Q: I’m confused. I know that it seems to be increasingly acceptable to wear sneakers to work, for going out, etc. I went to Footlocker and other sporty stores; the new sneakers there are insane. There are so many layers of sneakerhead-dom that I am lost in a sea of sneakers. All I DO know is that I HATE the way those Balenciaga triple-sole sneakers look (and would never … could never … pay $875 for a pair of tennies). I already have two pairs of Stan Smiths, but they are so flat that my poor feet rebel. I am looking for some kind of pseudo running shoe. Help? — Maria, Cold Spring, N.Y.
A: As someone approaching the marathon of fashion month, I have converted to spending much of my work life in Nikes and am all for the emergence of sneakers from sports to subculture to mainstream staple. But with such an explosion comes the related ill: option anxiety.
Every brand is jumping on the bandwagon, and pretty much every trend is represented. I have some friends who adore this kind of choice, but personally I tend to find it overwhelming. (In my early 20s, when I was buying my first sofa, I went to Macy’s and was surrounded by so many couches that I actually sat down on one and cried.)
So here’s what I’d do: Start with a basic color — I like black because white gets so dirty — and silhouette. My favorite is the Nike LunarSolo (in black), which has a pretty minimal profile and a very comfortable sole. Malina Joseph Gilchrist, T’s style director, said: “Personally, I wear the Nike Air Max in all white with black swoosh. They are classic, cool and comfortable.” She also recommends these Adidas Originals, in both colors and neutrals.
If you are willing to go further afield, though, I’d look a Chuck Taylor II low-tops, which are both less expensive and also explicitly made for more arch support. (Also, I really love their collaboration with JW Anderson, if you are feeling adventurous.)
And if you prefer a sneaker that is not immediately branded or recognizable, which is no bad thing, check out the Greats: Brooklyn-based, Italian-made and conceived for the sports of office and social politics. Or, if you are willing to spend a bit more, Malina suggests the Swedish brand Eytys, which has a Scandinavian aesthetic and built-in arch support. Very Alfred Nobel.