It’s no secret that the fashion world is obsessed with sportswear right now—from tennis whites to baseball jackets. That said, the emerging victor in the landscape of sporty fashion appears to be the high-fashion sneaker, which has become the ‘”it” item for spring.
Isabel Marant kicked it off with her insanely covetable sneaker wedges back in 2012, and in nanoseconds, the market was completely flooded with knock-offs. Then Céline got on board with their Vans-style slip-ons that became a must-have for fashionistas that want to be both comfy and cool. Looking ahead to the Fall 2014 runway season, Chanel is in on the game, so you can be fairly certain that the sneaker has officially ascended to serious high-fashion status.
While we’re as game as anyone else to give this trend a whirl, we understand that it’s tough to understand how a gym-centric item can make the leap to fashion-forward staple. So read on for 15 of our theories on why sneakers are totally worth splurging on this season—and click through the gallery above for 15 fantasy pairs we’re lusting after!
1. Because they make you taller.
One of the main reasons that Marant’s wedges became such a big deal was because they give you the lift of heels, but they feel more casual and are versatile than stilettos. Plus, platform sneakers have the same effect. Club wear? Yes. Hungover brunch? Sure thing. At a family dinner? As long as your comfortable with a little side-eye and grandmotherly confusion.
2. Because it’s cool to be comfortable.
Nothing is cooler than looking like you just casually ended up looking fabulous in your most low-key clothes. Pull on perfectly-fitting jeans, a slouchy tee, and some subtly stylish sneaks for the ultimate cool girl look.
3. Because the French say so.
As we all know, being cool is closely related to being French. French fashion names like Colette and Pierre Hardy love sneakers (or “baskets,” as they call them), and we know better than to question the nation responsible for Chanel, Givenchy, and Mary Kate Olsen’s engagement ring.
4. Because of basketball.
The cult of sneaker appreciation definitely stems from basketball. Converse, the ubiquitous canvas sneakers, were originally a basketball shoe. Nike Air Jordans, one of the most collectible sneaker brands of all time, is the result of a collaboration with Michael Jordan, one of the most famous basketball players of all time.
5. Because they can be tailored to fit your style.
Almost all mass-market sneakers come in a customizable version online. If you love high tops, but want them to be blue and red and made out of leather, there is a good chance you can find a way to create the right shoe to fit your style needs.
6. Because Rihanna rocks them so well.
Let’s be real, nobody rocks a high style sneaker quite like RiRi. Here she is showing off her Chanel sneakers, along with other, um, assets.
7. Because they’re functional.
Nothing is more comfortable than a good sneaker. All memories of painful stilettos and too-flat flats will float away on a cushion of podiatrist-friendly arch support.
8. Because they aren’t just functional.
But comfort doesn’t have to equal those mom-like sneakers of extreme dorkiness. It could means lots and lots of fun, impractical features, like studs.
9. Because if they’re expensive, maybe they’re worth having?
Guys, sneakers can get so expensive (just check out our faves, above!). Not just a little expensive, we’re talking “busting through your entire credit line to afford them” expensive. And, as everyone in fashion knows, once a brand jacks up the price, it instantly become more elusive, and therefore, more covetable.
10. Because if they’re cheap, they’re definitely worth having.
On the other hand, if you find an amazing pair of sneakers and they are well within your budget, it is your sartorial duty to snap them up. You may have stumbled on to the next big thing before it blows up and costs a zillion dollars. An even if they don’t blow up, you love them, right? That’s what counts.
11. Because you can get them in a million colors.
This goes hand-in-hand with the cheap thing. If you find a pair of sneakers that you love and that aren’t too pricey, you can start amassing your collection of perfect kicks. You’ll have the right color for every ensemble, and then in 20 years, you’ll probably be able to sell them for 10 times what you paid in the first place. Maybe.
12. Realistically, because of Miley Cyrus.
Okay, okay, we admit it, Miley Cyrus is a serious trendsetter. She’s rocking the red lip, she’s rejuvenating the pixie, and she’s making near-nudity an actual fashion trend. She also is known for endorsing Air Jordans, the hip-hop sneaker of choice, as demonstrated in the video “23,” below. (Caution: this is NSFW.)
13. Because leather makes everything rad.
There is definitely a place in our hearts for mesh and canvas, but everyone knows that the easiest way to make something cooler is to make it exactly the same, but in leather. Varsity jackets are cooler in leather, baseball caps are cooler in leather, and sneakers are definitely cooler in leather.
14. Because they make you feel healthy.
We’re not saying you have to actually be healthy (though we do recommend it), we’re just saying that the simple act of wearing sneakers makes you feel more sporty and fit. But if you’re dropping serious cash on your kicks, you probably shouldn’t be wearing them to spin class.
15. Because fashion is cyclical.
The nineties are so back it’s ridiculous. That means slip dresses, plaid, and sneakers are all having a major career resurgence. Prepare to relive every time that you lusted after Baby Spice’s insane flatform sneakers.