Style & Appearance
The upper of Beckett Simonon’s Graham Trainers is constructed with various materials that come together to give the shoe an inherently sporty look. These include suede (with a very short nap), smooth full-grain leather, and recycled PET canvas; all are carefully stitched together into a cohesive design.
In the above picture, it may appear that the PET components are quite lustrous or shiny, especially since the photo was taken in direct sunlight. However, in person, this effect is much less noticeable, and the canvas does blend well with the other materials.
Aiding the casual look of the Graham trainers is the sole, which like the upper is an amalgamation of two materials. The first is a dual-density EVA layer that acts as a shock absorber. The second (bottom) layer is rubber, which as you can expect, helps with traction and durability of the sole.
Having previously owned (and worn out) many pairs of New Balance shoes, I can’t help but see some similarities between the traditional New Balance silhouette and Beckett’s Graham sneakers.
Yet, there is no doubt that the Grahams have a much more modern appearance when compared to the iconic “Dad shoes.” The blackout colorway definitely helps in this regard, as do the waxed cotton laces, but overall the design is very refined and elegant when compared to typical athletic sneakers.
Fit & Comfort
As with Beckett Simonon’s dress shoes, the Graham trainers are advertised as true-to-size, so I ordered them in size 12 and they fit perfectly.
When first trying them on, they felt a bit stiff. This was to be expected given that the upper is composed mainly of leather. Moreover, the interior of the shoes is lined entirely in black Vachetta leather. All of these leather elements need some time to wear in and mold to the foot.
After the first two or three wears, the leather had given way and made for a very comfortable fit. Additionally, the Graham Trainers have a very roomy toe box that provides plenty of space for your foot and particularly for those who find regular D-width sneakers to be too narrow.
When it comes to wearing the Grahams for an extended period of time, the EVA outsole and leather insole put in a lot of work. There’s definitely a bouncy sensation when wearing them and I’ve experienced absolutely no discomfort over the past 4 months that I’ve been using them.
Lastly, while the Grahams are not heavy by any means, I would point out that the thick outsole does make these feel a bit more bulky, or at least they “feel” tall when on your feet.
Dress Code & Formality
As alluded to earlier, the Graham Trainers are just that – a pair of trainers (or sneakers.) Accordingly, they will be best for the most casual settings. There are some minimalist sneakers out there that can be dressed up, but the Grahams are not that.
When looking for sneakers to wear more formally, you want designs that are more streamlined. The silhouette of the Grahams is just too bulky, so it will be very difficult to dress them up.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that the Graham trainers are on the same plane as other athletic sneakers out there. When you’re wearing these, it’s easy to see that they’re a premium pair of sneakers, especially when considering the luxury materials used in their construction.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed wearing the Graham Trainers when I’m running errands or at casual outings with close friends. I’d compare them with sweatpants in the sense that it’s the garment you wear when you want to be comfortable, not when you’re headed to a formal affair.
Given this, I found the Graham Trainers to be a perfect pairing for joggers or casual jeans and a simple t-shirt. I’m of the mind that just because you’re being casual doesn’t mean that you have to wear shoes that are of poor quality. The Grahams allow me to wear a refined yet comfortable pair of sneakers without them looking out of place.
Presentation & Value For Money
The Graham Trainers were shipped in Beckett’s trademark shoe box. Inside it were the shoes, dust covers, an extra pair of laces, a booklet covering the brand’s story, and a handwritten note.
As mentioned previously, I’ve been wearing these quite regularly for about 4 months. The suede is holding up very well, with most scuffs coming off with a suede brush. Additionally, since they’re all black, it will take some severe damage before it becomes very noticeable.
As far as value, the Graham Trainers regularly sell on Beckett Simonon’s website for $169. However, with Bespoke Unit’s unique code “BU20”, you can get a 20% discount that brings them down to about $135.
Considering the premium materials and handmade construction, I think this price is more than justified. When you compare the Grahams to other brand-name sneakers sold at a similar price, the difference in quality is glaring. That is, it’s rather unlikely that you’ll find other sneakers made with the same materials and by hand for anything less than $200, let alone under ethical conditions.
Over the past years, athletic sneakers have grown in popularity. Unfortunately, this hype sneaker culture has led renowned shoe manufacturers to increase the prices of all of their sneakers, with many surpassing the $200 mark. Yet, the quality of materials used for sneakers has hardly improved in tandem.
If you’re able to stray from the mainstream, ignore the hype, and instead focus on the quality of your shoes, then I’m sure you’ll be elated with the Graham Trainers, which all things considered are an excellent pair of sneakers.