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As a minimalist at heart, but someone who adores fashion, my wardrobe can sometimes feel like a conflict of interest. I’m extra picky about my shoes, not because I’m a brand snob, but because I think of shoes as I think of jewelry. Not only can shoes make or break an outfit, but they can also add that finishing touch that makes it feel complete. Of course, shoes are also a reflection of your style and who you are as a person. (Just ask any teenager if they want to part ways with their Converse.)
When I first started my career working on the Mag Mile in Chicago, where everyone looks top-notch, I was a die-hard heel wearer. I didn’t care if I had to walk six blocks from the L to my office. I stuck it out, every day. It didn’t matter if they caused pain. Sure, all the sensible older women knew better and changed in and out of gym shoes, but not me. I was waaaay too cool for that.
Then I moved to a less fancy city and started working as a writer, which often grants me more wardrobe leeway. I switched to wedges. But when the pandemic hit, I — like countless others — started working from home every day and stopped wearing shoes for days. Suddenly, my tolerance for anything even remotely uncomfortable disintegrated.
When life started to pick back up again, I couldn’t bring myself to slide on a pair of wedges. The leather felt too restrictive against my skin. The idea of not being 100% comfortable repulsed me, but I wouldn’t let myself become a stained-sweatpant-wearing slob. There had to be a way to keep my feet looking good without making me feel uncomfortable.
That’s when I went on an online deep dive looking for an all-white sneaker that would carry me through the summer season. I came across the Adidas Stan Smith in white/gold and immediately fell in love with its simple silhouette. This pair of shoes carried me through that summer and fall and winter and more.
It’s almost silly how much I love these Stan Smith sneakers. The white/gold combo gives me the best of both worlds. I get to embrace my minimalist tendencies while still keeping on-trend. The gold on the tongue and back collar isn’t overstated — just the perfect kiss of color.
For almost two years, they’ve been my go-to kicks, taking me from jeans to maxi dresses and workdays to dinners out. I don’t even bother packing shoes for short trips anymore, I just wear my Stan Smiths to the airport and I’m good to go. (Imagine the extra space now in my carry-on bag!)
Other than spraying them with protectant before my first wear, which I do with all my shoes, the upkeep has been rather simple. When the laces start to look dingy, I pull them out, hand wash them in the sink, and hang them on a cabinet knob to dry. I wipe them off with a damp towel and use a Magic Eraser to keep them looking bright. After several months, I did buy some comfy inserts to help extend their lifespan. All in all, I’d say they look pretty spectacular for being worn non-stop.
If you’re looking for a shoe you can wear with anything, Stan Smiths are the absolute way to go. You can find them at Amazon or Zappos for around $100. They’re available with different designs and colors on the back collar and tongue or embellishments along the sides; for these other styles, prices vary based on size as well as appearance.