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Gola Footwear: Meet the Classic UK Trainers Taking on the Men’s Sneaker Market

Now more than ever, athletic footwear is considered acceptable fashion statements and business casual apparel. Sneakers that were once acceptable only at the gym or on the track are now seen accompanying dressier outfits, and designers are producing more styles that can hedge their bets between working out, hanging out or just plain working.

Now, Gola Sneakers enter the fray from the UK, looking to create more of a presence in the North American market. Its designers stick loyally to what Gola calls its “heritage” look, preferring rounded uppers and higher backs of sneakers made in past decades.

And we’re going to be honest, we’re feeling this look:

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Courtesy of Gola
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Courtesy of Gola

Whether the buyer opps for a vintage color scheme, a darker leather look or a more modern pattern, Golas sneakers maintain a silhouette reminiscent of classic tennis shoes. They’re equally at home on a grassy court or a paved running surface. The company offers an impressive variety of color and material combinations, but the majority of those choices maintain the classic retro vibe.

J. Crew, which previously popularized the ubiquitous Nike Killshot sneakers, has started carrying some Gola sneakers, which are becoming a more common sight here in the United States. Oh, and did we mention they cost way less than most Nike sneakers?


What We Like About Gola Men’s Sneakers

Put simply, the price is unbeatable. These are well-made shoes, often using leather in place of artificial fabrics, presented in a wide range of styles and colors, and they’re usually priced below $100. The Daytona Classic sneakers pictured above start at just $40. When the shopper considers the more dignified stance of the Gola’s nostalgic styling flares, that’s a bargain for shoes that can be worn for work and play.

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Gola’s men’s sneakers also come in a range of styles, all of which share a certain retro charm. Take the Gola Comet sneakers below, which are reminiscient of classic Reebok tennis shoes or the popular Adidas Stan Smith sneakers — at almost half the price.

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Courtesy of Zappos

Most Unique Feature: That Well-Rounded Soul

Whether the wearer calls the Gola look preppy or classic, most of the brand’s offerings offer that rounded, torpedo look that drove athletic footwear about 30 years ago. That’s intentional. Gola is going for that throwback aura, and the end result makes their shoes somehow feel more “grown-up” even if they’re intended for leisure activities.

That being said, you need to be comfortable with a throwback style to sport a pair of Gola shoes, which call to mind some 80s clothing trends. The brand’s aesthetic is deeply rooted in the athletic stylings of the 1980s and 1990s, which can be a positive or negative. In this era of form-fitting, highly ergonomic athletic footwear from Nike and Adidas, this style won’t be for everyone.


The Verdict: We’re Ready for This British Invasion

Very affordable for shoes offering so many materials and color combinations, Gola sneakers are a welcome addition to the U.S. footwear scene. Now that athletic footwear is becoming more of a styling norm across all forms of dress, there’s certainly room for stylish UK trainers like these. Their retro-styling may not be for adolescent shoe horses, but that 1980s vibe should appeal to the Gen X and Millennial sneakerhead. 

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The home base for Gola remains the UK. Still, in many cases, their shoes are made and shipped from within North America. Gola also maintains a U.S. website for domestic ordering. As the brand gets more market traction, its sneakers are easier to find at multiple retail outlets such as Amazon and Zappos.