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Slob Rock: 5 Exceptionally Louche Sneaker Alternatives For A Post-Streetwear World
— Updated on 5 July 2023

Slob Rock: 5 Exceptionally Louche Sneaker Alternatives For A Post-Streetwear World

— Updated on 5 July 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

It’s a fact that keen observers of fashion have been aware of for some time now, but certainly bears repeating: people are tired of wearing sneakers. Less a tipping point and more of a hilariously self-inflicted roll down an uncannily giant hill, the pivot away from buying exclusively from sportswear cartels like Nike and New Balance has been the result of numerous, cumulative effects – bubbling away in the cultural ether of 2022.

Between collab fatigue and Fashion’s widespread pushback against ‘COVID casual’ dress norms, we’ve reached a moment when you don’t necessarily have to stop wearing sneakers; but it’s no longer all that rewarding – as a consumer or a participant in streetwear’s social narrative – to do so. Lo and behold, I give you the ‘sneaker alternative’.

A neologism used to describe Wallabies; Birkenstocks; loafers; clogs; mules; slippers and just about any other casual style of footwear under the sun, we’ve pulled together 5 of the best sneaker alternatives that the internet has to offer – in the hopes you too might discover your most eclectic style persona. As menswear becomes increasingly “genreless” and “intersectional”, there’s a newfound appreciation for products that dare to blend seemingly disparate influences. Not convinced? See for yourself and slide into our curated selection below…

Blackstone & Weber ‘Ellis’ Penny Loafer

best sneaker alternatives

At the forefront of the struggle to re-contextualise traditionally waspy style staples like the ubiquitous penny loafer, Blackstock & Weber are a Brooklyn-based footwear brand that wants to make slip-ons great again. Its emblematic style is ‘the Ellis’ – a chunky, double-soled unit that is available in a staggering 18 colourways. Y’know – sort of like your favourite daily sneaker.

We’re personally very partial to the chocolate/white colourway. Less Billie Jean and more RocknRolla, they’re constructed with grained leather uppers from Tanneries Du Puy: a renowned specialist in box calf, and subsidiary of that most monolithic of French luxury houses – Hermès.

RELATED: Bin Your Birks, Aimé Leon Dore Is Officially In The Mule Game

Easymoc ‘Black Grizzly’

Precisely the sort of sneaker alternative you’d expect a seafaring Bond villain to cloth his feet in (perhaps whilst coming ashore in this adorable little dinghy) the Easymoc is an updated expression of the traditional moccasin, made for the next generation. Unlike your garden-variety Sperrys, these ‘Black Grizzly’ numbers were designed with a unique slide-in construction: meaning that they can be worn in the ordinary fashion, or (crucially) with the heels kicked down in the style of a slipper. 

You wouldn’t know it by mere sight, but there’s even sneaker technology thrown into the mix: as this particular moc’s footbed is constructed from Ortholite – a recyclable, moisture-wicking mesh more commonly seen in the running footwear of Adidas and ASICS.

Baudoin & Lange ‘Sagan’ Stride Loafers

best sneaker alternatives

Once a ‘IYKYK’ flex of the highest order (and now, menswear’s worst-kept secret) the Baudoin & Lange ‘Sagan’ has gone through a couple of iterations over the years; with the ‘Stride’ being the most suitable variation for those interested in compelling sneaker alternatives.

Of a similar disposition to Loro Piana’s legendary ‘Open Walk’, these Sagan Strides are as close as you can get to a bench-made shoe if what you’re in the market for is a decadently comfy slipper. The uppers are crafted from suede lambskin (tanned for and supplied exclusively to the brand) before being attached to a handmade insole and natural rubber bottoms – making these great for the man who prizes elegance as much as an active lifestyle.

FEIT Outdoor Slipper

Now, we’re getting into straight-up ‘cozy boy’ territory. The latest style to emerge from Amero-Aussie leather footwear specialists Feit, these backless slippers evoke a simple bucolic way of living – the podiatric incarnation of that ‘in my lane, focused, flourishing’ meme. All kidding aside, of all the sneaker alternatives we’ve recommended throughout this guide, Feit’s outdoor slipper is most assuredly the craftiest of the bunch. 

Beyond the fact that they’re a limited edition (100 pairs), each individual slipper takes 10 days to make – a lengthy process requiring them to be cut, lasted, and stitched together by hand. The clog-style single-piece upper is joined to a natural insole that moulds to the wearer’s foot over time; and these are held together by an exposed welt (in natural undyed thread) that emphasises the human element behind this design.

Moncler Genius x Suicoke ‘Mountain’ Sandals

best sneaker alternatives

Revered by fans of similarly niche Japanese outdoor labels like Snow Peak, Suicoke has always set the standard when it comes to tough-yet-comfy footwear designs. The company’s ongoing partnership with Moncler (through the latter’s Genius program) has resulted in a range of thoughtful sneaker alternatives, incorporating technology that is meant for the trail, marshes or mountaintops.

For instance, these sandals (inspired by Japan’s traditional flipflop-esque geta) meld the hook-and-loop fastening system of Suicoke’s popular ‘Moto Cab’ model with a Moncler-designed Vibram sole unit. An excellent foundation for outfits that lean in the direction of techwear or glamping, they’re much sturdier than they initially let on.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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