The end of the year is rapidly approaching, with conversations around ‘Sneaker of the Year’ at an all-time high. Many influential figures within the sneaker community will be directing their interest towards the more obvious selections such as adidas, Nike and New Balance. Although these brands have delivered some of the hottest silhouettes around, I have highlighted a lesser-known brand that has consistently produced some unique sneakers year after year, Stepney Workers Club.
I discuss the East London brands 2021 in sneakers below and highlight this week’s releases that caught my eye. Take a look below.
STEPNEY WORKERS CLUB
Stepney Workers Club is an East London born and bred brand that draws inspiration from the inclusive culture found at traditional Workers Sports Clubs. Founders Simon See and Roger Pereira share the brand message: ‘Freedom of Sport, Freedom of Thought’, which sums up S.W.C. perfectly. The handshake symbol you see across various silhouettes and on the website also offers an insight into the company. The emblem represents liberal thinking and unity found within these Workers Sports Clubs and Stepney Workers Club.
The AW21 collection would see S.W.C. release the S-strike silhouette. The minimalistic appearance would see the chunky sole unit and retro-inspired uppers feature once more. An S-strike design features across the lateral side of the sneaker. The S-Strike stars alongside a Shroom Hands silhouette crafted from the brand’s hard-wearing raw ecru. My favourite sneaker from Stepney Workers Club comes in the shape of the Dellow Grand Cord silhouette. The wide cord gauge paired with a minimal ecru colourway personifies the brand entirely. Retro aesthetics are S.W.C.s bread and butter, something evident with the Dellow Grand Cord trainer.
If you are looking to bring in the new year supporting a lesser-known sneaker brand, Stepney Workers Club really can do no wrong. Update your rotation with an independent brand; you won’t regret it.
STRAY RATS x NEW BALANCE 991
There really is no room to criticise New Balance after the last 12 months the Boston-based brand has experienced. The upcoming Stray Rats collaboration is yet another feather in the cap of one of the most impressive years for any sneaker brand. Founded in Miami by Streetwear designer Julian Consuegra, Stray Rats product focuses on the brand’s hardcore punk scene roots. Something instantly recognisable by the colour combinations used across this pair of NB 991’s.
Two versions of the ever-popular 991 silhouette are scheduled to drop, with an eye-catching purple version countered by a slightly more minimalist black colourway. Both sneakers feature co-branding throughout, specifically an embroidered ‘STRAY’ across the shoe’s toebox.
The two companies have worked on a handful of projects together previously, with each striking sneaker a must-have for New Balance collectors. Pair New Balance’s current hype with Stray Rats cult-following; we expect this upcoming collaboration to be an instant sell-out.
SALEHE BEMBURY X CROCS POLLEX
There are not too many people within the sneaker and streetwear industry making as much of an impact as Salehe Bembury is right now. If you need any proof, look at the hype the designer has garnered around the previously notoriously uncool Crocs. A silhouette reserved mostly for chefs due to comfort purposes, the Crocs are on the up within the footwear community, and Bembury is definitely to blame.
Bembury drew inspiration from his fingerprint for this eye-catching design across the moulded piece of footwear. The futuristic wave-like design comes in a mushroom and army green colourway and has two wear functions. A heel strap is included for ‘Trail’ wear, whilst you can remove this strap for ‘Free’ wear. Salehe Bembury prides himself on bringing innovative products that fall in line with a brand’s heritage, something perfectly executed with the Crocs Pollex.
YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 BELUGA REFLECTIVE
Finally, we see the return of one of Kanye West’s most iconic silhouettes under the adidas banner, the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Beluga. The unique zebra-like design paired with a mix of grey hues and a striking orange stripe makes this sneaker instantly recognisable. The Beluga has released a handful of times over the years after being teased at the YEEZY Season 4 show. However, this drop features the truly special reflective uppers that only Kanye West can pull off.
Ultra Boost technology combined with primeknit uppers and the’ SPLY 350′ lettering across the upper, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is a ‘Ye creation. Do not miss the chance to finally own one of West’s most legendary sneakers.