Ultra-sleek design, top-notch materials, Legend status guaranteed

July 01, 2022

An insider peek at your next best sneakers

Alban is our head of men’s style. His workshop, tucked away somewhere between our marketing and product teams in Bordeaux, is pretty much the creative-nerve centre of Asphalte. Recently, we swung by to visit him in that mysterious nook where all your ideas and feedback meet with vintage items, prototypes, sample materials and a whole lot of fashion know-how before being transformed into the classic pieces you know so well.

During our visit, we found a pair of new Legend Sneakers marinating in the aroma of raw denim, cotton swatches and suede. We reckoned you might want to hear a bit more about these soon-to-be classics, so we had a word with Alban.

- Alban, how’s it going?

Well it’s Friday, so all good here. I’m putting the finishing touches to the Autumn-Winter ‘23 wish-list as we speak.

- Before we get chatting about the Sneakers, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 29, and I’ve been at Asphalte as head of men’s style for two years now. I started off studying finance, but eventually my passion for clothes got the best of me and here I am.

- Ok, enough about you. What we really want to know about is how are the long-awaited Legend Sneakers doing?
They are ultra-sleek, a tribute to timeless sneaker design with a sharp, classic shape that’ll never feel outdated. You’ll be more than happy to slip these on in ten years’ time.

These are sneakers you can wear with anything: jeans, chinos or a pair of shorts… Maybe not your best suit, but that said, they’re pretty much as versatile as you can get.

Our founder Will even got in on the action, testing a pair on his morning jog. Although that’s not really the primary use we had in mind for them, he’s the boss… so I didn’t argue.

- We’re told that this first version was 18 months in the making, how come?
There are a few reasons it took that long… Above all we wanted to make them durable as hell. Because, to put it simply, that’s what we’re all about. It’s what our customers have come to expect of us.

Poor durability is something that always comes up when we ask our customers about issues they’ve experienced with other sneakers. We wanted to ensure these were hard-wearing, that they wouldn’t end up full of holes with the outsoles peeling off after a few months.

And, of course, we wanted to ensure one could actually walk a fair distance in them without feeling it for it the next week…

- What references did you have in mind when you got to work making a durable pair of sneakers that hits the spot style-wise?
We wrote down a shortlist of classic sneakers we liked: your Stan Smiths, Air Force 1s, Converse Chuck Taylors, Vans, Nike Blazers…

We tried a few approaches: making use of a curvy line in the design, playing with logos and letters. The idea being to come up with a look that was quickly identifiable, something unique to us.

We then zeroed in on a few other bits such as the outsole, whether we include a monogram or not.

The hard part with this project was to get inspired without ending up simply copying classics that we liked. It would have been pointless to make just another pair of Chucks or Air Force 1s…

- Ok, so a lot of steps (no pun intended) to get where we are. I hear you even got some sneaker experts in on the act?
Correct-o. We went to our contact Germain for this, he’s like sneaker royalty. He helped us design them, find the right production partners, and to source top notch materials. His amazing technical expertise and experience with designs was a huge help.

- Can you tell us more about the materials used?
Sure thing. We went for a smooth, full grain calfskin for the white ones and a nice suede leather for the colour ones. It’s Italian leather, really hard-wearing, yet super supple. It’s tried and tested, as we used it for our fan-favourites the Solid Sneakers. So, dreamy comfort is guaranteed on these.

- Can you tell us more?
For the outsole, we used Thermoplastic Polyurethanes, or TPUs for short. For those in the know, it’s the same material used to make top-notch workwear boots. Ours was sourced from recycled shoe soles. You can expect top performance from these, acing abrasion and rub tests as well as being non-slip.

And of course there’s that great durability I mentioned earlier, added to by our use of a Strobel construction, which means that the outsole was sewn on the upper’s base and is secured in place with a strong thread. This prevents the outsole from flapping about or coming loose.

We added a toe cap (the clue’s in the name on that one) for extra toughness, and inserted a little cushion inside the heel to ensure an extra comfy fit.

All of these little details come together, elevating the sneakers to legendary status. Micro-details with major consequences. A job well-done, and yes, that takes a lot of time to get right.

I personally really like the subtle addition of “Asphalte” in small letters on the shoe’s outsole.

Above all, I really dig the ultra-sleek design. They are simple, look great and are super easy to pair.

- On that note, any styling tips?
I’d pair the low-cut Legend Sneakers in navy with a pair of Ideal Shorts in olive and a white Ultimate T-Shirt. Top it off with a blue-stripe Button-Down Oxford and you’re good to go.

There you have it, the insider low-down:

Our Legend Sneakers will be available to preorder from next Tuesday.

Preorder the Low-cuts for 109€ or the High-tops for 139€ . They’re both available in five colours: White, Navy, Light grey, Black and Green.

If Alban won you over and you want to get these presto, we recommend signing up for the notification below to get a heads up the moment they are ready for preorder.

Need to know anything else? Drop it in the comments below or check our international Instagram page for the answer.


The Asphalte Team

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