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Oliver Cabell Low 1 Review: Honestly Priced Luxury Sneakers

6 min

Looking for an affordable Common Projects alternative white sneaker? Here is my review of the Oliver Cabell Low 1—one of the best luxury sneakers.

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT SPONSORED, AND THE PRODUCT BEING REVIEWED WAS PURCHASED FOR FULL PRICE BY ME

Regarding white sneakers, the Common Projects Achilles are thought of by many "sneakerheads" as the quintessential white minimalist leather sneaker. Marketed as a "luxury" product made from calfskin leather, you can only buy the Common Projects Achilles from third-party retailers. The "luxury tax" you're spending for these shoes and additional mark-ups significantly contribute to their $400+ asking price.

Enter the Oliver Cabell Low 1, an excellent alternative to the Common Projects in virtually every way. By the end of this review, I think it should be apparent that you cannot go wrong with the Low 1 if you care about quality for a fair price.

SNAPSHOT REVIEW

The quality of the Oliver Cabell Low 1 is on par with most of the "luxury" white sneaker variants, full stop. If you want to be sure, jump to the end of this review to see videos of the sneakers dissected and analyzed by Rose Anvil's Weston Kay. This type of footwear gives you all the bells and whistles you'd expect.

PROS:

CONS:

ABOUT OLIVER CABELL

In 2018, Scott Gabrielson launched an effort to provide high-quality footwear minus the mark-ups.

"Major brands in our industry markup their products 8-10 times the actual cost. We do things differently. To make quality accessible, we've built relationships with the best manufacturers and sell directly to you." - Oliver Cabell Leadership

Although Oliver Cabell is based in the United States, its footwear is manufactured in Italy from ethically sourced Italian leather. Their direct-to-consumer model allows them to offer a better price to the customer, which means no "luxury tax" or outrageous mark-ups included.

TRANSPARENCY

Something I appreciate about Oliver Cabell as a company is how they provide a comprehensive breakdown of what these shoes cost to produce right on their website, clear as day:

I can't think of many other companies who are as upfront about this. The level of transparency on display here is just not that common.

WHAT YOU'RE PAYING FOR

SOURCED FROM AN ITALIAN LEATHER TANNERY

Source: Shutterstock

After researching over seventy tanneries, Oliver Cabell partnered with a team in Vicenza, Italy, which has built a legacy for producing world-renowned leathers for various luxury brands. These experts have been crafting leather since 1954 and have won numerous awards for sound ethical and environmental practices.

MARGOM OUTSOLES

Anyone who knows a thing or two about luxury sneakers will tell you that Margom makes the best outsoles. In 1952, Margom S.P.A. began developing the highly-rated, ever-durable, longer-lasting rubber accompanying many top-selling footwear products. Interestingly enough, when Oliver Cabell first launched the Low 1, it did not include Margom outsoles (nor were they made in Italy) due to their lower initial volume; however, as Oliver Cabell kept cranking out products, they managed to build a strong relationship with Margom who has remained a contributor to their top quality build ever since. As the sneakers have evolved and the company has grown, this sneaker has been elevated to fit perfectly in the "luxury" category.

HAND-BUILT IN ITALY

After interviewing up to forty footwear factories across Europe, Oliver Cabell partnered with a build shop in Le Marche, Italy. Here, the shoes are made by hand over multiple days. This particular region has been known for decades for making top-notch leather footwear.

FULL-GRAIN LEATHER

Source: Shutterstock

Full-grain leather is the good stuff. The complete and most natural animal hide provides the most durability for an item made from full-grain leather. Additionally, goods manufactured from full-grain leather often retain richness in color and texture, a quality commensurate with premium leather products.

HANDS-ON THE PRODUCT

SILHOUETTE & DESIGN

The Low 1 silhouette in classic white is just about perfect. It's all about creating a clean, sleek, timeless, and versatile profile. The only branding is the company name on the tongue, inside the footbed, and on the back of the heel, which is subtly screen-printed in gold. The overall shape is relatively narrow from the heel up through the toe box (similar to the Common Projects).

I have had my pair of Low 1 sneakers for about two years now, and I never regret my purchase decision. Right out of the box, it was apparent to me that these shoes were built with quality in mind. The leather is soft and supple, yet the shoe is stiff. Undoubtedly, including a steel shank and Margom outsole contributes to this stiffness, but I feel the footwear is built to last.

The downside to this stiffness is that it usually takes longer to break the shoes in. As someone who has worn many hefty boots in the military, I was not bothered by this; however, I noticed this a lot during my first few months of wear. The shoes also made quite a bit of noise on my feet at first, which also did not bother me but certainly caught my attention while walking with the shoes on.

I didn't mind the softness of the Italian cotton laces, but I prefer waxed cotton for a sturdier (and, in my opinion, premium) feel. This is, of course, highly subjective but certainly something that caught my attention.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Oliver Cabell has produced a beautiful, honestly priced white sneaker option that should be in the conversation for the best leather sneakers. I wholeheartedly recommend Oliver Cabell as a brand and the Low 1 overall. I'm not here to tell you how you should spend your hard-earned money, but in my opinion, these sneakers are well worth the asking price.

If you operate on a strict budget but still want a classic, clean white sneaker, check out the New Republic Kurt sneaker for under $100.

New Republic Kurt Sneaker
You can read my review of the Kurt Sneaker here.

Following this product review are a few ways to style these sneakers and some extra videos that dissect the shoes and validate the praise I have just given them. Hopefully, it will all serve as great information to inform your purchase decision better if you are considering spending your hard-earned money on them.

If you're looking for an even cheaper pair of white sneakers, check out my top picks for the five best budget white sneakers here.

HOW TO STYLE THE LOW 1 SNEAKERS

For more ways to style white sneakers, see my separate post here.

ADDITIONAL VIDEOS

Oliver Cabell Low 1 Cut In Half - Rose Anvil


Common Projects Alternatives (White Sneakers) - The Modest Man & Stridewise


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