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
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 17 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.
Short on time? Here are our top two picks for common projects alternatives:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
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
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 4 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. Koio does offer a version of the low top with a suede accent on the heel, which we really like.
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.
The Oliver Cabell Low 1 could be described as a Common Projects Achilles homage, sold at a more affordable price point.
It’s very similar to the CP Achilles. It even has gold lettering on an otherwise unmarked upper – a clear hat tip to Common Projects.
When the Low 1 first launched, it was on par with some of the lower priced brands on this list. It couldn’t compete with the Koio Capri, for example.
The footbed, lining and laves are also from Italy, which puts this sneaker squarely in the luxury category.
Considering the Low 1 costs less than $200,
Our fourth choice behind Koio and
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.
#4: 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.
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
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
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.
Arguably the best Common Projects alternative under $100, the Kurt from digital first menswear brand New Republic (owned by Five Four) seems to deserve all the praise it’s gotten over the past few years.
Available in a wide range of sizes (men’s 4 to 15, including half sizes), the Kurt Leather Sneaker now comes with a Tencel mesh footbed (think memory foam) that adds comfort and airflow to your step.
On the quality spectrum, the leather is nicer than what you’ll find on, say, the Adidas Stan Smith, but it’s not luxury grade.
However, for the price, these are very durable and can take a surprising amount of abuse before showing significant signs of wear.
If you’re on a tight budget, you should consider the New Republic Kurt.
Made with a near-identical design to CP’s, the Pedro Casual Court
It won’t be the same experience as Koio or Greats — the Casual Court
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
Stan Smiths come up a lot when talking about all-white
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.
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
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.
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.
#10: 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.
#11: Gustin White Low Top
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.
#12: 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.
#14: Armando Cabral Broome
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
#15: 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.
#16: 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
#17: 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
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.