The Sneaker Project: Moving Lookbook


On the heels of last season’s curated selection of American-made boots, our men’s shoe team has decided to one-up themselves with a tightly edited showcase of rare sneakers from legendary as well as up-and-coming brands. We’re calling it The Sneaker Project—and from retro runners to luxe leather trainers, we’re confident it offers shoes to knock the socks off even the most discriminating fan of the game.

Keep reading for a closer look at six of our favorite brands—plus a chance to see them in action.

1. Nike. Named for the Greek goddess of victory, and with origins on an Oregon track coach’s waffle iron, Nike has outfitted athletes from Prefontaine to Jordan. Building upon the revolutionary Air-Sole unit of the late 1970s, the ‘Air Max’ was the first shoe with a visible window into its air-cushioned heel—allowing wearers to not only feel its comfortable ride, but see it.
[Shop: Nike ‘Air Max 90 Essential’ Sneaker | All Nike]

2. Del Toro. This Miami-based brand’s shoes are handmade on the Adriatic Coast of Italy, using only the finest leathers, suedes, velvets—and in this case, natural raffia, a fiber made from palm trees native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. This is, perhaps, the most summer-ready sneaker to ever walk the face of the earth.
[Shop: Del Toro ‘312 Alto’ Chukka | All Del Toro]

3. Thorocraft. Classic silhouettes. Modern technology. Rebellious style. A trifecta of form and function defines this California footwear brand, whose signature heel rivet—affixed only upon thorough inspection of each handcrafted shoe—serves as a seal of approval and mark of quality. Last season’s all-black version of the ‘Porter’ sold out on Thorocraft’s website. Grab this one while you still can.
[Shop: Thorocraft ‘Porter’ Sneaker | All Thorocraft]

4. Filling Pieces. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam, Filling Pieces aims, as the name insinuates, to occupy the divide between haute couture and street style. Sport-inspired shapes and top-shelf materials assembled in Portugal have these shoes filling gaps in dedicated sneaker fans’ closets. And this particular pair makes a strong case that red-on-red is the new black-on-black.
[Shop: Filling Pieces ‘Desert’ Chukka SneakerAll Filling Pieces]

5. Gourmet. Self-described as “high-end for the regular guy,” Gourmet’s easy-to-wear low-top in Italian leather has no trouble backing up both sides of that claim. The intricate texture you see is called ‘cactus leather’—and unlike the prickly pear in your terrarium, this specimen will have admirers asking to touch it.
[Shop: Gourmet ‘Rossi Cactus’ Sneaker | All Gourmet]

6. Asics. With roots reaching back to 1949 Japan, ASICS headed stateside in the 1970s. A frontrunner in fitness culture, ASICS stands for the Latin phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”—a sound mind in a sound body. Even if you never take these for a jog, your subconscious can rest easy knowing that your shoes’ tongues will never slip to the side, thanks to a unique split-tongue construction.
[Shop: Asics ‘GEL-Lyte III’ Sneaker | All Asics]

Shop our buyers’ full curated collection:


[Photography by Robin Stein. Styling by Beth Batson.]

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Rob July 14, 2014, 7:48 am

    Just seems to me, for a company which built its history on shoes, the mens shoe selection is just behind the times. The Buyers really need to take a free moment and check out shoe collector sites such as
    I am not trying to upsell a website for people to see, but sites that show what people are not only buying but what is SELLING out in 5-20 minutes online should be a key indicator as to what people really want. Retro or Throwback as you call it, are the hottest thing in mens shoe collections and Nordstrom is continuing to miss the boat. Sneakerheads across this country are spending big bucks to get their hands on any of the Jordan’s which there have been 14 HOT releases this year, Nordstrom didn’t carry a single pair. The only Jordan’s on Nordstrom’s site, I don’t think anyone would buy if they were discounted through the floor. As a shopper, I think, if Nordstrom carried shoes that followed the trend of what people are wearing, spending $200+ on, the very next thing I would be doing is looking for outfits to match my new sneakers in the store. Missing a huge market…disappointing

  • Justin, Blog Editor July 14, 2014, 9:38 am

    Hi Rob – We appreciate your feedback and will pass it on to our buying team.
    —Justin, Men’s Blog Editor

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