You know when you see someone walking past you on the street in an outfit that makes you want to run home and change into the exact same look? And then you run home, change and realize you look ridiculous? This happens to me all the time, most frequently when the outfit requires sneakers. I think people in sneakers look great. I see teenage girls pairing worn-out green Chucks with mini flower skirts and women wearing ankle-length silk dresses with Nike Vapormax trainers and want to copy all of it on the spot. Then I slip into a pair of sneakers the next morning, highly motivated to treat my feet nicely for once. And then I hate it.

My issue with sneakers may be due to my complicated relationship with my legs; I think they look better in platform sandals and maxi skirts than anything else. It may also have to do with my displeasure in dressing down. What I know is that it’s definitely not the sneakers’ fault.

Wherever I look, people wear sneakers. Everyone in my office wears sneakers. All my friends wear sneakers. On the sidewalks outside: all sneakers. People around the world line up for hours whenever coveted limited edition sneakers are released. I have never seen anyone line up for a pair of high heels.

In fact, you’re making your life a whole lot more uncomfortable if you hate them. Sneakers are often the key to making an otherwise crazy outfit look easy and effortless. High heels may enforce better posture, but they can make an outfit look too put-together. And yet, I feel sort of clumsy when I wear sneakers. Do I lack the laid-back, easygoing attitude that, in my head, is crucial to wear sneakers? Being uncomfortable seems to be my comfort zone. Isn’t that terrible?

People argue that true style means staying true to yourself, which in my case would mean that I shouldn’t force myself to wear sneakers because me in sneakers wouldn’t be the true me. But when I recently came home with swollen toes and three blisters on each foot caused by the pink mid-heel mules I’d decided to wear in the morning, I (Carrie voice) couldn’t help but wonder: Can the shoes we wear walk us in the wrong direction?

I’m kidding. That’s not what I thought. I just thought that I needed to go on a sneaker diet, immediately. It can’t be that hard to like sneakers. Forget about the true me. True me needs to learn a lesson: Sneakers are great! When people start implementing new workout routines or diet plans into their lives, they often report that their new way of living introduced them to a completely unknown side of the body and mind they thought they knew so well. Why can’t clothes do the same to us? This whole idea of looking stylistically confident by staying true to yourself is a lie preached by lazy people (including me). Should life not be an endless jump out of comfort zones, especially if that means getting comfortable?

To start my sneaker diet right, I consulted my friend Anja, owner of 250 pairs of sneakers. She also loves feather skirts, so I figured she would know what I needed. Anja and I agreed that my diet would only be successful if I allowed myself to pair sneakers with ingredients more familiar to my true me, like velvet frill skirts, ironed shirts or flashy earrings. But she also managed to convince me that I could wear sock sneakers with a mini dress, which definitely was a premiere. My legs didn’t know what was happening to them. I hated it. Then I reminded my true me that it needed to start working on its attitude.

God, did I feel like a newborn.

Styled by Claire Beermann and Anja Timme (follow her on Instagram @anjatimme). Photos by Stephanie Pfaender, follow on Instagram @stephaniepfaender.

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  • Robin

    As a chunky boot and vans slip-on kinda girl, I have a lot of difficulties imagining that you would EVER prefer to put on uncomfortable high heels in any situation that is not, let’s say, your graduation

    Hurray for diversity!!

  • Inaat

    Loved all of the outfits! I am a sneaker girl, so I have troubles wearing nice shoes. I feel too put together, too fancy. Bought a pair of superfancy snake loafers on sale this summer and still have not used them because I Can’t quite figure out How to style them. You should do a story on fancy loafers, not as comfy as sneakers, but more comfy than heels!

  • So how can you look so perfect in something you don’t even like? 🙂 Because you really do and it’s not just the sneakers.

  • I have the same issues with sneakers. “It looks so cool on everybody else, but not me(!)” 🙁 I’m a retired heel/current flatform wearer and while they are cute and comfortable enough, they kinda lack the assured, breezy, sporty cool a well executed outfit and sneaker produce. But this article has gotten me inspired to branch out of my comfort zone (and dust off my very neglected Puma suedes and green Chucks).

  • Harling Ross

    CLAIRE!!! these photos are stunning

  • me

    “… And then you run home, change [into sneakers] and realize you look ridiculous.”

    This = Story of MY LIFE

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      SAME!

  • It took me a while to get on board with sneakers mainly because I loved the extra (and needed) height I enjoyed with heels. Eventually I was won over by the freedom of movement, comfort and the way sneakers can make an otherwise too uptight outfit look laid-back and more modern. Long live the sneaker! Though at night heels all the way.

  • I spent the entirety of my high school and college years exclusively wearing Chuck Taylors. For the past few years I’ve been trying to recover… however I really like the look of the more athletic sneakers paired with cute dresses and such. I worry that’d I’d end up looking like a big toddler instead of a chic swan but I guess you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take soooo….?

    • Aydan

      “big toddler instead of chic swan” — sooooo into that phrasing! sometimes I feel like I’m just a little kid all dressed up

      • Lucinda Bayly

        My boss has dubbed my sartorial style as “giant baby”. Rock the big toddler/giant baby/little kid all dressed up look. God knows I am.

        • Aydan

          into it and using that starting now!

    • TayheiNotts

      Men are not intersted in whether your sneekers are fashionable or not. All they are intersted in is whether you fuck or not.

  • Amelia Diamond

    The outfit in the feature image (blazer, khakis, sneaks) is the outfit of my i’m-cooler-in-my-head dreams

  • Elizabeth Tamkin

    Those Nike Cortez shoes are my favorite. I’m on my second pair. They like weirdly make your ankle look slim?? That’s weird. I get complimented on them by guys on the subway girls at press appointments. Why am I wearing a sneaker to a press appointment is really the take away here.

  • Junglesiren

    I live at the beach so it’s either sneakers or sandals — otherwise you look like a tourist…. or a fashion blogger/victim visiting from somewhere else.

  • Eliza

    Need. The. Celine. Trousers.

    I have a pair of blue velvet Superga’s that I just got from the shopbop sale and have been trying to figure out ALL WEEK how to incorporate them into my summer wardrobe, but I’m coming up short. Any suggestions?

    • Something that contrasts with velvet? I bought a pair of velvet 80s cut shorts and trying to find a contrasting material to go with.. not sure what though either! 😙

    • AMD

      vintage denim
      cool graphic t
      mini frock dresses
      <3

  • Kay Nguyen

    Wow I wish I can look that cool wearing sneakers! I can’t wear sneakers with anything that doesn’t sporty, otherwise I feel like a kid trying to dress up using my mom’s clothes 🙁

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Thereason

    If you hate sneakers stop wearing them😕

  • DA

    I’m just too addicted to the elongating, butt lifting, leg slimming (leg muscles activated, toned look) effects of a good heel. As a short person, some things just don’t work like they do on tall slender models and I’m okay with that. Au contraire heels actually allow me to wear clothes that would otherwise require a more modelesque height. Will I buy the nike cortez?…maybe (they’re a bit more feminine)….the reebok classics…probably not. Some shoes are better left unworn in my case.

  • Marta Millere

    “And yet, I feel sort of clumsy when I wear sneakers.” Same here! Although the classic Supergas are quite flattering and I wouldn’t mind owning a nice pair of Golden Goose sneaks but they’re soooo expensiveeee!

  • 😂 been eyeing up my first pair over the past month.
    I only have sandals, heeled sandals, or boots… I need something in between, when it gets cold I usually wear sandals and socks.
    The trainers/sneakers are glittery and have a square wedge of faux fur on top… still having problems ordering them. But I think I would actually wear them. Should just order.

  • I spent all of high school in converse until my – I got one pair of penny loafers every year before school started/why doesn’t anyone make leather soled shoes anymore mother converted me to “real shoes” as she calls them, and even though my feet are much less comfortable now I haven’t been able to turn back.

    • Thamsa

      A question I’ve been asking myself. Finding leather soles shoes is so difficult these days. I remember way back when my father taught me what to look for in a good shoe. And to not spend money on cheap shoes.

  • Thamsa

    I don’t usually wear heels because I’m on my feet a lot. Also it’s difficult to find a pair that’s comfortable onmy flat and wide foot 🙁 so I’ve been a sneaker lover since the day i spent $100+ on a pair of ASICS similar to the ones Uma Thurman worein kill Bill. I was really into kicks for a long time, until reached about 26 and thought I should start wearing more dressy shoes as I was getting older and should try to look more mature. Since I’ve a baby face, ifeel like too often wearing sneakers makes me seem younger
    . Still though, my Dr martens Oxford’s remain my most often worn dressy shoe. Baby steps though, right? Also, I am loving Veja, I keep saying those will be the last sneakers I’ll buy!!

  • Emily B

    After working at Vans for two years, I had a sneaker PTSD of sorts, but luckily that’s long over. I always seem to find the best Nike/Adidas/New Balance styles at Nordstrom Rack. They always have good prices for funky colors and fabrics

  • Ciccollina

    Okie dokes I’ll just go spend all my money dressing up my budget footwear option.