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Sneakers: The ultimate guide from sustainable to streetwear

Sustainable

AllBirds: Tree Dashers
Counting actresses Eva Longoria and Kate Hudson as fans, the logo-free design is engineered with natural materials, including eucalyptus tree, sugar cane and merino wool, and a flexible seamless upper to enhance breathability. One of the lowest carbon-footprint shoes on the market, if that’s important to you. Multiple colours for men and women, $225, allbirds.com.

Veja: Campo
This eco-conscious French label is a favourite of celebrities including Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Reese Witherspoon. Produced ethically in Brazil, the entire range comprises organic Fairtrade cotton, Amazonian rubber, recycled plastics and vegetable-tanned leathers. The low-profile Campo may not be the greatest exercise shoe but don’t worry: the brand recently launched its first runner, the Marlin. $200-$210 for Campo, theiconic.com.au.

Nike: Blazer Mid ’77
The latest addition in Nike’s move into more sustainable materials, this classic basketball silhouette is made with 20 per cent recycled content by weight, and uses natural plant dyes and cork. Available with a pink or blue Swoosh, it features a nature-inspired embroidered motif, $150-$160, nike.com.

Clockwise from top left: Frankie4 JACKiE III; Bared Footwear Hornbill Lakkari; and Nike React Infinity Run 2.

Clockwise from top left: Frankie4 JACKiE III; Bared Footwear Hornbill Lakkari; and Nike React Infinity Run 2.

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Support and functional

Frankie4: JACKiE III
This Brisbane-based brand was created by a podiatrist-physiotherapist but don’t think “orthopaedic” shoes. The minimalist, all-leather JACKiE III comes in multiple colours and features a heel counter and cradle, arch support, and a cushion support system on the sole. $239.95, frankie4.com.

Bared Footwear: Hornbill Lakkari
Founded by a Melbourne podiatrist 11 years ago, Bared Footwear’s sneakers feature a biomechanical footbed that cushions and reduces pressure on the heel. In its latest collection, the brand has worked with Gamilaroi Ularoi/Yuwaalaraay artist Lakkari Pitt, whose Gunagala pastel artworks feature on the sneaker. For men, the Lead style will bring sport-luxe to your street style. Both $239 ($50 from the Lakkari Pitt styles will go to Indigenous education charity Children’s Ground), bared.com.au.

Nike: React Infinity Run 2
As one of the brand’s most cushioned creations, this sneaker is said to incorporate injury prevention technology, with daily runners in mind (particularly those who pound the pavement). The updated Flyknit upper and rocker-shaped durable foam bottom promote stability and protection. $230, nike.com.

Clockwise from top left: Reebok: Victoria Beckham x Reebok Zig Kinetica; New Balance 237; Adidas Forum Low Shoes; and Puma Wild Rider Layers Sneakers.

Clockwise from top left: Reebok: Victoria Beckham x Reebok Zig Kinetica; New Balance 237; Adidas Forum Low Shoes; and Puma Wild Rider Layers Sneakers.

Street style

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Adidas: Forum Low Shoes
Made famous by US basketball players including Michael Jordan (before he signed with Nike), these ’80s staples have been re-released with varsity-style silhouettes and bold colourways. Our favourite is the navy/red/yellow but you can’t go wrong with classic white. $150, adidas.com.au.

Reebok: Victoria Beckham x Reebok Zig Kinetica
This is Spice Girl-turned-designer Victoria Beckham’s fifth capsule with the US sporting giant. The Zig Kinetica features a cushioned interior and absorption technology designed to keep feet at ease, and comes in on-trend colours, including a grey/mint combo. Definitely a shoe that is versatile enough to transition from sporty to posh. Available July 22, $350, reebok.com.au.

New Balance: 237
Reminiscent of the “dad sneaker”, but with a slimmer fit, the 237 pays tribute to New Balance’s ’70s colours and suede, leather and mesh construction. Ideal for anyone who loves colour in their athletic shoes, for a great price. $130, newbalance.com.au.

Puma: Wild Rider Layers Sneakers
With the off-pitch tick of approval from Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, this lifestyle sneaker takes inspiration from the Rider OG and ’90s track spike. Mixing leather and suede onto a nylon upper, this is for people who are all about mixing up playful tones and raw textures. $170, au.puma.com.

Clockwise from top left: Superga 2869 Club S Flower Bloom Embroidery; Mimco Est. 96 Sneakers; Taeger Cupsole; Adidas Stan Smith Sustainable.

Clockwise from top left: Superga 2869 Club S Flower Bloom Embroidery; Mimco Est. 96 Sneakers; Taeger Cupsole; Adidas Stan Smith Sustainable.

Box fresh

Taeger: Cupsole – Blanc
As Australia’s answer to Insta-favourite Common Projects, Taeger pledges sustainability and superior quality at a fraction of the cost. Its handmade Cupsole sneaker, which is manufactured in Portugal, features a 100 per cent vegetable tanned Nappa leather upper. The perforated logo adds to its desk-to-dinner cred. $199, wearetaeger.com.

Superga: 2869 Club S Flower Bloom Embroidery
Talk about a spring in your step, literally. This classic style by the Italian brand loved by the Duchess of Cambridge and Hailey Bieber is the perfect work sneaker, and makes a perfect match with a pleated skirt. Just add a T-shirt and blazer. $179.95, superga.com.au. For another, unisex option, try the 2750 Cotu Classic.

Adidas: Stan Smith Sustainable
They’re the timeless tennis sneaker worn by countless celebs that really need no introduction. What’s new is a revamped logo that aligns better with Adidas’ increased commitment to sustainability. The outsole is made from rubber waste, and 50 per cent of the upper is PRIMEGREEN recycled content. $140, platypusshoes.com.au.

Mimco: Est. 96 Sneakers
Released as part of the Aussie accessory brand’s 25th-anniversary capsule collection, these canvas high-tops are straight out of the ’90s. Designed for comfort, the cotton knit lining is made from recycled yarn, and comes with two sets of laces. $179, mimco.com.au.

Clockwise from top left: Tom Ford Cambridge; Tod’s No_Code; Reebok x Maison Margiela; and Balenciaga Track logo-detailed mesh and rubber sneakers.

Clockwise from top left: Tom Ford Cambridge; Tod’s No_Code; Reebok x Maison Margiela; and Balenciaga Track logo-detailed mesh and rubber sneakers.

Splurge

Reebok: Maison Margiela Classic Leather Tabi High Shoes
If you want to splash some cash, Maison Margiela’s creative director John Galliano has helped the US sportswear brand reinterpret its 1985 classic runner. Reminiscent of a gladiator sandal, the leather high-top features Margiela’s signature split-toe Tabi design. $800, reebok.com.au.

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Tom Ford: Cambridge Leather-Trimmed Suede Sneakers
From office wear to causal dinners, this versatile sneaker is an investment for men who like their wardrobe pieces to go the extra mile. Made in Italy from burgundy suede and leather, the minimalist silhouette works best with casual suiting and jeans. $1054, mrporter.com.

Tod’s: No_Code sneaker
Luxury fashion meets high-performance through these sleek and timeless sneakers. The versatile streetwear shoe features a lightweight EVA outsole with plenty of supportive cushioning and the heritage design Tod’s is renowned for. $1030, tods.com.

Balenciaga: Track logo-detailed mesh and rubber sneakers
Fans of the ugly shoe, rejoice! The Spanish luxury fashion house has created a chic iteration of the trend that has spawned countless imitations. Set on the label’s signature chunky soles, the shoe is a favourite with the influencer set and off-duty models such as Bella Hadid. Perfect for adding a tough edge to a feminine dress, or peeking out the bottom of a teddy coat. $1490, net-a-porter.com.

A podiatrist’s guide to finding the right shoe

Tips from Joe Brooks, director of the Australian Podiatry Association:

  • For fit, measure not just the length but the width across the toes and back, different depths and the upper material. Don’t just stand still when trying a shoe; Brooks recommends walking around or jogging up the street (or on a shop treadmill) to gauge your body’s reaction.
  • Consider the purpose and frequency of wear. “A cross-trainer is the best option for a change-in-direction sport, but for getting to work or around, a walking or lifestyle shoe may be better.“
  • For those with medical conditions or injuries, Brooks recommends seeking advice from a registered podiatrist.

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