GENDER NEUTRAL SNEAKERS
MODERN CONSTRUCTION MEETS MINIMAL DESIGN.
ALL inclusive in size.
UTILITARIAN’s gender neutral sneakers are for the bold and the brazen. Those who value aesthetics but don’t compromise on comfort. For those who want the versatility of a sneaker but don’t want to sacrifice their minimalist and modern aesthetic.
Shop our debut gender neutral sneakers - the minimal sneaker.
UTILITARIAN'S DEBUT GENDER NEUTRAL SNEAKERS
UTILITARIAN’s MINIMAL SNEAKER is our first style in the collection of gender neutral sneakers. The MINIMAL SNEAKER has an all leather upper construction with a thin and sleek rubber outsole. The wrapping design of the leather hugs your foot when you put them on and instantly molds to your foot the more you walk. No need to constantly bend down to tie your laces - these gender neutral sneakers are laceless and are some of the easiest shoes to slip on and off.
Shop the gender neutral sneakers - the MINIMAL SNEAKER which comes in both black and a tonal white combo.
SHOP OUR GENDER NEUTRAL SNEAKERS
The MINIMAL SNEAKER is our essential piece that can elevate or casualize your wardrobe. Pair these gender neutral sneakers with a blazer and slacks if you’re trying to look more casual in a business setting. If you’re wanting to elevate a casual top and bottom, pairing these gender neutral sneakers will help simplify and polish and casual look.
Bring more versatility to your wardrobe by shopping our collection of gender neutral sneakers.
Insights from UTILITARIAN Founder/Creative Director, Bentley Wederski on his gender neutral sneakers.
“As someone who despises laces and will wear pointy boots to my grave, I wanted to design a gender neutral sneaker that I felt just as elevated and sleek in as when I was wearing boots.”
Prior to covid, the only time I would wear sneakers is when I would occasionally go to the gym or go running. I’ve never been obsessed with sneakers like a lot of fashionistas out there. I actually despised them for quite some time and would not be caught dead in them. That, however, is because I never felt the same type of feeling I felt when wearing boots or loafers.
When covid hit, I, like many others, struggled to put on anything besides sweatpants and sneakers. It took a toll on me mentally because I didn’t feel put together like I usually do when wearing boots or loafers. I felt too sporty (which is not me) and disheveled really. Fast forward to when I began designing my first footwear collection, I had to make a choice of whether I was going to add sneakers to my collection or not. There was a lot of back and forth. My first response was to stay as far away as I could - there are a ton of sneakers in the market already and I felt it might feel imposterous to design something that I didn’t like. However, after looking at my collection of boots and flats, I realized I needed a style that was a bit more casual to complete the loop. The entire world was still in sweatpants and sneakers, and I needed to be realistic and meet my customers where they were - myself included. So I decided it was important to design a sneaker that was true to myself.
As someone who despises laces and will wear pointy boots to my grave, I wanted to design a gender neutral sneaker that I felt just as elevated and sleek in as when I was wearing boots. I wanted to create a sneaker that was versatile and could either dress up an outfit or dress it down depending on the person’s mood. I wanted to design a pair of sneakers that even when I’m dressed casually and running to the grocery store or through an airport, I look put together. To me, the minimal sneaker does that perfectly.
UTILITARIAN'S GENDER NEUTRAL SNEAKERS
“No laces” - That was the first thing I said when I sat down to design my debut pair of gender neutral sneakers. No one has the time to bend down to make bunny ear shapes and double knot them.
I’ll be honest, when I sat down to design these sneakers I sat staring at the screen for hours trying to figure out where to begin. I scrolled through endless pages of sneakers. There was every choice under the sun, yet I wanted none of them. To combat the design block I was having, I begin designing the sneaker as an architect would begin designing a house - with the foundation first. In my case, the foundation was the outsole.
I was very particular about the rubber outsole. I wanted no-fuss sneakers. The outsole had to be as thin as possible - which ended up being 20mm high. No platform sneakers at this moment in time; you can find that everywhere else. A clean foundation with one simple foxing band at the front. Once I was happy with the foundation, I had to make sure that the metaphorical walls and roof mirrored the simplistic attitude of the foundation.
I challenged myself to make the upper of the sneakers as minimalistic as possible. Taking away traditional pattern pieces and stitching that are virtually on all sneakers in today’s market. I found it fun to see what all could be taken away from a traditional sneaker to make my version. I did the same thing in my house the other day to declutter the place. Eventually, I came to a place and design where I couldn’t find much more to take away without sacrificing function.
I’m obsessed with how the leather wraps around the foot on the minimal sneaker. I thought it would be cool to design a shoe that literally hugs the foot in leather making your foot feel ensconced right as you begin to walk. I walk miles, daily, in the Minimal Sneakers and never run into the issue of my feet hurting. It is my go-to shoe when running errands. Going to the dry cleaners never looked so chic!
TAKE A WALK IN OUR GENDER NEUTRAL SNEAKERS
An excerpt from Bentley Wederski, founder & creative director of UTILITARIAN.
Our gender neutral sneaker - the minimal sneaker is probably one of the most androgynous styles in UTILITARIAN’s footwear collection. To be frank, it’s one of the few footwear styles that has been bought largely by both men and women; which I guess makes them truly gender neutral in the textbook definition of the word. I’ve been told that most of the boots in my collection are not “gender neutral” because they are inherently more feminine looking. Yet, I’ve seen both men and women wear UTILITARIAN’s ANDRO boot. This has brought me to question people’s true perception of gender neutrality. Unfortunately, it’s been tainted by mass fashion to be pieces that are square and bland. Two things of which I and UTILITARIAN are not. I label UTILITARIAN as gender neutral not because it is watered down to the point it can be worn by anyone, but because I have created a level gender playing field for those who like the brand and its offering. If you like it - you can wear it. If it’s not you, that’s okay. Move along and find the clothing that is. Life is too fleeting for us to wear what we do not love.
I presume that the word “gender neutral” will evolve into the next iteration of what was once “unisex”. Perhaps the next word is “gender free” or maybe (and I certainly hope this is the case) I can one day remove the words “gender neutral” because we have arrived at a place where the default expectation is that anything can be worn by anyone. However, for now, I use gender neutral to signal that anyone can wear UTILITARIAN’s gender neutral sneakers, boots, loafers, bags, or ready-to-wear.
This has led me to ponder the metaphorical and literal statement of what it means to walk in our gender neutral sneakers, boots, or loafers. I’ve come to this: whether you are wearing the ANDRO boot, NOUS boot, GY loafer, or MINIMAL sneaker, you are wearing something you love and that you feel authentic in. These shoes weren’t meant for a specific gender, they were meant for YOU. UTILITARIAN’s shoes were crafted to carry you through the significant and defining moments of your life. The moments where you learn who you truly are and why you were put on this earth. None of that is derivative of your gender and neither should your decision on which shoes to buy.
Ergo, to take a walk in our shoes is to lead the evolution of humankind towards a place of authenticity and optimal being.
A big thank you to the patrons and lovers of UTILITARIAN who are creating that change with me.