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What to Wear to Fashion Week: Sneakers

One thing fashion is not necessarily known for is practicality. Especially during the haute couture displays of Fashion Week, when the sky is the limit for designers’ imaginations and the shoes models sport to walk the runway are equally as elevated, one doesn’t see much emphasis placed on comfortable wearability.

During recent Fashion Weeks, however, one trend that literally hit the streets of New York, London, Paris and Milan was the sneaker. Some of the most stylish women and men in the industry were sporting tennies as they rushed to runway shows. It’s the ways in which they wear them that make these sneaks chic.

Spring 2016 Street Style sneakers

Images by InDigital

Here are some of our favorite styles and street style shots paired with shoes you can shop now.

Nike Lunarglide sneakerReal running shoes showed up surprisingly often on the streets of the fashion cities. It’s a styling feat (yes, and styling feet) to make track shoes work with designer duds, but a segment of ladies and gents were able to execute on it. Modern athletic shoes incorporate design elements like prints, patterned weaves, trending colorways and accent fabrics. So not only do they cushion soles while you make tracks, but they come in a wide variety of styles to complement trousers, dresses and skirts. Maybe just skip the tube socks.

SHOP: athletic shoes

Spring Summer 2016 Street Style sneakers

Converse Chuck Taylor high topsA crisp classic, the Converse Chuck Taylor® provides a sturdy foundation for a surprising variety of outfits. There is a reason this sneaker has been around since the All Star® version originated in 1917—it’s as cool with jeans and wide-leg trousers as it is tomboyish with dresses. Each season, Converse rolls out the shoe in new colors or prints, while always maintaining the tried-and-true construction.

SHOP: Converse
New York Street Style sneakers Spring summer 2015

adidas Superstar sneakeradidas might as well be the official sneaker of off-duty models and busy Fashion Week editors. Both Superstars and Stan Smiths are perhaps more ubiquitous than that season’s It bags on the fashionable ladies who hang outside the shows. Another sneaker classic, adidas’ trainers also undergo seasonal refreshes, but the traditional all-white, navy-striped or green-trimmed combos still seem to be the preferred versions.

SHOP: adidas


Street Style in Paris Fall Winter 2014Vans are another popular sneaker at Fashion Week, especially among off-duty models. Most popular—or most snapped by the paparazzi—are the Sk8-Hi high-top sneakers and the checkered slip-on style. Vans shoes were first created 50 years ago in California to help boaters grip the surface of their ships. Their sticky soles soon caught on with the local skate community. Since the ’90s, the shoes have been popular with skaters and concertgoers. They’re still a signal of youth culture, and you’ll spot them on streetwear enthusiasts during Fashion Weeks.

SHOP: Vans

Looking for an authentic fashion take on this old sole? Pop-In@Nordstrom features the latest interpretations of this classic, including several rendered by Nordstrom VP of Creative Projects Olivia Kim.

SHOP: Pop-In@Nordstrom x Vans 

fw_sneakers_designer_201608Many designer labels are also getting into the rubber-sole business. Sneakers aren’t too pedestrian for storied fashion houses like Givenchy, Prada and Balenciaga. The universal rule among these different labels seems to be to break all of them: metallic leathers, platform soles, beads, fur, studs and sequins adorn crazy constructions that diverge freely from their athletic forerunners. Is irony the intent in the elaborate embellishments on what’s usually functional footwear? Perhaps initially, but now designing tennies seems to open the door to creativity and play in an industry that admittedly can take itself too seriously.

SHOP: designer sneakers

SHOP: all sneakers

—Britt Olson