The Best European Sneaker Brands You've Never Heard Of

11 January 2020
Style, Sneaker, Streetwear, Street Style, European Brands, Crime London, D.A.T.E, Run2me, Colmar, Ylati
Nike, Off-White and Yeezy are not the only brands making footwear worth blowing a pay cheque on. We travelled to the biggest sneaker show in the world to discover the brands you need to know

Travelling to Milan to discuss all things sneaker related may seem like the most GQ thing to do. And, it is. But right now, sneakers are among the most important things in fashion and so if we must travel to Milan, travel to Milan we must.

With more than 2000 collections on show, the one-of-a-kind event is an opportunity to not only discover the latest drops from some of the world’s hottest brands, but to also learn about the emerging and lesser-known brands shaping the direction in which the sneaker game is heading.

And so, after three days drooling over fresh new kicks, we returned to home shores armed with a list of the most exciting sneaker brands you need to know.


Sneakers for the artisans among us. Each pair of Ylati shoes are designed and hand-crafted in Italy, blending what they describe as their three main components: “the Italian tradition, the use of high-quality materials and the avant-garde approach”. What more could you want?

Price range: from $100.

Standout pair: Ylati ‘Ravello White’


Think of Colmar as a more affordable Moncler. They make high-quality winterwear (you’ll want one of their puffer jackets come winter, trust us) but it’s the sneakers that are the real showstoppers. Coming in a more muted colour palette, Colmar is for the subtle flexers out there, not desperate to make a statement but nonetheless dedicate to wearing only the best.

Price range: approx. $160-420.

Standout pair: Colmar ‘Tyler Reflctix’.


Need a new pair of runners? Look no further. The Milan-based brand aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel but what they do – high-performance running shoes with a street style twist – they do very well indeed. Strong heel support and sturdy materials combine for a durable structure while the pops of fluorescent colour offer a more appealing aesthetic compared to the hyper functional running shoes on offer today. 


The Florence-based brand is the result of a passion project between four friends. Co-founders Damiano, Alessandro, Tommaso and Emiliano – whose names form the acronym, DATE – were feeling uninspired with their jobs and in need of a new challenge.

In 2005, while all still in full-time work, the four young men set about designing a range of sneakers. Within a year, their debut collection was shown at Pitti Uomo, they now have a flagship store in Milan and are stocked around the world, including in the UK’s luxury department store Harvey Nichols. Not bad for four guys initially working out of a basement.

Notice the unique design underpinning the brand aesthetic. Making use of different textiles, materials and patterns, a pair of D.A.T.E kicks will add a fun exclamation point to a ’fit without breaking the bank.

Price range: approx. $250-400.

Standout pair: D.A.T.E ‘Fuga HF’.

Crime London

Founded by sisters Lisa and Jessica Kistermann, Crime London is a blend of Italian craftsmanship and London street swag. Inspired by the pair’s time living in London’s east, the designs blend metallic details and splashes of bright colour to offer something between elegant and casual cool.

With the Kistermann sisters steadily making a name for themselves as one of the shoe world’s most exciting new designers, expect Crime London to be everywhere soon. Which translates as, ‘Get in quick!’

Price range: approx. $250-340.

Standout pair: Crime London ‘Komrad’

Via GQ Australia