Credit To: Saint Laurent and Common Projects both take a crack at the trend BY TYLER WATAMANUK
In the last 18 months, sneakers got really…big. And some of our favorite gigantic kicks make excellent use of retro sneaker inspiration. Good news, sneaker freakers: neither of those trends show any sign of slowing down. In recent months, we’ve seen oversized shoes from upscale fashion brands like Alexander McQueen and Marni, as well as from classic sneaker companies like Reebok and Adidas. And now, we can add French fashion house Saint Laurent and quiet-chic footwear label Common Projects to the growing list. Neither brand is exactly known for the use of voluminous silhouettes, which makes these two sneakers particularly—and pleasantly—unexpected.
These days, under the leadership of Anthony Vacarello, Saint Laurent continues to churn out a luxurious and slim-fitting take on grunge-era fashion. Common Projects, meanwhile, has built its brand on mixing minimalist sneaker design with upscale Italian craftsmanship. It was surprising enough when CP put out their first version of an “ugly” sneaker last summer—and now they’ve upped the ante. The brand has taken last year’s “Track” model as its starting point and bumped up the size of the already-chunky sole to something that almost veers into platform shoe territory. But the Italian manufacturing (just check out that mix of premium nubuck and mesh) and the brand’s trademark “series number” stamp asserts the clunky sneaker as one of Common Projects’ own. On the other hand, the all-black Saint Laurent sneaker is a bit bigger and bolder, and looks a little more menacing for it. The oversized shoe features a brushed suede upper with a spiky serrated rubber sole, a pairing that feels right on the money for the label’s luxe rock ‘n roll image. It’s nowhere near as outlandish as some of the other bulked-up footwear we’ve seen this year, but for a brand like Saint Laurent that usually deals in sleek Chelsea boots and low-top sneakers, it still feels pretty adventurous.
What separates these two sneakers from the others is that each manages to communicate its respective brand’s ethos. Despite the sizeable shapes of both, the Common Projects sneaker still carries an air of minimalism, and Saint Laurent’s still feels like something your favorite stylish rock star might wear. It’s no small task to ride the waves of a trend as all-consuming as the chunky running sneaker while still holding tight to an individualistic aesthetic, but both CP and SL have managed to make the style feel uniquely their own.