Hi-Fashion Sneakers

Hi-Fashion Sneakers
If you thought we'd covered just about every angle of menswear-inspired fashion, from offbeat oxfords to slim suits, you're in for a real treat, dear readers, because we have yet another laddish item to discuss: sneakers! Now, we're not talking about gym shoes (perish the thought!) or even the worn-in Chucks one associates with indie music fans. No, today's story is closer to the styles a sneakerhead might obsess over, albeit one who is more of a fashion fan than a collector of kicks. And while this casual-yet-creative footwear was first popularized back in the '80s, it's now gaining ground in the high-style realm, convincing tastemakers like Kate Bosworth and designers to ditch their fancy platforms for these coolly casual lace-ups. Whether they're high-tops or low-tops, emblazoned with flashy prints and neon colors or modeled in earthy, neutral tones, these shoes are proving to be a hot-ticket item for both summer and fall, hence the reason we're highlighting them in today's Microtrend!

Printed/Embellished
One of the great things about hi-fashion sneakers is that they can be a canvas for a multitude of playful prints, bright colors, and interesting embellishments. For example, we came across Poppy Delevingne at a Fashion For Relief event in London back in April wearing a pair of leopard-print Christian Louboutin sneakers adorned with gold spikes. The British model looked casually chic in a bright red Rag & Bone blazer, Paige's Verdugo Denim Leggings ($179) in Super McKinley, and beige Madeleine Thompson beanie, but it was her well-calculated decision to incorporate a pair of printed lace-up sneakers that gave her a look a delightfully quirky flair. Though not as flashy, we're also smitten with the high-tops Liu Wen wore between shows during Paris Fashion Week late last year. We appreciate the stunning model's visually intriguing ensemble, especially how she styled her vintage printed palazzo pants with a pair of black and bright blue Opening Ceremony sneakers (which are from a past season and no longer available), for a high-impact look. That same week in Paris, model Bianca Balti also stepped out wearing a pair of stylish kicks. The gray studded lo-tops add interest to her laidback, neutral, off-duty attire.

If you're searching for similarly striking footwear, you don't want to miss Creative Recreation's Galow Hi Fashion Sneakers, which come in 17 spectacular print and color combos, like Giraffe ($105) and Black Splatter ($95). Want a feline-inspired pair a la Delevingne? Good thing you asked, because Ash's Scoop Sneakers ($200) are a spot-on alternative! We're also impressed with Coach's New Barrett Poppy Sneakers ($88) and Palazzo Bruciato's Denim Blue Sequined High-Top Suede Sneakers ($222); both are sure to give your ensembles an eye-catching finish. And for those who prefer a tough-girl look, be sure to snag a pair of Sam Edelman's Alexander Studded Sneakers ($150) today!

Neutral/Classic Styles
While we certainly enjoy the artsy aspect of hi-fashion sneakers, we're also over the moon for the classic and sporty styles seen at Balenciaga and adored by the always-stylish Kate Bosworth! Speaking of the former, we were particularly pleased with the sneakers we saw in the Parisian fashion house's Pre-Fall 11 collection. In the look featured above--described by designer Nicolas Ghesquiere as "wellness wear" or in other words, a French-chic take on gym clothes--a royal purple alpaca fur jacket was styled with a black tunic over gray tailored trousers and finished with athletic-inspired lace-up sneakers. Bosworth, on the other hand, constructed a more casual ensemble while out at lunch in Los Angeles last month, which included Topshop's Coral Knitted Stitch Yoke Jumper ($65), MiH London's Boy Cropped Slouchy Leg Jeans ($253) in Hickory Wash, and her favorite Isabel Marant Bobby Sneakers ($725, available in September). Of course Bosworth isn't the only one fawning over Isabel Marant's covetable kicks! We spotted a stylish civilian on the streets of Milan late last year sporting the Perkins Suede and Leather Wedge Sneakers ($660, 212.219.2284) from the S/S 11 collection, which have a very similar look. Both Isabel Marant styles have a hidden, built-in wedge, which offers the appearance of a sneaker, but also gives you a flattering, elongated leg like a heel--what more could you want? Finally, we totally approve of how another savvy civilian incorporated a pair of hi-fashion sneakers into her look and love the idea of pairing this casual footwear with a delicate dress and blazer for an unexpected yet chic daytime look.

If you cant splurge on or wait for the hi-fashion kicks mentioned above, no need to panic, we've got some pretty amazing alternatives you simply must check out! We would like to first direct you to Marc by Marc Jacobs' High Top Sneakers ($150) and Jimmy Choo's Suede/Patent Leather Tokyo Hi-Top Sneakers ($495), which both offer a neutral color palette and simple design. Prefer classic lace-ups? Prada's Cap-Toe Sneakers ($295) have a haute Chuck Taylor vibe, while Lanvin's Metallic Cracked-Leather Sneakers ($565) remind us of a fashionable version of our favorite Vans from high school. Of course, our selection of top-tier sneaker options would not be complete without See by Chloe's Wedge Lace-Up Sneakers ($345). As ladies who love some height, we're quite smitten and think you should pick up a pair pronto!--Jessica Baker

Photo of Kate Bosworth, courtesy of Wenn; Photo of Poppy Delevingne, courtesy of Getty; Street style photos, courtesy of Imax Tree; Balenciaga Pre-Fall image, courtesy of Balenciaga
EXPLORE: Microtrend, Isabel Marant, Kate Bosworth, Poppy Delevingne, Balenciaga
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