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SHEI Magazine is a University of Michigan student-run fashion, art, and pop culture publication. Everything from the photography, writing, modeling, editing, and publicity of our bi-yearly print publications and monthly digital mini is created by students who attend the University of Michigan. Founded in 1999, SHEI Magazine continues to produce issues of professional quality, as well as provide real-world experience to students interested in journalism, publishing, and the fashion industries.

Sneakerheadz Anonymous: The (un)Common Projects


Sneakerheadz Anonymous: The (un)Common Projects

Helen O'Leary

    Footwear label Common Projects, founded in 2004 by Peter Poopat and Flavio Girolami, has come to define luxury sneakers. The founders’ goal: find the perfect middle ground between comfort and class. Every collection since their original release (the heroically-titled “Achilles by Common Projects”) has done just that. Common Projects sneakers, boots, and accessories routinely sell out of the world’s most famous boutiques. This vision of balanced perfection crossed gender lines in 2009 with the launch of “Woman by Common Projects,” a diffusion line created for stylish female sneakerheads. The Women's Spring/Summer 2016 collection (pictured below) is considered the brand’s strongest ever.

    The comfort of my favorite Converse with the style of the latest pair from Saint Laurent – what else could I ask for? This minimalist sneaker is the ultimate love child. The shoe speaks for itself: stripped of branding, in a simple white-on-white colorway, the silhouette and materials alone do all the talking. The only interruption to the field of white Italian calfskin is a slight gold-printed number on the heel, three strings that denote the article number, size, and color (in that order). Common Projects Achilles Lows are, by all accounts, the perfect casual shoe.

Dream shoe: Achilles Premium Low in Blush from Woman by Common Project.

Dream shoe: Achilles Premium Low in Blush from Woman by Common Project.

This raises the question: why haven’t you ever seen one? Why, then, are Common Projects so uncommon? 

Like any high-end product, sneakers like these have transitioned from necessity to luxury. A pair of Common Projects, regardless of silhouette, will lighten your pocket by about $400. If you have that kind of cash to drop, these sneakers are a must. But if you find yourself, like me, simply dreaming of Common Projects, I offer a few great alternatives:

Adidas Stan Smith ($75) vs. Common Projects Achilles Low ($415)

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Considering that I'm a struggling college student, the fine Italian leather, hand-stitched Margom sole, and gold serial number will have to wait until a later date. However, settling for a fresh pair of adidas isn't too bad of a problem to have.

Stay Sneaky.