Tod’s Is Betting Big on Rich Guy Sneakers

Prop Stylist: Simon Abranowicz

The powerhouse label behind the iconic Gommino loafer launches a new initiative with some slick new kicks.

The sneaker industry as we know it is nearly 50 years old, which means that, by now, it’s got a history, vocabulary, design language, and booming economy all its own. But when a conglomerate-owned designer concern comes along, hungry for a piece of that pie, all of that context can get flattened. Watching a luxury brand get into sneakers can feel like watching your dad get into rap. It’s well-meaning, sure, but tough to watch.

And now that we’re on the onramp to Peak Designer Sneaker, there’s a clear blueprint for making a fancy shoe that won’t lead sneakerheads to claw their eyes out. Don’t believe me? Consider this: Tod’s, the obscenely luxe Italian loafer company with a monopoly on the softest cows in Europe, is making sneakers now. And while they may not break StockX, the shoes are notable for nailing the details that so many other designer sneakers do not. fThis,, is the designer sneaker playbook in action. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Weird

Earlier this summer, Tod’s launched a new initiative: No_Code, responsible for shaking up the brand’s offerings. See the underscore? This is not your daddy’s driving loafer.

Step 2: Keep It Simple

Paradoxically, making an ugly sneaker is harder than it sounds; sale racks are littered with misfires that look ugly by accident, which is worse than ugly on purpose. So Tod’s just…didn’t do that. The No_Code is simple, understated, bordering on tasteful, with just enough neoprene to keep things from getting staid.

Step 3: Do Your Homework

Sneakers don’t just exist in a vacuum. There are only so many ways to design a shoe, and we’ve already figured out most of them. Now, I don’t know if the folks at Tod’s wanted to pay homage to the Air Jordan X with this shoe, but I do know that the No_Code shares some design language with His Airness’s tenth shoe, particularly in its full-length leather paneling, and the lace loops. That’s not a bad thing, and not necessarily a rip, either. MJ had kicks designed to echo fighter jets and his Ferrari. So why not his favorite driving shoe?

Step 4: Keep It High End

In an oh-so-slightly different universe, the ultra-soft leather on this shoe is a perfect veal scaloppine. Buy local!

Step 5: Know Your History

Those dots on the sole and across the heel echo those found on the Tod’s Gommino. The Gommino put Tod’s on the map: it’s the high-test driving loafer so luxurious that it almost justified how uncomfortably territorial your stepdad was about his pair.

Step 6: Don’t Forget the Weird Kinky Stuff

OK, that’s not part of the playbook. But we couldn’t help ourselves.

Tod’s No_Code leather and scuba-effect fabric sneakers

$625, Tod’s

Buy Now

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