Leather sneakers are a must in every wardrobe. Wondering which pair to buy? Let's compare three popular online sneaker brands for guys.
Sneakers are universal
They're functional and comfortable, and when you go with quality leather they can be lasting and versatile. A good pair of leather sneakers is a staple in a well rounded wardrobe, and with a little care they can last a long time.
That said, choosing a pair can be a daunting task. There are countless options in stores and online. Which should you consider? To help answer that, I wore and evaluated three different pairs of premium leather sneakers for several weeks.
Oliver Cabell vs. Koio vs. Beckett Simonon
From style to construction, here are the takeaways on each pair, and the verdict on which of these leather sneakers maximizes the qualities you're looking for.
Oliver Cabell White Leather Sneakers
- Sneaker: Oliver Cabell Low 1
- Price: $178
- Construction: Italian and Spanish full grain leather, rubber sole
- Best attribute: Style
It's hard not to love the fresh, clean look of these white leather sneakers. They exude summer with their bright color and smooth finish. They make a statement, but not too loudly.
These shoes are perfect for a warm weather outfit with shorts — I'd take these over boat shoes any day.
These shoes rank high in the style category. They're comfortable, too. The construction is stable yet offers plenty of flex in the sole and leather.
The inside surfaces also feel good — wearing no show socks can sometimes open your feet up to unpleasant rubbing and scraping, but these don't have that problem.
That's a good thing, because a good pair of no show socks is definitely the way to go with these sneakers.
That cool look isn't free, though — the white shows everything. Though some dirt and light stains are expected on any pair of sneakers, the pure white color makes them pick up filth after just a few times wearing them.
Even small blemishes become obvious. Most of it can be cleaned off after each use, especially with a little leather balm.
Editor's Note: Baby wipes are a cheap, quick way to clean your white leather sneakers at the end of a particularly dirty day, or before a night out. You can soak give white laces a bath in soapy water to freshen them up.
Still, I found myself avoiding dirty surfaces and watching my step more than I typically want to with sneakers. After all, sneakers are meant to be all-purpose.
The Oliver Cabells are good quality and very stylish. I'll certainly be wearing them more, especially in summer time. Just keep in mind that to keep that bright white color you'll need to give them more frequent cleaning and care than most other sneakers.
Koio Black Leather Sneakers
- Sneaker: Koio Capri Nero
- Price: $248
- Construction: Vitello calf leather, rubber sole
- Best attribute: Quality
Quality is the first word that comes to mind with these sneakers. You can feel it in the weight and see it in the materials. In the hands and on the feet, they're clearly solid and well built.
All of the details have been attended to. The sole has a little more thickness and height than typical sneakers, which is a cool bonus.
The inside of the shoes has a nice suede heel and tan leather lining on the sides. That provides comfort and helps keep your heel from sliding when you walk.
Black pairs well with many outfits, and these are killer for one of my personal favorites – the black/grey monochromatic look. I found myself wearing them with black or indigo jeans, not just shorts.
They also have a classier vibe than the others tested — smart casual approaching business casual. All of this means you'll get a lot of use out of these.
While the all-black look is stylish and dependable, they don't quite stand out like the other two pairs. Then there's the price, which is the highest by quite a margin.
That said, there's value in the quality and versatility of the Koios — two aspects that are almost always worth investing in. One last note: I did find these to fit slightly small, so you might consider going up 1/2 size.
When in doubt, always ask customer service about sizing.
Beckett Simonon Black and White Leather Sneakers
- Sneaker: Beckett Simonon Reid Low Top
- Price: $149
- Construction: Full grain leather, rubber sole
- Best attribute: Value
I found myself coming back to these the most. The white leather sole contrasted with the black leather is a clean and striking look. It's also classic and timeless.
These work equally well with shorts or pants. Black jeans were my favorite.
Like the Oliver Cabells, the white sole can get dirty quickly, but cleaning rubber is simpler than leather.
They're comfortable and supportive. The material quality felt similar to the Oliver Cabells, and the solid base of support was close to the Koios. Also like the Koios, the sole has good height to it.
All of this is impressive, because these are also the most affordable of the three.
That's probably due to Beckett Simonon's unique business model. They only produce to pre-orders and sell direct to the consumer, online only. They also make more than just shoes, like some very nice travel bags.
The Beckett Simonons offer great value. They're stylish and comfortable, and they're built with respectable construction and materials. I'll definitely continue to reach for these.
Three winners, different focuses
For the best value in a quality pair of leather sneakers, the Beckett Simonons are the winner. They can compliment a range of outfits, they're built to last, and at $148 they're the lowest priced option in the lineup.
You do have to pre-order these, but what you get in return is worthwhile. You won't go wrong with these sneakers.
For top quality and undeniable class, the Koios are your best bet. That's not to say the other two are lacking, just that the Koios are that good.
The materials look and feel top notch, and the shoe has a firm, solid build that can't be matched. Coming in at $248, they're not cheap by any means, but cheap isn't a word in these sneakers' vocabulary.
There's no doubting the Oliver Cabell sneakers are cool. That's because of their bright color and finish.
They do require more care to keep them looking their best, but I found myself forgiving them anyways.
Still, if you prefer the details on the Oliver Cabells over the other two, they're sure to be a good purchase. If I were to pick a go-to sneaker, the Beckett Simonons would be it.
Leather sneakers are a great addition to any wardrobe. Depending on your personal taste and budget, these three pairs are all excellent options.
Note from Brock: My top pick is Koio. These are Common Projects quality kicks at a much more reasonable price. But all three brands are better than Adidas Stan Smiths 😉
For the price and value, my next pair will be from Beckett Simonon.