From tasteful throwbacks to colorful collectibles, high-end sneakers are everywhere, though they carry price tags that might seem superabundant to the average observer. For a category of footwear that was pretty stable price-wise way back when, you might be wondering how brands determine the price of their sneakers. Specifically in the case of high-end footwear, how do such purveyors justify the price points of their sneakers?
There is a slew of factors that shoe designers consider when determining the prices of their kicks. Standards considerations are mass manufacturing and marketing costs, as well as any cutting-edge footwear technology; though, figuring out how much a pair of luxury sneakers should cost requires other considerations as well.
From the consumer perspective, deciding how much you’ll want to pay for a luxury sneaker ultimately boils down to your need and penchant for trends versus classic looks. The final price will be determined by your choice of style, leather and finishing, and any custom additions, like tattooing, will increase the cost.
Ranging from $150 to $375
KOIOⓇ makes a minimalist sneaker with premium Italian leather. For luxury sneakers, the price range ($248-368) is very reasonable, and the quality rivals that of simple sneaker extraordinaire Common ProjectsⓇ. According to the brand’s website, KOIO manufactures in similar high-end factories and uses premium Italian leather for its styles, and it offers more support (e.g., extra heel padding) in its shoes than the main competition.
In 2003, fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto launched Y-3 in partnership with AdidasⓇ and thus set a brilliant tone for partnerships between sportswear and luxury fashion. Even with prices that stagger up to $500, Y-3 footwear has garnered a cult following through the years. Its avant-garde designs are somehow minimalist and maximalist at the same time, appealing to a variety of high-fashion sneakerheads.
Ranging from $375 to $600
If you’re looking for the holy grail of simple sneakers on the market today, Common Projects makes it. Their clean lines and neutral colors are relaxed yet sumptuous and look good with just about everything. For shoes so simple, they carry a heavy price tag (models fall roughly between $400 and $600), which fans can justify based on their versatility.
Golden GooseⓇ offers a crop of low- and high-top sneakers dissimilar to most other brands. In a price range of $460 to $750, its sneakers are subversively designed to look (i.e., scuffed and stained) and feel worn (because they run wide and have cush). And actually, these designs offer more bang for your buck because they don’t change with wear; scuffing them further should hardly change their look, and they should feel the same as the first day you wore them.
Oh, and Off-WhiteⓇ founder Virgil Abloh loves them.
Ranging from $600 to $1,000
BalenciagaⓇ makes a statement with its footwear that’s also reflected in its pricing. The brand has made particularly big waves with its chunky or “ugly” sneaker look that starts around $895, and it’s become so coveted for its sneakers that when the first two colorways of its Triple S model launched in September 2017, they sold out in half an hour, The Wall Street Journal reported.
GucciⓇ sneakers are unmistakable and, well, so are their price tags. Gucci is a heritage luxury brand, so you can expect to pay heritage luxury prices—anywhere between $580 and $1,500.
From an aesthetic perspective, these sneakers usually have a slim profile with some signature motifs, like the stripes or the printed logo or both, though in some past seasons they’ve taken more creative liberties by adding distressed effects, embellishments and chunky rubber soles. Of course, you’ll need to ask yourself whether those details fall in line with your style and justify the price.
Maison Margiela™ produces its shoes with supreme-quality linens, cottons, suedes and bovine leathers, as well as with creativity and craftsmanship in mind. Those details, combined with its heritage luxury brand status, factor into its pricing.
Its low- and high-top Replica sneakers are a reinterpretation of 20th-century German army trainers; they come in a wide variety of colorways and effects to appeal to minimalists, maximalists and everyone in between.
Ranging from $1,000 from $4,000
If you’re searching for bespoke quality and you’re content with paying comparable prices, look to BerlutiⓇ. The century-old Parisian shoe company is widely known for its quality leathers and sophisticated style. For its sneaker collection, Berluti crafts low-cut sneakers in calf or alligator leather, knit and canvas that are on par with its dress shoe offerings in terms of aesthetic and wearability.
An additional cost is added in the details
Tattooing (e.g., a monogram or a graphic design) adds cost, and the price of such an added detail will vary based on the complexity of the request. Depending on the designer, one to two initials or a momentous date might not add to the overall cost, but custom shoe tattoos/engravings will demand an hourly charge depending on complexity.
Designers will also entertain a request for extra laces, and they’ll determine the pricing based on the kind of laces you may request. For example, silk or frilly will run at a higher additional cost than cotton or plain laces.
Ready to order a pair of luxury sneakers?
It’s important to note that these are just guidelines for purchasing the best pair of luxury sneakers for you. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a quality resource for shoppers. To learn more about our 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 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.