What Your Sneakers Say About You

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What Your Sneakers Say About You

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge

29 January 2015

If you’re a certain kind of person (into ironing and Vitsœ) there’s nothing like the feeling of stepping out in a pair of sneakers as pure and white as the freshly driven snow. Granted, this is a fragile pleasure, and one easily corrupted. But what’s a twice-daily spritz of protector spray to that box-fresh feeling? Those in agreement with the above: here are your perfect shoes – minimal, impeccable, whiter than white. Yes, you will have to spot clean them constantly, yes you will have real, heartfelt disputes with your friends when they spill their pints on them, but yes, you are willing and able to go the distance. Their mysterious perma-cleanliness will make you a sensation and an enigma. And that’s the way you like it.

You are a wise one – you have a look and stick to it. This usually means exercising complete chromatic restraint and disregarding anything new or trendy as beneath contempt. Not for you the “sneaker of the season”. Your footwear of choice is by Lanvin: the iconic beetle-toed suede sneaker that first appeared in 2006 and has featured in some guise or other in every collection since. It’s the nearest thing that the notoriously volatile sneaker market has to a modern classic: a shoe that at no point in its life cycle has ever fallen out of fashion. With its dressy yet unfussy looks, it works just as well with a suit as it does with dark denim. Endlessly versatile, never out of style: it’s the sneaker equivalent of buying all of your clothes in black. Which, of course, is what you always do.

Do not adjust your monitor: these cobalt-blue sneakers really are as bright as they look. Just the thing for catching the roaming eye of Mr Tommy Ton or The Sartorialist as you strut up and down outside the nearest zeitgeisty event (especially when they’re paired with the matching jersey shorts – zing!). They’re from Christopher Kane, one of London’s most promising new fashion exports. But we don’t need to tell you that – you read the style blogs, you know the brands, you like something a little bit different and accordingly you’ve been following the rise and rise of this Scottish designer, who got his start in womenswear, ever since he won the Harrods prize for his MA graduate show in 2006. That daring use of colour, as you’re probably very much aware, has been a recurring motif for Mr Kane over the seasons, and one you’ve particularly appreciated as it’s made it into his men’s line, launched in 2010. You couldn’t be more thrilled that MR PORTER is stocking the brand for the first time this season. Go ahead, tweet about it. You know you want to.

Otherwise known as “the bourgeois Bohemian”. You shop local, know your kamut from your quinoa and live somewhere that has the word “Village”, “Garden” or “Park” in the name but is actually nothing of the sort. Your sneaker of choice? This technicolour Chuck Taylor. With its thick rubber sole and retro colour scheme it harks back to the style of the 1960s and 1970s – a period that’s set to receive its fair share of name-checks in the coming months as Saint Laurent’s psych-rock-inspired spring collection begins to exert its influence. You’re very much keen on this development, as it provides you with an excuse to grow long, flicky hair and go crate-digging for obscure vinyl. Ah, yes, The Incredible String Band! Criminally underrated!

The polar opposite of Mr Neat And Tidy, you are the type of guy who goes out of his way to make a mess of his shoes. Paint, dirt, Bolognese, it doesn’t matter – it’s all just another way of expressing your creativity. And creativity is something that runs deep at Maison Martin Margiela – or Maison Margiela, as we should probably be calling it now, after a quiet rebranding that went largely unreported earlier this month. The avant-garde Paris-based brand, like you, seems to delight in offering answers to questions that nobody asked (and what is art, if not that?). These sneakers are the perfect example: “What might Mr Jackson Pollock’s shoes have looked like after a long day in the studio?” Exactly. [Insert chin stroke here.] One NB, though: if you’re looking at these shoes and thinking, your potently creative brain throbbing, “I could do that at home” – well, we’ve tried, and let us save you the time (not to mention the shoes) by telling you that the results never seem to look quite this good.

You stand in line to cop exclusive colourways, you know what “deadstock” means and you do not dispute that the Air Max 95 is a marvel of engineering. Congratulations, you are officially a sneakerhead. As such, you can see the clear stylistic debt that these Saint Laurent high tops owe to that old-school classic, the Nike Air Jordan 1. The original 1985 “bred” (that’s sneakerhead slang for “black and red”, but you already knew that) was famously banned from the NBA for violating the league’s uniform regulations, but in spite of their outlaw status – or, more likely, because of it – they went on to become one of the most coveted sneakers in history. This is Saint Laurent’s “luxe” reimagining, the SL01H: all the attitude, fewer swooshes.