The sneaker in all its forms — athletic, fashion and hybrid — is the shoe of our fashion era. It’s worn across all genders, body types, and ages, across the globe. I can’t think of another style of shoe that has made a bigger impact on modern fashion. The trend has gone way beyond the iconic Converse, Adidas and Puma. There are millions of styles of sneakers to choose from these days, and it’s fashionably acceptable to style them into just about any outfit. We live in a sneaker obsessed world.
The Sporty Luxe Trend, which mixes luxurious and dressy pieces with sporty accents like fashion sneakers, was born about four years ago and is still going strong. The Athleisure Trend, which encourages us to sport uber casual athletic wear as regular casual wear, was born at about the same time and is as popular as ever. Now there’s the trend that dress-code-wise fits in between the two. It simply encourages us to wear fun fashion sneakers with any regular casual outfit. For lack of a better description, I’m calling it the “Modern Casual Trend”.
Sneakers are the most worn shoe on the street in urban and suburban settings. Workplace dress codes have relaxed right up to the point that sneakers are becoming more and more acceptable. You can wear sneakers to work at most tech and software companies these days. Commuting by foot, public transport or bicycle often means that you’ll wear sneakers for the commute and change into dressy shoes at the office. If you lead a casual lifestyle, you might wear sneakers several times a week. If you walk a dog daily, you’ll change into sneakers for the walk. If you wear business casual or business formal all week, you’ll probably wear sneakers over the weekend. And if you’re in a very creative profession, you’ll enjoy the juxtaposition of casual sneakers in all sorts of weird and wonderful avant-garde combinations.
I was visiting my Dad in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, and Spring collections were in full force. EVERY footwear store had a large assortment of white, pink and metallic fashion sneakers. Sneakers dominated display windows, most of the mannequins were styled with sneakers, AND most of the people in the street were wearing fashion sneakers. I took some pics of sneaker displays while I was shopping with Inge in Arnhem.
I used to wear Converse Chuck Taylors regularly until their fit stopped working for my feet. I went for years without wearing fashion sneakers because I couldn’t find a style that I liked more than that magically streamlined and Modern Retro All Star Converse. I also found most sneakers too wide and uncomfortable. As always, all good things come to those who wait. Converse recently changed the fit of their fancy leather hi-tops and now they work well for my feet. I have three pairs that I love and wear regularly in cold weather.
I also love the look of crisp white low-top sneakers, but the Stan Smiths were a bad fit and slightly too athletic looking for my style. I was after a prettier sneaker, but battled with fits that were too wide in the styles that I liked. I eventually found the perfect white Spring and Summer sneaker from Frye and they became instant wardrobe workhorses. I wear them daily to walk our Yorkie, Sam. I love these Frye sneakers so much, that I just added a pink pair to my sneaker capsule. I’ll keep those for nice and not take them on muddy dog walks. Here’s my current collection of fashion sneakers.
I’m THRILLED that fashion is acknowledging our need for comfortable and practical footwear that looks fun and fabulous. As long as sneakers do not become the only shoe on the market, and there are plenty of other styles to choose from, I support the relentless sneaker trend. Over to you. What do you think of the modern sneaker trend, and do you wear fashion sneakers? If so, how regularly do you wear them?