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Sneakers & Skirts

“So I wanted to tell you, do you know why Keds Champion brand sneakers work with skirts?”

This text got my attention. Not only was it from a client I’ve been working with but I was genuinely curious and didn’t know the answer.

“I don’t actually.” (I say actually a lot)

“I’ve learned that Keds were originally made in 1916 as the first sneaker ever made for women.”


Ok. now I’m intrigued. Outcomes the Google-Box.

Keds, originally supposed to be Peds after the Latin word for “feet”, are an American based brand that launched in 1916 with the classic canvas-covered shoe and rubber sole. The rubber sole muffled the sounds of footsteps which lead to the now very popular term of, “sneaker.”

In 1936 Keds released a targeting women called the “Kedette.” This was a washable heeled shoe that claimed to offer the same comfort as the sneaker. I looked it up and these shoes, although they don’t look like the Keds from Dirty Dancing do look comfy.

Another aspect of the Keds brand that really stood out to me and that I love is that one of the first things you read on their About Us page is,

What does it mean to be a woman?

WHATEVER. YOU. WANT. IT. TO. MEAN.We can’t shout this loud enough.

Which, of course, got me thinking. What does it mean to be a woman in 2020 trying to navigate our way through life, all the while being told that we should be able to do everything, that we can do everything and there is still a certain expectation of how to look while doing everything. Here is a brand that is publically changing with us as we grow into what being a woman means and changing according to what we’re asking for.

I love Keds for exactly this reason, they are growing with us as we, the female population, continue to request certain things. We want comfort, we want a pair of sneakers that can take us from running around with our kids to dinner with our friends. We still want that chic, clean look but we also want that comfort and mobility that the canvas offers.

Sneakers with skirts? Why not?! Here’s my cheat-sheet of what sneaker to wear with what and why.

Keds/Converse:
The low-cut sneaker.

This cut, where your ankle is exposed, is great for when you want to feel a little extra feminine or for skirts that go past your knee. You’re looking to extend the length of your leg. This will make your legs look leaner by having the horizontal line of the tongue of the sneaker cutting at your smallest part.

The Hightop Converse/Addidas:

This cut is great for a shorter skirt that hits above the knee. Again, it’s simply about not breaking up your leg in too many places and creating a visual long clean line. Bonus if you add some stockings to create a monochromatic colour from the waist down.

Chunky Sneaks.

These are straight up, not my favourite for a capsule wardrobe, and here’s why THEY’RE A TREND. You saw this chunky sneaker trend hit in the streets in the 80s and 90s and it has since made a slight comeback but like before, it won’t last.

Athletic Sneakers.

These athletic sneakers belong in the gym. They have been designed for a specific purpose and should be used for it. Constant wear on your running, cycling or lifting shoes will shorten their lifespan and will quickly lose the support you bought them for in the first place. 

The above photo block are three ways that I’ve styled sneakers with my own garments. The far left: Manda Crop with the wearer’s own pant and jacket. Great weekend or casual work look, showing a bit of skin at the ankle and still seeing a hint of the ankle bone, adding to the feminine look she’s going for. The middle, a hightop Converse with the wide-leg Katrina Pant. Great casual weekend look. The final, far right is an editorial shoot where the athletic sneaker adds to the athleticism we were going for.

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