Sneakers make a lifestyle statement just like any pair of shoes you own. Its a known fact that there are two things a woman looks at when they first meet a man: the watch on their wrist and the shoes on their feet. Shoes tells a woman where a man's been and where he's going. The watch tells a woman where he's at in his life. Some guys have a few pairs of shoes they rotate (good idea!). Some guys have a couple of pairs that they alternate. Regardless of how many sneakers you own, the following principles apply:
1) Keep 'em clean. A pair of pristine white Converse Chuck Taylors or Adidas Stan Smiths always looks great with jeans and a collared shirt or even with cotton trousers and a crew neck cotton sweater. Dirty sneakers conveys "I don't care" or "I'm sloppy". Invest in a sneaker cleaner. Maintain a clean style with sparkling clean kicks.
2) Find the right size. It doesn't matter if your sneakers cost $19.99 or $199.99, it has to fit you perfectly. When you have a shoe that has a narrower toe box (the front half of the shoe), go one half-size up. Nike and Adidas tend to have narrower fit compared to other sneaker brands. Walk around the store. Jump. Stride. Make sure they are comfortable in all the pressure points (toe box, mid-foot and heel). See the size chart below.
3) Give your shoes a break. Former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos owned 3,000 pairs shoes. She probably had a good rotation going during her time in government. But the lesson here is that shoes need time to breathe and relax. A 24 airing period prevents leather shoes from cracking, keeps the insoles dry, and maintains the longevity of the shoe.
For those of you who are shoe fanatics, you've probably already started stocking up on your kicks for this season. Or better yet, cleaning those vintage reissues you own from Nike, Adidas and New Balance and taking them to the streets with your straight leg denims. Either way, this season's kicks are about streamlined toe boxes and the combination of materials to create one of a kind pairs that in 20 years will be the new vintage. Here are my top picks:
Puma Low Top Sneaker by Mihara Yasuhiro
Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro has been collaborating with Puma since 2000. An unparalleled blending of function, inventive design, and style, the shoes this guy puts out to sneaker aficionados are ones to look forward to. This red, white and blue low top sneaker makes use of a combination of materials like a patterned red fabric, and smooth leather. The striped laces and gray eyelets and buttons provide clean detailing to the shoe making it versatile day and night. Online price $125 USD. Available at PUMA's online store.
Creative Recreation Colleti in White Patent
What's the benefit of wearing a patent leather shoe? Its easy to clean. You take a damp cloth and wipe the grime away! Creative Collection is fairly new in the sneaker industry, having been in business since 2002. The brand is well known for creations that combine sneaker comfort with dress shoe sophistication resulting in the ultimate hybrid footwear. This season, I'm looking forward to the Colletti in White (or Black) patent. Aside from the "easy to clean" factor, this shoe can easily be dressed up or down. The black patent version can be worn with a black linen summer suit. The white patent version will go with white or khaki trousers and a colored shirt. Retail price around $90 USD. For more selection visit the Creative Recreation site.
Converse Classic Chuck Taylor
According to Converse historians, 60 percent of Americans either own or have owned a pair of Chuck Taylors (aka "Chucks"). The brand that started in 1908 is still alive 101 years later, a true testament that classics never go out of style. The patented rubber toe cap, cotton canvas uppers, gum rubber soles and the signature striping around the shoe makes this the perfect sneaker. The leather version of these shoes makes great "dress up" sneakers. Otherwise, the multitude of colors and patterns give you the opportunity to rotate and wear a new pair for every day of the calendar. Retail price $44 USD. Available at Urban Outfitters and other specialty retailers.
Regardless of what pair you end up with, keep the rules in check and the style clean and crisp. You are what you wear so represent well.