In keeping with my theme from last week, I have decided to reveal the next fashion faux pas on my list. Fall semester is in session so let’s call this series Fashion 101.
This week’s fashion crime is: Commuting in running sneakers. No matter where you live, my advice is easy: Don’t.
- Miranda: I had to walk all the way from the subway in these heels. My feet are killing me.
Steve: Why didn’t you just carry them and wear sneakers like everyone else?
Miranda: Stop. You can take me out of Manhattan but you can’t take me out of my shoes.
Well said, Miranda (“Cold War.” Sex and the City: Season 6. 2003-2004).
Abbey inspired this post with her comment on Fashion Faux Pas #1, which I couldn’t agree with more. Abbey said: My pet peeve is when women wear regular (usually white) sneakers with their work outfits for commuting. There are so many cuter but still functional options out there for commuting!
Amen, sister! I snapped this picture on my way to work last week, and it exemplifies the good and the bad of commuter footwear. I will let you, my discerning readers, decide which is which.
Believe me, as an athletic girl who favors practicality and comfort, I understand the temptation. And, I will fess up to committing this crime on one or two occasions. My fashion philosophy is all about comfort. How can clothing make you feel confident and more like yourself if it isn’t comfortable?
Cute shoes that don’t provide any support aren’t just impractical, they could cause serious tendon and muscular problems. As a long-time runner, I understand the importance of taking care of my feet. Though I don’t compete as intensely anymore, I’m still a casual runner and have recently gotten in the habit of walking the two miles between home and work at least once a day.
Since increasing my a pied commuting mileage, I have been on the lookout for footwear that will both get me from point A to point B and not make me cringe when I catch a glimpse of my outfit reflected in the couture store windows I pass every day.
If you are a regular offender of this crime, fear not. For one, this is more of a misdemeanor than a felony (see previous post). Secondly, the boundaries between “sneaker” and “ballet flat” have been blurred, which is good news, resulting in what I call hybrid flats and many more options that could go on the comfortable, yet non-running-sneaker list. As there are so many permissible options, it’s easier to start with what not to wear:
Guidelines for Selecting Commuter Footwear
1. DO NOT wear your white or heavily cushioned running sneakers to and from work. These belong in a locker or gym bag, and on your feet only when you are actually exercising (or you might just find yourself running from the fashion police).
2. I shouldn’t have to say this, but please DO NOT wear Crocs or anything that resembles these hideous clogs during your commute. I know I said I favor the practical and comfortable, but I don’t recommend wearing these, ever really. They are probably the most unflattering shoes known to modern woman. I can’t think of a reason to buy them unless maybe you spend a lot of time gardening. Don’t wear them out of the garden.
3. DO NOT commute in stilettos. Yes, this is the other end of the spectrum, but no matter how great you are at walking in heels, save these for the office (or club?): Your heels will wear down to the nub in half a season, and you’ll be stressing your calves before the day has even started. Be kind to your calves. You may also stress your fellow passengers if you are forced to move at a snail’s pace as a result of your impractical choice of footwear.
Side note: Be mindful of the height of your heels. Some stilettos are better left for the weekend and out of the office equation altogether.
4. DO NOT wear socks that go above the edge of the shoe if ankles are visible. Socks are an unfortunate necessity with many shoes, however, socks that stop at the ankle truncate the leg and flatter no one. Trouser socks are fine but your pants should cover the top so that they look like tights or other hosiery. Avoid athletic socks at all costs.
5. DO NOT wear flip-flops. I know I’ve said before that these are OK for commuting, but they should only be worn as a last resort. These are too casual for most offices, even for just a few minutes. And, more importantly, they provide very little support and put you at risk for strains and sprains and other problems. Save these for the beach! (See also “Casual Summer Fridays.”)
So, what should you wear? The possibilities are endless! I’ll feature a few of my current favorites in a future post. What about you? What are your favorite shoes for commuting?