New Republic Apollo Sneakers – $73.50 w/ TOGETHER ($98)
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and being a dad!
As the former Creative Director/Designer of J. Press, Southwick, Woolrich, Bass, and much more, Mark McNairy is a CFDA-recognized menswear designer who knows a thing or two about designing shoes. My Greensboro, NC-born brother from another mother signed on to design shoes for the New Republic brand back in 2016. The New Republic team quickly realized that “it’s really about fashion and the guy out there is looking for on-trend products as frequently as possible.” So, how do these budget focused minimalist sneakers stack up against their competition in the sub-$100 market? Let’s find out.
It’s showtime with the Apollo… sneakers.
- Brand: New Republic
- Style: Minimalist white sneakers
- Size: 10.5 US (43.5 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Glued and stitched sole
- Leather: Action leather
- Sole: Ultra-light EVA foam
- Details: TENCEL mesh lining, colorful heel tab, and flat cotton laces
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: China
- Price: $98
About Adam’s Scoring System: The Adam Shoe Scale of Justice (A.S.S.J.) is as follows: 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended. 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect. 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price. 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections. 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
My Apollos launched from the New Republic warehouse in Los Angeles on a Wednesday and were docked at my door on a Friday a full nine days later. That’s over twice as long as the typical UPS delivery. Some of that delay could be chalked up to the high-end EF3 tornado that ripped a 60+ mile long, half a mile-wide path through Nashville, TN the week before buuuut Amazon had no problems delivering stuff. With that said, NR does say that orders generally take 7-10 business days to arrive to the customer.
New Republic offers an “entry level” 14-day return policy with a prepaid return shipping label in the box, but you’re on the hook for the original shipping fees.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Easy ordering, kinda slow shipping, and basic 14-day return policy.
Hoping the heat shield holds.
The two “leather” sneakers arrived wrapped in plastic in a New Republic branded box that opens on one end, like a loaf of bread. There were no spare laces or storage bags, but at this price point, that’s pretty standard. There was also a pair of cards extolling the virtues of the “engineered technical materials” but that’s just extraneous marketing fluff.
Score: 5/5 Stars – At this price point, no complaints.
Have you ever smelled something that instantly activated your memory bank and took you back to someplace else? Maybe it was a slice of mozzarella cheese that had you salivating for some deep-dish Chicago pizza, or maybe it was the scent of someone’s perfume that reminded you of your ex. When I opened this New Republic box, my sniffer was delivered a hint of that sickeningly sweet cheap shoe “leather” that instantly took me back to shopping at Shoe Carnival when I was a kid. I even had my wife double check to make sure I wasn’t stroking out and smelling my own version of “burnt toast” but she confirmed! Looking into this a little deeper, these Apollo sneakers are made with “action leather” which is really just medium to low quality leather splits that get buffed smooth and then lacquered with a polyurethane coating. Apparently, this leather is super common in the sneaker industry with most cheap white sneakers using it. I guess that’s why the smell hit so close to home!
Leather has that cheap smell. Out of the box, it’ll stir your olfactory tanks.
Looking past the upper leather, the navy-blue colored heel tabs and punched side panels are reminiscent of Stan Smiths while the rest of the minimalistic silhouette leans hard into the Common Projects Achilles vibe. Those are good things in my opinion – no distracting stitching or other weird details. The flat white cotton laces are surprisingly nice, too, but I do wish they were waxed for more durability.
Molded memory foam insole. A cushioned sea of… tranquility?
The super squishy removable insole is made from molded memory foam and feels like a little perforated pillow for your piggies. The TENCEL mesh lining feels like wearing a pique polo shirt on your feet. Soft and breathable for sure, but I’d recommend wearing socks or hand washing the mesh semi-frequently as I’ve read reports that the fabric likes to hold onto foot funk. New Republic and your friendly, local shoe nerds recommend letting them air dry frequently if possible. Cedar shoe trees can help reduce this, too.
Glued AND Stitched uppers. Failure is not an option!
Okay, the foam soles will wear out. but, nice to see some stitching at least.
The lightweight EVA foam outsole is both glued and stitched to the upper. A handful of long-term reports say that the glue eventually fails but the stitching holds tight after years of regular wear and tear. Odds are you’ll wear out the foam soles before the glue and stitching ever become a problem.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Looking past the “leather”, they’re surprisingly decent for being “cheap”.
VERY comfortable. Eat our collective shorts, 9.8 m/s2!
Fit, Sizing, and Comfort
The Apollo sneakers fit a little small and a little short. The tox box is fairly wide and rounded, but there’s not a lot of room in front of my toes. This might change as they break in, but I’d recommend sizing up a half-size for a bit more room. Try your normal Nike or Adidas size first.
Fit is a little small and a little short. Try half a size up, and they’re weirdly comfortable.
NOT like flying with a dead elephant on your back.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Vans and an 11 in most Adidas or Nike sneakers. The pair I tried here were a 10.5.
Comfort is always subjective but, in my opinion, these things are VERY comfortable. I’m not sure how durable all of the soft materials are, but comfort is clearly a priority for this brand. Walking on the Moon? I imagine it’s pretty dang close to this.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Fits small, but comfort levels are off the charts. Size up a half-size.
It’s been a pleasure
flying with wearing you.
I believe it’s pretty rare to find something “cheap” that truly exceeds your expectations these days. Coming into this review with zero expectations, I’m surprised to say that the New Republic Apollo sneakers are actually pretty decent when your primary focus is on comfort rather than durability. Make no mistake, these are “cheap” shoes and the almost $100 MSRP is not exactly inexpensive. Personally, I’d like to see them under $75 MSRP, but they do go on sale occasionally. The Apollos are probably not as O.G. cool or as stylish as the Adidas Stan Smiths or Nike Killshot 2s, BUT I think they’re more comfortable and pretty decent overall. Give them a try and see if you think they’re as comfortable as I did. Let us know what you think!
Avg. Score: 4/5 Stars – Pretty dang comfortable for the price, especially when on sale.
This has been one small step for a sneaker reviewing man…
One, good sized leap in comfort, for cheap-sneaker kind.