Common Projects vs. Esquivel Shoes: What’s the difference?

Sneakers are as popular as ever, right? Just think about it: The ugly sneaker trend is still going strong, but so is the clean and polished leather look. There’s something for everyone

By the same token, these sneakers are offered at all kinds of price points and made with varying levels of craftsmanship. So, how do you choose? Even if you’re committed to the clean sneaker look, you might be considering a purchase from at least one of two brands. Perhaps you’re thinking about a pair of sneakers from Common Projects, as they’ve garnered a cult following of minimalists for almost two decades. Or maybe you’re looking at Esquivel Shoes, which is less ubiquitous but shares a similar sleek aesthetic.

If you haven’t yet decided on the best minimalistic luxury sneaker for you, this post is for you. So, without further adieu, here are the differences between Common Projects and Esquivel Shoes.

Common Projects: A 21st-century brand whose minimalistic sneakers charmed the masses

Before we get into the details of the shoes, let’s talk history: Common Projects is the brainchild of Flavio Girolami and Prathan Poopat, founded in 2004. The duo created a line of sneakers for the extreme minimalist, which can be said not only based on their simple approach to design but because such an approach makes the footwear easy to dress up or down. The New York-based brand’s Achilles Low style tops the market of premium white leather sneakers and is favored among celebrities and technology CEOs alike. But really, the same goes for all of the sneaker brand’s offerings—shoppers can choose from several neutral colorways, as well as high-top, platform and laceless models, to accommodate many preferences.

From a price perspective, Common Projects will cost you a pretty penny (roughly $400 to $600), which fans can justify based on their versatility.


Esquivel: A modern footwear and accessory brand channeling casual sophistication and fair pricing

Esquivel was founded about 20 years ago based on a love and appreciation for the handmade and made-to-order shoe processes. It started small and grew steadily, as those at the helm kept in mind that rapid growth could mean losing the integrity of the business, which was handcrafting high-quality shoes for select retailers and private clients throughout the world, with an emphasis on personalization.

Esquivel may not be as mainstream as Common Projects, but that’s mostly because we love the personalized experience that comes with specializing primarily in handmade and made-to-order shoe-making. The materials used are on par with other luxury sneaker brands, but the price points are lower. Sneakers run less than the competition without sacrificing a modern aesthetic or supreme comfort, because a great sneaker shouldn’t cost you the same as, say, a dress shoe or boot. They’re just not the same.

Other companies use less refined materials, like cardboard and sponge, for insoles. However, this sacrifices comfort and quality for the consumer. Esquivel uses leather to provide maximum comfort, supreme quality and, as a result, the best possible value for a pair of shoes. Sneakers should feel as comfortable as bedroom slippers from your first time wearing them.

The Takeaway

Each brand has its appeal and value. Something I say pridefully is that these respective brands are very well-made, as they (we) use handmade techniques cultivated over many years. From an aesthetic perspective, we each have our own, though I like to think we’ve both bred our brands from our senses of innovation and wearability. Common Projects is extremely modern and minimalistic, while I still tend to take a more playful approach to shoe design by incorporating color, mixing texture and experimenting with finishes. In purchasing a pair of luxury handmade sneakers, you can’t go wrong with either brand, if I do say so myself, as both are designed with timelessness and suitability in mind.


Ready to purchase a pair of sneakers shoes?

As always, these are just guidelines for purchasing luxury sneakers. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a valuable resource for shoppers. To learn more about our own sneaker collection or any other products we offer, send us a message through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find the best sneakers for you.

George Esquivel

George Esquivel

George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.