Why are Golden Goose sneakers so expensive?

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Italian sneakers that come pre-distressed and have a funny name. I first discovered Golden Goose living in Milan, and took my dad through their store while he was visiting. He was so confused—”why are they selling used shoes?!”

Truthfully, the concept is not new per-se. Denim jeans have been sold new with holes, distressing, and other markers of use for decades. It’s only recently that the idea has been applied to other apparel and accessories. Golden Goose Deluxe Brand was launched 20 years ago, inspired by both the skate culture of Southern California and the timelessness of Italian hand-craft.

To make a unique mark on the fashion scene, founders Alessandro Gallo and Francesca Rinaldo adopted the mantra ‘perfect imperfection’ for their now-iconic sneakers.

how golden goose sneakers are made italist
golden goose running runner sneaker italist

Uniqueness = Authenticity

While uniformity and an elevated threshold for quality-control are intrinsic to the luxury fashion space, the flip side is an appreciation for the uniqueness that stems from creation by hand. That means, just like we all have unique fingerprints, each pair of sneakers that comes out of the Golden Goose factory in Veneto is unique.

Every season, Golden Goose introduces new styles with new finishes and treatments, all of which relate back to the technical skill of its Italian artisans. Then, like a pair of jeans might be pre-distressed, scuffs and small marks are applied to each pair to give them an authentic ‘touched by life’ feel.

golden goose ball star italist

Once they reach the consumer, rather than being pristine, they’re immediately ready for wear, because they already have that pre-loved look.

And though they may look ‘used,’ they start with the highest-quality materials that Italian shoes are known for—full grain calfskin leather, premium cotton laces and loopback cotton lining. Think of them as the undercover luxury sneaker…now imitated many times over, but never duplicated.

Golden Goose Finish

golden goose sneakers fit sizing finish

Due to their unique handmade quality, Golden Goose sneakers have a few interesting features to note: on any given pair, the right side may not match the left side perfectly. They are usually similar in terms of marks and distressing (there is a method to the pre-distressed look!), but the patterns are not always identical. This is intentional. See the photos above and below for more detail.

Additionally, each model (e.g. Superstar, Ball Star, Runner) is designed differently from the others and given new color-ways each season, so the distressing varies by model, gender, and season as well.

Keep in mind that the presentation and storage box is sometimes distressed as well and varies by model. This is important to note because this is not a defect or damage from shipping and handling.

You’ll also notice the interior lining, which is not smooth leather or unvarnished suede leather, but rather a loopback cotton toweling material, which makes the shoes warm in the winter and cool in the summer for your feet. This is also a purposeful design feature so your sneakers are pleasant to wear year-round.

golden goose sneakers fit sizing finish

Golden Goose Fit

Golden Goose tend to be wider than other sneakers, and the sneakers have a taller leather insole that provides better cushion and comfort. Did you realize you felt a bit taller, putting on these shoes?

This height advantage—like the ‘stiletto of sneakers’ if you will—is one reason Golden Goose is so popular, but it also affects the sizing and fit:

  • Golden Goose shoes come in whole sizes only (from US 4 to US 11 women’s and US 6 to US 14 men’s)
  • Due to an approximately 3 to 5 cm difference in heel height, which slightly shrinks the length of the foot overall, as well as the width of the shoe, it is advised to size down to the nearest whole size if you are in-between. Otherwise, they fit true to size.
  • So if you typically wear a US 7.5 women’s, it is best to order a US 7 in Golden Goose, a.k.a. an IT 37.
  • If you usually wear a US 8, order a US 8 a.k.a. an IT 38. The same applies for men.
golden goose sneakers fit sizing

So why are Golden Goose Sneakers so Expensive?

In short, it comes down to these simple factors:

  • Each pair is made by hand in Italy, where factory workers make a fair, livable wage
  • The hand-distressed aspect actually makes them more costly to produce than they would otherwise be if they looked ‘new’
  • Most Golden Goose designs use multiple pieces of leather and patterns—not a single material for the entire shoe—which adds complexity to production processes and materials sourcing.

Luckily, we always have a large selection of Golden Goose sneakers for women, men, and kids, and constantly have the best pricing offer in the market. We import directly from Italy to your doorstep (all orders receive free global express shipping) and partner with 200+ of Italy’s best independent luxury boutiques to bring you the best selection.

golden goose at italist

Discover more footwear coverage: Iconic Shape—the Maison Margiela Tabi, How to find your size across different shoe sizing systems, and A Stylish Staycation with Saint Laurent sandals.


Shop italist for up to 40% off on over 200,000 up-to-the-minute luxury fashions for women, men, and kids from leading brands like Golden GooseFendiGucciMiu Miu, and many more—direct from Italy’s finest boutiques to your door.

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