Golden Goose vs. Esquivel Shoes: What’s the difference?

With sneakers as popular as ever, thanks to a phenomenon bolstered by millennials and perpetuated by a pandemic that urged comfort over all else, there’s so much on the market to choose from. They’re offered at all kinds of price points and made with varying levels of craftsmanship, which makes for a major dilemma in choosing the right style for you.

If you’re committed to luxury sneakers, then you’ve conceded to the commonsensical notion that footwear should be comfortable and versatile, that a pair of masterfully made sneakers can elevate many looks because their supreme craftsmanship shows. This is the case for Golden Goose, a maximalist sneaker brand that’s captivated fashion nerds and sneakerheads alike. It’s also true for Esquivel sneakers, which offer more strategic details to maintain a cleaner look.

So, what more can we say on the differences between Golden Goose shoes and Esquivel shoes? Read on to find out.

Golden Goose: A luxury sneaker brand that’s stylish yet subversive, and versatile but grunge

Golden Goose distinguishes itself by designing low- and high-top leather sneakers to look worn. Each pair of sneakers is complete with scuff marks, stains and the like, which the makers achieve by using exclusive treatments. The label also encourages customers to “write a story” using a selected combination of charms, crystals, studs and handwritten messages. Fans, including Jude Law and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, love them for the distressed and handmade details. (So much so that the fashion designer collaborated with Golden Goose on multiple occasions to create an exclusive sneaker style.) To them, individuality is everything.


The insoles aren’t the softest, wearers have told me, though they do offer several centimeters of height via a built-in lift, which is a hit. And because Golden Goose sneakers are so distinct in style, they can be paired with virtually anything from chiffon dresses to crisp denim.

From a price perspective, Golden Goose will cost you a pretty penny (roughly $550 to $800), which some can justify based on their unique craftsmanship and versatility and others on the brand’s approach to design, because the sneakers barely change with wear given their pre-scuffed design.

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 Golden Goose, 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 modernity or comfort, because a supreme 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. Designer George Esquivel maintains that using leather is the best way 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. Golden Goose and Esquivel both take a playful approach to shoe design by using a palette of colors, mixing textures and experimenting with finishes. However, Golden Goose takes a more maximalist approach to detailing. 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 versatility in mind.


Ready to order a pair of luxury sneakers?

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.