Todd Snyder has been designing sneakers for years, but they’ve always had somebody else’s name on them — New Balance, Converse, Vans — as well as his. But that changed this week when the designer launched the Tuscan Court Shoe.

“We started making shoes last season — a boot, sandals, espadrilles,” Snyder said at the launch party at his store on Madison Square Wednesday night. “But this is my first Todd Snyder-branded sneaker.”

Alan Cumming, Todd Snyder

Alan Cumming joined Snyder at the launch event.

Rommel Demano/

The shoe, which was inspired by Snyder’s love for old-school basketball and tennis sneakers, took one-and-a-half years to develop. He worked with Tuscan shoemaker Gem Srl on the sneaker, using Vachette leathers and suedes, a brogue-style stitching on the toe-box, a suede mudguard and cork footbed. One model also features a recycled rubber outsole.

“I’ve done so many collaborations with the New Balance’s of the world,” Snyder said. “So it’s exciting to do this one exclusively. Collaborating with New Balance and Converse was a full-immersion crash course in the finer points of sneaker design, and the natural next step was to launch my own sneaker line — one that combined Italian craftsmanship with New York attitude. I started with the classic silhouettes you would have seen at The Cage on West 4th Street or on the courts at Forest Hills back in the ‘70s, and then added these luxurious Italian leathers and suedes to create a gentleman’s court sneaker.”

Todd Snyder's Tuscan Court sneaker

The sneakers were made in Italy.

Rommel Demano/

Snyder said going forward, he expects to expand his footwear assortment even further. “You’ll see a lot more Made in Italy product,” he said.

And speaking of Italy, speculation began to swirl during New York Fashion Week that Snyder is in talks with Pitti Uomo to be featured at the group’s fair in Florence next year. The designer declined to comment on the possibility that he may show there in January, but if he does, it may change the complexion of his brand. When it started 12 years ago, it was primarily wholesaled through high-end retailers, but over the years he has transitioned to selling direct-to-consumer through a group of stores he has opened around the U.S. as well as online. Showing at the premier Italian men’s trade show could potentially convince him to begin wholesaling again.

Todd Snyder is owned by American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which purchased it for $11 million in 2015.

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