Universal Works Flips Traditions With Its Karhu Mestari Control and Trampas Collaboration

Spot the upside-down “M” logo, premium materials, and muted palettes.

Footwear 
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Nottingham-based brand Universal Works understands its audience. Much like its co-founder David Keyte, the clientele possesses an understanding of making workwear work for everyday moments, and how finishing touches can be added to elevate a look from honest clothing into garments fit for going out-out. Now, the independent clothing brand welcomes a new collaboration, teaming up with Karhu to reimagine its Mestari Control and Trampas silhouettes.

Kicking off with the Mestari Control, we find plenty of signifiers that Universal Works has been busy at rehashing the design. It starts with a “Tan/Navy” colorway before flipping the “M” logo upside down, thus reading like a “W.” The pair, which first came out in 1977, was known for its patented air cushion midsole and for always optimizing color, and Universal Works honors this legacy by decking the shoe in a combination of suede, grained textiles, and 3M leather paneling, before adding lashings of khaki and green to the sole unit.

The Trampas takes a slightly subtler approach in “Navy/Grey,” but like the Mestari Control, it too features a flipped logo covered in Universal Works’ moniker. Here, suede is used all over, giving a luxurious update to the sneaker that debuted in 1966 as a pair fit for Finnish Olympians who needed something premium for running. As such, it comes with retro touches like a gum rubber outsole, and OG elements including a padded heel and optimum arch support.

Universal Works’ Karhu sneaker pack is accompanied by a small clothing capsule collection that draws upon the minimal and functional elements of these lifestyle sneakers. The shoes can be seen above, and everything is due to drop at retailers like Hanon — as well as via Universal Works’ online and physical stores — on April 6.

For more vintage updates, check out the crepe sole-sporting adidas Originals Stan Smith.

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