Just when I thought the state of women’s sneakers couldn’t get anymore dire, Nike decide to pump up the height of a regular Lunar sole, tart it up in an ombe black and fluorescent yellow and stick it under a classic running upper. Because, of course, women only want to wear shoes that give them extra height and make their legs look toned, and that completely defeat the point of the comfort of sneakers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a hybrid sneaker. And fashion is full of successful paradoxes that I enjoy, like tailored jogger pants and hoodies in premium materials – these are both things I can fuck with. But why do sports companies still feel the need to pander to a gender stereotype? Women wear heels, ergo women want heeled sneakers.
The hype surrounding wedge sneakers started with a pair by Parisian designer Isabel Marant, and they maybe made slightly more sense when made from premium materials, but the iconic Air Max 1 is simply not a silhouette that needs a wedge. And I find it exasperating that even the normal women’s sneakers styles have to come in gaudy pink and purple colorways. It’s hard enough to deal with the fact that nearly all the best sneakers come in men’s sizes only but the options that we are lumped with is just salt in the wound.
There’s something gloriously egalitarian about sportswear. Silhouettes and styles that are easily worn by both genders, clothes that aren’t designed to cling to or skim over any particular part of your body. The garments are designed purely with performance and design in mind, but still brands falter when it comes to women’s sneakers. I like heels, I wear them. But if I’m looking to buy a pair, a sportswear company will not be my first port of call and combining both worlds is not the answer the fashion industry needs. Lest we forget the demise of the heeled Timberland boot.