The "ugly" shoe trend has spawned countless versions of chunky, over-the-top sneakers, but if you're into a more refined vibe, look no further than Maria Sharapova's brand-new design. The five-time Grand Slam tennis champ has put her own twist on an iconic sneaker style, resulting in the new Nike x Maria Sharapova Classic Cortez Premium Sneakers ($100) in the perfect nude-pink color. Of course, we had to get the scoop straight from Sharapova, so we sat down with her at The Grove to talk all things Nike.
Sharapova designed the shoes with Los Angeles in mind, but make no mistake: The sneakers will look chic no matter where you live. When we asked Sharapova how to style the sneakers in L.A. versus New York, she told us that her L.A. friends pair them with jeans and rocker T-shirts, while her NY friends wear them with black slip dresses and oversize jackets. Any way you slice it, the shoes will upgrade your outfit instantly.
Read on for our full chat with Sharapova, including her thoughts on the "ugly" shoe trend and why the Cortez is the ultimate day-to-night piece.
How did you take inspiration from L.A. in designing these sneakers?
I love the lifestyle of L.A. I think there's so much opportunity and so many things to do here. I love the aesthetic of a shoe that can take you from day to night, where you don't have to worry about changing your wardrobe. I think that's a modern-day girl's goal when she's looking for something to wear: to have pieces that are versatile. I think the L.A. lifestyle really represents that.
Looking at the classic Cortez shoe and the color evolutions that it's had, it was really nice to go back to the basics of finding that perfect nude and that perfect color that can take you from day to night. They are fashionable and trendy enough, but also timeless, so I can see myself wearing the sneakers for years to come.
In your opinion, what would be the L.A. girl way to style the sneakers?
Because of my height, I love wide-leg trousers and wear them all the time. I love button-down shirts with a collar and wearing bombers over them. I also love layering in general, which doesn't necessarily show off your shape, but I think it's interesting to put together different materials and textures.
How would you style them differently in New York?
I sent the sneakers to a few of my friends in New York, and I was like, 'Take pictures of [how you would wear them].' Even though it's freezing there, a lot of them sent back some beautiful black slip dresses and fun, oversized jackets with the sneakers. It's different than what a lot my friends did here [in L.A.], which is wearing them with jeans and cool rocker T-shirts.
Out of all the Nike styles, what drew you to the Cortez in particular?
I'm really into proportions of shoes. I like how slimming they are, especially on a woman. It's very elegant. When you look back at [older Cortez] colors, it started with these elegant hues, and then evolved into bold patterns and different patents, so it's nice to come back to something that's more natural. I love the shape, and it's something I've always been drawn to. I like that I can pair it with so many different things. As someone who has to travel with a certain amount of clothes in my bag for weeks at a time, it's nice to have something that goes with an evening dress or goes with something that's very casual.
You mentioned how elegant and slimming these shoes are. What are your thoughts on the opposite vibe: the "ugly" shoe trend?
I always like a slimming shoe, but I don't mind a platform shoe. It gets a little crazy when a platform shoe has a lot of edges around it, especially when I wear a size 9 or 9.5. The bigger size you go, the more the edge stands out, and it's a little more difficult. I don't mind chunky sneakers, I just don't wear them myself just because of my height. But I do love the whole sneaker culture of the last few years because I can get away with wearing sneakers more often.
Shop the Sneakers
Hurry: We have a feeling these new sneakers will sell out ASAP.Available in sizes 5 to 11.
Opening Image: Backgrid
Erin got her start as a Who What Wear intern over 12 years ago—back when the site only published a single story per day. (Who What Wear has since increased that number twentyfold.) She graduated magna cum laude from USC, which is how she ended up moving to Los Angeles from her hometown of San Diego. In college, she also interned at Refinery29, where she was promoted to editorial assistant and then assistant editor. After nearly three years at R29, she came back to WWW in 2016, where she currently holds the title of senior news editor (as well as the unofficial title of resident royal expert—in case you haven't noticed her numerous Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton stories). She spends her days trying to incorporate her idols, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer, into as many stories as possible. Outside of work, she loves tennis, classic rock, traveling, and smothering her dog with affection.
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