One Of These 5 Sneakers Will Be Your Shoe Paramour

Seldom does a day go by when I don't wish I was that woman who wore heels. You know that woman: She somehow struts down the street in seven-inch stilettos; she somehow doesn't end up falling down the staircase in high-heeled strappy sandals. Yeah, that's not me. So, when it comes to footwear, I tend to stick to shoes that are a bit easier to not just walk in, but also to simply function in. During the fall and winter months, that usually means motorcycle booties or the necessary snow boot. Come spring, however, the weather calls for something a little lighter. It's not yet time to strap on the jelly sandals, but it's certainly time to retire those tried and true cold weather standbys. And this means it's time to join the sneaker trend for 2015. (On a side note, apparently the term "sneaker," which you might read as tennis shoe or trainer, originates from the idea that due to a rubber sole, the shoes made it easier to sneak around without being heard.)

I've never been a huge sneaker girl and I'm by no means anywhere near a "sneaker head," but I am definitely in support of finding a classic pair of kicks to wear come spring and summer time. The right pair of sneakers adds a pop of character to any warm weather outfit and they are far more comfortable than any heel — and probably even than most flats. Now, one must walk a fine line when wearing sneakers, especially if, like myself, you constantly get mistaken for someone half your age. But, choose the proper pair, and you'll be walking on air.

To Each Their Own

The great thing about sneakers is that each distinct style has the ability to add some quirky character to whoever is wearing them. Converse convey a vibe quite distinct from Keds; Vans feel much different than Nikes. It might take a few tries, but pick and choose whichever pair suits you best. Of course, whlie anyone can wear any of type of sneaker, I think it's fair to say that certain brands and styles hold specific connotations. So, here's a quick rundown of what a few famous sneaker names stand for:

1. Converse

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Converse, especially well-worn Converse, are for the cool kids. I can't tell you how many times I've purchased a pair in the hopes of establishing some semblance of coolness. I love how affordable they are, I love how versatile they can be, I love the quintessential Americanness of the brand. And, even after becoming a subsidiary of Nike and a shoe worn almost everywhere, Converse still manage to uphold an indie cred that remains pretty much unmatched in the sneaker game. With an endless array of colors available in high-top or low-top, Converse seem to make a shoe for pretty much everyone — you can now even customize your own pair. But really, why mess with a classic? While I'm all for expressing creativity, I don't think you can get much cooler than the standard Chuck Taylor color palate.

2. Superga

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I think it's safe to say that Superga (pronounced soo-PEAR-ga) prove the chicly simplistic European alternative to Converse. When I studied abroad in Spain a few years back, I spotted them on nearly every metro ride, so to me the shoes just scream international cool. Whereas Converse got their start on Boston basketball courts, Superga fittingly began on Italian tennis courts. Unavailable in the U.S. until 2011, Superga now counts American style stars like The Row (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are Co-Creative Directors in the States), Rodarte, and J. Crew as collaborators. While certainly not a world away, Supergas definitely cuts a different shape than Converse, both in style and in overall swagger.

3. Vans

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To bring things back to American shores, Converse seem to find their West Coast counterpart in Vans, the perennial skater sneaker. As a tried-and-true East Coaster, I have to admit that an undeniable California feel is probably my favorite thing about Vans. Whenever I catch a pair walking down the street, I'm instantly reminded of all the punk bands that used to make me wish I lived near the Pacific Ocean. Whether it be the black-and-white checkered slip-ons or the galaxy printed lace-ups, Vans just always exude a just-left-the-beach-and-now-going-to-the-skate-park-then-getting-a-burrito cool that other sneakers can't seem to replicate. Perhaps it's because of their Golden State roots, but I think it's more due to their enduring devotion to classic skater style.

4. Keds

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Then, of course, there are Keds, the preppiest of alternatives to any shoe on this list. For a long time, I alway just sort of associated Keds with my mom, but within the past 10 or so years, Keds have had a fashion renaissance of sorts. The first shoes to every actually be referred to as sneakers, Keds have come to define a classic American style admittedly best exemplified by spokesperson Taylor Swift. Available in basic colors or whimsical prints, make like Tay and pair a pair with a classic button-up, a red lip, some high-waisted shorts, and boom: You've got the perfect spring and summer look, the Keds always providing a bright pop of distinctly American style to any ensemble.

5. New Balance

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I would be remiss if I didn't include some sort of athletic sneaker on this list, and since most of us already know almost everything about brands like Nike and Adidas, I thought it best to include another brand. New Balance may not make the flashiest sneakers, but like Keds, New Balance has experienced a recent revitalization, collaborating with Kate Spade and J. Crew to create some casual-cool kicks. Sticking to a few simple models with blocks of coordinating and contrasting colors, New Balance add the perfect splash of subdued color and street style to everyday looks.

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