warriors_crop.jpg

We’re always on the lookout for a new stripped-down sneaker—especially now that Chucks and Vans are on the low swing of trendiness—but we may have found one with a good deal more heritage than we’re used to.

They’re called Warriors, and if you stopped by Shanghai any time between the 30s and the 80s, you’d see them on the feet of just about everyone. (Here’s proof, if you need it.) They’ve fallen out of favor since western shoes flooded into the country in the 80s, but they’re still pretty iconic for anyone who’s spent much time in country, and they’ve only trickled into U.S. sneakershops in the past couple years.

The shoes are all canvas, vulcanized rubber and PVC plastic, stitched together in a state-owned factory in China. There are models tailored to martial arts and badminton, along with a Chuck Taylor-esque basketball shoe, but our favorite is the classic Hui Li model pictured here.

It’s not any more comfortable or durable than the stateside equivalent, but it’s got a hell of a story behind it, which goes a long way.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom