Common Projects Achilles Low Reviewed

9.7
9.7 score
[Editors rating (9.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (9.7)/10


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Editor rating: 9.7 / 10
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Common Projects’ founders, Prathan Poopat and Flavio Giolami came together in 2004 with the vision of designing a shoe which married the functionality of the American gym shoes with the rich Italian shoemaking tradition.  As a result of their art and creative consultant backgrounds, they have gone on to produce some of the most clean-cut, casual, fashionably timeless shoes in the industry. The Achilles low carries on this fine tradition.  This shoe offers minimalist design, timeless appeal, and superb construction.  Don’t be surprised if this one becomes one of your favorite casual sneakers.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Genuine Italian Napa Leather
  • Durable construction
  • True to Size
  • Excellent traction
  • Versatile Wear
Cons
  • Minimal toe-box creasing
  • Strictly a fashion sneaker
  • Very expensive
Outsole

Outsole

Common Projects partnered with Margom to produce one of the most reputable soles around. Since its inception in 1974, Margom has set the industry standard and has worked with major brands to secure a durable sole which will meet its clients’ needs. The Achilles Low is no exception. The vulcanized outsole provides good traction and does well on many terrains. Also consider, many customers wear this shoe every day and never have to worry about the sole falling apart. Not that it will be a problem in the near future, but because of the way the outsole is attached, you could always have the sole re-sewn on should some freak accident happen.
Midsole

Midsole

The rubber midsole is connected to a vulcanized outsole. This adds flexibility and strength to the union. Authentic shoemakers from Italy hand stitch the midsole to the upper. You won’t see the usual rips which occur near the toe box that comes with traditional glue methods. For you, this means a durable shoe which is built for extended wear.
Upper

Upper

The most popular upper is made from rich feeling Italian Napa leather. This is not your ordinary leather one would expect to be used on sneakers- expensive couches, cars interiors, and leather coats for sure, but not shoes. It is not only soft and pliable but very resilient. This shoe also features an adjustable front lacing system, which usually matches the rest of the upper. You will enjoy the simplicity of the upper which is totally void of logos and fancy patterns. The signature gold stamp is displayed on the side which adds to its simplistic fashion appeal.
Weight

Weight

There were no weights listed for the recent styles of the shoe. However, on average the Common Projects Original Achilles Low comes in at around 31.6 ounces, which is almost two pounds depending on the size. Although this seems a little heavy, this is very typical for all leather constructed shoes. Another factor to take into consideration is the thicker sole and midsole. There were no complaints found where individuals found it to be too heavy or clunky feeling. To the contrary many customers found it to be very comfortable and on the light side for a leather sneaker. Part of this could be because of the minimalist design.
Breathability

Breathability

Common Projects designed this shoe with breathability in the forefront. Due to the nature of the Nappa leather, the Common Projects Achilles low is extremely breathable. This full grain leather is strong and very durable, but that does not mean stuffy sweaty feet for you. Because this shoe is designed using an intact top grain, by nature it will not hang on to moisture. If your feet have a tendency to retain moisture, you will be pleased about the dryness and fresh flow of air this shoe promotes.
Comfort

Comfort

Building the perfect shoe centers around comfort. Many components work together to make wearing the Achilles low an exceptional experience. First, is the breathability afforded by the Nappa leather constructed upper. You will also notice that the leather retains its shape over time, so you won’t have to worry about your shoes slipping off. Adjustable lacing help to give a secure fit, while the insole provides needed cushioning. Ample flexibility and minimalist design allow the shoe to move in sync with your natural foot movement. The Achilles low is comfortable enough for every day work and play. The shoe is also true to size and offers room for toe splay. There were no complaints found relating to discomfort during prolonged wear. Many have reported that the design allows a comfortable fit even without socks.
Style

Style

The style of this shoe is based on a minimalist design. The absence of logos and the clean-cut design makes the Common Projects Achilles Low more likened to a dress shoe than your average sneaker. You will also notice that the side toe is slightly tapered, which enhances the elegance of this shoe. There is a very appealing timeless aesthetics to the Achilles low which is really found in the simplicity of the design. The metallic gold signature stamp on the side to indicate the style, size, and color, works to add to its high scale feel and to set it apart. Overall, it is its simplicity which makes it a versatile shoe that can look good with anything you wear; from jeans to European cut suit pants.
Durability

Durability

One aspect of this shoe that sets it apart in the area of durability is how it is made. Unlike many sneakers whose birth depends on an assembly line, the Achilles low is constructed at the hands of a shoe expert whose superb skills at shoemaking go into every single pair. For you, this means a shoe that will not fall apart after extended wear. You will also appreciate the top stitching at the toes which will keep this shoe together, even when you consider the extreme flexibility you get at the shoe box. You can also be confident wearing your Achilles Lows time after time, because having a cobbler’s expertise involved will ensure the midsole will not come apart like the glued together counterparts.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Although the responsiveness of this shoe is probably not geared towards meeting the needs of high performance or impact activities, it does pack enough punch to meet the everyday needs you would expect from a Common Project’s shoe. The minimalist design does allow a positive interaction with the ground and barefoot feel. There is also a good amount of spring back and push off afforded by the heel and toe box areas. Many customers are pleased with how the Achilles low feels upon impact with various surfaces. Another added feature which adds to this shoe’s responsiveness is the volcanic sole engineering which allows the outsole and midsole to encourage better walking dynamics.
Support

Support

Common Projects’ ingenious designs promote shoes which offer good support. A lace up feature secures a nice secure feel and the heel and arch are adequately supported for most customers. The outsole also offers a firm foundation, while the minimalist design provides some of the perks of natural walking dynamics. Another benefit is how the the outsole and midsole work collaboratively with your feet to provide just enough feedback to encourage a positive experience for you. If you are like many people, you will also enjoy the leather upper which is not only breathable, but retains it shape over prolonged periods of time and use.
Terrain

Terrain

Achilles low is built to be able to handle multiple terrains one would expect to encounter in day to day activities. The outsole is constructed with good traction incorporated so wet, smooth, and wooden surfaces should not be a problem. You should remember this is mostly a casual sneaker although it can retain functionality on a gym floor and some training surfaces. Because of the caliber of this shoe, you might not want to do major hiking or venture into muddy areas, but you do have a high degree of versatility afforded to you when wearing these.
Price

Price

There is no denying the Common Projects Achilles Low is an expensive shoe. Although there may be a slight discount on a few sites, you can expect for the price to be pretty consistent across the board, especially for the original all white leather style. When considering the price however, you might want to bear in mind that this shoe is constructed from the finest Italian leather, and is hand stitched by an actual cobbler for a superb finish. The engineering is durable and quite pleasing to the eye. It is definitely a shoe designed to be worn and seen. Also, it is designed by a company whose tradition and vision is to build a with both functionality and ageless fashion appeal. In light of its reputation and construction, it might be a worthy investment to think about.
Traction

Traction

One thing you can count on is good traction with the Achilles Low. One of the main contributing factors to this is the vulcanized sole. This means a flat surface, and a sole that is able to grip quite well. Skateboarders look for this type of sole when they are doing tricks on the ground level due to the excellent traction it provides. Common Projects’ designers also incorporated special grooves to give you that added hold on smooth and wet surfaces.
Flexibility

Flexibility

Common Projects Achilles Low scores high in having just the right amount of flexibility needed to make this a good every day fashion sneaker. The leather used is not only durable, but supple. This means superb flexibility especially around the toe box. This means your feet have just the right amount of bend to accommodate the foot’s natural mechanics. Because of the high quality Italian leather being used, you can expect a small amount of creasing to occur however. Many say this is barely noticeable, while others believe it adds to the authenticity and character of the shoe over time.
Stability

Stability

The Achilles Low’s offers a flat wide outsole which offers nice balance and stability. You can also imagine that the minimalist design allows the feet to interact with the ground in a way which accommodates individual gaits. Therefore the shoe works with your feet. Of course the adjustable front lacing affords a snug secure fit while you are out and about in your stylish footwear. Because Common Projects only uses the finest leather you can also be assured that your shoe won’t lose its shape after extended wear.
Drop

Drop

There was no mention of the heel to toe drop for the Achilles Low, but the minimalist design allows you to infer a few things concerning its drop. The major consideration is minimalist sneakers have a reasonably low drop. Most minimalist sneakers have a heel to toe drop equal to or between 4mm to 0mm. This is to allow the feet to move as natural as possible and to promote comfort. Another benefit is having that close to ground feel many long for in a shoe. There were no complaints of awkward angles when wearing it so the heel to toe drop does not seem to be extreme for most consumers.
Key Features

Key Features

● Made in Italy
● Nappa leather upper and lining
● Hand Crafted by shoemaker
● Protective bag included
● Extra laces included
● Margom sole
● Volcanic outsole
Verdict

Verdict

Although the Common Projects Achilles low is an expensive shoe, it appears to be an investment worth considering. You do get the quality afforded by Italy’s noble shoemaking and Margom experts. It is constructed using a fine Nappa leather which is not only very durable, but breathable. Overall the shoe is engineered using the best design and engineering practices. An added benefit is the simple design goes well with any outfit and you will definitely be able to get multiple wears out of this shoe. If you want a durable, stylish casual sneaker, you might want to take a closer look at the Achilles Low.