At this point in time it should be a given that you need a pair of minimalist sneaker. All of those mutant fashion versions might be acceptable for now, but can you really foresee them lasting? We can’t. The classic white sneaker has proven to be a welcome bridge between casual and formal, loosening up suiting for the more casually-minded. It’s going nowhere.
With the proliferation of the minimalist sneaker however, a particular conundrum has arisen. With such a vast selection out there, which pair do you invest in? Next time you’re looking to update your rotation, consider Oliver Cabell.
Quality and transparency
Oliver Cabell make sneakers. They didn’t used to, they used to make accessories, but after discovering some sneaker moulds in their Italian factory and perfecting their way through 22 prototypes, they ended up with a design called the Low 1 ($178). Said sneaker turned out to be very popular indeed.
A minimalist, clean silhouette void of any unnecessary chunkiness, perforation, bling, detailing or grotesque branding, the Low 1 continues to be a versatile and stylish silhouette that rivals the quality and design of expensive competitors whilst doing so at an approachable price point. To understand how they can do this, it’s worth considering where they come from.
Quality and transparency underpins everything Oliver Cabell does. The two go hand in hand and where other brands might want to hide their production methods, clarity in the nuts and bolts of their manufacturing has actually served Oliver Cabell well. The brand uses the same premium materials that household names like Prada and Saint Laurent use, but don’t include the luxury mark-up. Meanwhile, production takes place in Spain by hand.
The people behind the brand have observed the sweatshop scene in countries where worker’s rights are at a minimum and pay rates are inhumane. They’ve seen the other brands producing an item for pennies and selling it down the road for thousands and have acted accordingly. A fully transparent cost breakdown of each shoe is listed online. You know what you’re getting, and the product stands up.
Style not sacrificed for substance
So far, so good. But we know what you’re thinking: what do they actually look like? Has style been sacrificed for substance? The answer is a resounding no. Concentrating on a few key silhouettes with small touches of flair here and there, Oliver Cabell have managed to nail everything that’s great about minimalist sneakers. Namely, the minimalism.
We’ve all been there, stood in a shop, staring at a rack of sneakers and thought, “I like the shape, but why have they insisted on adding those studs or that tiger detailing?” The Low 1 offers the antithesis to the industry’s current more is more approach – perfecting something and leaving it be. And if you do want something that stands out, there’s a range of sleek colours, textures and coloured accents – all with basic design principles left intact.
It’s this strict adhering to the underlying design ethos, as well as a small-batch mentality, which has led to Oliver Cabell quickly garnering a cult following – hundreds register online in advance to be in with a chance of copping new releases, all of which sell out immediately.
Innovation and a smart approach to sustainability
Oliver Cabell are by no means resting on their laurels. Recent releases of note include the Phoenix sneaker ($95), a 3D-printed, machine washable design made from recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are sterilised, cleaned and shredded into flakes before being spun into a fibre. The subsequent yarn is 3D printed into the shape of a trainer and comes out fully formed.
Designed to be worn sockless, and available in black or white, the Phoenix uses one seamless upper, minus cutting or stitching, for a noticeably comfortable sneaker that by no means feels like it’s made from plastic. The material innovation ensures the upper easy to clean while an antibacterial lining provides sweat-wicking properties and a silky-smooth finish. A truly forward-thinking approach to fashion’s ongoing sustainability issue.
The other new release isn’t a sneaker, but deals with a similar issue. Due to their very nature and often poor longevity, sneakers are widely seen as a disposable item. They get dirty, we bin them and buy new. Occasionally we might rub a wet wipe over them, but by that point it’s usually too late. Contrast our shoe and sneaker maintenance and the gulf is stark – so Oliver Cabell has produced a line of cleaning products.
Featuring brushes, a liquid cleaner and whitener, the brand have worked on unique formulas, avoiding harsh chemicals to provide effective cleaning. Their premium shoe cleaner ($18) was a year in the making and is fully biodegradable. Their shoe whitener ($15) is also the first product on the market made exclusively to revive white leather and repair minor scratches and scuffs. If you’re going to spend money on a premium pair of sneakers, Oliver Cavell know it makes sense to take care of them too.