The following comes from Luc Wiesman of D'Marge:
Newsflash: your sneakers are meant for more than just the gym. Though they got their start as flimsy “plimsolls” meant for working-class holidaymakers and purpose-built footwear designed for athletes, sneakers have become a staple in a every man’s (and woman’s, for that matter) wardrobe. Now your sneakers can be a fashion statement as well as workout gear – maybe even both at the same time. Special thanks to Robert Ferris from Harrolds for providing this week’s expert tip on how to wear sneakers with style.
Basics Sneaker Rules
No matter what kind of sneakers you settle on, there are a few basic principles for how to wear sneakers you should abide by. Always:
- Buy sneakers that suit your current wardrobe: What good does it do to buy the latest style if it doesn’t suit your style? Don’t hop on the trend train just because it’s passing through. Choose shoes that complement what you already have, not shoes that require you to repurchase your entire wardrobe.
- Wear them to the right occasions (don’t go too casual): Sneakers are incredibly versatile, but they’re no substitute for dress shoes. You can get away with sneakers with any off-duty outfit – and perhaps even some casual, unstructured suits – but they’re not meant for every occasion. Err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed.
- Keep them clean: It doesn’t matter how cool your sneakers are, the effect will be lost if they’re not spick-and-span. Proper sneaker maintenance includes washing the laces, eliminating odours, brushing the outsoles, and using shoe trees and sneaker shields.
Knowing Your Sneakers / Trainer Types
Sneakers come in many shapes and sizes these days. From the very basic to the brightest leather, from the minimal to the metal fastenings, there are few rules when it comes to your trainers. With so many options available, it can be hard knowing exactly what’s what and even harder to know what’s most likely to suit your wardrobe and taste.
Luckily, you have us here to make things easier. We’ve put together a How To Wear Sneakers Style 101 guide that should have you acing your footwear exams in no time.
- Basic Sneakers – These are your Converse, Vans, etc., types. Sometimes they come in leather, but they’re typically found in canvas and in basic colours. On the whole they’re generally affordable and easy to wear / clean.
- Refined Luxury Sneakers – They might bear a resemblance to the basic sneakers, but they’re more expensive and often made from suede or leather by brands like Tom Ford, Lanvin & Saint Laurent. These are not something you take to a music festival.
- Classic Sports Sneakers – Think Nike Air Max 90, Reebok Pump, Asics, Tiger and other forms of old school sport greatness. What was once ready for the track and field is now kept safely in a shoe collection at home.
- Current Sport Sneakers – Again, these are your Nike, Adidas and Puma brands, but with modern styling and shapes.
- High-fashion Sneakers – These are the work of brands like Givenchy, Christian Louboutin, Maison Martin Margiela, Diemme and even Giuseppe Zanotti. They’re loud and designed to be noticed.
- High Tech – This special group may not be universally recognised yet, but I hear by dub it “High Tech.” This is the category for the likes of Rick Owens and other designers who are really pushing the limits of sneaker design.
What You Need To Know To Get The Best Look
The Basic Classics
- Mix with relaxed, slim & skinny denim and chinos
- Keep for casual/street occasions only
- Maintain to ensure they stay clean and respectable
- Best suited to younger men
Refined Luxury Sneakers
- Dress up, not down
- Start with black, then purchase other colours
- Take extra care with suede and don’t wear it too often
- Try brighter pairs for summer / European holidays
Classic Sports Sneakers
- Find a few styles you like and stick to them
- Colour match if you can
- Pin roll, or rock with khaki chinos when it’s warm
- Sell them on eBay if you don’t like them
Current Sport Sneakers
- Avoid all white pairs
- Don’t tuck shirts into denim with these sneakers
- Go for a sporty look to compliment the shoe
High-Fashion Designer Sneakers
- Stick with blacks, whites and mute colours
- Let the sneakers to the talking
- Denim is your best friend
- Black, black, and more black
- Go for long and draped style of clothing
- Be prepared for people’s comments