Full disclosure: I am not a sneakerhead; I only bone sneakerheads and learn about sneakers by proxy. I think I’m mostly just attracted to people who have unabashed obsessions. I am fond of that kind of one-track commitment. In any case, I grew up crushing on sneakerhead boys and bois and bought my first Air Jordans using reward points I got from Coke cans that were a thing in the early ‘aughts (I’m a YOUNG ONE, SON). They were white, pristine, the classics. I had a special box of all my sneaker care tools, and would listen to the latest Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation while meticulously cleaning my Jordans to maintain their splendor.
I loved having that kind of ritual about identity in common with my friends in school and my neighborhood. It made Jersey feel more like a big family than a toxic dump with a front door. I think it informed the rest of my fashion consciousness. The coolest brands to me are the ones with a rich cultural history, like Nike. It reminds me of home. Some things just never change, you know?
Some things do, though. I’ve been realizing I’m too lazy to deal with heels anymore. I haven’t worn any in months. I am far too clumsy and I don’t know how people walk miles every day in heels without resorting to those numbing sprays you can get, which horrify me. So I’ve been looking at sneakers, trying to find some that balance the line between ironic and iconic that would look at home in my closet of bizarre tailcoats and scholarly latex. In my quest, I have determined some distinct shoe moments. Let’s discuss sneaker personalities, shall we?
The Claudia Kishi Kicks
The ugly/cool sneaker is too often bastardized by candy color colorways that should just not be combined together. While I love the idea of traumatically cute glamour a la Kyary, mostly I think most sneakers catered to women are ugly as hell. What if we don’t want twenty thousand ombre highlighter colors on one shoe? The rainbow shoe also requires some truly Herculean levels of color coordination and/or pattern clashing to pull off properly. Not everyone is on that Susie Bubble level. However, for those who are at home wearing ten different kinds of plaid at once, who effortlessly don Meadham Kirchhoff (or let’s be real: Beacon’s Closet versions of Meadham Kirchhoff swag, because dollar$), there are some amazing ones that both repel and seduce me, which is my favorite combination.
Bernhard Willhelm x Camper Orange Purple Multi $259.95, Solestruck
Look at these and tell me you could not envision Claudia Kishi in these kicks, a la Baby Sitters Club, ‘90s girl culture glory. Or, you know, an exercise-queen version of The Nanny, off to the gym only to seduce her man and remind him what’s what. Or, you know, me. Picture me in these. Picture me in these after you picture your credit card number typed out into an email address to me. Thank you very much.
Oh, these? I Threw Them On
Nike Free $100, Nike.com
I feel like every hot girl in New York City owns a pair of these and wears them with a Zara-Celine jacket and faux leather sweatpants. They are the ideal shoe for both actually exercising and also pretending that you exercise. Or, alternatively, that you have just finished exercising and are both too busy and too effortlessly chic to change your entire outfit, even though your hair is meticulously blown dry and also your eyebrows are perfect but you don’t have a bra on because you’re a hot rebel and you want people to know. These are that kind of shoe.
I’m Very Rich, Which Means I’m Classy as Fuck
My friend, you are literally wearing shoes that look like a $10,000 Hermes bag. That is very nouveau riche of you and I am fascinated. Please also wear these with your Hermes bag of the same exact color to complete the look. You are either a Kardashian or rich like one, and, either way, please take me out for drinks and tell me about your fascinating life of money and expensive leather, because I’m too poor to afford cable and I’m behind on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and I bet your personality would fill that void in my heart. Also let me just caress the high quality leather while you talk about your private islands (not a double entendre, as I fully expect you to time-share at least two).
“I Am Completely Removed from All Reality” Kicks
Project 6B by Finsk, $899.95, Solestruck.com
I am, for once, at a loss of words at what kind of drugs you have to be on to create such a monstrosity. I hate shoes like this. They aren’t art so much as banshee screams for a nightlife photographer to pay attention to you. These are completely bizarre, useless, and terrifying. Needless to say, I want to try them on immediately. I’m a size 38. I’ll be waiting.