If you want breathability, but don’t want to go full Birkenstock and desire to keep your toes covered, then it’s going to be hard to beat Tretorn’s linen version of their classic Nylite sneaker. Sure, classic canvas sneakers get tons of work during the warmer months (especially sockless) but these linen sneakers add a bit more visual depth, and a little less weight, for a bit more cash.
If you’re used to paying between $30 – $45 for a pair of converse or PF Flyers, then these’ll seem like a luxury. But Tretorn, the century+ old Swedish sporting rubber company (really, that was their wheelhouse… DUNKER GUMMI!) seems to really have done their best with construction and extras on these.
They’re super light. Featherweights. The soles are supportive and deep, but don’t feel… thick & bricky (which is either an awesome, or incredibly dreadful band name). The linen uppers are lined on the inside, but unlike the cotton lined back half, the front half of the foot is lined with what appears to be some kind of synthetic, breathable mesh. Hold em’ up to the sky, look down towards the toe, and you’ve got daylight down there. Ventilation! We’ve got ventilation!
Eyelets are metal-reinforced on both sides with a white enamel-like substance on the top side. You get two pairs of laces with the shoes, one being rawhide leather, the other being a matching tonal cotton. The Tretorn boomerang logo sweep on the side matches the rawhides, while the vamp’s toe-to-tongue accent stripes match the cotton laces.
One concern would be durability on the uppers. Sure they’re lightweight, but will they hold up to abrasion and possible tears during the active summer months? The scraping of a bike pedal, scuffing against a concrete bench, or the gradual wear of sand at the beach… it all might take a toll on the linen. Or, maybe the uppers on these linen Nylites will hold up just as well as canvas. Adding them to the long-term-test pile. Time will tell.