When Kanye uttered the words “leather jogging pants,” the world started to look at athletic wear a bit differently. No longer was running gear expected to be so…run-of-the-mill. Now it seems the unofficial rule for athletic wear (but mostly sneakers) is this: the harder to procure, the cooler it is. Or at least that was my takeaway from the whole Chanel couture sneakers upset—that little stipulation stating that you can only get your hands on a pair of the Chanel couture sneakers if you buy one of the outfits from the same collection? (By the way, these outfits start around at LEAST $15,000.)
At first I thought this must be some kind of sick joke. Or maybe these sneakers were a reincarnation of my first high school boyfriend and I was getting played. And that’s when it hit me: this was no joke at all; this was no game. This is simply couture. And couture isn’t always kind.
Well luckily for us, these ‘90s-style sneakers currently making a comeback are available in many affordable iterations. Don’t’ believe me? Read on.
1. Reebok Classic Leather Trainers: I’m not sure there’s any other way to explain the white sneakers everyone seems to be walking around in than as the same ones your grandma wore in 1994 to go speed walking. They have the same beefiness as the LA Gears Paula Abdul used to wear, but the class of an old Chanel ad.
2. Shoes Like Pottery Canvas High Top Sneakers: Since they’ve been sold in abundance for the past four decades, I figured I might actually try to be of use to you and direct you to a Chuck Taylor sneaker alternative you may have not seen before. Enter Shoes Like Pottery. Handmade using the Japanese technique “ka-ryu,” unlike your average Chuck Taylors, they're not ready to be worn until they’ve been polished off in a kiln for 70 minutes.
3. Adidas Campus Primeknit Sneakers: Another observation about the ‘90s: There wasn’t much venturing out of the three basic primary colors, was there? A red suede Adidas in ’93 would’ve POPPED. Now? Not so much, but they’re still really cute.
4. Ash Jungle Slip On Sneakers: The slip-on Vans sneaker was pretty much always at home sandwiched between a Cali bro’s foot and a skateboard. Then Phoebe Philo signed on as creative director of Céline and re-told her version. And hers goes a little something like this: keep the general mold of the classic Vans slip-on, except cover them in calf hair, transport them to an obscure Greek island, and throw them on Daria Werbowy. And thus began the birth of the revamped slip-on Vans, like these from Ash.
5. The Man Repeller x Superga Satin Classic Sneakers: Man Repeller’s collaboration with Superga is the perfect upgrade to '90s Keds—they have the same lightness and femininity, plus a little extra support for your feet.
Photos via Numéro Tokyo, Urban Outfitters, Tommy Ton, Philip Newton, Fashion Gone Rogue, Sassy Magazine, Nylon, Vogue Korea, Vogue Netherlands, Elle Sweden, Harper's Bazaar UK, Glamour Paris, and L'Officiel.