Grazia magazine recently featured an article headed ‘Brace yourself for life post-trainers’, explaining that sneakers are over and high fashion has moved on. According to the Sunday Times Style magazine the sportswear staple was virtually invisible on the catwalk and the front row at the latest round of shows. Perhaps they should’ve looked a bit further back, where I was sitting…. Anyhow. It would seem that trainers are being shunned by the fashion world in favour of heels and barely-there strappy sandals. Have we really reached peak sneaker? I’ve certainly had enough of £700 pimped-up Dad Shoes but that doesn’t mean I’m going to slip straight into spindly heels.
‘Sooner or later designers will want the exact opposite of what everyone is wearing, so no doubt heels will come back,’ is what Hannah Rochell, author of En Brogue: Love Fashion, Love Shoes, Hate Heels said when I asked her about this phenomenon (for my chapter on comfy shoes in Know Your Style). ‘But I don’t think the woman on the street will necessarily feel like she has to wear them. The last few seasons have been a liberating time for those of us who would rather wear flats – particularly as brands are putting so much more effort into designing them.’
As far as I’m concerned, flat and low-heeled shoes and sneakers are a fundamental part of the grown-up woman’s wardrobe. When we have stuff to do and places to go, we need footwear that works. And this is, quite brilliantly, confirmed in an interview between writer/director/heroine Phoebe Waller-Bridge and actor Jodie Comer, in the latest issue of Elle magazine. In response to the question ‘What are you wearing right now?’, Comer, 26, says that she has retired from heels, adding, ‘The range of dance moves you can do in a flat shoe.’ In agreement, PWB replies, ‘You can get a much better lunge.’
For me, flats will never go out of style. Moving around and being comfortable becomes imperative as we get older, making low-heels, flatforms and sneakers essential. On a recent shoot it was my well-loved and well-worn Gucci loafers, Margaret Howell sample-sale brogues and Grenson’s new season trainers that I was reaching for again and again. The good news is that there are plenty of shoes you can walk (and stand your ground) in, this spring. I’ll soon be slipping off my socks and boots and making the most of run-around styles while feeling footloose and fancy-free – whatever the fashion naysayers may think.