In Defense of Sneakers, All Day, Every Day
Artist and sneaker devotee Sophia Chang muses on their merits
As a New York native from the borough of Queens, I’ve always been a big fan of sneakers. When you’re running across the street to catch a light, you aren’t thinking to yourself, “Oh, I wish I were in heels.” You are more likely thinking, “Thank god I’m in sneakers.”
My first “cool” pair of sneakers were Adidas Superstars with baby blue stripes—remember those? Then came all-white Nike Air Force 1 low-tops, followed by vintage deadstock kicks. In New York, these purchases are important. New Yorkers just notice these things. I just notice these things.
Versatility and comfort are obvious reasons to love a sneaker. But to me, sneakers are about storytelling. Take Vans. They are pretty much the most “California” sneaker out there, but when the colors and materials are unexpected—say, quilted flannel—the story changes a bit. They become a bit more New York. And those special pairs, the ones that make you look twice, those are the ones you remember and wear to death.
Sophia Chang is an illustrator and designer living in Queens. Here, she’s wearing Madewell & Vans® Slip-Ons.
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Photography by Jennifer Trahan.