These days, footwear designers go to great lengths to hatch the most extravagant, souped-up sneakers. But why overdo it with gold studs or three layers of air bubbles when all you need is a good ol'-fashioned pair of kicks? A new breed of understated high-tops, reminiscent of those made popular by collegiate sports teams in the '80s, brings the focus back to their original, primary function: to provide all the support you need to kill the competition. And no worries if you're more the benchwarmer type -- they're easy to pair with pretty much any outfit off the court. The same can't be said for neon snakeskin.
From top: sneakers by Saint Laurent, $575; Americana Hi 88 sneakers by Adidas, $85; Topstar hi-top sneakers by Pony, $140; sneakers by Calvin Klein Collection, $465; sneakers by Tommy Hilfiger, $90.
Photography by Koji Yano. Stylist: Brent Coover. Props: Christopher Stone.