With the emphasis on ‘athleisure’ giving you the excuse of going out in your gym gear to do pretty much anything anywhere from picking up the kids from school to coffee with friends and, actually, working out, just what should you have on your feet? And what do you call them? Sneakers? Trainers? or what? Please note that I have ignored ‘skate shoes’, ‘slip on sneakers’ and ‘plimsolls’ for now.
Having put on a pair of brand new Puma ‘sneakers’ yesterday and been told firmly that they were tennis shoes – which they most definitely weren’t even though they were whiteish – I wanted to clarify the difference. Made more difficult by one major designer store’s determination to call everything, from Nike Pegasus trainers to YSL ‘yeah baby’ sneakers….’sneakers’ and other for UK department stores to call them all trainers.
There’s little confusion in my mind. A trainer is something you go and workout in, train in, to running in, go to the gym in. It’s the sneaker’s more robust cousin with more cushioning and technical details that make it do the job properly. A sneaker is something for casual use – wear it with denim or summer dresses, don’t try and go running in a pair of sneakers, they don’t have enough support, but they can walk you comfortably everywhere. And if that hasn’t managed to confuse you, nothing will. And a tennis shoe? A white trainer designed specifically for tennis but with more support than your every day sneaker. So there.
This season’s must have sneaker is white or pale metallic. Yes you can bring on the dark red, blue, gold and grey, but it you want to give a nod to fashion’s vagaries you need to have a white pair. My favourites are always going to be by Puma, who I find to be the most comfortable, or Michael Michael Kors – unbeatable for chic at a not unreasonable price.