‘Many may be familiar with this style from the early days in which it mostly described the growing trend of women and girls wearing ’yoga’ pants to any activity outside the studio.
Brian Metzler writes about how running shoe brands are capitalizing on the broader trend for Competitor.com in his article “Traditional Shoe Brands Taking On Athleisure Style”. He begins, by asking “What the heck is “athleisure”? Metzler speaks mostly to the term’s use regarding footwear. He says, it’s “given to shoes, apparel and accessories that are athletically inspired but really meant for more casual, lifestyle use. In other words, they’re high-tech sneakers that are comfortable and chill without looking overly sporty.”
He credits the 2004 Nike Free performance shoe line designed for barefoot or natural running with inspiring the move that placed fashion and comfort ahead of finishing first. Personally, I think we can look way back to when Keds™ white ‘tennis’ shoes were worn off the court to the origins of this trend. I recall applying white liquid polish that nurses used on their shoes to keep mine looking good in that era. What about Converse™ high-tops? It appears that the key to the distinction made by Metzler is that the new trend involves “high-tech”.
He features Nike’s other “iterations" of the Free and its Roshe Run Two shoe, Hoka One One’s Hupana, and ASICS fuzeX Rush, and mentions that Adidas and ASICS as also having offerings.
A search of the internet brings up myriad articles on the topic from fashionistas and suave menswear experts of what’s cool and trendy. How to decide what to buy and wear with all that input? To me the strategy is simple and something I’ve felt discouraged from doing for years!
Select a running or other sporty shoe to wear casually BASED ON LOOKS or EMOTION, without reading guides or tester recommendations. If you like the new all-black or all-white trends, either one works. Want a minimalist shoe with crazy colors, try one on. Not a triathlete but love a pair designed for this sport? No problem! Admire an athlete and yearn for the shoes he or she is promoting? Go for them.
You don’t need to hop on the treadmill in a specialty store with the potential pair and have your gait analyzed, or worry if a shoe will increase your chance of injury. Just walk around a bit and choose for appearance, style, and comfort. Wear jeans, shorts, slacks, or leggings to shop; whatever clothes you plan to pair with this footwear.
My guess is that running specialty stores will follow the dollar and stock more purely lifestyle shoes. Big department stores have ample offerings. Unlike shoes valued for performance, some of these models may be sale-priced for promotions, before next season's version makes them obsolete.
Companies with mostly online sales, such as start-ups brands with a social or environmental conscience, are perfect for this purpose. Allbirds™, sustainably resourced wool shoes designed for leisure, were highlighted in this BLOG earlier in the year. Adidas Parley™ shoes, made from recycled ocean-polluting plastic in partnership with Parley For The Oceans organization, also featured here, might also be something you’d wish to show-off as casual wear.
Don’t sweat the trend too much unless you enjoy spending time in this type of hot pursuit.
For most. the ‘athleisure’ trend means we can have fun and stray away from pure performance shoe selections into the areas of ‘cool’, ‘trendy’, ‘hip’, and ‘old-school’, and ‘earth-friendly’.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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