A brief history of (my) trainers
Posted on April 23, 2013
I have always been a trainers girl. I love the look, the feel and the smell of them. From the day I graduated from Dunnes best to Gola Harriers, I have worn my trainers with pride, a sure sign of the laid-back, considered dresser I imagine myself to be.
During the Madchester period (1990-97), my trusty Filas saw me through the frenzy of the early days before my NYC limited edition Nike Air Max brought me around the world and back.
I chilled in my retro Puma States and Adidas Gazelles before thinking seriously about settling anywhere.
When I moved back to Dublin, I favoured skate shoes – DCs, Vans, Airwalk – disregarding the fact that I can barely balance on a stationary skateboard.
I have never been a big fan of heels – for me, they serve to complement a dressy outfit on a needs-must basis. And yet, I would consider myself a big shoe fan. In my youth, shoes meant trainers. Now, it usually means boots. Somewhere in my mid to late 30s, I stopped wearing trainers for fun in favour of fitness. I was growing up – kids, career, responsibilities – and I needed to look like I knew what I was doing. There was a brief flirtation with an uncomfortable pair of Gazelles sometime in the mid-noughties but that is the last I remember of my non-sporting trainers.
It wasn’t just me that had moved on from trainers – fashion had largely left them behind too, in favour of more structured, feminine looks. It wasn’t until the recent move towards mix and match separates that fashion trainers starting getting their feet back in the door. This trend was helped along its way by the ridiculously popular Isabel Marant wedge trainers – now available from every two-bit shoemaker in the land. I did try these but it just didn’t feel right. Trainers and heels. Trainers with heels. No, sorry, trainers are trainers and heels are heels and never the twain.
Still, the trainer was back in town. And it showed that you can have a casual edge to your outfit without looking like you are just out of bed or out for a run – a pair of trainers, jeans with a fitted top, tailored blazer and statement necklace means you are unlikely to be on your way to the gym.
So it was with breathless excitement that I bought a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse last year. They were flat – that was a bit of a comedown, literally – but the power of casual cool they gave me lifted me up past the height of the average pistol boot. Back in the game.
So, now that summer is approaching, I am giddy with anticipation. Not only are trainers everywhere, they are retro! We get to rewind and stay current. These Nike Blazers are already in the post:
I have my eye on these New Balance 420s and hope to buy as soon as the purchase guilt of the Blazers recedes. Look how soft, bright and bouncy they look – I just want to hug them.
These Zara trainers are making me feel warm and fuzzy and super duper excited but I do recognise that those feelings belong to the ten year old me so I will be leaving them for younger, braver folk.
If you are looking for something more glamorous that can absolutely not be confused with sportswear then Ash have some great bejewelled high tops. I do like these but they are just too glam for me. Like I said, I’ve always been a trainers purist at heart.