I'm not really one for shoes. And by shoes, I mean actualshoes, like ones with rubber soles and leather or canvas material that wraps around your foot with laces and protects you from the elements and stuff.
I usually stick to sandals, boots and flats (you can imagine what my winters are like), but to be honest, the only reason I've strayed away from the sneaker is just 'cause I'm not really into what's readily available.
Sure, there are the Onitsukas (too predictable) and the Dunks (too trendy) and the Chucks (too popular)—I guess I don't reallymind any of those. But about a year or two ago, I decided to go back to the kicks I used to wear religiously growing up (besides the Converse): the classic canvas Vans Authentic lace-up in bone white.
It's simple, unobtrusive, goes with practically everything (casual, at least) and—best yet—not something you see on every other person walking down the street.
While I personally like to pair mine with relaxed-fit jeans and a tee on my, uh, "off days," the classic Vans sneaker is of course wonderfully unisex. Lately, guys have taken a liking to the timeless design. Paired with your favorite worn-out T-shirt (the one that hasn'tbeen stolen by your girlfriend) and cardigan, polo or flannel, the Vans sneaker looks hip in a bizarrely preppy way. It works. The bonus? They don't look as juvenile and are definitely nowhere near as cliché as the Converse All-Stars tend to look on grown men and women.
I spied this girl wearing her Vans Authentics with jeans and a button-up while walking her really freaking cute dog around my neighborhood and was delighted she hadn't opted for the overly ornate Air Force Ones or Dunks that so many her age have taken a liking to.
The shoes are available in more than 14 colors on the Vans online store, ranging from black-on-black to the too-cute red-canvas pair. The website also still offers the other classic Vans designs, such as their slip-on version of the Authentic, in a wide array of colors and fabrics (including a Circle Jerks and Dropkick Murphys design—but let's not speak of those anymore). Sure, the prices aren't the same as they were when I was in grade school, but at $37 to $40 a pop, that still beats most price tags of sneakers that just don't look as good.