Sneaker culture has always been heavily associated with the U.S. and coincidentally (or not) trainer brands big and small have long been setting up shop stateside. That’s not to say that the United Kingdom isn’t similarly obsessed with the footwear option that’s transcended its humble athletic roots to become a bona-fide high-fashion piece. In fact, over the past few years, the UK has seen a rise in both independent sneaker stores and homegrown brands.
We rounded up some of our favorite British trainer brands to keep on your radar for when you’re in the market for a big-name alternative – read on to get the lowdown.
Although it only started life 5 years ago, unisex footwear label Primury can be found at premium stockists like DSM and MATCHESFASHION.COM. Taking signature footwear styles like plimsolls and oxfords, Primury elevates the look with high-quality materials and chunky midsoles, all handcrafted in Portugal. Our personal favorite is the SCRATCH sneaker with a white leather upper and triple Velcro fastening that sits atop a part-recycled rubber cupsole in dusky pink with white speckles. There are new colorways dropping in that style as well as the DYO, PAPER PLANE and BASAL silhouettes arriving next week, however, so there will be even more options to lust over.
Sustainability is at the core of Good News’ ethos and the London-based brand is dedicated to using environmentally-friendly materials and methods wherever it can. Although the styles are relatively simple, they don’t lack aesthetic impact with colors ranging between neutral black, navy and off-white to pastel pink, bold red and even a tri-color panelled version. The uppers are constructed from organic woven cotton and the soles are produced from recycled rubber, so you can rest assured your footwear choices will impact the earth in the most minimal way possible. Additionally, deadstock and faulty shoes are donated to the homeless and refugees in need – you can shop Good News at retailers like Dover Street Market now.
East-London based Stepney Workers Club specializes in genderless footwear staples inspired by sport and subculture. Initially unveiling its wares last year, with the high-top Varden and low-top silhouette Dellow, SWC has expanded its offering in those two styles to include canvas uppers in blue and canary yellow as well as smooth leather and suede options and for a bolder finish, textured hairy suede. Head to global retailers like Goodhood, Nitty Gritty, Kapok and Need Supply to check them out IRL.