When you think of sneakers, you imagine assembly lines of Chinese workers young enough to be gymnasts, working materials never intended by nature, in conditions never intended for man. For more elevated kicks, try Common Projects.
Common's a wearably upscale line that maintains its sneaker rep with traditional front lace-ups and rubber soles, but ups the finery with top-flight materials hand-stitched in Italy (when you come from the Boot, you know sewin' shoes). Fresh out for fall is the signature "Achilles" in three distinct varietals: a shiny black patent-leather lowtop w/ leather foot bed; a plushie-esque, navy suede, leather-lined lowtop; and a dark grey smooth leather midtop comforted up with features like an interior suede heel patch and a wraparound padded "top opening", removing "cankle" from the list of places you're chafing. Literally upping the awesomeness is a silver metallic spacesuit-ish leather basketball hightop that stands 6in tall -- for the look of KISS, and the stature of MINI KISS.
A unifying signature touch: each Common's side-stamped with a ten digit code, which identifies the style of shoe, not the child slave forced to make it after failing to score a perfect 10.