July 9, 2018

The One About Sneakers

My god, the arch support is magnificent

How to Style Fila Disruptor

On any given day on any given street in New York City you will see a host of very interesting looking people. I call them "the cool people". Not very original, but the fact stands: these folks look cool. Within this category of cool people is a subgroup of New Yorkers (I usually see them around SoHo, though they can be spotted all over) to whom I refer as “the sneaker wearers”. Again, not very original, but as descriptive as I need to be for you to understand that these people wear the hell out of a pair of kicks. The Hypebaes and Hypebeasts of the city, if you will. And as they pass me by with their incredibly trendy cut-and-colored hair and athletic-wear-as-fashion aesthetic I think, “you know, those Nikes look like they have incredible arch support. Arch support sounds nice,” before I continue click-clacking in low block heels to my destination.

You see, I was not raised to look twice at sneakers. Not for some snobby, posh reason, but simply because I could not afford them. You can imagine as a child of the 90s raised in Brooklyn where Jordans and Nikes were a sign of status, this made made me an easy target for teasing. The few times I felt the need to step out of bounds and ask my mom for clothes like the other kids, the look on her face—a mix of frustration that I would dare even ask and disappointment that she couldn’t provide it—was enough for me to never ask again.

"Instead of feeling less than for not having a crisp pair of white Air Force Ones on the first day of high school, I decided that sneakers just weren’t my style."

Instead, she dressed me like any Caribbean mother would dress their young daughter: well-ironed dresses and coordinate sets, neat cornrows or plaits, and simple black Mary Jane shoes. If there was a function to attend, those shoes turned into ivory Mary Janes with a half-inch heel and a bit of sparkle. If I recall correctly, I think I may have had a pair of brandless Velcro tennis shoes. Nonetheless, I always looked presentable. Regardless of how rich or poor you were, whether you were wearing designer clothes or not, she always said you should look presentable, like you cared about yourself.

That rule stuck with me as I begun styling myself with what little money she gave me, and even as I started working. Instead of feeling less than for not having a crisp pair of white Air Force Ones on the first day of high school, I decided that sneakers just weren’t my style. Spending over $50 on a pair of shoes? That was just an irresponsible way to spend money, not a sign of being more fashionable than anyone else. This idea followed me well into my 20s to where I am present day, except now I live in a city where walking is a main mode of transportation. Flats, booties, and block heels just ain't cutting it out here on these uneven city streets. 

After almost two years of living in New York, lusting after the cool kids and their effortless comfort, I stepped foot inside a sneaker store. The first time I walked out empty-handed. I still couldn't make sense of spending $70 on shoes, but my feet, fed up with the lack of support, walked me right back in a few days later. I got over the lingering guilt of indulging in something I could've never afforded in my youth and walked out with a pair of Filas I've just discovered are called Disruptors, which I feel is accurate for the role they're currently playing in my life. 

*Full disclosure, I went through a Paramore phase in high school and was moved to buy a pair of Converses on sale at the local Ross Dress For Less, but that was the extent of my interest in sneakers prior to this moment. 

How to Style Fila Disruptor
How to Style Fila Disruptor
How to Style Fila Disruptor
How to Style Fila Disruptor
How to Style Fila Disruptor
How to Style Fila Disruptor
Style a Black Dress With Sneakers
Black Dress with Sneakers
How to Style Fila Disruptor
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