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You can never go wrong with a pair of classic white kicks—or can you? Sneaker trends, they are a changing, but that doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your whole footwear collection just yet. Here are six “rules” (in the words of Captain Barbossa, they’re more like guidelines) to help you figure out the best way to wear your beloved sneakers in 2022, whether you prefer basic white Keds, old-school Air Jordans or super-colorful flatforms.
1. Pair Sundresses with Minimalist Sneakers
There was a time when we loved wearing flouncy dresses with chunky athletic sneakers, but this year we’re more inclined to streamline our ‘fits with more minimalist kicks. Stick with simple sneakers (they don’t need to be all white, but keep additional colors or detailing to a minimum) that allow our favorite frocks to steal the spotlight.
2. Wear Bright Colorblocked Kicks with Neutral Hues
Give your brightest, boldest sneakers room to shine by pairing them with neutral hues rather than other vibrant shades. Even better if you opt for a pair of cropped pants rather than longer lengths that cover part of your shoe. If you really want to add more color, do so with small pops, like a mini handbag or headband.
3. ‘90s Jeans Work Best with Sleek Sneaker Silhouettes
Loose, baggy denim is in for 2022, but rather than wear your throwback jeans with chunky sneakers or athletic styles, opt instead for something sleek, like classic Converse or Keds. Wearing voluminous jeans with thick-soled shoes will make your whole look feel heavy or bulky, whereas slimmer kicks help balance out all the material on your legs.
Shop similar styles: Converse Chuck Taylor Sneakers ($60); Polo Ralph Lauren Button-Up Shirt ($128); WSLY Rivington Long-Sleeve Shirt ($78); Abercrombie & Fitch ’90s Relaxed Jeans ($99); Kate Spade New York Crush Leather Bag ($298; $224)
4. Pair Retro Sneakers with Posh, Modern Staples
Yes, you can wear your Onitsuka Tiger sneakers with other casual vintage staples (like a polo shirt, wide-leg jeans or even a crochet dress), but the freshest way to wear those throwback styles is with more polished pieces. Think tailored blazers, non-distressed denim, solid-hued crewneck sweaters or silk slip dresses.
Shop similar styles: Vans Old Skool Sneakers ($65); Mango Fitted Blazer ($80); Cuyana Fleece Sweatshirt ($148); Heartloom Tana Halter Top ($69); Grlfrnd Melanie Boot-Cut Jeans ($195); Tory Burch Lee Radziwill Double Bag ($998)
5. Don’t be Afraid to Show Some Sock
The latest “used to be dorky, now it’s cool” trend to enter the zeitgeist is swapping no-show socks for longer pairs that are meant to be seen. White ankle socks, á la Kristen Stewart at the Oscars, and more colorful stand-out pairs are equally trendy, so choose whatever feels most comfortable for you. That said, don’t let your sock go higher than mid-calf or you’ll start looking a little too much like you’re rocking a school uniform.
6. You Can (Almost) Never Go Wrong with Sleek Platforms
We’re talking specifically about flatform soles that add one to two inches, not the super bulky athletic-inspired soles that were all the rage back in 2019 (like the Balenciaga Triple S sneakers). These elevated kicks go with everything from tailored suits to ‘90s baggy jeans to flouncy sundresses. The only exception might be curve-hugging mini dresses—the combination of tight fabric and platform soles feels too mismatched in our opinion—but you could always opt for a midi length instead.