I could relate to Lauren Bravo’s recent article in Refinery 29: “Down to Earth: Has 2019 Killed the Heel?” In it, Lauren explains how she used to wear nothing but high heels, but that things have changed enormously over the last few years because we are living in the age of the fashion flat, and comfort rules supreme. She started making the switch from heels with fashionable flat oxfords, slipper flats, ballet flats, and loafers, and then moved onto oh-so-trendy sneakers and Birkenstocks. And while fashion can swing back and forth between heels and flats as the “it” shoe, she’s noticed how she’s not willing to go back to wearing high heels, and is in good company when she raises the subject on Twitter. She also talks about how the heels-wearing market in the US and the UK have changed significantly, and across all sorts of dress codes. These days, heels wearing is more of a choice than an obligation. It’s a great article and well worth a read.
I’ve never been a high heels wearer. I’ve worn fashionable flats most of my life with the odd two-inch heel thrown into the mix. I wore ballet flats, ankle strap flats, loafers, flat Chelsea boots and oxfords forever because they are dressier and more comfortable than sneakers.
Unexpectedly, that all changed in the last year. I found comfortable and refined sneaker silhouettes in narrow fits, and I’ve bought more pairs of fashion sneakers than ever. I’m addicted to their comfort, sturdy soles, and ease of movement. They are also an excellent way to dress down my dressier dresses, skirts and trousers, which I enjoy wearing as everyday items.
Here is my current sneaker collection, of which the first four pairs are new this year. I effectively doubled my sneaker collection in one year, and have duplicates in the wings.
I wear the low-tops in mild, warm and hot weather and without socks. Sometimes, I wear them with nude knee-highs in the Spring. I wear the hi-tops in cool and cold weather with socks and knee-highs. They are amazingly warm because they have fleece lining.
I don’t wear sneakers when I’m working with clients unless I’m wearing them with a formal suit, or if I’m on my feet for 14 hours of the day during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. But I do switch to wearing sneakers at some point during the day because I live in the city and walk everywhere. I switch my footwear to sneakers and leave the rest of my outfit as is, because you can wear sneakers with everything these days — and feel stylish.
If you’d asked me two years ago whether refined fashion sneakers would become a wardrobe essential, I’d have chuckled and politely said “I don’t think so.” Never say never when it comes to fashion and style, because things change unexpectedly. The fashionable sneaker is among my favourite trends, and Lauren’s concluding quote puts it best: “The future of women’s footwear is comfortable.”
Guaranteed. I will be happily adding to my sneaker capsule.