One of my favorite things to share is product reviews, especially for luxury items. Ever since I started to write reviews, I’ve received requests to review my Common Projects sneakers, so I’m excited to finally bring that to the blog today!
If you’re not familiar with Common Projects, it’s a luxury footwear company that specializes in sneakers. The shoes are hand-stitched in Italy and have a sleek, minimal aesthetic. I was immediately drawn to the clean, simple silhouette and had been looking for a minimalist white sneaker for everyday when I bought my pair.
So let’s jump in! See below for my honest review of my Common Projects Achilles leather sneakers with thoughts on whether they’re worth the price point and notes on sizing, break in time, and how to style them.
Are Common Projects Worth It?
If you’re a sneaker enthusiast, like minimalist style, love comfort, and want to invest in one pair of white sneakers to go with everything, then yes, Common Projects Original Achilles sneakers are worth it.
These really are the perfect leather sneaker for the minimalist. The quality, softness, and durability of the Italian leather is obvious right when you unbox them. I love that shoe design is long and narrow, which I find flattering on the body. The branding is subtle yet elevated, with little details like crisp stitching and gold numbers on the side that help them look a step above your average white tennis shoe.
They fit like a glove and are a classic closet staple that will never go out of style, unlike my Golden Goose sneakers. I also found them comfortable from day one. I really don’t have anything negative to say about these shoes and highly recommend them.
Style & Design
Common Projects makes mens and womens white sneakers, but the Original Achilles is their most popular. It’s a low top sneaker with a classic, streamlined look.
The shoe features a high-quality Italian leather upper and lining, white laces and a 1” rubber margom sole. The side of the shoe is discretely stamped in gold foil with a serial code that indicates when and where it was made (this is Common Projects’ signature).
Most Common Projects come in a few neutral colorways. I have the Original Achilles Leather Sneakers in white, but they’re available in cream, gray, black, and brown.
Fit & Sizing
Luxury shoes can be a little tricky when it comes to fit since most come in non-US sizes (no half sizes), so you’re probably wondering whether to size up or size down.
Common Projects sneakers are only available in European sizing (full sizes). If you’re in between sizes, I’d suggest sizing up. I have wide feet and am a true size 10 US, and I bought them in 40 EU and they’re a perfect fit.
Most retailers have a sizing chart to help you find the best shoe size if you’re not able to try them on in person.
I actually wore my Common Projects out of the store and found them very comfortable the first time. However, I recommend giving them 3-5 wears before you walk distances in them as it takes a bit for them to break in. I wore them for a photoshoot the same day and found my big toe getting irritated even with just a half mile walk.
Now that the toe box has loosened, I can walk 2-3 miles in them no problem. I typically wear thin no show socks as I don’t find the need for inserts or added cushioning from a thicker sock due to the quality of the shoe and softness of the leather.
Common Projects Sneakers Outfits
One of the best things about Common Projects is that the simple design and comfortable construction makes them practical for a wide variety of outfits.
I’ve worn them with with midi and mini dresses, skirts, shorts, and jeans. I think you could even pull them off at the office.
Common Projects Alternatives
I’ve yet to find a lookalike or ‘dupe’ for Common Projects that stacks up to them in every category, especially design. They just have such a pretty silhouette that’s hard to replicate.
Adidas Stan Smiths and Converse Chucks are probably the most similar, but I don’t the quality is in the same ballpark and I can’t personally speak to them as I don’t own either.
If you’re looking for comfortable minimalist sneakers under $100, I love this pair by Sam Edelman.
If you’re interested in alternative luxury sneakers, be sure to check out my Golden Goose sneaker review.
Do Common Projects Crease?
I haven’t had any serious issues with my pair of Common Projects creasing, but if your shoelaces are tied too tight or you ordered a shoe that’s too small for your foot, the shoes my crease.
I’ve heard of alternative ways of lacing your shoes (shown in this video) to reduce creasing and spread the tension of the laces throughout the shoe. I haven’t tried the method yet but it does seem to work!
How Long Do They Last?
I’ve owned my Common Projects for just over one year as of May 2022 and they’re in perfect condition. When I was researching the shoes prior to purchase, I read reviews of people having their pair of shoes for 5+ years and still wearing them often.
I try to take good care of mine to ensure they last a long time. A few minor things I’ve found helpful are untying the laces when I remove the shoes to protect the tongue and cleaning them regularly.
Common Projects vs. Golden Goose
One of the most common questions I get asked is how my Golden Goose Superstars compare to my Common Projects Achilles and which I prefer, and it’s so hard to answer. They’re both comfortable, but if I had to choose, I’d say that Golden Goose has the edge in the comfort department due to the wider footbed (remember that I have wide feet).
Golden Goose is more flashy and makes a statement, and the shape of the shoe and slight elevation of the heel makes them even more flattering than the Common Projects if we’re using ‘flattering’ in a traditional way to refer to looking taller and leaner.
However, if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick Common Projects every time. To me, the quality of the leather, laces, and shoe materials as a whole is superior. And more importantly, they go with literally everything in my wardrobe, can dress up and down, and look timeless.
How to Clean Common Projects Sneakers
I don’t mind the look of worn in Common Projects, but it’s always good to give them TLC, especially if they’re scuffed or scratched.
Usually I just use a clean cloth to wipe down my Common Projects shoes.
- Start by removing the laces to make cleaning the leather upper easier.
- Wipe them down with the towel to remove any loose dirt.
- Apply this cleaner to a brush, and clean the shoe, starting with the outsoles, working up to the upper, then to the tongue.
- Wipe them down with the towel and leave them out to dry overnight.