What’s the Best Minimalist Sneaker: Axel Arigato vs. Oliver Cabell
Tuesday Bote - April 7, 2021
Low 1 Shoes by Oliver Cabell
There are white sneakers, and there are minimalist sneakers that take the classic white sneaker aesthetic to a whole other level. In the last decade, luxury sneakers have been making waves, with minimalist sneakers alternating the trends list with loud, statement sneakers. Wherever the fashions turn, minimalist sneakers remain a quintessential part of your wardrobe as you can wear them with just about anything and still turn up as ultra-chic.
Two of the most famous names in minimalist sneakers in recent years are Axel Arigato and Oliver Cabell. This in-depth review pits against each other Axel Arigato’s Clean 90 sneakers and Oliver Cabell’s Low 1, hoping to determine which of these minimalist sneakers is the best.
Axel Arigato vs Oliver Cabell in a Nutshell
- Uses 100% leather for the upper and lining
- Removable footbed
- Sleek, low-cut silhouette
- Limited designs
Oliver Cabell’s Low 1 Sneakers
- Oliver Cabell does not carry half sizes
- Size and material for the soles
- Axel Arigato is more expensive, overall
Brands with a mission
Axel Arigato is a Swedish brand inspired by contemporary Japanese culture, blending the aesthetics of edgy minimalism from both. Meanwhile, Oliver Cabell started in England with the overarching concept of balanced design; it has since relocated to the US. Both brands source their materials and labor elsewhere: Oliver Cabell’s sneakers use leathers from the Marche region in Italy and are directly handcrafted there, while Axel Arigato sends their Italian leathers to be made in Portugal. Both brands make their sneakers by hand.
Oliver Cabell’s Factory
One of the main things that set Oliver Cabell apart from its competitors is that they are entirely transparent with the quality of their materials and how much it costs to make them. This is because Oliver Cabell strives to produce premium sneakers while being upfront about what you’re paying for. Oliver Cabell is a digital-native brand; its direct-to-consumer format does away with markups, lowering labor and materials costs. This way, you pay fair rates for high-quality sneakers.
Meanwhile, Axel Arigato’s focus is on their dedication to sustainability and make sure to use recycled materials in most of their products - they also carry clothing and accessories, aside from sneakers and boots. This doesn’t mean, however, that Oliver Cabell falls behind in regards to sustainability and ecological responsibility. They disclosed that they chose their tannery according to their ethical practices as much as for quality. They also recently launched the Phoenix sneaker, an ultra-comfortable sneaker 3D-printed from 7 recycled plastic bottles.
The focus of this comparison review is not the Phoenix, but the leather sneakers Low 1. Here’s how they match up to the Axel Arigato Clean 90.
Both use premium leather from Italy for their sneakers, not only for the upper and the lining but also to cover the footbed, made of foam and recyclable materials. Both sneakers are a bit stiff for the first few wears out of the box but gradually softens and molds to your feet the more you use them. Oliver Cabell uses 3oz full-grain calfskin for the Low 1 sneakers, which are pretty buttery, becoming pliable more quickly. Both have a removable molded insole covered in leather.
Sustainable materials used by Oliver Cabell
The Clean 90 and the Low 1 have different soles. The Low 1 uses Margom outsoles, which are renowned for the quality of their rubber. The Clean 90 uses 20% recycled rubber in its soles. Axel Arigato’s platform soles make the sneaker look clunky but are more comfortable to walk around in.
The Axel Arigato white Clean 90 and the Oliver Cabell white Low 1 sneakers look very similar because they’re both low-cut leather sneakers with sleek silhouettes. The Low 1’s tongue is slightly longer, and the Clean 90 has a more pronounced heel tab. The Low 1 also looks sleeker in the middle. The most prominent design difference would be the platform soles of the Clean 90 are much thicker than Low 1’s thin soles.
Low 1 Minimalist Leather Shoes by Oliver Cabell
That said, both brands have many designs and colorways for each line. We’re pretty charmed by the Clean 90 Bee Bird collection, which features a multicolored raised 3D embroidery of a bee bird on the sides of the sneaker. Meanwhile, our favorite Low 1 sneakers are as minimalist as the white sneakers but come in an array of gorgeous colors, including the olive green Tartufo and the deep purple Burgundy. Also interesting is Oliver Cabell’s Distressed line, where the shoes are made to look worn in while still very brand new.
Both brands also limit the availability of each sneaker. They both make only a certain number of pairs per design, which is understandable because the sneakers are meticulously handmade. Oliver Cabell restocks their sneakers, but waiting for a particular design to be available again may take a while.
Both the Axel Arigato and Oliver Cabell low-top sneakers are narrow in the middle, so it might be better to get the next bigger size if your feet are wide. You should also size up if you typically wear a half size since Oliver Cabell doesn’t carry half sizes. Interestingly, Axel Arigato’s sneakers only have half sizes for 6.5, 7.5, and 9.5, and it is recommended you size up if your foot size is 5.5. Both brands’ online stores provide a size chart with EU, US, and UK size comparisons for your convenience.
Phoenix 3D-printed sneakers by Oliver Cabell
As mentioned, Oliver Cabell’s shoes do away with middleman markups in the price to sell premium quality shoes at affordable price points. The white Low 1 is regularly priced at $225 and is usually slashed down to as low as $180 when the website runs a promo. Axel Arigato Clean 90 is typically priced at $230.
Oliver Cabell’s advantage is that they ship within the US for free if your order is above $100 and worldwide for free for orders above $170. Returns, however, are the responsibility of the owner. Axel Arigato also ships to 130 countries but for a fee.
Oliver Cabell Court Sneakers in White
All things considered, the Oliver Cabell Low 1 sneakers edges Axel Arigato’s line for the best minimalist sneaker. With a focus on sustainability, high quality, and craftsmanship, Oliver Cabell produces comfortable, sleeker, and less expensive sneakers than its competitor.