Sep 07, 2014

The different types of sneakers: A practical guide (B)

A shoe by Creative Recreation Almost everyone needs a pair...

Creative Recreation

A shoe by Creative Recreation

Almost everyone needs a pair of sneakers in their wardrobe. A good pair of sneakers, which are also called athletic shoes, tackies, kicks or trainers, is the right companion when you are working out, running, hiking or playing sports. Most sneakers fall into one of three main categories when it comes to design, and in one or two categories when it comes fabrics.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at the different types of sneakers according to design and fabric and give you some tips you can use on how to wear sneakers.

This way, you will have a clearer overview of sports shoes when you go shopping and will be able to make more informed decisions. Moreover, this guide will help you define your taste and preferences and to know more about yourself.



So, let’s take a look at the main types of sneakers according to their design:


Low top sneakers


A low top sneaker

A low top sneaker


Low top sneakers are very minimal and are characterized by the fact that they do not cover your ankles. Low cut, lace-up trainers are the best type of sneakers that can be worn with a blazer or with other semi-formal outfits. These sneakers can also be worn with shorts and, due to their low cut design; they will make you look proportionate and dynamic.



High top sneakers


Alejandro Ingelmo sneaker

A high top sneaker by Alejandro Ingelmo


A pair of athletic shoes that covers your ankles falls in the “high top sneakers” category. These shoes are made for playing basketball or other sports and should always be kept for such activities. While it is not impossible, it can be tricky to make such a pair work with something else than a very sporty attire, so we advise you to think twice before you decide on buying a pair of high cut kicks.

This Converse shoe is an exception, as it is quite versatile due to its color and fabric.


Converse sneaker



Slip on sneakers

A third type of sneakers are the slip on sneakers. These are very light, easy to put on shoes that work best with casual settings, walks, and light clothes.


Opening Ceremony Slip On Sneaker

A slip on sneaker by Opening Ceremony


Their design makes them very easy to put on and take off, so having a comfortable and stylish pair is a good idea if you lifestyle requires you to slip in and out of your shoes often. Some people’s lifestyle requires them to change shoes often, so to make sure that you don’t waste your time tying laces, you can opt for a pair of slip-on sneakers.


Note: There are several types of designs between low to and high top sneakers. These are usually called mid-cut sneakers and are, as you might have thought, in between low and high top sneakers. Sneakers that extend to the calf are called sneaker boots, but we wouldn’t encourage you to buy such a pair, as they are not very versatile and there is not much you can pair them with to make them work.

Moreover, we don’t encourage anyone to wear hybrid shoes. It’s hard to mix a running shoe with a dress shoe, even though there have been some successful attempts.





Leather is a fabric that has a very large number of qualities. Leather shoes, should they be sneakers or dress shoes, breathe well, they mold after your feet, are strong, durable, comfortable and elegant.


A leather sneaker by The Generic Man

A leather sneaker by The Generic Man


If you need a pair of sneakers for playing sports that require a lot of feet action (walking, running, kicking), a good pair of leather sneakers is definitely a good way to go.




Volley Australia sneaker

A canvas sneaker by Volley Australia


Sneakers made from textiles are also a good option; they breathe well and look great. Some sneakers are made from both textiles and leather, which is a fantastic combination if you want a strong but light pair of athletic shoes. Textiles are usually very light, but their disadvantage is that if they get wet, you can be sure that your feet will get wet too, whereas quality leather can be waterproof.



There really isn’t much to say about synthetic shoes. We never recommend anyone in investing in synthetic shoes (unless you are buying rubber boots). Plastic shoes will break easily; they will smell bad you are going to have to purchase a new pair very fast. It is better to invest in a good pair that might cost a little more, but which will be reliable and good-looking, than to invest in a pair which you will do you no good. Buying quality materials always pays off and in the end. Always remember that buying good shoes rarely is going to save you more money than buying cheap pairs often.




How to wear sneakers

Here are some tips on how to wear sneakers to your advantage. These tips are not unbreakable rules; they are guidelines you can follow if you want to have a safe, good experience with your athletic shoes.



The main purpose of sneakers is to be worn while engaging in physical activities such as running, exercising, playing a sport or hiking.

Sometimes, you can wear athletic shoes on your way to the court or field where you want to play a sport.

Sneakers can also be worn in casual settings, but only with the right attire.



Marc Jacobs sneaker

A sneaker by Marc Jacobs

Some sneakers, especially the dressier type can also be worn with casual outfits. Sometimes a blazer, casual shirt and jeans outfit can be easily paired with sneakers.

We recommend however to wear other types of shoes when you are not doing any sport. Teenagers get a free pass though.

Most sneakers, especially low cut sneakers look best if your socks are not visible. You can either go sockless, or buy a pair of no-show socks. Of course, this is a matter of taste and style and we encourage you to make your own choices; but generally it is advised to wear socks with trainers, as you might get sweaty in them and want your socks to absorb the moisture and smells.

A great way to wear sneakers is with a rolled-up jean or chino pant. If you roll up your pants just a little, you will reveal a little ankle. This will result in a tailored silhouette which will draw the attention to your tackies. This type of outfit generally looks best with simple sneakers that feature only one or maybe two colors.


Just Cavalli sneaker

A Just Cavalli sneaker

If so far we talked about how to wear sneakers, we also need to talk about how not wear sneakers. For a good sartorial experience, never wear sneakers with a formal suit, avoid wearing trainers with silk socks – you risk not looking cohesive – and never wear sneakers to a job interview, unless you are trying to get a job as a skater.



Sneakers are definitely a cool item to have in your wardrobe: they are practical, comfortable and can be very stylish too! Now that you know the styles, the fabrics and are armed with some tips on how to wear them, you can make the best out of any pair of athletic shoes!




Fraquoh and Franchomme











P.S. What type of sneakers do you like? When do you wear athletic shoes? Share your thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!





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