OUTFIT: WHITE TEE (40% off!), similar with more sizes here and here  | |  DENIM  | |  FRINGE BAG, c/o LULU HANDBAGSsimilar here  | | GINGHAM TOP (on sale!)  | |  SIMILAR LEATHER JACKET (50% off)  | | NEW BALANCE SNEAKERS c/o RACK ROOM SHOES (on sale!) | |  SUNGLASSES

When the athletic sneaker trend started popping up, I instantly fell in love with the casual, laid-back look of it. The only problem is that there’s a fine line between chic sneaker clad lady and frumpy sneaker lady…it’s all about the right styling so your look doesn’t fall flat.

Try these three tips for styling sneakers with your outfits so they’re a win every:

1. Choose the right sneaker. There’s a difference between an actual athletic shoe (like these) and a stylish sneaker (like these). Can you tell the difference? Save the athletic shoes for real running, and instead choose a slim, sleek, and maybe even colorful sneaker that looks less like you’re about to run a marathon. It’s not impossible to pull off true athletic shoes with a non-athletic outfit, but it’s much trickier. Also make sure you look for a pair that make your feet look thin, rather than wide and bulky (maybe that goes without saying). Stores sometimes categorize them as “athletic shoes” and “sneakers” so you can tell the difference. New Balance sneakers are my favorite, but Adidas and Nike also have great choices.

2. Skip the skirts. Skinny jeans and leggings are your best friend when styling athletic shoes because they give you a very slim and chic silhouette (in contrast to larger shoes).  I’m definitely an advocate of converse and other thin white or black slip on sneakers with dresses and skirts, but when styling your sneakers, stick with your jeans or leggings. (Not to say you can’t ever wear athletic shoes with skirts and dresses — it’s just a much harder look to pull off well).

3. Keep the rest of your outfit casual chic. The key to this effortless look is to pick classic, casual, basic pieces that play well off of your shoe choice. If you go too dressy or overdone, the shoes look out of place. But if you go too casual it looks like you just left the gym.  Find an in between with leather leggings and a sweatshirt, or distressed denim and an oversized tee, or a striped tee and basic jeans, or an all-black jeans, tee, and leather jacket look. Layer up your basics for a visually interesting look, while still staying simple. There are so many fun ways to wear these (sometimes) colorful shoes!

Now think you can style them??

photos by rad and happy


  1. Natali says:

    You did a great job styling these sneakers! This is about the same way how I usually wear them too. 🙂

  2. ellen ross says:

    Honestly, never thought it was possible. thanks for this!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  3. Shae says:

    I love my sneakers, but I actually think they can look really cute with the right dress. I haven’t worn them with skirts. Overall great tips, and you look super cute!

    Shae @ Current Habits

  4. Sara Coniglio says:

    I love sneakers, and your outfit is super cool

  5. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    I love the sneaker trend but haven’t committed to it yet. I love the New Balance shoes though, and they have so many great picks!


  6. Sarah H. says:

    I have very few athletic uses for my athletic shoes besides taking walks around my neighborhood, so I like figuring out ways to wear them with my regular clothes. I love what you did here.

    ~Sarah of Sarah’s Real Life

  7. Meghan Flinn says:

    I recently bought a new pair of black new balances and can’t wait to wear them this fall!

  8. Jazzy4Grace says:

    Wow, Merrick! I love the flare you have in the outfit… it’s so cute, and totally something I would do! Your jacket is on point, and with the shoes is just darling! I love how it makes the outfit seem ready for everything and not only about pretty, pretty, pretty!! Thanks,
    Jazzy (

  9. Sarah says:

    I checked the links you posted for the regular running shoe and the stylish running shoe, and I’d venture to guess that you got the links backward! Thought you might like to know!

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