The pinnacle of white sneakerdom.
The greatest white sneaker of all time, that’s what people say about the legendary and phenomenally expensive Achilles low sneaker from Common Projects and if you’re reading this, your question is probably this: are they worth the eye watering price of $400+?
Well, friend, you’ve come to the right place. I did not get these shoes for free, this is not a paid post, I picked these up at the Nordstrom’s in Columbus Circle here in New York City — and I felt the gut punch to my wallet just like you would.
I’ve been wearing these sneakers on and off for several months so you and I can properly explore the super clean, timeless, sleek, youthful-yet-very-grown-up Achilles low sneaker from the very mysterious footwear company called Common Projects.
[WANT THIS SHOE? BUY IT HERE]
Common Projects Brand
- Founded in 2004
- Started by a New York art director and Italian creative consultant
- No money spent on marketing
- Cult-like following
Common Projects started in 2004 as a collaboration between Prathan “Peter” Poopat, an art director in New York City, and Flavio Girolami, an Italian creative consultant.
If you can believe it, even though it’s the most talked about white sneaker on Earth and it’s the cornerstone of every outfit on the malefashionadvice subreddit, the company has never spent a dollar on advertising.
On top of that, their website is complete dogsh*t (seemingly existing only to list their retailers), their Instagram is hideous and seldom updated, they really do absolutely nothing to market except let the product itself fuel word of mouth.
Now, I get that the lack of advertising is a form of advertising, but in any case, this approach and this beguilingly simple product has led to a what many have called a cult-like adoration among its followers. More than once I’ve been on the subway here in New York City and had someone approach me like a skittish addict to inquire… “Are those Common Projects?”
“Are you a member? Did you drink the Kool-Aid?”
Well, yeah, I kind of have.
While the sneaker market is flooded with riffs on and ripoffs of the streamlined minimalist white leather kicks, Common Projects might have done it best. Let’s look at the aesthetic before talking diving into the materials themselves.
Common Projects Achilles Aesthetic
- Super clean design; no branding
- Gold foil numbers on heel
- Sole stitched to upper
- Streamlined and slim
This is the simple man’s sneaker.
The Achilles has an incredibly clean design. It’s completely free from branding; the company’s name doesn’t even appear on the tongue or the sole. The only bit of design is the iconic gold foil stamp on the outside heel, which is the style, size, and color of the shoe.
Sure, some feel the gold foil stamp is incongruent with the minimalist aesthetic, others love it because it “glamourizes something so simple and mundane that it’s normally only found on the inside of your shoes on the tag.” (That’s what I saw a guy on Reddit say, anyway.)
Otherwise, it’s a totally monochromatic shoe that manages to be as low key as it is luxurious. Meticulously designed with nice, smooth, white leather overlaid with leather eyelet panels running from the forefoot to the ankle collar, there’s also a minimal ankle tab above a seam that splits the leather at the back of the shoe, running up the center of the heel.
White suede lines the inside of the heel for some added traction on rear of the foot, and the rest of the inside is lined with white smooth leather.
A big selling point that some people might miss is that the sole is actually stitched onto the upper. It’s glued as well, but that stitching means that you won’t get those dreaded holes at the toebreak that so many cheaper sneakers eventually develop, and it’s one of many very subtle ways the sneakers tell you that they are not your average kicks.
The fit and the look is very streamlined and slim (too slim for most wide feet, unfortunately, but them’s the breaks) but when it comes to white sneakers, there’s a fine line between sleek and bulbous, wide, thick, and teenager-y. This is an unmistakably adult take on a youthful shoe.
High Snobiety had this great review where the author Aleks Eror said,
When I wear a pair of Achilles Low, I feel like a grown-ass man acting my goddamn age, yet youthful at the same time.
It’s just smart and dignified, almost like a dress shoe. It’s not literally a dress shoe, but I have actually been to weddings where people have worn these with a suit and… kind of pulled it off.
Yes, it’s still a sneaker, but it has this breezy stylishness that makes them look just as attractive sitting under some frayed jeans as it does on a slim suit on casual Fridays, on khakis, with joggers, with sweatpants, with board shorts and a tank top, the list goes on. The only pants I wouldn’t recommend them with are those on the baggy side with wide leg openings — they do need a slimmer cuff. But nonetheless: young, old, it’s one of the few sneakers that looks good on anybody and with any outfit.
Common Projects Leather
- Constructed in Italy’s Marche region
- Made from Napa leather
- Known for being soft and sturdy, often used in couches
- Has a slight sheen
Every Achilles is constructed in Italy’s Marche region in a factory that’s been churning out proper footwear for more than a century.
Let’s talk materials: this is Napa leather, a leather noted for its soft feel. There are actually lot of couches out there made from Napa because it’s so nice and soft, but it’s sturdy as well. Common Projects, I believe, uses patent leather, so it’s treated a little bit to make it a tiny bit shiny. People call it “matte with a little bit of a sheen,” which might sound like a contradiction in terms but hey, but it’s a very complex shoe.
Common Projects Achilles Sole
- One-piece rubber Margom sole
- Thick, good quality Italian rubber
- Stitched and cemented to upper with “Stroebel stitching”
- More durable than standard sneaker construction
The upper is attached to a one-piece rubber Margom sole, which can take a beating without crumbling and wearing away like most sneaker soles; it’s really thick and great quality Italian rubber, with Gear Patrolcalling Margom,
a revered Italian brand (that) creates many of the outsoles for top luxury footwear brands because they genuinely are the best of the best.
It’s attached with what’s called “sidewalk stitching” or “Stroebel construction,” a mixture of cementing and stitching which is super rare. Most sneakers have the sole glued, on this is glued andstitched, with the stitching being the main method of attachment. That means maybe, possibly you could get these resoled when the time comes. Maybe.
More importantly, as I mentioned earlier, it means that with age you won’t get holes around the toe break like every other sneaker you own.
[Related: The Ultimate Converse Chuck Taylor All Star review]
Common Projects Fit & Sizing
- I found them true to size, many don’t
- No half sizes
- No wide widths
- Thick, soft leather footbed
- Surprisingly heavy sole
There are four reasons the fit & sizing is a bit of a pain in the ass with Common Projects:
- No half sizes.
- No other widths. (And it’s a pretty narrow fit.)
- They only use European sizes.
- There’s a lot of misinformation online about how accurate the sizing is.
A lot of people on the internet will tell you to size down with these, but that didn’t work out for me. I’m an 11.5 on a Brannock device which is about 45.5 in European sizing. I ordered these in 44 and they were too small, so I had to take them to the Nordstrom store in Columbus Circle to exchange them for either a 45 or a 46. The former was a bit too small, the latter a bit too big, so given my true size is 45.5 I would say these actually fit true to size.
After a very long deliberation I wound up going with the 45s: today they’re a hair small, but they stretched a teeny tiny bit and they’re still comfy as all hell.
The leather footbed is very thick and soft — it feels like you’re walking on cushions, thanks Napa — and it does indeed mould to the shape of your feet over time. The rest of the leather also softens, so while I wouldn’t say the sneakers need a break in period, the shoes do get more comfortable with wear. Check out my toes indented into the footbed:
The suede on the inside of the heel is a nice (and fancy!) way of keeping the heel from slipping and the sole really is thick and substantial and surprisingly heavy. Walking in these shoes, you can feel they have more heft to them than the average kicks and it’s something of a reminder that they are not your average beat around sneakers.
How to Clean and Care for Common Projects Achilles
- Clean regularly with damp rag
- Occasionally brush with horsehair brush and use leather cleaner
- Use white leather crema for scuffs, like Saphir or Kelly’s
- Magic eraser on the sole
- Use shoe trees
Cleanliness is next to godliness, and it says a lot about a man if his sneakers are white and spotless. Boys like their sneakers beat up and dirty, but do not be that guy who spends $400 on shoes and lets them get ugly. Keep them as clean as you can; it’ll extend their lifespan and make you look like a guy who gives a damn.
The good news is that this is smooth leather, so there aren’t many places for dirt to get trapped and it’s easy to wipe them down with just a damp rag now and then.
Sometimes they’ll be a bit too dirty for that, so when it comes to cleaning them:
- First of all you want to give it a brush down with a horsehair brush, which has fine hairs that get deeper into the pores than other brushes.
- Use a leather cleaner. A lot of people useJason Markk’s Premium Shoe Cleaner — Jason Markk is strongly associated with the brand for some reason — but I use Cobbler’s Choice Leather Spot Cleaner and it works great.
- Apply and then wipe it down with a rag; for tougher clumps of dirt, you might want to use a toothbrush or a stiff haired brush.
- When you inevitably get scuffs and cleaning won’t do the trick, use some leather cream. Saphir’s Crèmeis usually seen as the gold standard, but you can also use Kelly’s Shoe Creamif you want to save a bit of money. Put a bunch of it on, let it dry, then buff away the excess with a cloth.
- The sole is a lot harder to clean. If your shoe cleaner doesn’t work, use something like Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.
- Lastly, for long term care, a lot of people like a spray of Jason Markk’s Repelto repel stains. Unlike a lot of leather protectors, it’s water based and shouldn’t alter the feel of the material too much. That said, a lot of purists hate stain repellents like this, claiming it’ll suffocate the leather. I don’t use these products, but I don’t have a strong stance either way.
[Related: My review of Cobbler’s Choice Leather Conditioner]
One last note on care: this will sound pretty silly, but you should use shoe trees. For those not in the know, they’re foot-shaped pieces of cedar that you insert into shoes to help them maintain their shape and suck up excess moisture. It’s something every smart person uses with boots and it might sound silly with sneakers, but they’re 400-dollar sneakers and you should protect your investment. These cheap ones will do the trick, but some prefer those with a rounded heel, like the famous ones from Allen Edmonds.
Use them, and let them rest a day between wears, and it really does help the shoes to hold up over time. Here’s a two-year-old pair from Reddit user u/standardofstyle who took good care of them:
Treat them well and they’ll last you at least five years, maybe more.
[Related: 3 reasons your shoe trees should be cedar]
Common Projects Achilles Price
There’s no getting around the fact that these are expensive shoes, usually costing between $400 and $450.
[BUY THE COMMON PROJECTS ACHILLES HERE]
Look, I get it. They’re expensive, and there are similar shoes from New Republic and Kent Wang that look pretty similar, but I’ve seen older pairs of those shoes and they simply aren’t as durable. It’s different leather and different craftmanship. Common Projects really will age the best and out of the many alternatives out there, while some come close to replicating the style, they are not going to hold up as well over time.
There are a lot of little things they do, like the fact that the sole is stitched down to prevent it from coming apart, the high quality leather is easier to take care of, the outsole is renowned for its quality, and so on.
Common Projects Alternative
If you’re dead set on finding an alternative, the closest thing to this sneaker out there is Oliver Cabell’s Low 1. They have the same sole, same stitched construction, same look, they’re even made in the same region in Italy — and they’re less than half the price.
They’re not identical: the footbed isn’t quite as soft but the upside with Oliver Cabell is that the last isn’t as narrow: while the shoes look practically identical, the Low 1 has just a bit more room in the forefoot. Given the skinny fit is the biggest complaint, besides the price, that I hear about Common Projects, I think the Low 1 is definitely the best Common Projects alternative.
You can check them out here if you’re interested, or take a look at my super thorough comparison of Common Projects and Oliver Cabell.
Common Projects Pros & Cons
- Undeniably cool
- Can be worn with any outfit
- Stitched sole
- Very durable
- Easy to clean
- They need some babying
- Toe box quite shallow and narrow
- Sizing is tricky
- Can be stuffy in hot weather
- Phenomenally expensive
Good God, these shoes are cool.
They’re just the coolest shoes. The whole breezy but dressy, casual but formal, minimalist but unmistakably branded look, from top to bottom there just isn’t anything quite like them. They go with every single outfit, it doesn’t matter how casual or formal it is.
I love the fact that the upper is stitched to the sole so you won’t get the dreaded toebreak holes.
They’re very comfortable, I love the softness of the footbed coupled with the weight and durability of the sole.
Now, they’re not sneakers exactly. That word has connotations of beat around shoes you don’t have to care for, you know? Common Projects need shoe trees, for goodness’ sake — they need more babying than the average sneaker out there, which is a turn off to some folks.
It’s also too slim and sleek for some people, not only in its width, but the toebox is quite shallow and narrow, squeezing the toes of the bigger-footed among us. They should do half sizes and wider widths, and they don’t.
And of course, they’re really, really, really expensive. But I’ve already spilled a lot of ink on this aspect, and the fact is that there is just nothing else like these shoes. This is undeniable. If you have the money and you like the shoes and their story, there is no substitute. I get compliments on these every single time I wear them, and all I can conclude this review with is: I’m glad I spent the money.
11 Ways to Save Money on Boots!Enter your e-mail for an exclusive article to help you find the best deals on quality footwear.
Whether it’s a $400 pair of Common Projects or a $50 pair of Chuck Taylors, all sneakers have one thing in common: They get dirty. And there’s no miracle product to prevent that, says Eduard Shimunov of Cobbler Express in the Financial District. “Unless you put a bag over them, there’s nothing really out there. Dirt is dirt. If you walk on the street, you’re going to get it onto your shoes.”
Even though you can’t really prevent them from getting dirty, you can still cleansneakers to get them looking more like new. There are of course lots of capable cobblers and sneaker-cleaning specialists who can do that for you, but many at-home cleaning methods exist, too — some of which cost about a third of the price of a visit to a professional. To find the best and easiest things for cleaning your kicks at home, we spoke to four cobblers and professional sneaker cleaners, who share their favorite solutions, brushes, and spot treatments below. (But to treat more serious damage like discoloring, you’re better off taking your shoes to a pro, who can mix a custom dye to disguise it.)
Best overall sneaker cleaner
Reshoevn8r Shoe & Sneaker Cleaner
The two experts we spoke with who specialize in sneaker cleaning — as opposed to general shoe repair — cited Reshoevn8r by name as their favorite all-purpose sneaker cleaner. “This solution works well on mostly all materials — leather, suede, nubuck — and gets the job done when it comes to cleaning sneakers,” says Steven Tran, a cleaning expert at Jersey City–based sneaker cleaning and restoration shop Sole Fresh. Richard Brown — the founder of another sneaker restoration company, Proof Culture, which also makes custom sneakers — agrees, saying Reshoevn8r is an “everyday all-purpose cleaner” that’s mild and won’t leave behind much soapy residue. He adds that when “combined with a medium-bristle shoe brush or toothbrush,” the product “allows for a clean wash and maximum dirt removal on the products most commonly used in sneakers, like leather, nubuck, and rubber.” To use the cleaner, Brown says to dilute it with water, then “dip your cleaning brush in the solution, and gently scrub away the dirt on the sneakers, giving them a quick rinse so as to prevent water-logging of the shoes.”
$17 on Amazon
Best everyday sneaker cleaner
Sneaker Lab Shoe Wipes
The longer you go without cleaning your sneakers, the harder it is to get the dirt out, which is why Joe Rocco of Jim’s Shoe Repair in Midtown recommends using these every day (especially if you’ve got pricey sneakers). “They’re almost like baby wipes, but for sneakers,” he explains. “A lot of times the dirt stays on too long. If you have leather shoes and the wipes, you could just wipe the shoes every time you wear them because they’re going to get dirty every time you wear them — there’s no doubt. These will get the dirt off.”
$8 on Amazon
Best brushes to clean sneakers
Reshoevn8r Brush Shoe Cleaning Kit
“Aside from the solutions, using the proper brush is key to cleaning sneakers,” says Tran. “Hard brushes should only be used on the undersole, and some midsoles. A medium brush can be used all around the sneaker, but should not be used on delicate materials such as suede, nubuck, or satin. A soft-bristle brush is key when dealing with delicate materials.” He says while lots of companies’ brushes are similar, at Sole Fresh they usually use Reshoeven8r brushes, which you can buy in this convenient set of soft-, medium-, and hard-bristled options (it also comes with the brand’s cleaner that our experts like). “The important step in cleaning sneakers is, while brushing in a circular motion, letting the solution and brush work up a lather to break down the dirt and stains,” Tran says.
$25 on Amazon
Best cloth to clean sneakers
AmazonBasics 24-Pack Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Tran says, along with the brushes, you’ll want to “use a microfiber towel to lift and pick up the dirt and stains.” Any kind of microfiber cloth will do, he says, noting that “sometimes using the microfiber towel to rub on a stubborn stain can lift the stain.” These microfiber cloths have some very high customer ratings, so they seem like a good place to start (and you can use them to clean all sorts of things, not just your sneakers).
$12 on Amazon
Best cleaning solution for leather sneakers
Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner
In addition to the Reshoevn8r, Tran also likes this cleaner from Jason Markk. “This solution works well on leather sneakers, and has a nice smell to it,” he says. But stick to using it on smooth leather, not suede, he says. “We found that it does not work well with suede material from trial and error.”
$17 on Amazon
Best cleaner for suede sneakers
Angelus Foam Tex Sneaker Cleaning Kit
For suede and other more delicate materials, Tran suggests using Angelus Foam Tex. “This is a foam solution we like to use on delicate materials that should not be heavily saturated. It works well on suede, where the material shouldn’t be heavily saturated with water, causing damage to the material.” Tran also says you can use this to clean Uggs.
$16 on Amazon
Best cleaning cream for leather sneakers
Saphir Medaille d’Or Leather Renovator
Whether you use a cleaning solution or a cleaning cream comes down to personal preference, as both will help remove dirt from your shoes. If you typically prefer cream-based products, you could try Saphir — the same product, Rocco says, that “Hermès uses on bags.” He uses a rag or an old shirt to apply the cream to sneakers (a microfiber cloth would work just as well), and then rubs the sneakers with the cloth until the dirt comes out.
$28 on Amazon
Best (less-expensive) cleaning cream for leather sneakers
Tarrago Shoe Cream 3-Pack
Rocco also uses Tarrago cream at his shop, and although it may not be as high-end as the Saphir, he says it will “do the trick.” This one would be applied in the same way as the Saphir, with a cloth and some elbow grease.
$7 on Amazon
Best spot cleaners for sneakers
Clorox Bleach Pen
Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover Liquid Pen
If you’re spot cleaning or trying to reach some of the smaller bits of your sneakers — like the stitching along the sole — Brown suggests a Clorox bleach pen for white sneakers, or a Tide detergent pen for more colorful pairs.
$7 for 3 on Amazon
Best product for cleaning scuff marks from sneakers
Eternal Professional Nail Polish Remover
For scuff removal, Brown recommends applying nail-polish remover to the scuff with a Q-tip. But to ensure that the nail-polish remover won’t discolor your shoes, he advises to first “test an inconspicuous area of the shoe for colorfastness before applying to the scuff.” And although you might want to use a non-acetone nail-polish remover on your nails, when it comes to sneakers, you may actually want to pick up a formula that does have acetone, which Shimunov says is a “last resort” at his shop for cleaning tough stains. But be careful: Shimunov also says acetone is “smelly and dangerous,” and that if you “inhale a lot of it you might get high.”
$8 on Amazon
Best products for cleaning sneakers’ insides and insoles
Windex Glass Cleaner Trigger Bottle
Rocco warns against soaking the inside of your sneakers with soap and water when cleaning them. “I’m not a fan of soap on the inside,” he says. “I’m not saying it’s wrong, I just like the way my sneakers feel and I don’t want to change it.” Instead, he suggests using something else you may already have at home: Windex. “Windex is a cleaner, and even though you usually use it on windows, you can use it to clean the inside of sneakers. I would spray it on a cloth and then wipe the inside,” Rocco says.
$3 on Amazon
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder
To clean removable insoles, Brown suggests simply “tossing them in the washing machine with like colors and OxiClean.”
$13 on Amazon
Conair Battery-Operated Fabric Defuzzer
The Laundress New York Sweater Comb
The consensus among our experts is that it’s probably just better to replace laces, but if you really want to try cleaning them, Rocco says “you can wash them with mild soap and water and let them dry out.” If your laces are pilling, Brown recommends a lint shaver. The Conair Battery-Operated Fabric Defuzzer (which we’ve written about) could be used on laces. The Laundress Sweater Comb is another good, lo-fi option, too.
$12 on Amazon
$18 on Amazon
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Simple Sneaker Maintenance
Sneakers are a part of every man's wardrobe. Whether you're dropping some serious cash on pair of high-end designer kicks or just lacing up a classic pair of trainers, your shoes are an investment. Which means you're going to want to keep them in good condition. Here's how to ensure your go-to sneakers continue looking (and smelling) as fresh as possible.
Clean 'Em Up
Sneakerheads swear by Jason Markk's gentle yet effective shoe cleaner. It works on all colors and materials (even suede), and this 8 oz. bottle promises to clean and condition up to 200 pairs. To use, apply the solution onto a brush, dip the brush in a bowl of water and start scrubbing until the cleaner foams up. Wipe it clean and repeat as necessary.
Buff Away Scuffs
How does Peter Poopat, co-founder of cult sneaker brand Common Projects, keep the sides of his soles clean? Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Other options for buffing away scuffs? Try your girl's nail polish remover or a speciality cleaning product like Kiwi's Heavy Duty Cleaner (which works well on grass stains).
Fight the Funk
This one's an old trick, but it works better than other hacks we've tried. Stick a dyer sheet in each foul-smelling sneaker and by morning, the offensive odor is pretty much gone. Bounce with Febreeze is particularly effective.
To prevent toe boxes from developing deep or excessive creasing, insert some shoe trees along with these small plastic sneaker shields when you store your kicks at the end of the day. The shields can also be worn with shoes to stave off creases altogether.
Don't Neglect Your Laces
Keep your laces looking fresh by washing them. Remove them from the shoe and place in a mesh wash bag—to prevent knots or snags—then just wash and dry with your standard laundry.
We’re totally on board with footwear—sneakers included!—that looks a little worn and beat up. There’s something about that lived-in vibe that feels cool and laid-back. Still, you can’t deny the beauty of some perfectly clean white sneakers. You know, a fresh pair that street style stars like Kendall Jenner and Gigi and Bella Hadid would wear. There are multiple ways you can achieve this look, but we did a little research to find the best cleaning tricks on Pinterest using items you probably already have lying around in the house. That’s right—you can actually remove stains from your sneakers with a magic eraser, toothpaste, or nail polish remover.
Curious to see which product works the absolute best? Keep scrolling to check out our test and scope our before and after photos. Plus, go a bit further to shop white sneakers if you’re looking for a fresh, new pair. You’re sure to find something you’ll want to kick around in.
Cleaning common projects
He answered politely. - Maybe finally, you will move with me to you. - Yes, of course.Cheap Posing as Premium - $425 Common Projects - (CUT IN HALF)
The girl pulled away from Dima. I remember how you brought me into the room, how you tore off my clothes, I even felt the heat of. Your penis. - Yes, that was all, but then you fell asleep and I had to stop, Dima did not want to tell Masha that he stopped petting because one.
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She herself is to blame. She will think about it. And he probably won't see him again. It has nothing to do with it. But this is no longer possible, "- and it fell on her.