Fashion & Beauty

Where Have All the Stilettos Gone?

IT MAY seem like a nanosecond but the antithesis of high-heels –sneakers—have been basking in the fashion limelight for several years now.  Credit the “athleisure” trend, and a taste for more comfortable clothing, but the ascendance of sneakers also owes a debt to Phoebe Philo, creative director at Celine for ten years. Her philosophy of comfortable luxury trickled down to footwear. And by appearing in Stan Smith sneakers while taking a bow on the runway, she fueled a love affair with Adidas and other manufacturers of white sneakers, converting high-heel loving, style-conscious women into sneaker lovers. Raise your hand if you can find a designer who hasn’t added rubber-soled styles to his or her fashion line.

The latest high-fashion incarnation has been dubbed the “ugly” sneaker – that chunky footwear you’re seeing all over. They’re cumbersome, quirky and going strong for spring. On the runways of Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, they’re also sold at prices easier on the wallet by Zara and sporty brands like Fila and Nike.

They’re not for everyone, but the easiest way to off-set a chunky pair of sneakers? A midi-dress, of course. While a total athleisure look is fine, an airy, feminine dress helps balance things out.

Rather than wearing them with leggings or running shorts, try something that feels the total opposite of what they’re “meant” to be worn with, like a suit.

Not a slave to trends? For less of a statement but to still look au courant, lace up a pair of simple soles with neutral colors from the likes of Tretorn, Puma, Nike and Adidas, who have climbed on the sneaker bandwagon with reboots of their old icons. Wear with black jeans and a blazer, a pencil skirt and structured top, a sweater and pleated skirt, cropped trousers or a jumpsuit.

For weekend wear, go for fun with florals or patterns from Ganni or Gucci, for example. Keep the rest of your outfit pared down.

—Janet Kelly


So-called “ugly” sneakers were shown with almost every look in the spring/summer 2018 collection for Lous Vuitton.


Prada’s Clouburst sneakers, shown on the spring 2018 runway, are available for sale in black and silver for $690 at


Wearing these Ebba floral sneakers from hip Danish brand Ganni would be like throwing a party for your feet.  $158, modaoperandi.


First released in 1972, Nike has tweaked its classic Cortez running shoe to a stylish street sneaker with suede accents. Also available in barely gray and fossil white. $70, nike.


Keep it basic with Tretorn’s “Nylite Plus” low-top canvas sneaker with faux leather contrast trim on the sides. No longer available in turquoise. $70, bergdorfgoodman.


Gucci’s Falacer lurex GG sneaker with red metallic leather detail on the back of one shoe and green metallic leather detail on the back of the other are ridiculously expensive but totally adorable. $670, shopspring.


Jesse Owens won four gold medals wearing Adidas. You probably won’t win any Olympic races in these Adidas Superstar sneakers, but you’ll look good and be comfortable.  $80, neimanmarcus.


Kick up your feet in Converse Chuck Taylor All Star metallic canvas sneakers. $47.99, zappos.


LV Archlight Sneaker is a statement shoe from Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2018 runway show. The futuristic sneaker with a springy wave-shaped outsole and an oversized tongue  will set you back $1,090. us.louisvuitton.



A partnership between Puma and Sophia Webster begot this pale blue suede sneaker with fun yellow accent. Also available in pink with pink accent stripe. $84, bloomingdales.


Zara’s leather platform sneakers have the same clunky look as other ugly sneakers but not the hefty price tag. $55.90, zara.


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2 thoughts on “Where Have All the Stilettos Gone?

  1. Nancy says:

    After not having anything but an old pair of tennis sneaks in my closet, I suddenly have 2 pairs of Adidas, including Stan Smiths, a pair of Supergas, and a few others. And my heels are gathering dust. But my feet are comfy!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I have only a couple but have plans to buy more!

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