Style soothsayers are done with the precept that in order for something to be fashion it must be uncomfortable. In the last few years, leggings have risen in popularity (and walked the Giambattista Valli runway), the term athleisure has entered into the hallowed Merriam-Webster dictionary and normcore — defined by The New York Times as “a fashion movement, c. 2014, in which scruffy young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic (but still pretty ironic) embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire” — has not only become, well, the norm, it has birthed a sub-trend known as gorpcore.
But we’re here to talk shoes, so let’s talk shoes. Fashion’s yen for the comfortable manifested itself in the rise of sensible (block and kitten) heels. Now, it’s all about day-to-night sneakers, be they lowbrow or high-priced, streamlined or chunky-soled.
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Nowadays, it’s au courant to pair sneakers with silk, spend the full day (not just your morning commute) in a suit-with-trainers look. Thank the market-savvy athleticwear brands that enlist stylish celebs to peddle their wares just as often as they do athletes (see: Selena Gomez for Puma, Bella Hadid for Nike, Gigi Hadid for Reebok). Who can resist an affordable, It girl-approved buy? Nobody. That’s who.
Fashion commentator and Man Repeller contributor Pandora Sykes believes the rise of un-chic “dad” sneaks is evidence of our desire to feel grounded in the face of uncertainty. “It has almost become a trope to discuss fashion’s art-like ability to offer a reprieve from weighty political and global turmoil — and yet, I believe this to be true. Fashion raises us up, but it also anchors us down and holds us firm,” writes Sykes. “Could dad trainers (considered ‘fashion’ if Balenciaga, Dior and Vetements say so) have the very literal effect of stabilizing us amid chaos?” Sounds plausible.
Regardless, let’s spend no more time dissecting the season’s most agreeable, intuitive trend. With their lack of heel and wear-anywhere appeal, sneakers unquestionably belong on your shopping list. Click through the slideshow below to shop those currently favored by the street style set.