At some point over the past decade, fashion–menswear in particular–moved away from slim-fit suits and skinny jeans and gravitated towards wide-leg trousers and cozy fleeces. The overall landscape of dress changed to a more relaxed look, both at the office and out in the streets. We witnessed a renewed emphasis on garments and brands of the everyman. Workwear, embodied by legacy brands like Carhartt to Dickies became a big player in the overall menswear landscape.

As brands turn towards more casual and utilitarian looks, these familiar brands once relegated to army surplus shops, construction sites and warehouse floors are now being tapped by everyone across the fashion spectrum. Workwear has long been embraced amongst various subcultures for decades, whether it be punk rock or hip-hop crowds—Tupac Shakur was wearing Carhartt to award shows two decades before Kanye West donned a Dickies jacket to the Met Gala–both of which have since become enormous influencers on mass fashion.

Aside from being functional and understated, this type of apparel is meant to withstand the rigors of actual hard labor. Like anything else, product that’s made well and is affordable is bound to be co-opted by designers looking to capitalize on a trend or expand their reach. Even Carhartt itself isn’t immune to expansion, specifically with its Work In Progress line, which has evolved into a more fashion-conscious extension of the workwear brand with bolder designs and a penchant for collaboration—including work with Nike.

Fashion will inevitably pivot to something completely different and interest in these brands will wane amongst the aficionados. Menswear will eventually trend back to a more buttoned-up look, or towards something completely different. However, these heritage brands will always stick around because they are readily available, affordable and well… high quality.

Never forget: No online retailer has the same breadth and depth of selection as Grailed. From Shanghai-inspired Air Max 97s to all different types of sneakers made from Hemp (and everything in between), in no particular order, these are our picks for the Rarest Sneakers on Grailed This Week.

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