The Sneaker Trend: Choosing, Shopping, + Styling

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen hard for the sneaker trend. They’re my go-to shoes, and I love finding new and interesting ways to wear them.

I’ve shared about different styles of sneakers in posts before, but today I want to cover all things sneakers in one comprehensive post. All the different styles, where to buy them, how to wear them, and which ones are my very favorites.

Let’s talk about the three main categories of sneakers: slip on, lace up, and athletic.

Merrick's Art Slip on Sneakers

Red Plaid Coat, White Tee, TopShop Jeans, Fur Sneakers, Rebecca Minkoff Bag

First up, slip on sneakers. These are probably the easiest of the three to style. They’re simple, basic, easy to wear, super comfortable, and they’re no fuss since they don’t have laces.

Many of them are a skater style, like these classic vans, but there are so many variations on this one style. Embellished, perforated, platform, graphic, and of course lots in different fabrics like velvet, faux reptile, metallic, or even boucle.

These are great for styling with skirts, shift or swing dresses, jeans, or shorts.

The feel of this sneaker style tends to be more casual and even slightly juvenile, so be careful to choose ones that feel age appropriate, and keep your outfit age appropriate when wearing them.

Also, if you have shorter legs or you’re petite, try the ones with platform soles, or ones with cut outs like these that will give you a longer leg line.

Here are some of my favorite in the widget below.

Lace Up Sneakers

DRESS  ||  SIMILAR LEATHER JACKET  ||  SNEAKERS  ||  BAG c/o GIGI NEW YORK

Next up, lace up sneakers. These are my very favorite because they give a preppy casual feel to any outfit. They fit my style the best, I think, and I love how they go with absolutely anything. They’re also probably the style of shoes that any age can wear without feeling too young or too mature.

There are so many great ones out there. I have this pair of Keds that I love and wear all the time, and these Superga’s that I wore all fall and winter long (FYI, Superga’s are a little stiff and take a few wears to break them in). I also love classic Adidas and Converse sneakers.

These are great to wear with literally anything. Try them with a dress like I did here and here and here. Or joggers and a jacket like here. Or a button up and denim jacket here. I also love this dressy look, this casual lookthis super cozy look.

For me, the ones with an round or almond toe, a low cut ankle, and a good sized sole (but not platform) are the most flattering and easiest to style. Original Keds are cute, but can make your feet look very small, so it creates less flattering proportions, especially if you’re curvier on top. If you have narrow ankles, high tops are really cute, but also tend to feel more juvenile.

I’ve rounded up a ton of my favorites in the widget below!

Puma Sneakers

Puma Rebel Sneaks c/o Rack Room Shoes, Boyfriend Jeans, Gray Sweatshirt, Similar Burgundy Bomber Jacket, Baseball Cap, Mirrored Sunglasses, Tote Bag

And lastly, athletic sneakers. These can be the hardest to style, but they make such a sporty statement and can look amazing with the right outfit. Some athletic sneakers are easier to style, like New Balance sneakers. But others, like Nike’s, are a little more of a statement and can be a little more tricky to blend with a non-athletic outfit.

But whichever style you choose, the key to styling these is choosing the right pair of sneakers. Whenever I travel I see people walking around in normal clothes and jogging shoes and it doesn’t look purposeful. So the key is to choose a pair that look fashionable and cute, even if they’re jogging shoes. And light colored ones, like gray, blush, nude, and gold are the easiest to style and go with everything! With bigger shoes like these, dark colors can get a little heavy (especially if the sole is dark too), and make your outfit feel bottom heavy. I shared more about choosing the right pair right here.

Try wearing them with a blouse and jeans, a chunky sweater, a tee and coat, a basic tee and jeans, or even a dress! I also shared how to dress them up with your yoga pants here.

Here are a few of my favorite athletic shoes:

And try these tips when styling sneakers in general!

The MOST important thing when styling flat sneakers is to expose your ankles. It’s the number one thing that will help your legs look longer and keep your silhouette taller. I buy mostly ankle length skinny jeans, but if yours are longer, cuff the hem a few times so you can see at least three inches of your ankle. (Tip: smaller cuffs are more flattering than taller cuffs, so instead of doing one large 3-4″ cuff, do three small 1″ cuffs).

Also when styling, try to match your sneakers to the dressiness level of your outfit. If you’re wearing a dress, choose a velvet lace up pair, or a metallic athletic pair, or a suede slip on pair, so the outfit feels a little more cohesive.

And lastly, have fun! This is such a fun trend that lets you really express yourself and create outfits that are new and exciting. Push your limits and try a combination you’re scared to or have been wanting to try!

  • Gracerade

    Wow! Great post! I love this it’s so informative. I think I’m going to pick up those Pull & Bear Metallic sneakers they’re lovely =) And maybe a pair of new balance sneakers too, those look great for day to day.

    I was wondering if you also style your sneakers with more fashiony socks as well? Or does that not count as exposing your ankle? Should one stick to the bare ankle look, as you seem to do here?

  • Those fur sneakers are such a departure for you! I LOVE IT!!!

  • Kristen

    Hi Merrick! When you wear sneakers like this, are you wearing any kind of sock? I sometimes struggle with the barefoot feel in sneakers. If you know of any good “invisible” socks, I’d be really curious to hear your recommendation.

    • merrickwhite

      Typically I don’t wear any, but I’ve received this question so much that I recently purchased a few pairs and am trying them out. Will report back with a full blog post soon! xx

      • Kristen

        Awesome! I’ll be on the look-out!