A pair of shoes can make or break a good look, and in particular, many people underestimate what effect a pair of sneakers can make, often considering them too informal for anything other than casual or street wear.
Sneakers come in so many styles, colour and brands so the margin for error for choosing a bad pair is there. Not to say your statement Valentino’s don’t have a place in your kit, it means that they might not be appropriate to pair with your work suit.
Sit back and pay attention as we name the biggest mistakes you’re making with your trainers.
Not matching your sneakers to your look
Staring with the obvious, not all shoes are created equal, and many aren’t multi-purpose for each outfit.
Avoiding looking like a Jerry ‘jeans and joggers’ Seinfeld is hard when trying to match sportier or coloured styles. The easiest way to put your outfit together would be to think about proportion of your look, suggests Toby Standing from online styling service Thread. “If your style is sleek, slim and tailored, follow suit with your trainers and go for something similar.”
Don’t mistake this for avoiding colour altogether. Kenzo or Reebok always have simple, yet interesting designs. “Don’t be afraid to opt for a colour way other than the classic white. If you want a more subtle approach to your footwear, try a darker tone, like black or navy, that will look equally sleek but stand out less.”
Although bold ‘street style’ is making its mark, never underestimate the power of a classic sneaker.
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Overdressing with statement sneakers
The next common mishap is going OTT with big sneakers.
“Statement trainers are one of the biggest menswear trends of late – with every brand from Zara to Dior muscling in on ‘ugly sneaks’ and ‘dad trainer’ designs,” says Standing. “To wear correctly, the answer comes from the name of the trend itself: statement.”
And as you guessed, go simple everywhere else, because not even Yeezy himself can pull off ‘everything-yeezy’. “Keep the rest of the outfit simple. This will allow your trainers to really shine and be the focal point.” Try pairing with a straight or slim fit jean or tailored pair of pants.
Yeezy ‘500’ Blush Sneakers / $250 USD SHOP NOW
Not dressing for your personal style
It’s hard to follow a trend if it doesn’t really match your regular look. Those who are confident tend to opt for loud, colourful sneakers, while if you find yourself on the other end of the spectrum, good news, because classic styles are back in droves. “While some of this year’s trainer trends seem out of reach for many guys, we’re also seeing a return to classic styles,” says Charlotte Austin, editor at Lyst. “The Nike Air Max 98 and Converse All Star One models have been getting a lot of traction this year, pointing towards cleaner, quieter shapes.”
And the best thing is this kind of classic sneaker can last a lot longer in your repertoire.
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Wearing the wrong shoes for your daily commute
We all know that guy who walks / rides to work in a full suit and a pair of sneakers. Yeah.. that guy.
Practicality doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style, even if it is only to and from the office. “Sunday running shoes are not okay when paired with your work outfit,” says Standing. “You should invest in a pair of trainers that are comfortable, yes, but not suited to a marathon.” That being said we suggest going for a minimal, comfortable sneaker.
“Muted leather sneakers aren’t the best for running, but they will take a load off your feet before and following a long day at the office. Brands like Asics, Nike, Spalwart and New Balance are all great in that they offer comfort that won’t cost a fortune.”
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Wearing the wrong sneakers to the gym
Although sneakers were originally designed for the gym, that doesn’t mean that all styles actually are in this performance category. Many styles are only ‘lifestyle’ sneakers and don’t provide enough support.
“A lot of guys are happy to rock up in an old pair of trainers, assuming it wont make much difference. It really does,” says personal trainer and fitness expert, Patrick McAleenan. “The type of trainer you choose very much depends on your workout, and the level of cardio. Additional heel support and a stable base are great for weightlifting, while extra grip on the edges of the sole can abet lateral movements if you’re focusing on speed and agility training.”
It’s best to go speak to someone at a local gym or sportswear store who can point you in the right direction, based on your needs.
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Not keeping your trainers clean and recognising when they need to be thrown out
You keep your brogues and loafers clean, so why doesn’t this apply to your sneakers? This is especially important for minimal look and white sneakers that get dirty quickly. “Minimalist trainers need to be regularly cleaned to maintain a sleek aesthetic,” says Austin. “Wearing dirty trainers to a restaurant or a date is a big no-no, so keep on top of the maintenance.”
And it’s easier than you think. Any canvas shoes can be chucked in the wash on a low spin cycle, while leather and suede will need to be hand cleaned with appropriate tools. Totally dependent on the kind of shoes you own, look for a solid shoe kit like the below.
Salvatore Ferragamo Shoe Cream Multipack Cleaning Kit / $237 AUD SHOP NOW
And sometimes, no matter how much you clean and care for your sneakers, wear is inevitable. Look for signs such as the leather coming away from the seams, rising and worn soles that cannot be replaced. Then, shop for some new ones.