The Luxury Sneaker Buying Guide Pt. 2: Taft, Undandy, Jak, Wolf and Shepherd, Artisan Lab and More
Hey gents, today we’re going to be talking about sneakers. I have several videos on the channel about minimalist sneakers. Companies are always bringing out new models, so today, I’m going to be doing another sneaker buying guide!
This will be similar to the sneaker roundup video I did about a year ago, so if you haven’t watched the original video, I recommend you do so before continuing. We’ll be going over new sneakers from the brands Taft, Undandy, Wolf and Shepherd, Jak, Artisan Lab, and Goral.
First, I’ll place each of the sneaker brands into the categories I had from last year’s video. Since the sneakers we’re talking about this time around are more high quality than before, the only two categories we have are $100-200 and $200+.
Greats used to own the sub-$200 category, and the leather they use on the inner lining still sets them apart, but Undandy, Oak, and Taft have all done a great job.
Their sneakers offer a really great silhouette and they use excellent materials for their shoes, so they’re right up there with Greats now. I recommend you check out these brands if you’re looking for a really clean shoe that also offers great design.
The $200+ category is also very competitive. There are many brands here that you might want to try out. However, the adage still stands--buy what you can afford.
If you can afford to step into the Artisan Lab and M. Gemi Lucente area, these sneakers are slightly better in quality and look than their sub-200 counterparts. I still stand by Crown and Koio as my picks in this price range, though.
Another great pair of sneakers you can consider is Goral out of the UK. They use amazing leather, bovine leather to be exact, and have a unique style. These sneakers will set you back $320, but they bring a lot to the table with that price tag.
Let’s talk about the shoe brands a little more in detail.
Jak sneakers lie in the $100-$200 range. They’re made in Portugal, but they offer prices in both euros and dollars. Jak sneakers have a shock-proof insole and a really clean silhouette. If you’re worried about the overall comfort, these are a much better buy than Wolf and Shepherd.
Next up on the sneaker buying guide is Undandy. What separates them from the rest of the crowd is that you can customize the colors, uppers, and soles rather than getting a set pair of sneakers. They’re also very comfortable and have a clean silhouette.
Svensson & Artisan Lab
These are both the better of the deals for shoes coming from outside the U.S. Svensson shoes are in the $200+ range while Artisan Lab shoes are in the $100-200 range.
Svensson has a Margom rubber sole and uses full-grain leather for the material. It’s also neat to note that they’re handmade in Italy which also accounts for their high price tag.
Artisan Lab shoes use naturally tanned Italian leather and have an antibacterial removable insole. It’s also worth noting that Artisan Lab sneakers are also handmade in Italy, so they’re a more affordable option if you want to go that way.
Taft is like Undandy, but they have a wider variety of options. They have a crazy number of designs and colors available for both the upper and lower part of the shoe--but it’s the upper that really helps Taft stand out.
Taft sneakers are handmade in Portugal, use Napa leather, and have an EcoRubber sole. The price tag comes in at $190 but after taxes, it comes up to about $206 so it’s safe to say that these are more of a $200+ shoe than a $100-200 shoe.
Wolf and Shepherd
Personally, these shoes did not live up to my expectations. I was no impressed with the insole technology they were touting. They also had some type of noise coming out of them while I was walking and it kept rubbing up against my heel.
The price point for these shoes is $225 and they’re made in Portugal. You can basically get the same shoe from Jak at a more affordable price and without the air buildup.
Goral sneakers are not a full-on minimalist shoe but they use excellent raw materials and they’re also handmade in England. They use the same rubber that Oliver Cabell uses and this results in a solid sole.
Their sneakers are in the $200+ range, but thanks to their excellent craftsmanship, smart choice of materials, and use of bovine leather and premium cotton, they can justify their price tag.
This sneaker buying guide added on a few more options for those looking to buy a new pair of sneakers. If you’d like to take a look at the original sneaker buying guide, I recommend you do so because I also cover a lot of great brands there.
We’re spoiled with options right now in the minimalist sneaker space. If you want the best under $200, look no further than Taft, Undandy, Jak, and Greats. If you want some of the best shoes around the $200 range, then Crown, Koio, M. Gemi, Artisan Lab, and Goral are great choices.