Thanks to the sporty luxe trend sneakers are making a bigger fashion statement than ever. Both non-athletic and athletic sneakers are being worn with just about any outfit — with skirts and dresses too — and the fashionably intentional combination is au courant and very 2014.
This is great news for those of us who have fussy feet because sneakers are normally very comfortable. For my Mum-on-the-go clients, this was especially great news because fashionable slip-on sneakers, retro styles and refined athletic sneakers are easy to fit, affordable and brilliantly comfy. Others have embraced the wedge sneaker and high-top as a way to dress down outfits and aren’t looking back.
But for me, finding comfortable sneakers has been more difficult than I thought it would be.
The saddest part of the sneaker trend for my own style has been saying goodbye to Chuck Taylor Converse. I adore the retro and timeless vibe of Chucks and used to wear them very regularly. Unfortunately my feet have grown fussier and Chucks don’t work for me anymore. Next.
I thought I’d give those fabulous slip-on sneakers a bash, because sporty flat oxfords are just up my alley. I tried many styles across an assortment of price points — from Vans to Givenchy — and no luck. The style was too wide, the footbed too stiff, the fabrication too hard, or all three. Wearing my own low-heeled leather booties with socks and buttery soft loafers sans socks was much more comfortable than the slip-on sneaker.
Then I tried athletic sneakers, both refined and chunky, from Nike and New Balance. I didn’t find the Nikes all that cushioning to start off with, and the chunkier styles really hurt my arches. The New Balance sneakers killed my feet when I took them on a long walk because my arches do not like arch support. Luckily, Zappos allowed me to return the used New Balance sneaks for which I was very grateful. Also, I generally found athletic sneaker styles overly wide and heavy, and ironically not comfortable at all.
I spoke to Greg and a few of my very athletic friends about my sneaker challenges. Running shoes are supposed to be very comfortable, so what was going on? They recommended I try ASICS and in a narrow size. So that’s what I did, and finally I had a shoe that fit well and felt more comfortable. My feet weren’t swimming around inside the shoe and the arch support was a lot less severe. I’ve road tested my ASICS GT-2000 on power walks many times over and I’m pleased to report happy feet.
I was also on the lookout for white athletic sneakers with a retro touch that I could wear instead of Converse. Again, I tried style after style across all price points and no luck until I looked for narrow sizes and found Propet’s Washable Walker. The shoe fits like a dream, is super cushioning, lacks excessive arch support and is as light as a feather.
At last, I am sneaker sorted. My fussy feet really keep me on my toes.
My lesson here was that you can’t assume that sneakers are a slam-dunk comfortable walking shoe option. At least, not for someone with fussy feet like mine. I had to put in a lot of effort to find styles that suit my feet and go the distance. Also, you need to find the brand that suits your feet. Yes, each brand has a variety of styles, but they definitely each start out with a different set of priorities. ASICS sneakers seem to work well for me, but Nike or New Balance might be best on your feet.
How about you? Was it easy to find a comfortable pair of walking or running sneakers? Which brands work for you, and why?