Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you probably know that your sneakers are designed to be used for a lot more than just going to the gym. Although they initially started off as flimsy plimsolls that were meant for athletes and working-class holidaymakers, nowadays, sneakers have become a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. From sports to lifestyle and the red carpet, they are an expression of your character and style. They can be worn with a variety of outfits on different occasions. All you have to do is follow a few basic rules when shopping and buying mens sneakers to make sure you get the most value and wear out of them.
- Look for sneakers that suit your current wardrobe. There’s no point in getting the latest “hype” sneakers if they don’t suit your style. Don’t just jump on the trend train only because it’s passing through. Buy mens sneakers that complement your style and not sneakers that require you to rebuild your entire wardrobe;
- Only wear them on the right events. Sneakers are very versatile, but they aren’t a substitute for proper dress shoes. While you can get away with wearing sneakers with any off-duty outfit, and maybe even some unstructured, casual suits, you shouldn’t wear them on occasions like weddings, formal gatherings, etc. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed;
- Keep your sneakers nice and clean, as no matter how cool they are, the effect will be lost if they are dirty. Proper sneaker maintenance includes brushing the outsoles, eliminating odours, using sneaker shields, shoe trees and washing the laces.
Men’s sneakers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes nowadays – from basic, unstructured canvas to the finest, brightest leather and minimalist look to metal fastenings and high-tech. There are a few general rules of thumb to stick to when it comes to sneakers. They are divided into a few different categories based on style.
- Basic Sneakers – These are your Nike, Converse, Vans, Adidas, etc. types. They’re sometimes available in leather, but they’re commonly found in canvas and basic colours. They’re usually quite affordable, easy to clean and wear and work well with just about any type of wardrobe;
- Refined Luxury Sneakers – These might resemble your basic plimsolls, but they’re on the pricier side and are made from suede or leather by brands like Lanvin, Tom
- Ford, Rockport, ECCO, etc. These sneakers aren’t something you would usually wear to a music festival;
- Classic Sports Sneakers – Reebok Pump, Nike Air Max, Asics Gel-Lyte and other types of old school sporting greatness were once dedicated to the track and field, but are now popular among sneakerheads;
- Modern Sports Sneakers – Again, these sneakers are your Adidas and Nike-tier brands, but instead, they come in modern shapes and styling. Pulling these types of sneakers off is more difficult than pulling off classic sports sneaker styles;
- High-Fashion Sneakers – These are from brands like Diemme, Givenchy, Maison Martin Margiela, Christian Louboutin, etc. They’re designed to be loud and noticed;
- Trail/Hiking Sneakers – These sneakers are designed with technical activities in mind, but are quickly finding their spot in the mainstream fashion. Think Keen, Solomon or La Sportiva. They can be difficult to style and incorporate into your wardrobe.
Now that you’ve picked your favourite style, it’s time to learn how to pair them with your wardrobe. Chucks, Lows, canvas kicks, or whatever you may call them are the most basic, versatile sneaker you can get. They work well with chinos, shorts and denim in any colour and shade. Many men make the mistake of wearing this type of kicks to smart casual events or work when they should be wearing dress shoes instead. They’re best paired with a print T-shirt, blazer or gingham shirts.
Luxury sneakers make the jump from street casual to smart casual and can be worn with slim denim, tailored trousers, chinos or even casual unstructured suiting. Since they’re bulkier than basic canvas sneakers, they shouldn’t be worn with shorts. Smart shirts, polos and basic t-shirts are a great option, but you can also go for a shirt with a knit or slim tie, blazer and slim denim for a more distinct look.
Sports sneakers are responsible for the sneaker revolution that we see today. Jordans, 95s, Superstars are the trendiest sneakers that are just popping with colour. They’re extremely versatile, as long as you don’t need to dress too formal. You can pair them with a wide range of clothes and styles, and you can be as bold and experimental with them as you want to be.