Gustaf Secher, the founder of Stockholm-based premium sneaker label North 89, says: “We design sneakers in the North for the world.” He’s right, the sneakers are designed in the North, but it’s not just that, we’d go as far as saying that the sneakers are designed by the North. Drawing inspiration from Scandinavia’s famously drastic weather conditions – hot in the summer and very cold in the winter – North 89 footwear is always based around the seasons, weatherproof materials appear for Autumn/Winter while Spring/Summer is populated by breathable premium sneakers.
We know that there’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a new pair of sneakers. You’re bombarded by information about what kind of sole unit is used, or how and where the stitching is finished. It can all get too much. With all of this in mind, we like to test the footwear for you and give you the real low-down. This time round we’re reviewing North 89.
North 89 styles
A brand after our own heart, North 89 keeps things simple by only marketing two principle styles: No.1 and No. 2. Both silhouettes are based on the same form: a minimal upper that features as few components as possible sits on top of a minimal cupsole. While the No.1 is characterised by a completely smooth toecap and upper, the North 89 No.2 has a sportier stance. The perforated upper is wrapped by a clean toe cap for extra durability.
Both silhouettes boast a narrow construction, lending them a sleek and elegant profile that’s easy to style with shorts and trousers with relaxed or narrow tailoring.
North 89 materials
During the Spring/Summer season, the Swedish label opts for lighter colours like pistachio and pastel pink while darker colour schemes like ebony and stone usually denote the colder months. Regardless of the season, premium suede is the weapon of choice, with brief departures in the form of nappa leather.
Every sole used is an Italian-made Margom sole and features an antibacterial insole with memory foam. This is what really sets the footwear apart from other luxury sneakers: premium materials contribute hugely to the success of the shoes in terms of comfort.
The SkateroomKeith Haring Monsters £715
MenuPolished Brass / Clear Stem Vase £150
PhaidonBreakfast: The Cookbook £35
Neo LegendVintage Wood Mini Arkador £3,140
VitaminYellow Knot Pendant Lamp £160
AMIBlack Cigarette Fit Trousers £265
Neo LegendCat Pacifier Compact Arkador £2,440
NorthernDusty Blue Over Me Ceiling Light £0
NORR11Army Green / Smoked Beech Dining Chair £250
Charlotte TaylorHouse in Tallada Print £80
North 89 presentation
At OPUMO, we believe that every pair of luxury sneakers should be presented as such. Presented in a premium North 89 branded shoe box, all products from the label come with extra waxed cotton laces, further proof of the high level of attention to detail.
The wear test
After a week of wear, we were particularly impressed by the instant comfort – a rarity in the world of premium suede and leathers – as well as the durability. Handcrafted in a family-owned factory in Portugal, the shoes showed no signs of early deterioration despite being worn hard. The supple suede doesn’t crease and the soles show no signs of coming away from the upper.
Once again, Scandinavian design proves that form and function can co-exist without either having to take precedence. Our experience wearing North 89 footwear was entirely enjoyable, matching up to the quality and comfort of shoes at higher price points.