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It’s almost back to school time and the holidays are right around the corner. Here are 3 sneaker brands you need to know to get your shoe game ready. They aren’t all  new companies, but they are gaining in popularity. Yes, Nike and Adidas are just as hot as ever, but if you are anything like me you like to stand out from the crowd… not be a part of it.

Don’t get me wrong, you will find a Jordan or two in my closet. I also have some yeezys and tubulars  in my steady rotation right now, but for the most part I like kicks that you won’t catch everywhere.

The key part to this is you don’t have to get exclusives to do this. You just have to be willing to try something new. Over the years I have done a lot of that. It’s kind of a hobby of mine; seeking out little boutique shops or obscure websites with high quality not-so common shoes.

Out of the many I’ve found over the years, here are my favorites right now in 2017:

 T C G (Thoroughly Crafted Goods) Footwear – my heavy rotators

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About the brand: “Born as Thorocraft in 2009 and rebranded as T C G® in 2015. We are a California based brand known for crafting goods of unparalleled quality through the union of traditional craftsmanship, and a distinctively modern style.” – TCG

Where I found: A Neiman Marcus near Sunset Beach, CA

First pair and what made me cop: The Logan – Covert Lugged. They were simple yet super detailed and dope. The all black siluette was perfect for what I was looking for at the time. I had an upcoming trip and wanted something I could wear during the day and to any club with no problem. Check them out on our instagram.

How many pairs I own: 2. The second pair is the cooper low top, pictured below, in natural colorway. ***Top 3 in my collection at the moment

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Clearweather Brand – My comfy weekend go-to

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About the brand: “ Clearweather the product of footwear design brothers Josh Brubaker and Brandon Brubaker. Together we built Clearweather Brand, out of Southern California, as an expression of our lifestyle and to recreate classics for the future. We strive to create clever footwear designs and good quality products. Our brand represents a combine Thirty years of experience as footwear design engineers. History influences the look and feel of everything we do now and in the future. Please Join us on this Journey.” – Clearweather

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Where I found: The Archives in Las Olas, FL

First pair and what made me cop: One O One in Comanche pictured above. Loved the look. I call these my “dirty vans”. Only my dirty vans fans may get the reference, but not because they are dirty rather the comfort and the “throw them on with anything” vibe they give off. Though they are very stylish and eye catching, there is something about them that keeps them low key.

How many pairs I own: 2 Both Ono O Ones. Comanche and Cloud Dancer.

Main Image: Clearweather x Black Thought collaboration

Filling Pieces – My new favorites

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About the brand: “Filling Pieces is an Amsterdam-based footwear label, established in 2009 by designer Guillaume Philibert….Nowadays our collection consists of a variety of unique and contemporary models. All of them handmade with great care in Portugal, using only the finest Italian materials. Staying true to our Amsterdam roots, we also love to travel the world and get inspired by the great styles and people all over the world. As we bring our passion and inspiration to more and more places, Filling Pieces is becoming a real global brand.” – Filling Pieces

Where I found: Elektrik Boutique in Las Olas, FL

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First pair and what made me cop: Low Top Padded in Green colorway, pictured below. The shoe was so unique. It looked like a modern running shoe, but with the designer brand quality. The extra details like the cooper eyelets set it off. Honestly these have become some of my favorite shoes. They really feel like premium designer shoes at half the price.

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How many pairs I own: 2. Second pair is Low Top in Crushed leather (off white/cream, black and white)

Overview

Overall the shoe market is AMAZING right now. There is absolutely no reason to stick to the brands you are use to. Hit some different stores, look for some more boutique sites.  Make it a habit of yours, that every couple of purchases you try something completely new. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your feet. Trust me you will find something you like.