by Beth Hammarlund
Is there anything tackier than the unnatural hybrid of the sneaker and the high-heeled shoe? In the early 2000s we had those hideous Converse high-top stilettos, and the Manolo Blahnik/Timbaland work boots that Jennifer Lopez wore when she was still “Jenny from the Block” still give me the icks. Fortunately, the latest incarnation of the high-heeled sneak is far less obnoxious…and I’m a little obsessed. Plus, it’s the Olympics! So this is an athletic-themed post, right?
It was French cult designer Isabel Marant (did I just make it sound like she designs for French cults?) who launched these onto the scene. Her version was created in a series of neutrals and included a hidden wedge for additional height (much cuter than a stiletto heel.) The design immediately struck gold by winning over two of the fashion industry’s most important audiences: off-duty models and Kate Bosworth. And is there possibly a better shoe for the hipster glitterati? They give you height, they’re casual enough to foster the illusion that you don’t care, and they’ll look great with whatever feathered headdress you picked up at Topshop to wear to Coachella.
I make fun, but I actually do love Kate Bosworth’s faux-indie style, and she was the first celebrity who brought these sneakers to my attention. They look great with skinny jeans and, when paired with a flowy dress, make for an unexpectedly chic combo. I recently grabbed this Ash pair from Urban Outfitters. (They were on super sale at the time, but the price has since been jacked back up.) They’re almost straight-up Marant bootlegs, but they’re comfy, they give me approximately three extra inches, and they have a fun velcro strap! Oh, and they’re way cheaper than Marant’s and there’s no wait list. I’ll take what I can get.
Of course Nike had to get in on the game, and I’m a big fan of their contributions to the wedge sneaker craze as well. This gray and white pair is one of my favorites, but they come in a wide variety of crazy colors. But this particular pair is for the understated b-girl. Pair with an old school track suit, a Rick Rubin soundtrack, and a large flat piece of cardboard. You never know when you might have to breakdance fight. If you want to kick it up a notch and carry a ghetto blaster around on your shoulders, may I suggest the following pair:
These Marc Jacobs sneaks might be my favorite. I love me some fresh-to-death kicks, and these have just the right balance of badass and humor. There are plenty of other brands and styles out there to try. See by Chloé has a pair that are a little more workbooty, and Topshop, Y-3 and Monica Chiang are up on the trend as well. Who knows? Maybe this is one of those trends that I’ll look back on in five years and cringe, but for now, I’m totally on the bandwagon.