“You wouldn’t believe it,” she’d start, and then ramble off a whole laundry list of how “they” do things differently “back there.” The delis and their cheap egg sandwiches, the speed and efficiency of everything and everyone, the admirable intolerance, the high-pressured hoses that came on at night and washed away the unholy consumptive goo that accumulated over the course of the day. It was all so… charming! And I remember, specifically, her appraisal of her female coworkers: “They come to work in their full office suits, wearing sneakers. And when they’re at their desk, they change into their heels. Can you believe it?”
No, I couldn’t believe it, given that nylons and Nikes were, even at an age where I knew nothing about fashion, an ill-fitted pairing, one that I recognized existed for the sole, grotesque purpose of function.
Cut to 2012.
Last summer I was sitting on a rooftop and a girl – a head stylist at one of the bigger fashion magazines – pulled out a pair of freshly minted running shoes, accompanied with a gushing “Aren’t these the best?” that I would have imagined been more appropriate for, I don’t know, maybe a pair of Saint Laurent booties. “Yeah,” I said, watching her try on what were essentially gym shoes with her baggy shorts and crop top. “They’re great.”
Since my moment of feigned enthusiasm, fashion has fully embraced the tennis shoe like a long lost, badly missed relative. And I’m not just talking about those Isabel Marant sneaker heels and the subsequent flood of knockoffs; I’m talking about your average, run-of-the-mill running kicks. With models like Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn sporting street wear on the regular – and all the baggy-shirted, beanie- donning, sneaker-wearing that comes with it – sensible footwear is having a major renaissance.
Although I’m pretty sure no one’s wearing these puppies with nylons.