The Best Black Trainers on Earth (According To Esquire Editors)

Esquire Editors
·4-min read
Photo credit: Matches Fashion, Nike, Mr Porter
Photo credit: Matches Fashion, Nike, Mr Porter

From Esquire

You want the best. And heck, you deserve the best. But there's a lot of choice out there, and sometimes the best is hard to find. Fortunately, we know where to find it. Every week, the Esquire editors reveal their favourite brands, from under-the-radar steals to luxury loves, so you can invest in the best clothes, watches and accessories that money can buy.

This week, the black trainers that don't get enough praise. Yet.

Photo credit: Mr Porter
Photo credit: Mr Porter

Vans

Dan Choppen, Fashion Assistant

SHOP

"I am a creature of habit. Yes, I can be spontaneous at times, but I like the things I like and (within reason) I don’t see much point in changing them – black trainers included.

"Vans have been making classics for years, since 1966 to be specific, when it first released the Authentic deck shoe. Jump ahead a decade and my personal favourite, the Old Skool, was designed and released as a skate shoe. I don’t skate. I did try, but I quickly realised the possibility of me breaking something was stupidly high, so my skate dream ended before it truly begun. But, luckily for me, the shoe doesn’t scream ‘sk8er boi'. They're simple, relaxed and go with pretty much anything. Can you wear them with a suit? Well, that's a whole other question, c u l8r boi."

Photo credit: Matches Fashion
Photo credit: Matches Fashion

New Balance

Finlay Renwick, Deputy Style Editor

SHOP

"A bit like navy blazers and hard drugs, once you buy a pair of New Balance 990s, it can be hard to stop. I started down the rabbit hole a few years ago with a pair of olive green V3s in pigskin suede, then onto the classic pale greys, the V4 edition, before a black pair of V5s caught my eye: my favourite. Famously the first running shoe to ever break the $100 mark, today the 990 is a premium trainer worn, so the advert goes, 'by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio'.

"Still the brand’s flagship, the silhouette is updated ever so incrementally. The V5s launched last year and come with a lower profile and a shiny embossed American flag on the tongue, if that’s your sort of thing. Grey might be the original, but for winter versatility, you can’t beat black. At once stealthy, smart, sporty and ridiculously comfortable, there’s a reason why they’re a style that has barely changed in nearly 40 years. Now, what colour could be next?"

Photo credit: Nike
Photo credit: Nike

Nike

Murray Clark, Digital Style Editor

SHOP

"As a teenager, I begged and begged and begged for a pair of Nike Air Max 95s, and my parents said no, because they didn't toe Wolfreton Secondary School's statute of uniforms, and I'd 'soon get bored of them'. Around 10 years later, I begged and begged and begged my ex-boyfriend to borrow his pair, and he said no, because he is an ex-boyfriend. So I decided to exercise my God given independence as an emancipated man, and I bought my own.

"15 years on from those heady comprehensive salad days, they're still on my feet – such is the enduring power of a classic Nike Air Max 95. First released in its namesake year, this landmark runner swam against a tide of basketball-geared ubiquity and soon enough, became A Thing in its own right. And I'm still not bored. So take that, mommmmm."

Photo credit: Matches Fashion
Photo credit: Matches Fashion

Salomon

Charlie Teasdale, Style Director

SHOP

"Firstly, let me say that I think black trainers are more important for a man’s wardrobe than white trainers. I know, that is menswear heresy, but it’s true. White trainers have the capacity to be a bit… basic. And they demand to be looked at, either for being too clean and new or too beaten-up, and neither is good. Black trainers, on the other hand, maintain their appeal for longer, and they’re altogether subtler, and subtlety is what I strive so desperately for.

"I almost picked the Dellow by Stepney Workers Club for this, but they were pipped to the post by any of all the all-black iterations of Salomon trail running shoes. I have these, and not only are they supremely comfortable and pleasantly hypey, but I know that when the end-times finally come, I’ll be able to tackle the rough post-apocalyptic terrain with Gore-Texy confidence. Good luck in your Common Projects, pal."

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