Welcome to our first “Style Spotlight”. The Style Spotlight is where we will highlight a particular brand, product, or products that are truly best in class, especially from a value perspective, but despite this, haven’t received the spotlight we feel they deserve. Today it’s sneakers, in particular, the New Republic Kurt Leather Sneaker in Black.
While sneakers originated in the late 1800s, it wasn’t until the Converse All Stars (“Chucks”) took the United States by storm in the 1920s that sneakers became a staple item in every American wardrobe. Initially geared towards athletic wear, the sneaker has become a mainstay fashion shoe since the mid 2000s, with Lanvin spearheading the way with the now iconic ‘capped toe’ design.
Today, high end sneakers can retail for over one thousand dollars, and are worn by everyone from Hollywood celebrities to tech CEOs. However, spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a pair of shoes isn’t realistic for most of us. That’s the problem we tackle with today’s Style Spotlight. We found a stylish pair of shoes that matches up with the best of them, and they typically retail for under $100.
Created by Mark McNairy, a 30 year veteran of fashion design, New Republic shoes, including our favorite, the Kurt in black shown above, are the epitome of “punching above your weight class”. Never have we encountered a shoe that rivals options retailing for nearly ten times as much in both looks and quality.
The Kurt Leather Sneaker has all the markings of a high-end pair of sneaks:
- High quality leather upper
- Microsuede lining
- Tight transition from upper to sole: no protruding sole rim
- Tongue embroidery
- Comfortable fit
- True to size
What they don’t have in common with high-end brands? The Price. And that’s a good thing. The leather commands attention like the uppers of much more expensive brands, and the fact that New Republic isn’t a household name eliminates all preconceived notions about a pair of shoes that can typically be had for under $100.
When you wear a pair of New Republics out, there’s a good chance most observers will think that your shoes cost you $300, $400, or even $500+. We know that’s what we thought the first time we saw a pair. Bottom line, you’re getting all the benefits that come with wearing a luxury sneaker, for a tiny fraction of the price: the very definition of value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Upper of a shoe?
The upper of a shoe can be thought of as the body of the shoe. It is part of the shoe that covers the top and sides of your shoe. In the case of the shoes featured, everything in black including the laces would be considered part of the upper.
What is the sole of a shoe?
The part of the shoe that stands between your foot and the ground is the sole of the shoe. Typically made of a significantly firmer material than the upper, the shoe sole (the “white” part of the shoe featured) needs to be extremely durable.
Are there other shoe terms I should know?
There are literally dozens of shoe terms. Not all of them are commonly referenced except perhaps in the shoe design and repair industries. However, some important terms you may hear used when talking about fashion sneakers include:
- Vamp — The part of the upper that runs from mid-foot around the top of the shoe, usually not including the toe cap
- Toe Cap — The part of the shoe that covers the toe. Often made of a different material for both longevity and stylistic effect.
- Heel — Often raised in dress shoes, the part of the sole that covers your heel is aptly named the heel.
- Tongue — The tongue is the part of the upper that rests on top of your foot and underneath the laces. It is the part of the shoe pictured that has ‘New Republic’ embroidered on it.
- Insole — The part of the shoe that your foot rests on. It acts as a cushion between the firm material that comprises the sole and your feet.
Are shoe sizes standardized?
If it were only so easy! Unfortunately, while shoes of similar sizes run similar in actual size, there are variations. We have struggled to fit into 11.5’s from some brands while fitting perfectly comfortably into 10’s of another brand. However, a good guide to figuring out your size when it comes to fashion sneakers or dress shoes is to subtract about 1 full size from your standard sport sneaker size. Lastly, remember to assess whether or not the widest part of your foot fits within the widest part of the shoe to ensure a proper fit.
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