Welcome to the seventh installment of Sliding Scale, a series in which we bring you a single product for every budget. This month we’re rounding up Canvas Sneakers. Simple, light, and breathable, the canvas sneaker is a warm weather staple, and these are our nine favorite responsibly-made pairs.
First up are the Méditerranée Sneakers from Veja, which have organic cotton uppers, natural Amazonian rubber soles, and are made in a Fair Trade factory in Brazil. Thanks to the current EUR to USD exchange rate, these are only $50 right now (not including international shipping).
Next are the Star Master Sneakers from Novesta. These are handmade in a family owned factory in Slovakia out of natural and low-impact materials, and are completely free of harsh chemical dyes and glues. They also come in a nice array of colors, and only cost $65 at Oi Polloi.
Industry of all Nations
The Kenyata Sneakers from Industry of all Nations are ethically made in Africa using materials that are sourced from within the continent, including African-grown cotton for the uppers, and natural African rubber for the soles. There are eight colors available, and they’re all priced at $75.
The only US-made entries on the list come from American Apparel. They’ve got two options: the deck shoe-style Low Top Sneakers, which come in one color (pictured above), and cost $75. And the Keds-inspired Unisex Tennis Shoes, which come in a variety of colors / patterns / fabrics, and cost $42.
Shoes Like Pottery
The Low and High Sneakers from Japan’s Shoes Like Pottery are made using the traditional Japanese ‘Ka-ryu’ vulcanization process, which involves firing the shoes in a kiln to permanently fuse the rubber soles to the hand-sewn cotton canvas uppers. This makes the shoes both highly flexible and exceedingly durable. End Clothing has a number of colors to choose from, and prices start at $135.
The Japanese footwear label Doek also produces their shoes in Japan using traditional processes (the brand is actually owned by the same company that owns Shoes Like Pottery), but the sneakers are a bit more substantial, and a bit more classic looking. Portland’s Winn Perry has two styles: the Jack Purcell-esque Courts and the Vans-esque Oxfords, and both cost $140.
The only slip-ons to make the list come from our buddies at The Hill-Side. These too are artisan-made in Japan and have vulcanized natural rubber soles. They come in two colorways, both of which will run you $150. The Hill-Side also makes a variety of classically styled lace-up sneakers which range from $175 – $225, depending on the fabrics used for their uppers.
Maison Kitsuné Shop
Coming in at $235 are the deck-style Plimsoll Sneakers from Maison Kitsuné, which are designed in France, made in Japan, and have cotton uppers, rubber soles, gold eyelets, and are available in three colors at East Dane.
And finally, there are the canvas Achilles Lows and Toe Cap Lows from Common Projects. These are made in Italy out of Italian materials. They’re also fully lined with natural leather, which makes them more comfortable without socks and helps to prevent odor. End Clothing has both styles, and prices start at a wince-inducing $319.