Sorry guys, sneakers aren’t nearly as versatile as you might have hoped. In recent years, sneakers have made great strides in how, when, and where they can be worn – just a decade ago only the worst fashion travesties wore their sneaks on the streets – but that doesn’t mean that any pair of sneakers is appropriate for every occasion.
As with all articles of clothing, your sneakers come with a strict set of societally enforced don’ts. If you want to wear your sneaks without incurring scorn, here are the top five rules you simply cannot break.
Also see: Fashion Versus Style: Battle Continuous!
1. DON’T Wear Dirty Sneakers
This should be a no-brainer, guys. You don’t knowingly leave the house wearing pit-stained T-shirts or pants with grubby cuffs, and likewise, you should avoid stepping out in kicks covered in dirt and grime. No matter how trendy your outfit is, dull, dirty shoes make you look like a bum who is either too ignorant or apathetic to care about his appearance.
Cleaning your sneaks takes less time and effort than polishing more formal shoes. There are complete sneaker cleaning kits available for purchase nearly anywhere that sells shoes, but they can be expensive and leave out some crucial tools and ingredients that make your kicks shine. Likely, you would be better off following these simple tips:
- Laces. Toss in a “delicates” laundry bag, and wash in a low, cold cycle.
- Suede. Rub with a cleaning eraser, and never use water on leather products.
- Outsole. Spray with a solution of 70 percent dish soap and 30 percent water, and using a bristly brush, scrub with the lines of the sole.
- Insole. Wipe down with damp cloth, and sprinkle with baking soda and baby powder to remove odor and moisture.
2. DON’T Mix Sport Sneakers With Street Sneakers
Not all sneakers are built for the same type of wear. Some manufacturers construct shoes with durability and support, designed to keep feet comfortable and healthy during times of high activity. Other manufacturers are concerned chiefly with the cut and color of the shoe – how it will stand out when worn around town.
Wearing your sports sneakers when you aren’t doing sports is wrong for two reasons:
- You will decrease the life of the shoe by wearing down the cushioning when you don’t need it.
- You will desecrate your nice outfit with shoes that probably aren’t clean and unwrinkled.
If you only own one pair of sneakers, you should add a separate pair of street sneaks to your footwear collection.
3. DON’T Experiment With Hybrid Sneakers
There is a terrifying new breed of sneaker on the market which attempts to meld the style of a dress shoe with the comfort and durability of a sneaker. What results is a monstrous hybrid sneaker, with a clunky, rubber outsole and a thick, plasticky upper.
These shoes don’t go well with any outfit because they are too rugged-looking for formal affairs and too stuffy for casual outings. Plus, most people can hear them thumping down the street from a mile away, and the smart ones scream and run in terror.
4. DON’T Show Your Socks
There are only two reasons you should wear socks that show above the collar of your shoe:
- You are engaging in a sport during which you must protect your ankles and shins, and you want to mitigate any pervasive odor.
- You are in kindergarten and don’t know any better.
Visible socks are distracting at best and juvenile at worst. You may be tempted to wear socks with your street sneakers to gain the benefits of socks – soaking up moisture, diminishing odor, improving the fit and comfort of shoes – but you should make sure that your socks never creep above the bone in your ankle.
5. DON’T Buy Overdesigned Sneakers
First, there were white sneakers. Then, sneakers came in all sorts of colors. Then, designers started experimenting with color combinations, patterns, lights, and even glitter. Most men are conservative enough in their fashion choices to stay away from such eyesores; however, some men at the early stages of fashion exploration may opt for such loud and garish models in an attempt to demonstrate bold style. Before you reach for the Ed Hardy sneaks, you should remember that sneaker fashion is about modest elegance and chic minimalism – which means no tattoo tigers and no mixing puce and magenta.