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The Sneaker Insider

The Sneaker Insider
floral sneakers with raw-hem tongues

Sneaker is no longer a synonym for “dressing down.” These rubber-soled shoes have gone from gym accessories to wardrobe essentials. Fresh from the interwebs and designer runways, here’s how to look hip in sneakers this season, plus a six-sentence “Story of the Sneaker” (impress your friends😉).


  1. In 1839, American scientist Charles Goodyear invented moldable, waterproof “vulcanized rubber” which soon became the go-to sole for the croquet and tennis shoes worn by the jet set.
  2. The 20th century brought the democratization of sneakers – and its wider athletic popularity – with the US Rubber Company’s Keds, Converse All-Stars (endorsed by celebrity athlete Chuck Taylor) and, later, Adidas and Puma brands (created by the German Dassler brothers).
  3. Beginning in the 1950s, celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Marlon Brando popularized the sneakers-with-jeans look – a comfortable combo with a rebel edge.
  4. Cue the 1970s, when Nike founder Bill Bowerman had his lightning moment – pouring rubber into waffle iron molds to create the iconic, traction-friendly “waffle tread” – taking athletic shoes to a new level and winning the endorsements of sports stars (perhaps most notably Michael Jordan).
  5. In the 1980s and 1990s, sneakers became the epitome of street style, a staple of the hip-hop and rap scene, and a hotbed of limited-edition designs that gave birth to the word “sneakerhead” (a person who collects and trades sneakers).
  6. Sneakers show no sign of slowing in popularity in the 21st century: they’re produced by classic brands and luxury fashion houses, and worn for sport, leisure and as a style statement with everything from athletic apparel to evening gowns.

CLASSIC WHITE: Clean and crisp, white sneakers pair fabulously with khakis and a pullover for that dressed-for-the-meeting vibe, or double-down on whimsy by wearing with your favorite sundress. Some modern brides even choose to wear white kicks with long wedding gowns!

STATEMENT COLORS: Rainbow brights, highlighter hues and bold color blocks look great with athleisure and provide playful contrast to blazers and suits. Seize some colorful joy in challenging times with a super-creative designs – there are plenty available from your favorite brands and artists. 

PLATFORM POWER: Stand tall(er) and level up your look by pairing platform kicks with a pleated skirt, crisp cotton dress or cropped denim. Platforms with a black-tie dress or tux have been welcomed at the Met Gala and are touring the prom circuit. Choose kicks with retro 80s touches (think high tops or padded collars) for added charm.

CHUNKY SOLES: akin to the platform, the chunky look is all about sole-power. Be ready to head to the airport, run to the coffee shop or just kick back with friends in a technical-yet-on-trend pair. (Check out these tips on walking for fitness!)

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