Summer’s most cherished compadre, the canvas shoe. An inescapable, boundless icon reminiscent of many a sporting great, film star and comfort-concerned globetrotter. Whether you’re a Converse convert or a Novesta neophyte, there’s a choice to be had and you’d better make it quick lest your feet suffer in formal, leather-clad silence throughout the muggy months. But where should you begin? If a short-lived scroll through online retail breaks your forehead into a sweat, it’s time to read on. Your canvas counterpart is ready and waiting.
Slovakian footwear brand ZDA have been turning many a head since their recent revival by Japan-based designers EYE FOUNDco.,ltd. The intriguing, well-formed design of their Climber Model 2100F, in this unique colourway of brown & beige, is crying out to be paired with your freshly laundered pair of olive green fatigue pants. Oh and did we mention that they’re handmade in the same factory as their predecessors and based on original lasts from all those year ago? If we didn’t, we better had.
ZDA Climber Model 2100F
2.) Deadstock Pumps (Blacksmith Store)
There are some of us in this world who feel magnetically drawn to a seemingly bygone era of slow-made, thoughtfully manufactured goods. There are those, too, that want a pair of shoes that remarkably few others own, or dare we say, have even heard of. And let’s not forget, there are also those whose truest desire is for their feet to resemble those of a humble gym-goer in the late twentieth century. For all of the aforementioned, noble or otherwise, Blacksmith Store have come through. An absolute snip at £38, their Deadstock Military Gym Trainers are based on the traditional Kurume pump, hailing from Japan. Get ‘em whilst they’re hot, in this lovely shade of royal blue.
Deadstock Military Gym Trainers
Omitting Converse from a canvas shoe line up is tantamount to divine sacrilege. The cult-like status of Chuck Taylor’s All Star High Top is unarguably lasered into American heritage. So whether you’re a high top disciple or low top (also known as ‘Ox’) devotee, there is no safer a purchase, especially in a neutral shade of black. Recent years have seen the emergence of a veritably turbocharged model – the Chuck 70 Classic – featuring higher rubber foxing, a cushioned footbed and a tougher, narrower toe cap. The aesthete’s choice.
Chuck 70 Classic High Top
Cali-based skate-wear legends Vans have provided the world with some of the most memorable sneaker silhouettes in the history of sneaker silhouettes. They’ve been around the block. They’re street smart. They know their onions. Much like the Chuck 70 Classic, the OG Classic Slip On LXs (pictured here in black and white checkerboard) feature high foxing tape and a narrowed toe box – an absolute non-negotiable for the connoisseurs. We’ve spent an hour rubbing our chins trying to find pair of trousers these won’t pair well with. We’ve failed miserably.
Vans Vault OG Classic Slip On LX
Although Novesta have been around for donkey’s years (founded way-back-when in 1939), recent times have seen them really underlined as a staple choice in people’s shoe racks. So much so, in fact, that we really don’t know what we’d have done if the self-effacing Star Master hadn’t been born. There’s an air of quiet confidence in their rugged composition of natural rubber and ecologically sound canvas. They’re handmade, vegan and come in an impressive array of colours. Be warned – once you buy a pair, you are statistically likely to buy a dozen more.
Novesta Star Master
6). Good News
‘Giving back, one step at a time!’. Such is the mantra of the ecologically minded Good News, whose shoes are, quote unquote, environmentally and socially progressive. They’re also seriously prepossessing. The only ‘problem’ you’ll face is discerning, in agony, which of their top-drawer kicks you’ll purchase first. We’ve selected the Ace Red Low, composed of organic cotton and equipped with Airfoam eco sock insoles. The plushest of footbeds.
Ace Red Low
Swedish-born Tretorn have been making sneakers for, no joke, 120 years. Serious heritage points. They also make tennis balls. We are not kidding! Google it. This multidisciplinary dedication to all things on court (and off) has solidified them as a firm favourite in the luxury tennis sneaker market. These gum sole numbers are beautifully unfussy. So pop on your finest polo shirt and washed denim jeans and do your best ‘Paul Bettany in 2004’s rom-com classic Wimbledon’ impression.
8). MHL. Moonstar
This is as minimal as it gets. A canvas shoe has evolved into everything and anything, but this option from MHL by Margaret Howell and Japanese shoe masters Moonstar harks back to classic gym-class roots, with minimal frills weighed against maximum quality and craftsmanship. The rubber sole has even been kiln-fired for a uniquely flexible and durable finish, giving baked goods a whole new meaning.
MHL. Moonstar Plimsoll
9). PF Flyers
The Grounder from PF Flyers originated as a US military issue boot in the 1940s, then evolving into a high-performance baseball shoe and eventually becoming one of PF’s most durable all-weather sneaker boots. The grown-up canvas shoe, awash with American history, beautifully balances an ensemble of striped tee and bleached jeans. You’ll be stickball-ready, adriotly navigating the one-way system of your local supermarket.
10). Converse x Pop Trading Company
Coming together for the first time, Pop Trading Company and Converse have cooked up a couple of Jack Purcells that’ll throw you back to your first kickflip (in the event that you managed to actually execute said manoeuvre). Steeped in skate culture, the ‘Pro Hi’ harks back to a golden era of riding the concrete wave. So, whether you’re goofy or regular, grab yourself a pair of these puppies, since the chances of you actually submitting them to a dance on the grip tape is probably pretty low.
Jack Purcell Trainers Pro Hi