I can probably name ten different footwear brands that make the same exact minimal leather sneaker, save for a few minor details. Yes, I know that the low-top vintage basketball-inspired silhouette is a design that's stood the test of time and can be worn with just about anything, but it seems like brands are tossing their iterations out into the market left and right just to get a piece of the pie.
And now, Wolf & Shepherd, the brand that successfully integrated sneaker-like comfort into dress shoes, is adding its name to that long list with a sneaker of its own. But this time, it's clear that the priority was making a shoe that actually feels better than the rest.
The Wolf & Shepherd Glider Sneaker features soft, premium Italian leather on the exterior and interior of the upper and a classic rubber cup sole. While its minimal aesthetic is similar to plenty of other sneakers available (some that you might already own), the ultra-plush memory foam insole is what separates it from the bunch.
What it's like to wear them
Between former Syracuse runner Juris Silenieks setting the world record for the fastest half-marathon ran in its dress shoes and founder Justin Schneider participating in the 2018 Running of the Bulls in Spain, Wolf & Shepherd has always gone to extreme measures to emphasize just how well the shoes perform.
For the release of the Glider Sneaker, I put them to the test alongside Schneider with an admittedly less intense, but still undeniably physical sport: squash. I laced them up and hit the squash court for some lessons and a few games, and I would have never imagined being able to perform so well in a shoe that wasn't specifically designed for sport. In the few hours we played, which consisted of short sprints and sharp cuts while running around the court, I broke a full sweat and my feet didn't hurt even the slightest bit.
Since the average person won't spend much time specifically playing sports in the Glider Sneaker, I also wore them like a normal person. My first impression of the leather pair was that it was a bit more comfortable than the patent leather pair I played squash in. It didn't come as a surprise because the leather is more supple and I suspect it'll get even better as I wear them more. Each step felt great throughout an entire day of work.
The insole features three layers of memory foam with one layer extending to the arch of your foot. With added arch support — something most dress sneakers skip out on — the Glider Sneaker is more than adequate for meeting the needs of city goers and commuters.
The bottom line
Although the Glider is Wolf & Shepherd's first sneaker, it definitely doesn't feel like it. The design is clean and simple, and doesn't rely on brand logos to stand out. I've owned a few different shoes in the same style, and they simply don't match up to these in overall wearability.
The $229 price might sound like a lot, but when you compare it to similar shoes, it's a great value. They're cheaper than the M.Gemi Lucente and Koio Capri (which doesn't come in half sizes), and are still more cushioned than both of those styles. With nominal differences in the overall style, the Glider's lower price and superior comfort have made it hard for me to find a justifiable reason to recommend another brand outside of more colorways being available.
If you thought that Wolf & Shepherd's dress shoes were comfortable, the Glider Sneaker takes comfort to a higher level. For days when I want to keep my footwear style minimal, I'll choose the Glider Sneaker every time.