Fashion Rules Mini-Series: Sneakers are Only for the Gym

If you’re a 90s baby like me, growing up you were most likely always sporting a pair of patent leather Mary Janes and frilly laced socks. You likely associated sneakers with boys or something we only dared to wear when playing rough or for long walking trips. But now it's the 2010s and sneakers are more in than ever for women. Women not only have accepted sneaker wearing but are now also accepting them as fashionable!  Can we seriously take a moment to thank the fashion gods for this breakthrough?

This was a major gasp moment for me growing up as a complete girly girl. Now as a collegiate I am more than loving this trend and sporting my sneakers at least three times a week outside of the gym.

I honestly believe it is impossible to mess up this trend. Just grab essentially any pair of New Balance, Adidas or Nikes and you're good to go. They don't even have to match! Throwing on a pair of sneakers with your outfit is not only incredibly practical and comfy but it also gives your outfit a pop. And to me, the brighter the better! Go for bold colors and flashy prints. If we’re given the chance to be comfy then why not go all out?


I love love love pairing my bright huaraches with a neutral outfit. These are my go to shoes, and this is one of my favorite looks. The chunky sweater keeps me warm and the leather skirt is just so chic. Throwing on my sneakers and a denim jacket makes this outfit totally fun and comfy.

Girls everywhere are doing it! Here’s some of my other favorite ways to rock the look and a few necessary questions answered by Bryli Long, Her Campus Social Media Director and avid "sneakerhead." Majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Design and with a minor in Consumer Studies, Bryli offers a prime perspective on the sneaker trend. 

1. Why are sneakers so important in the college woman's wardrobe?

Sneakers were first introduced for sports and recreational use because of their comfort properties that allow for easy movement and support.  I believe that every college girl should have at least one pair in their wardrobe because comfort is something we all strive for.  It is also a type of shoe that is super easy to feel confident in.  

2. How have sneakers gotten cooler?

Over the years, sneakers have been making an extreme comeback.  Not to say they haven’t always been around, but lately it seems that sneakers have been growing more popular in the world of fashion than ever before.  You see so many iconic fashion designers that have essentially traded in their high heels for some relaxed kicks to complete their looks.  That influence on fashion has been thought to spark a sneaker craze amongst our society.  When breaking down the reason behind why sneakers are so big right now, we can look at the fashion “trickle-down theory” and the “trickle-up theory.”  Basically, the trickle-down theory explains how celebrities and wealthier individuals take on these trends, and in effect, the general public adopts the same trend.  The trickle-up theory is the exact opposite.  It states that the trend can be looked at as originating in the streets, and later making its way into high society.  Since sneakers have been around for so long, it is hard to totally distinguish which theory explains this craze, but we can conclude that sneakers are now such a way of life.  Everyone wants to live in comfort, and it is much easier to do so since our society is making it more acceptable for relaxed dress.  

3. Where is your favorite spot to cop some sweet kicks?

My favorite place to look for new sneakers at the moment would have to be Adidas.  They are definitely making advances in the comfort properties of the shoes, as well as unique design characteristics.  I feel as if Adidas is one of the many sneaker brands that has sought out a mission to create shoes that are more catered to a woman.  In a male dominated industry, we haven’t seen a whole lot of diversity when it comes to women’s sneakers, which is a problem.  Most sneakers for females tend to be in the pink shades. Why?  That is still a mystery because when asking a girl what kind of sneaker she wants, it’s most likely not going to be pink, (at least that wouldn’t be my answer). So with the bigger variety that Adidas is showcasing in women’s footwear, I feel like they are recognizing this issue and making the necessary changes.   

4. What is a "sneakerhead"?

To me, a sneakerhead is someone who sees the potential that sneakers have to offer.  It is a lifestyle to many.  Some like to keep up with all of the new, emerging, limited edition sneakers, and others like to sit back and observe what street trends are happening.  It’s not necessarily based on how many sneakers you own.  It is how you choose to love and appreciate the art. 

5. What is your favorite pair of sneakers and why?

That’s such a hard question.  I would have to say my favorite pair of sneakers are my white Reebok Classics.  I love how weird and old school they are, yet they go with EVERYTHING.  They are truly my ride or dies.

6. What is your favorite way to style sneakers?

My favorite way to style sneakers would have to be jogger sweatpants and some sort of graphic tee.  It’s all about the shoes for me when styling an outfit.  I believe they make an outfit pop, so keeping that in mind is super important when putting a look together.  When I feel like being a bit more girly, I like to wear a tight bodycon dress with a nice pair of sneakers to complete the sporty vibe I’m trying to achieve.

7. How often do you wear sneakers?

I would say I wear sneakers a good 5 days out of the week.

8. Do you transition your sneakers from gym to class?

Definitely!  I have a few pairs of sneakers that can be for the gym or for streetwear.  My favorite pair for that purpose would have to be the Jordan Eclipses and Nike Free Runs.

9. Are more women needed in the footwear design industry?

YES YES YES!  Like stated before, sneakers are still considered a man’s shoe, so when creating new designs catered for a woman, what better way to achieve that than to actually have WOMEN in the industry DOING the creating.

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I seriously recommend you asking for a Foot Locker gift card for Christmas! I promise you won’t regret it.