Ask Belle: A Moment for Sneakers

Mar 2, 2015

Belle,

Are sneakers still having the “moment” that they were having in 2014?  I’m late to this trend, but I’m looking for a new pair before a vacation in Europe later this spring, so I figure better late than never.  Do you have any tips for how to style them without looking like it’s gym day in elementary school?  Any styles you recommend (or recommend avoiding)?

Love the blog!  Thanks! Denise

While the trend might have cooled down some, I don’t think you can go wrong with a stylish pair of sneakers.  I wear mine to run errands or for a quick stroll through the neighborhood, and it save wear and tear on my pricier ballet flats.  Just make sure you style the rest of your outfit so the sneakers are a cool, casual addition.

As for what to avoid, stick with neutral colors.  The neutrals are just more versatile.  Here are a few of my favorite pairs.

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New Balance for J.Crew ($80)

I know I said neutrals, but for me, metallics are neutral.  I just bought these sneakers, and I love them.

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Brooks Chariot Sneaker ($89)

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Puma Suede Classic ($65)

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Loeffler Randall Rio Sneakers ($295) 

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Keds Champion Sneaker ($45)

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  1. Monica says:

    I have a great pair of Ecco leather lace up sneakers in Navy and they go with almost everything I wear. They are understated and are a very European take on trainers, so I don’t think they stand out at all. I still save them for more casual days.

  2. Alison says:

    I like the look of Superga, kind of a euro Ked…

    • R says:

      I agree. For a trip to Europe, I think Superga sneakers are a better option than some of the American sneakers. I’ve been coveting the J Crew gold New Balances pictured above, but instead I just purchased a pair of slip on Supergas for my spring trip to Croatia.

  3. Valerie says:

    Belle, I’ve had my eye on the gold JCrew sneakers as well (I have a gift certificate from Christmas, and as we’ve all discussed on here, the clothing has declined in quality so the shoes have been more appealing). They don’t look like orthopedic shoes at all? My sister tried to dissuade me from getting them, saying that they’d look less cute and more juvenile/senior (take your pick) in our larger size 8.5/9 and that I should opt for a more colorful pair. I know you and I are the same shoe size, so would love your specific take on them.

  4. C says:

    Isn’t the stereotype about American tourists in Europe that you can always spot us because we’re the only ones wearing sneakers?

    • Belle says:

      I thought it was capri pants? Anyway, even French Vogue has been showing sneakers on its pages, so at least in the short term, sleek sneakers are in.

    • R says:

      I think the stereotype is athletic sneakers, not casual sneakers like those pictured, and worn with shorts.

  5. Megan R. says:

    If you want to blend in in Europe, particularly in the UK, you can’t go wrong with low-top Converse.

  6. I’m recovering from a stress fracture in my foot, so chic sneakers have been a lifesaver. Those J Crew/NB are so cute.

    Zara has a pair that look quite similar to the Loeffler Randall Rios that I really, really wish would go on sale (the Zaras are in a muted dusty blue color — pretty, but not as sharp as the black/white/gold).

  7. pam says:

    for europe i would suggest avoiding most sneakers, especially light colored ones unless you want to stand out looking like an american (even if you are not). when i have to wear sneakers in europe i go with a chocolate brown pair of sleek streamlined pumas. usually only on the airplane. i have found super comfy ballet flats with nice cushioning to wear to run around touring all day – blend in better and look more stylish. the me too line has very comfortable flats, i own them in 3 colors (bronze, black and nude) style is “limbo” katie & kelly make a similar pair and i have worn them for walking all day in paris, germany, and london.

  8. Betsy says:

    I bought a pair of metallic Vans. I HATE sneakers apart from exercise but these are a nice way to get the sneaker feel while feeling a little more on-trend. They’re really just slip-ons.

    Like Pam, I totally second the amazing comfort of Me Too flats. I’ve worn through several pair across North America and Europe. Cannot recommend enough.

  9. Heidi says:

    https://store.nike.com/de/de_de/pd/free-5-laufschuh/pid-1473275/pgid-10295094
    This is the pair that every Copenhagen-er wears.
    https://store.nike.com/de/de_de/pd/free-5-laufschuh/pid-1473275/pgid-10295094

    I’m a European with 8+ years in the US, and for my two cents I’d advise the Nike’s if it must be a sneaker. Otherwise:
    -Chucks are still everywhere
    -Boat shoes / Leather Loafers are more and more common, esp. in a nice metallic
    -Men’s style Oxfords if you’re going edy
    -Chelsea boots (https://www.imagehoarder.com/pic/269USujv/50244.jpg)

  10. SarahT says:

    Totally agree with Megan R. On a recent trip through Europe (Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal), Chucks and slip-on leather sneakers (a la Vince, Tory Burch, Schutz, Vans, Joie) were everywhere. FWIW – also still huge on lots of other fashion blogs.

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