Dear Sneakers, I Love You

Sneakers: the epitome of style and function. We all have those trusty pair of sneakers that are scuffed, worn in and completely loved. (Well, in my case, I have at least four pairs.)

From the first day of kindergarten to my second year at the University of Florida, sneakers have been there every step of the way. Literally. There is just something so comforting about not having to think too hard about the perfect footwear to complete your look. Whether you’re going for a preppy, sporty or chic look, sneakers are always a good idea. Just because sneakers can go with any outfit doesn’t necessarily mean they are just a safe option either. Sneakers can be just as interesting as those knee-high boots that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify for everyday use (especially when you go to school in Florida and the heat is inescapable).

Sneakers and I are not a complicated love story. In fact, for the past 14 years, it has been nothing but smooth sailing. I can always rely on my trusted sneakers, but you may find yourself in a rut of only styling them with one type of outfit. To break that cycle, I wanted to share some inspiration to freshen up your sneaker looks and go on a quick journey down sneaker lane.

The evolution of sneakers

First, let’s get to know the kicks we love so much. As we all know, sneakers are an icon. What started out as a shoe designed for athletic activity has become a fashion symbol. This global industry is worth $55 billion dollars for a reason. Over the span of several decades, this shoe has veered away from solely (see what I did there?) being about function and instead has transformed into a defining style feature of several decades. The design and form of the sneaker has taken on many phases, and this is what makes the evolution of sneakers so interesting. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I am very grateful that sneakers have evolved into one of the most popular footwear options. If we crack open a magazine or fashion book from any decade beginning with the introduction of sneakers to the market, you will find athletic styling to chic couture spreads.

It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint the exact moment sneakers popped into existence. This is because the term “sneakers” isn’t entirely defined and is pretty inclusive of a few styles of footwear. In 1917, Converse released the staple we all know today – Chuck Taylor All Stars. These sneakers were all the rage in the 1920s (and still are). The 1930s saw Keds as the most popular sneaker. Who doesn’t love a good classic pair of Keds, right? Sneaker style stayed pretty much the same until the 1970s, when Adidas brought a fresh take on sneaker style. Later decades continued to shape the classic sneakers that we still wear today. Although some styles have changed a bit, we still strut the same iconic brands. Who knew sneakers could leave such a lasting footprint?

Step up your sneaker game.

With the tons of different styles of sneakers out there, you might find yourself struggling to pick up those pairs that just scream “cool girl” vibes. If you haven’t noticed by now, I love sneakers. Because of this, I often find myself scanning the ground and checking out what sneakers people are wearing. When I spot a pair that stand out from the rest, I definitely take notice. Sometimes I see a pair that I love but don’t think I can pull them off. I think we’ve probably all felt that before – you know what I’m talking about, right? That feeling of immediately shutting down the possibility of wearing something because you think you’ll look silly and like you’re trying too hard to be different. I say, forget what people think! Try out those platform sneakers or the sneakers in your favorite color (no matter how bright or flashy). Let your sneakers do more than just get you from one point to another – let them express your style and vibe. Check out how to incorporate your favorite sneakers into more outfits other than your go-to jeans and t-shirt.

Fun fact: Sneakers can be professional!

Don’t be afraid to pair a bold power suit with any classic white sneaker of your choice. Don’t just stop there – go for the bold kicks, and you will be rewarded with a shower of compliments.

Dresses + sneakers = chic.

It can be intimidating to try out new styles. For me, I never felt like I could pull off the effortless chicness of a cute dress with a pair of sneakers, but it is all about attitude and confidence. If you want to wear that dress and sneaker combo, go for it! From slip dresses to full-skirted options, add your trusty kicks for a fresh (and comfortable) twist.

You see? Sneakers are like your most supportive friend – great for any situation and always trusted. It doesn’t matter what style you are going for, sneakers can add that touch of support without holding back your stylistic expression. These shoes don’t have to be expensive footwear you ask for during the holidays – check out your local thrift stores, scope out a T.J. Maxx (or any other favorite discounted department store) and you will find a variety of trendy sneakers to add to your collection. Because if you are anything like me, you have quite a few options lining your closet (and are always on the hunt for more!).

I don’t know about you, but all this talk of sneakers gave me the itch to add fresh styles to my online shopping cart.