Footwear drops: The Air Jordan 1 tops this week’s releases with a new cool blue colorway
FOOTWEAR Published: March 1, 2019 Updated: March 4, 2019  |  WORDS: Hana Kim

4 non-mainstream sneaker brands to check out

Here are some non-mainstream sneaker brands to beat hype fatigue.

Footwear drops: The Air Jordan 1 tops this week’s releases with a new cool blue colorway

Everyone’s wearing sneakers these days. How do you stand out? Check out these sneakers that not everyone is wearing – yet.


1. AGE (Across to Genuine Era)

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AGE footwear is designed and manufactured in Korea, the land of all-things-cool-now. The brand’s design philosophy is informed by its motto “flow of time”, which sees AGE drawing from the past and present. What’s from the past is AGE footwear’s classic silhouette and the materials used: canvas/cotton upper and vulcanized rubber sole. What’s new about AGE is its uppers that come in plaid, all-white, and whatever is in trend these days. AGE shoes come in high- and low-top options.

Prices range from S$150-190, now available at Club 21.


2. Novesta

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Novesta, established in 1939 in Slovakia, was originally known for providing shoes for military purposes. Not many know this, but Novesta takes great care to make their products sustainably, starting with energy from renewable sources (the brand uses wooden chips to warm its buildings) to using certified eco-materials and recycling everywhere possible. The brand recently become PETA certified, an award that now sees the majority of their collections come entirely vegan-friendly and uses only certified materials. The natural rubber sole of the infamous Star Master is machine-pressed onto the body of the shoe, the shoe is then finished manually by skilled craftsmen. This ethical and ecological process results in tire marks around the out sole – Novesta’s trademark look.

Novesta shoes are priced between S$79-S$115 on End Clothing


3. Compass

 

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Compass shoes, designed and made in Indonesia, are like a hybrid of Vans and Converse sneakers. Compass offers just two models, the Gazelle in high-top or low-top. Prices are incredibly friendly; each pair is priced at no more than S$30. Compass shoes are perfect for wearing and trashing – what shoes were made for, really.

Shop the collection on Tokopedia – we don’t know if it ships outside of Indonesia (we reached out to Compass but didn’t get a reply).


4. Veja

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Veja’s founders goal was to make good quality sneakers sustainably and transparently. To that end, the brand has revealed on its website all the steps taken to make their shoes sustainably. While fascinating, the website loads ever so slowly. Here are the key takeaways: Veja has bought organic cotton directly from farmers for the past 14 years and its shoe soles are made of 18-22% natural rubber, which comes from the 195 tons of wild rubber Veja purchased in 2004 (an act that helped to preserve 120,000 hectares of the Amazon forest). The bottomline: Veja sneakers cost five times more to produce than big brand sneakers and yet retails at reasonable prices. We think Veja is worth the investment for all its efforts in making things more economically equitable for everyone involved in its production chain.

Retails at US$106-152 (approx. S$143-205) at Oxygen Boutique.

What are your thoughts on these non-mainstream sneaker brands? Heard of any of them? Leave a comment below.

Read more: ‘GIRL is”: Converse’s “Love The Progress” celebrates what it means to be a woman today