Love the way Common Projects look but can't stomach the high price tag? This list of Common Projects Achilles alternatives is for you.
I’m throwing away my red velvet blazer. You know why? First, because it’s incredibly ugly. But second, it doesn’t match anything else in my wardrobe.
I love classic style, but I don't like having a lot of clothes. A few t-shirts, a few button-ups, a pair of jeans and chinos. Mix and match those with a few jackets and a couple pairs of shoes — that’s all I need.
My shoe of choice when it comes to versatility is the plain white sneaker. The less detail the better. They look great with shorts, jeans, slacks — you can even wear them with a suit.
The holy grail of minimalist white sneakers is the Common Projects Achilles.
If you’re here, chances are you’ve been dying to get a pair of Achilles but the price-tag has you gun-shy.
To help you, we’ve put together a list of 15 alternatives to the Common Projects Achilles.
Keeping a tight budget? No problem — check out our top alternatives under $100.
Less worried about price and just want an honest recommendation? We’ve also included our three favorites that we can personally vouch for.
What are Common Projects?
Common Projects is a shoe brand that has amassed a following amongst sneaker heads. Their Achilles line started a minimalist sneaker craze.
The brainchild of an art director and brand consultant, Common Projects runs a bare-bones operation. With no marketing to speak of and a barely functional site, the brand has made its way into the luxury shoe space through word of mouth.
Made in Italy with hand-selected calfskin leather, these sneakers are like wine — they get better with age. They’ve become so popular that stockists are having trouble keeping them around, even with a $400 price tag.
Not looking to drop that kind of scratch for a simple white sneaker?
Here are our favorites that will get you the look while leaving a little left in your wallet.
Top 3 Common Projects Alternatives
#1: Koio Capri
The Koio Capri is our top choice if you’re looking for an alternative to Common Projects.
Made with the highest quality Italian leather and manufactured in the Marche region, both the Capri and Achilles are outfitted with Margom soles.
The toe box and eyelets are nearly identical when comparing the two together. The biggest difference in the Capri is the leather detail from the ankle to the heel.
Koio had to differentiate themselves a little, and their update adds flair to an otherwise minimalist shoe.
With nine different colorways, you don’t have to feel restricted to the all-white look. For instance, the Fiore colorway, while a little bolder, stays simple and will help you stand out in a crowd.
The Capri is lined with the same full-grain calf-skin leather found on the upper. The padding around the ankle and suede in the heel truly conveys a sense of luxury.
We’re big fans of the Koio and think they’re worth every penny. When you compare the quality of Common Projects and Koio's, you’re getting nearly the same thing. The extra 40% markup is for the CP brand name.
If the price is the number one reason you’re staying away from Common Projects Achilles, but you want the same quality and experience, you’ll be happy with the Koio Capri.
Our second choice behind Koio is the Reid from Beckett Simonon. The price is less steep than the Capri for two main reasons.
Beckett Simonon crafts all their shoes to order, so if you order in October, your shoes will arrive in January. That may seem like a long wait, but the Reid is a fantastic choice if you love the minimalist look and don’t want to fork out a chunk of change.
The Reid also departs from Common Projects and Koio in that they’re constructed from materials sourced outside of Italy.
These shoes feature full-grain Argentinian leather and have less padding around the ankles and tongue. The vachetta lining, usually only found in luxury handbags, develops a nice patina over time.
While they only offer four colorways and your shoe arrives 10-12 weeks after ordering, the Reid is the least expensive option in our top three.
If you don’t care whether your leather comes from Italy or Argentina (we don’t blame you) and you’re willing to wait, Beckett Simonon’s Reid offers that classic white-sneaker look at a fair price.
#3: Greats Royale
The rumor swirling around the internet says Greats is made in the same factory as Common Projects. We don’t know for sure, but we do know they’re from the same region and feature the same Margom sole.
With a similar minimalist style, Greats offers an Italian-made sneaker with a lot of versatility, but less brand recognition.
The upper and lining are made with full-grain leather, which is some of the best quality you find in a pair of sneakers. The soft leather lining means you can choose to wear socks or go without.
Waxed-cotton laces keep their shape well and don’t develop the grimy grey look that regular laces tend to show.
The Royale has a slightly taller profile than Common Projects and doesn’t crease as nicely over time. That being said, they’re about a third of the price.
The perforated holes in the toe box are reminiscent of classic Jordans. These are hit or miss for sneaker fans. People either love the throwback or find the perforations to be a pointless disruption to an otherwise classy and minimalist style.
If you’re ok buying luxury sneakers but don’t need the brand markup, Greats is a fantastic choice.
Part of what makes Common Projects so attractive is the quality. It’s not possible to find a plain white sneaker under $50 that’s worth the money. We can almost guarantee they’ll fall apart before you get your money’s worth.
Of course, you may not be in a position to spend over $100 on a new pair of shoes. If that’s the case, check out our favorite sub-$100 options.
Made with a near-identical design to CP’s, the Pedro Casual Court Sneakers are great if you want the same look at 25% of the cost.
It won’t be the same experience as Koio or Greats — the Casual Court Sneakers certainly aren’t luxury standard — but you’ll be adding a classic look to your wardrobe.
You’ll be limited in how often you can rock these Pedro’s because they’ll wear down quickly. Corners were cut, but if you’re not concerned about the experience and feel of the shoes but want the same look, give the Casual Court Sneakers a try.
Stan Smiths come up a lot when talking about all-white sneakers. Adidas has added their flair to the style, so they’re not exactly minimalist.
Don’t worry, no one will mistake your Stan Smith’s for Common Projects. The design is totally different, and the leather has a semi-plastic look.
These sneakers won’t hold up long to everyday use, so if you choose to go this route, pick and choose when to wear them.
Between $100 and $200
If you're willing to spend more than $100, you'll find a lot more options, including some very respectable choices.
The COS Leather Sneakers have a thick rubber sole with a serration grip. They’re a little chunkier than CP’s, but that’s by design.
They feature the same contrasting lining through the heel, though the shoe is largely unpadded.
The Axel Arigato Cap Toe sneaker has a similar gold foil stamp as CP’s, but one major difference.
These sneakers are primarily suede. The soft texture gives Arigato’s an extravagant feel and the suede is surprisingly durable. The toe cap is genuine leather — not the best, but a worthy sacrifice at this price point.
These sneakers are full-grain leather, fully lined with padded tongue and ankle, Margom sole, and manufactured in Italy.
Svensson’s feature more detailed stitching on the upper which sets them apart from the others on this list. These can compete with Greats and Beckett Simonon as great CP alternatives.
#9: Jak Royal
Made in Portugal with some of the highest quality leather, the Jak Royal has an impressive amount of color options.
Customers seem to love them as 90% of their reviews (out of over 500) are 5-star.
#10: Gustin White Low Top
Pristine white sneakers don’t stay pure white forever. Gustin proudly advertises that fact, too.
The more you wear these, the more they become yours. The quality Nappa leather upper will develop a patina instead of tearing at the creases.
#11: Clae Bradley
The Bradley makes our list because of Clae’s interesting colorways. The green waxed suede is a departure from the all-white look that dominates our top alternates.
If the green doesn’t suit you, try one of their other 40 color options. If you love the court style shoe but want a unique color, check out Clae’s extensive offerings.
The Broome from Armando Cabral has a little designer flair to it. With a lifted toe cap and a thick sole, the model is a migration from CP’s.
Strobel stitching gives the Broomes more flexibility, but at the cost of support. Still, these high-quality sneakers offer a different perspective on a classic look.
#13: Zespa ZSP4
If you’re familiar at all with the French, they’ll only admit inferiority to Italians on one thing: coffee.
But for everything else, don’t even think about mentioning Italy or Italians.
The Zespa ZSP4 is the French take on the court sneaker. Made in Aix-en-Provence, these have a similar gold foil detail as CPs. The leather isn’t the same quality, but the savings are real.
In this price range, you have some options that actually give the famed Achilles Low a run for its money.
#14: M.Gemi- The Lucente
Maria Gangemi, the founder of M.Gemi, grew up around the factories that produced shoes for luxury brands known throughout the world. She’s dedicated her life to shoe design.
M.Gemi’s Lucente has more heel padding than others on this list—part for comfort, part for design. Otherwise, these super-clean white sneakers are made with similar luxury materials like calf-leather and Margom soles like our other favorite Achilles alternatives.
#15: Ace Marks Duke
Ace Marks is all about handcrafting the best shoe possible. The calf-skin leather on the Duke is picked, dyed, and burnished by hand.
With classic Italian Blake stitching, you’re getting a well-made shoe that’s lightweight and durable.
Ace Marks offers a nice variety of options beyond solid bold colors.
Which Achilles Low Alternative Is Best for You?
It’s not an easy choice dropping over $400 on a pair of white sneakers.
It’s even more difficult knowing you can get the same quality at nearly half the price.
Whether you’re after a luxury sneaker experience or you’re looking for a versatile wardrobe essential on the cheap, we know your next favorite.