Sneakers are often a gateway into quality clothing — wanting better sneakers leads can lead you to seek better jeans or chinos to pair with them, and then the floodgates are open. That’s certainly one way I got into this niche, anyway. After wearing Vans authentics for years, I turned to Nike Air Max for high comfort levels and a new style, which then gave rise to my first exposure to the streetwear culture that cherished raw denim as the perfect pairing for hype sneakers. The rest is history.
Today, the sneaker economy is still absolutely booming. New Balance, Nike, and Adidas absolutely rule the roost in a market full of comparable styles. This means finding a sneaker that you want to use forever is easy enough, but not all sneakers are made equal in terms of quality. In this guide, we’ll be breaking down the differences between the different qualities of sneakers into three tiers — entry, mid, and end level — to help you understand the differences in cost, availability, and longevity. We’ll be focussing on running-style sneakers with cushioned soles, and covering cup-soled/vulcanized sneakers in a separate, dedicated guide.
We want to preface this guide by stating that saying that wearing ‘entry level’ sneakers is completely fine. The purpose of this guide is to inform your sneaker purchases and point you in the direction of some solid sneakers for every budget.
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