Originally posted on ARCH-USA
The USB now stands for Unofficial Sneaker Battle. With so many brands showing up, I’m beginning to see a lot of similarities. This has always happened in footwear, but sometimes brands share things in common with smaller lesser known brands and I feel like I should give you a heads up to give the smaller brand a shot at your patronage.
Source: GEL-Lyte V Sanze Knit
I was preparing for an analysis of ASICS to make my projections for the brand and discovered this new model. I’ve been high on ASICS in the last year, which gives away some of my analysis so I will stop there. The latest variation of the Gel Lyte V, Sanze knit, has arrived in two colors so far and keeping with the trend of Knit models dropping by every brand, this shoe appears to be timely and on point. That’s on the surface.
When you jump in the water and swim around for a while, you realize the further you wade out, the deeper the water, and the water here is deep. I’m being vague, but there is a reason why. ASICS produced a Knit shoe last year with the Gel Lyte Knit and the shoe was not a very strong seller. As more knit shoes arrived on the market I began to see a trend that does not bode well for footwear as it relates to knit kicks. People aren’t getting as excited because every shoe is beginning to hold the same silhouette. The Nike Flyknit Racer once garnered 100 dollars above retail. It’s dead. The NMD is now sitting on shelves. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. The classic “New Balance” styled running shoe shows up in every brand. The only difference is materials and colorways. Hell, BAPE bit the Air Force 1 and so did SHAQ. The problem with knit shoes is while there are similarities, they can be distinguished, but all of them tend to be shaped without any definition and they look so similar that fatigue is setting in. This has a lot to do with pricing; see these two articles:
More important newer brands are being more creative and it appears larger brands are biting by sharing details. I almost feel like I’m wrong in saying that because many of the newer brands are clearly inspired by models from previous brands. I guess I have a paradox, or a conundrum… Whatever it is I think it’s important to show at least give you a chance to see what I see when I look at footwear. So check this out:
This is the ARRK EagleZero Braided. This shoe made my top 40 shoes of 2017 last year. I thought that it shared some elements with a Nike woven shoe, but with the abundance of knit shoes dropping in the same sock like fit/shape, I thought the EagleZero stood out enough that it demanded a bit of attention. I was not blown away by the $180 dollar price, but I realized that a company that is not as well known has to recoup the cost of molds and shoe design. The ASICS model doesn’t come in too much cheaper than the EagleZero at $160 and I think both shoes will eventually be marked down as consumers are at the point where so many of these models are looking the same that they aren’t really willing to drop premium prices on the models.
I mean, damn, when you look at the colorblocking here and on the ASICS model the resemblance is uncanny. That is the major issue with knit trainers. The construction doesn’t really allow for the placement of logos, so often the design of the shoe has very little to do with the logo and relies heavily on the angular lines and layering of the shoe.
Who Wins This Unofficial Battle?
ASICS gets the edge based on price and the one design element that stands out for them here, the translucent Gel heel counter on the Birch model. However the EagleZero features an all black sole and the leather looks more premium. The ASICS has a better lacing system which would allow the Sanze to perform, while the ARRK is definitely better suited for style. While both shoes are similar the ASICS shoe edges out the ARRK model, but both should have come in at under $150. Visit their sites to get a better look and make your decision.