Every winter, I get to daydreaming about sneakers. I’m a couple months into boot season, there’s no end in sight to ice and slush and snow, and all I want is to be able to traipse around, bare-ankled, in some cute trainers. For the past three years, I’ve managed to find a pair of cute sneakers in mid to late winter and squirrel them away for the warmer, dryer days ahead (last three Finds -- mint, olive, and yellow).

Call it a habit, a compulsion, a tradition; whatever it is I rather enjoy it at this point. Fashion sneakers don’t get as much wear from me as boots or actual running shoes, but they are way more fun to shop for. And I can wear them much earlier in the season than summer dresses or other cute lightweight spring/summer clothes, so they’re a good way to mark the seasonal change when the days are getting longer but not much warmer.

Anyway, I ordered the first Madewell pair, which look like such a perfect vintage-inspired light creamy neutral in the photo. The pair that arrived was quite different — white, not cream, with basically grey accents (see photo -- and my home lighting skews warmer than real life). Not terrible, but not what I was expecting. Also, the description on the shoebox and webpage said nubuck leather and these are the definitely full-grain (looks like the online product description has been revised now). I like full grain leather for boots, but for sneakers I’m all about suede or canvas; shiny sneakers feel off, a little too tidy for my style I think.

Anyway, I sent them back. Fit is spot-on and true to size, and Madewell releases them in lots of colorways, so I may try one of the other brighter (and supposedly mixed media) versions. Wish they were available at my local store so I could see the colors in person, but it’ll be a while before sneakers show up in shop windows here.

Or I may poke around for some NB 574s (on which the Madewell sneakers are clearly riffing) in a color I like. The grey/rust pair keeps catching my eye, despite the fact that the shoes I just sent back were disappointingly grey — hah! As a New England girl, I’ll always have a soft spot for New Balance and it would help round out my “classics” collection. I like iconic sneakers, but I also like the lack of visible branding on the Madewell models...

Anyway, I’m not in any hurry since it’ll be many weeks before I can wear such things anyway. But at least I have a clear idea of what I’m looking for.

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