Step Under The Radar: Top 5 Cult Favourite Sneaker Brands
Contributed by Rebekah & Elly
Brands, Fashion, Trending
November 9, 2022
Brands, Fashion, Trending
November 9, 2022
Rebekah & Elly
There’s nothing that grounds a streetwear ensemble quite like a good sneaker. When you think of famous sneaker brands, it’s typically the same old labels that come to mind— Adidas, Nike, Puma, or if you’re feeling frisky, Kanye West’s Yeezy.
However, for the true sneakerhead, it’s almost always about setting foot into the underground of the sneaker world and sourcing designs that are truly unique, setting the blueprint for the rest of the mainstream to follow.
Here are our recommendations of some of the most innovative under-the-radar sneaker labels on the market.
Image source: fr.karhu.com
A fun fact about this underground Finnish brand? In 1951, they sold their three stripes logo to a little brand you might know called Adidas for the cash equivalent of 1600 Euros and two bottles of whisky.
However, despite this deal which some may view as an unfortunate miscalculation, Karhu has preserved their reputation among athletes and sneakerheads alike as some of the best sneaker producers on the market.
Combining on-track functionality with off-track style, Karhu sneakers have been a favourite of Finnish Olympians since the label’s inception. They were also the first ever brand to introduce Air-Cushion technology into their sneakers back in the 70’s, a few years before Nike— talk about an OG move!
Today, Karhu retains a cult following among ardent sneaker wearers and even celebrities such as Shia LaBeouf and Kanye West himself.
Founded in 2020 by Zixiong Wei, SCRY Lab is one of the most recent frontrunners of the underground sneaker scene. Despite their high price points, this luxury sneaker brand has been making serious strides in the industry with their futuristic, avant-garde approach to design.
From the brand’s conception, SCRY Lab has defied the norm with their highly experimental silhouettes and innovative production techniques. Their flagship model, the Shuttle, is crafted with a special printing process that doesn’t generate any waste and doesn’t require an assembly line. Over the past two years, the brand has increased their product line to include four new designs in two different colourways.
The Corgi Shoe from Buddy’s premiere collection, image courtesy of Hypebeast
Next up, we move to the other side of the globe from classic to cute with Japanese footwear label Buddy. Since its birth in 2012, Buddy has made a name for itself with their handcrafted array of simple, yet stylish sneakers produced in limited quantities that have made their way across the globe.
Unlike many sneaker brands, Buddy steers away from flashy embellishments and amped-up designs, focusing on cheerful, classic colourways and premium materials such as suede and leather with vulcanised rubber soles, making it a great entry point for any aspiring sneakerhead to step into.
The Shroud by Studio Hagel, image courtesy of Hypebeast
Founded back in 2015 by Mathieu Hagelaars, Studio Hagel originated as a design and consultancy studio. They were the brains behind a popular experimental footwear series you may be familiar with called Makers Monday, which showcased innovative footwear designs crafted from everything from shoe soles to IKEA bags.
As of 2022 and after lots of buzz in the industry, the studio has finally released its first in-house shoe called the Shroud in a limited edition ‘Mango’ colourway. Crafted from butter-soft, eco-friendly padded leather with sleek suede overlays, it’s a debut that has left sneakerheads all over the world hungry for more.
Image source: @fugazi on Instagram
The Fugazi label, which is based in Los Angeles, California, is most definitely not your typical sneaker label. Despite having dipped their design toes in a variety of fields such as clothing and accessories, Fugazi is best recognised for their footwear designs, creating revisionary models of popular pre-existing designs.
The Margiela GAT, or German Army Trainer, was portrayed in one of their most recent replicas. Gorji redesigned it to resemble a skate shoe from the early 2000s, enhancing the craftsmanship and including a special hidden tongue pocket. They’re also well known for their version of the Air Jordan 1 that they called “One in The Chamber”.