One of the benefits the internet has brought commerce was the ability to sell to consumers directly. Cutting out the middleman has allowed companies to lower prices and provide greater value without sacrificing quality. Numerous companies have sprung up in the fashion industry using this business model and one of them is Brooklyn-based footwear brand GREATS.
GREATS has a number of sneaker styles that fit in the broad categories of sporty, casual and luxe. They asked me to pick a pair of sneakers and see what I think about them. I’m a big fan of white minimalist style sneakers so I picked the Royale in white. The Royale is similar to the popular Common Projects Achilles Low.
The white Royale is made with a grained leather upper. The result is a softer and more flexible shoe that does not require breaking-in unlike shoes with a smooth leather upper. However, I felt that the leather used in the upper is a notch lower in quality. It’s not a deal-breaker but I felt GREATS could have done better.
The sneaker is fully lined with full grain vegetable-tanned leather in its natural color. The quality of the leather they used is great and I believe they should have used leather of similar quality for the upper. The insoles are removable and uses high quality foam. It feels smooth inside and they are a pleasure to use sans socks.
These days many of the luxury sneakers are made in Italy using Margom soles. The Royale uses the same high quality soles and are most likely constructed in the same factory as their higher priced counterparts. The soles are stitched to the uppers all the way around the sneaker ensuring they don’t split apart during use.
GREATS says that the Royale runs large so I ordered a half-size smaller than my usual US size. The sneaker fits snug and I can wear them with thin loafer socks. If you wear thicker socks or have slightly wide or flat feet I recommend getting your usual size. The uppers are soft but I don’t expect them to stretch much due to the construction.
At a retail price of USD 159 (Php ~7,059), the GREATS Royale is hard to beat. You’re getting a pair of well-made sneakers for a fraction of what you would pay for with other brands. If you don’t like the white grained leather upper there are other color ways that also come in suede.