Rule #01: Diversify Your Portfolio

Welcome to the first issue of C-Suite Sneakers - a beginner's guide to the sneakers that balance the worlds of teenage streetwear and corporate suits. Instead of giving individual recommendations to friends on how to build out a relevant sneaker collection, we decided to share our thoughts in one place.

For December, we figured that it's not too late to grab a present for yourself or your significant other. We'll explain why you need more than one pair of sneakers in rotation and what shoes would be great for the season.

We hope you find the suggestions relevant enough to purchase a pair of new kicks and have your friends sign up for this newsletter.

Yes, Your Shoes are Fine

The first rule to having sneakers in your closet is to have multiple pairs. You don't need 100 pairs of shoes, but you need more than 3 pairs. By design sneakers are more memorable than dress shoes, so you need to switch them up. Even if you fall in love with a shoe, try not to wear it two days in a row. Each shoe will last longer with a good rotation.

If you fall in love with one particular style, get multiple colors and give people something new to see and talk about. Don't wear that grey Allbirds shoe (US$95 at Allbirds) everyday for a two months. The interns will think you're cool the first two days and then you're just the 'old' that wears sneakers. Get every color. you deserve it.

Five or six pairs of quality sneakers will keep your rotation fresh and give you plenty of stories to relate to those younger employees and family members. Our recommendations will be timeless as opposed to fashion-forward. You want to look relevant, not obsessed.

Unless, of course, you are obsessed.

Each month we will share product and a new rule that will help you fill your closet without breaking the bank - Rule #02.

Winter Wardrobe

This month's newsletter will focus on sneakers that work well in inclement weather. These are NOT sneakerboots. You should probably have what's called a WhiteWhite AF1 (US$90 at Nike) in your closet, but you should steer clear of a duckboot AF1. A healthy mix of leathers and suedes will get you through the cold, the rain, the snow and the ice.

The prices in winter will be a little higher because of these materials, but the colors will remain muted and business-like - even when the colors appear bold. We want to make sure that you have opportunities to be seen.

Let's get started.

The Basics

Let's start with the Made in the USA New Balance 990 v4 (US$185 at Need Supply) in suede. While your C-Suite colleagues will be very familiar with New Balance, the 990 is a sneaker phenomenon in the DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas - do not join this heated debate, just know that the conversation exists.

While the 'Dad' look is in, the 990 has it's own celebrity in the sneaker world. If you wear another pair of New Balance shoes with your suit, you might look as though you forgot to change after your morning run or weekend barbecue. But the 990 will get the proper nods from the staff in the know. 

Comfy

In the spirit of diversification, let's jump to the Adidas Pharrell Williams Tennis in knit material (US$130 at Rime NYC). The shoe is available in a rainbow of colors, but this combination in particular will fit easily with your navy/black/grey suits. The wide fit makes this product comfortable all day, but you want to make pace yourself if you need more support.

When the staff asks you what you know about Pharrell Williams, let them know that you appreciate his evolution from N.E.R.D. and producing to his philanthropical efforts around diversity and culture.

Then watch their jaws drop while you walk away humming "Happy".

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Spread Love

Chances are good that you've owned a pair of Chuck Taylors at some point in your life. You' might also be aware of the countless collaborations between sneaker companies and artists/entertainers/influencers/celebrities/brands/etc. But instead of forking over US$300 for an Off-White collaboration that you are too old to wear, go for the Converse X Commes des Garçons PLAY (US$135 at Dover Street Market).

Arguably the most well developed collaboration in the sneaker world is the one between Converse and the Japanese fashion label founded by and headed by Rei Kawakubo Commes des Garçons. The collaboration between CDG & Converse has slowly grown into a staple for most fashionistas and sneakerheads.

Sustainable Lux

Crafted in Brazil with an eye on environmentally friendly materials, the Veja V-10 (US$80-$150 at Kith) will compliment your style by adding a sneaker vibe in a way that most of your C-suite counterparts will appreciate without knowing why. The idea with here is that your wardrobe needs simplicity that most will accept as simple, while those that truly know will respect your sneaker game.

Craftsmanship

The Adidas Consortium team delivers trend relevant product to their boutique partners. A lot of their work will be far beyond the C-suite, but this Quesence Collaboration with Solebox (US$180 at Social Status) is perfect for holiday parties and visits to family & friends. For years to come, this sneaker will elevate your winter rotation so keep them fresh.

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Hers & His

As a general rule, sneaker consumers shop across gender all of the time. While companies like Converse and Vans label their product unisex, most savvy consumers go after what they like as long as it fits and it's fresh. So all of the shoes in this newsletter should work for both men and women.

But sometimes the shoe is designed specifically for women. This AF 1 Low (US$100 at Nike) was intentionally designed to be more feminine (narrower) than the AF 1. That said, if this comes in your size and your a guy, rock it.

There is No Finnish Line

You probably aren't familiar with Kahru Athletics, the brand that sold their three stripe logo to a German brand in 1951. Today, they've penetrated the boutique sneaker market with shoes like the Karhu Fusion 2.0 (US$150 at Corporate). Their silhouettes will work on your khaki and denim days without looking like every other New Balance customer in the IT department.

Classic

The Adidas Samba (US$80 at Adidas) will be a crowd pleaser with your international clientele. The popularity of Adidas and soccer in Europe and South America immediately make the Samba a memorable silhouette. Today, the style holds up when worn with a suit the same way the Chuck Taylor does. A pair of these in your rotation in classic white or black with gum will be an easy win on those days you don't know what to wear.