Old school sneakers are quite literally all the rage these days. Some of the world’s biggest sportswear companies are diving deep into their archives to bring back classics, while independent labels are dropping vintage-inspired trainers that look like they’ve been taken straight from the ‘70s or ‘80s.
If you want to give your current collection the upgrade that it deserves, a pair of retro sneakers is absolutely essential. With hundreds (if not thousands) to choose from, finding the perfect pair can be a little overwhelming. Luckily for you though, we’ve done the hard work and hand-selected the best retro sneakers out there. These are sure to sell out pretty soon, so grab your size ASAP before someone else does. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Best retro sneakers for men in 2023
If you’re a fan of minimalist kicks, then JAK has got your back (and feet). Almost a year in the making, the ‘70s-inspired Vantage pays homage to traditional tennis shoes and has been designed and carefully crafted in Portugal. Painted in a crisp white colour scheme, it’s accented with green tumbled overlays around the heel and navy laces for a serious throwback vibe. What’s there not to love?
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
A true classic, you’d be hard pressed to find a sneaker that has as much history and heritage as the Chuck Taylor All Star from Converse. Even though this trainer is over a century old, it’s overall design has pretty much remained unchanged. Regarded by old school sneakerheads as the OG of all OGs, this pair is crafted from a slick black canvas and is decorated with contrast stitching throughout. Y’know what they say, no collection is fully complete without the Chuck, and we totally agree.
Oliver Cabell GAT
Here at OPUMO, we’re massive fans of Scott Gabrielson’s Oliver Cabell. Even though it’s only been around for five years, it has managed to achieve more than most brands would in their entire lifetimes. That’s because silhouettes like the GAT make it stand out. Standing for German Athletic Trainer, it boasts an ethically-sourced leather construction and is stuffed with countless cool details throughout.
New Balance Made in USA 990v2
New Balance is completely dominating the sneaker game at the moment. Once a brand associated with long walks on the beach and Sunday BBQs, thanks to Teddy Santis’ creative direction, the Boston-based imprint is now the definition of hype. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the 990 model, and to celebrate this major milestone, New Balance released the 990v2. Crafted from a delectable selection of suede, leather, and mesh, it sits atop a chunky ABZORB midsole for unrivalled comfort with every step. Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, this shoe has been made in NB’s factories in the US, so you can pretty much guarantee a premium product.
Axel Arigato Dice Lo
Blurring the lines between the past, present, and future, Axel Arigato’s Dice Lo is a contemporary take on the retro trainer. Dipped in a pristine white and grey colour combo, it’s crafted from Italian leather and suede and features a sole that’s made using recycled rubber. The lining is also responsibly produced, and for all your female footwear fans out there, you’ll be happy to hear that the Dice Lo is also available in ladies sizes as well.
We can’t talk about the best retro sneakers without bringing up the Deane by CLAE. One of the LA-based brand’s most popular silhouettes, it works on top of an “Off-White” Italian leather base and is very subtly accented with “Vanilla” suede overlays around the toebox, lacing system, and heel. All of this is then finished off with a lush “Olive” heel badge that rounds off the delicious design. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this pristine pair.
Nike Blazer Low '77 Vintage
Even though Nike’s Blazer Low is almost five decades old, its overall design has pretty much remained exactly the same since - a testament to just how truly timeless it is. One of the most iconic basketball shoes of all-time, this particular pair features a white and grey leather and suede construction. The exposed foam detailing on the tongue gives the shoe a seriously vintage vibe, and across the sidewalls you’ll find an oversized black Swoosh that’s sure to turn heads wherever you go. Shifting your focus underfoot, you’ll spot a vulcanised rubber midsole that has been specifically designed to dominate on the hardcourt even after all this time.
If you don’t have a pair of Gazelles in your collection, the Collegiate Navy is the one to get. While this legendary Adidas series first debuted back in 1966, this exact pair was introduced 25 years later and continues to be a true classic even to this day. Featuring the same palette and materials as the ‘90s original, it’s outfitted in a rich navy nubuck construction with gold foil detailing that offers an extra old school aesthetic. We know nothing in life is perfect, but these come pretty close.