Sneaker Chic Fashion Finally Catches On

thumb_IMG_0322_1024When you stand nearly 6 feet tall, and suffer from sciatica, jumpers knee, and hammertoes, sneakers are your best friends. I wore high heels once in my life- at my wedding. Big mistake! At the aisle just before exchanging vows, the Frenchman hissed, “If you complain about your aching back once more, I am out of here.”

I’ve always been a trend setting, do-it-myself, kick butt kind of girl marching to my own beat.

Fashion finally caught up with me. Sneakers made a comeback and top models, movie stars and celebrities are wearing them down the red carpet.

Sneakers aka athletic shoes, trainers, kicks, tackies come in umpteen designs – low top, high top, slip-ons, wedges, air soled – and are made out of every kind of fabric: synthetic, leather, and textile like canvas.

In a mind-boggling selection, you can pick from Vans perforated black, Steve Madden leopard print, or retro look Nike Vintage Waffles, platforms and wedges. Big heels stuck on sneakers? Not for me, but then I never needed that extra leg length.

In the sixties, we had two choices – black or white, canvas Converse All-Star Hi-Tops, or those flimsy PFlyers. Now Converse All Stars come in every color of the rainbow.

Today you can pick from the top-selling classic brand names to every kind of cool from Vans slip-ons to Nike florals. All are guaranteed to make you jump higher, run faster, and hike longer. A sneaker design exists for every activity under the sun: biking, boating, walking, cross training, skate boarding, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, tennis, aerobics, and others. One day I bet a weight loss shoe will help you drop pounds by just tying up the laces.

I don’t own a pair of dress shoes; I have kicks for every occasion. My collection consists of twenty some pairs spread across two continents. Most of which I never wear because they make my back hurt due to tender toes and high arches. On a whim when I tried to switch brands, I bought purple trimmed Nike’s, turquoise Adidas, and fuchsia Reeboks. They always ended up at the back of the closet. I am most at home in ASICS.

At last, fashionable footwear made for comfort can be paired with leggings, jeans and even skirts. Black and white Adidas, Sketchers Sweet Spots, Forever 21 Floral Slip On and Converse All Star Plaids are the rage. Top independent shoes companies with names like IPath, SeaVees, Pointer Footwear, Newton, Scora, Supra, Black Spot, Under Armour, Etnies, Superga, Visvim, and Clae are in vogue. Don’t feel bad, the only ones I’ve heard of are New Balance and Under Armour.final four

Since Michael Jordan’s signature epic Air Jordan, elite athletes have elevated the tennis shoes to lofty levels. Finally in 1996, much to my joy, Nike launched Air Swoopes, named after the female basketball star Sheryl Swoopes. National sports heroes in every country have their signature shoe. Switzerland’s Roger Federer’s Zoom Vapor has long been a favorite of tennis players. For a retro look, designers also brought back tennis shoe models from Arthur Ash and Yannick Noah’s (French father of Chicago Bulls star center, Joakim Noah) playing days.

Countless brands lead the global scene. ETQ Amsterdam, the Netherlands footwear, is at the peak of the luxury sneaker culture. Kahru, which means bear in Finnish, makes original and running shoes. Fred Perry, an English menswear brand, turns the sneaker into high fashion. Norman Walsh Made in England has the British flag as a logo. Le Coq Sportif, founded 1888, is one of the oldest brands. It’s named for the French national team symbol, a rooster. Diadora’s Italian brand and Etonic’s, founded in 1876, are also making a comeback.

But I am a simple gal, my go to shoe – ASICS 180 gel cross trainers. With my funky feet finding a shoe to fit is as likely as seeing an elephant hanging out in the North Woods.

High heels take a hike. Give me my tennie kicks any day.

Posted in education, humor, inspiration, relationships, social view, sport.

25 Comments

  1. I completely agree with you, Pat! I live in my sneakers. I love my New Balance but have also done well in Skechers and I used to have some comfy Vans. Yay about the sneaker revolution!!!

    • I am sure with your ongoing battle that like me you feel best in sneakers. We have enough other **** to deal with, so let our tootsies at least be comfortable.

  2. I completely agree with you, Pat! I live in my sneakers. I love my New Balance but have also done well in Skechers and I used to have some comfy Vans. Yay about the sneaker revolution!!!

  3. Loved this article! What I loved the most was finding out we both wear the same kicks! Asics 180’s-the brighter color, the better! I’m on about my 10th pair and I wear them 80-90% of the time!
    Partners in back pain issues!

    • Oh Marilyn, I can’t believe we have our love of ASICS 180’s in common too. I can never find them in the stores, so I order on line. I am afraid that they will stop making that model. So sorry to share back problems too. Is it your low back?

  4. I like Sketchers and Cudas. But here’s my gripe, and it is intense: why on God’s green earth do most shoe manufacturers not make my shoe size? I wear a 10 1/2, but most makers skip from 10 to 11. 10 is too small and 11 is too big. If a person wore an 8 1/2, you wouldn’t expect to make do with either an 8 or a 9! So what the hell? I feel like they’re saying, “Honey, if you got that bigga feet, it don’t matter. Wear the box, in fact.” I might have to.

    • Oh Lynne, I hear you. It is always so hard to find shoes in our sizes. The bigger the feet are, it seems the less choice you have. Ditto for clothes. I seethe every time I walk by the “petite” section in women’s wear shops. I have NEVER seen a tall gal section in a department store, so I continue to waddle around in my high water pants showing off my favorite kicks.

  5. Oh, Pat, now this one I agree with. One hundred percent! Thank Heaven for comfy kicks! I did my time in heels — pointy-toed cowboy boots, pumps, etc. — but now I could care less. Give me a pair of athletic shoes and I’m good to go. I love my Converse (three pairs and counting, ha!), but for walking, I prefer Saucony. They have a wider toe box, which allows my feets to spread out better. It’s about time fashion caught up to us “cool women”!!

    • Cool indeed, Debbie. I have narrow feet, so the Saucony won’t work for me and Converse doesn’t have enough support in the heel or do they make models now with air in the soles. Anyway athletic shoes are best for active women like us and besides I just can’t see how you could take Dallas for a walk while wearing heels.

  6. Oh, Pat, now this one I agree with. One hundred percent! Thank Heaven for comfy kicks! I did my time in heels — pointy-toed cowboy boots, pumps, etc. — but now I could care less. Give me a pair of athletic shoes and I’m good to go. I love my Converse (three pairs and counting, ha!), but for walking, I prefer Saucony. They have a wider toe box, which allows my feets to spread out better. It’s about time fashion caught up to us “cool women”!!

  7. Oh my gosh, Pat, you had me at, “If you complain about your aching back once more, I am out of here.” LOL! And I couldn’t agree you more. I never really learned how to walk in heels and when I did I didn’t like it at all. Bring on the sneakers in nay color or style. 🙂

    • I am sure you need a good pair of tennis kicks to keep up all those grand kids. What kind of shoe did you wear during your nursing career especially when you had to be on your feet all day?

  8. Oh yes, do I love my trainers!!! Only here in Australia they call them runners!!! However, I am also an addict for shoes generally and when we move house again soon, I WILL have a clearout once and for all… I just can’t seem to get rid of my numerous pairs of 1980s aerobic high top trainers, and think I will eventually pass them onto a sports museum in a few decades time 🙂 (will have to update my will)… thanks Pat, where you get your ideas from for these blogs is beyond me! Look no further than your own wardrobe I hear you say 🙂 xx

    • Australians call them runners…how cool is that. I wear my runners to dash from my LS office on the 3rd floor under the attic of the old building, then to my English classroom in the old primary and then back up to sports field. I bet you could sell you 1980s aerobic shoes on Ebay. I don’t know where the blog ideas come from Rach, they just pop in my head at random times which makes it difficult to focus, but as you will remember I have always been a bit ADHD.

  9. Oh yes, do I love my trainers!!! Only here in Australia they call them runners!!! However, I am also an addict for shoes generally and when we move house again soon, I WILL have a clearout once and for all… I just can’t seem to get rid of my numerous pairs of 1980s aerobic high top trainers, and think I will eventually pass them onto a sports museum in a few decades time 🙂 (will have to update my will)… thanks Pat, where you get your ideas from for these blogs is beyond me! Look no further than your own wardrobe I hear you say 🙂 xx

  10. Oh Marilyn, I can’t believe we have our love of ASICS 180’s in common too. I can never find them in the stores, so I order on line. I am afraid that they will stop making that model. So sorry to share back problems too. Is it your low back?

  11. And have you seen the lace up to the knee Converse in all colors? You can now substitute sneeks for boots!
    Great job on the history behind all these makes. Fun blog.

    • Clara, they should have nurses test market sneakers since y’all could run circles around anyone when it comes to care taking and comfort giving.

    • Clara, they should have nurses test market sneakers since y’all could run circles around anyone when it comes to care taking and comfort giving.

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