior high, because of Björn Borg. That whole era of tennis, I love that look: the white shorts, white shirts, white sneakers. I like them when they’re a little beat-up, a little shaggy. I’ll get them a little shaggy and then throw them in the washing machine, so they’ve still got a brightness to them, but the seams are a little broken or they might have a little tear somewhere. I don’t like them dirty; I like to give them my own patina.”

Alex French, Co-author, Sneakers

NikeCraft Tom Sachs Mars Yard 1.0

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NikeCraft Tom Sachs Mars Yard 1.0

“In order to get the shoes, [Tom Sachs] required that you do this astronaut-preparedness obstacle course on [New York’s] Roosevelt Island. I completed the course and won the shoes but, in the process, really badly injured my knee. Now I wear those with pride. I have this ethos of sneaker collecting, which is: I’m not interested in the hype shoe right now. The never-ending hype cycle resets itself every week—the idea should be wearing shoes that people have forgotten, or never even knew about.”

Patrick Johnson, Designer, P. Johnson

Mephisto Match Sneakers

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Mephisto Match

“The first time I saw them, I was in New York, walking in the park, and I saw this old guy wearing them, and I was like, ‘Those are either lawn bowling shoes or they’re the best shoe I’ve ever seen.’ I like that they’re not a fashion shoe—they have a purity and they come from a place of function. They’re beautifully made in the Pyrenees in France, and they age extraordinarily well. I probably wear them two or three times a week, and when I travel, I always take a pair.”

Rōze Traore, Chef

Balenciaga Speed Trainers

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Balenciaga Speed

“I’ve been wearing them nonstop for the past, like, two and a half months. I love the mesh. They’re not too bulky, it’s kind of like your own two feet just doing their thing. They’re versatile but, more importantly, they’re sleek. Especially in all black, they just blend in—you could mistake it for a dress shoe if you do a quick look. Last week I wore them with a suit, and I’ll also wear them with jeans when I’m sprinting across the city running errands. They’re super comfortable; it’s worth just trying them on to understand.”

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