Last year, in efforts to demonstrate the versatility and durability of canvas sneakers, I vowed to wear a pair of classic Vans every single day of the summer (or until an unfortunate fall in the mud took them from me). They were paired with suits, jeans, shorts, swimsuits, birthday suits—everything basically. And truth be told, they looked great on each occasion. It was sad to look at my unused but beloved wingtips, derbys, and drivers all summer long. Each morning as I laced up my sneakers, the unworn pairs looked at me, screaming about how much money I’d spent on them. But, no matter the circumstances, I stuck to it.
A pair of classic cream Vans will cost you $45 flat. In the grand scheme of footwear, that is nothing. A fancier pair of shoes will cost you upwards of $300—easy. When the weather turns, as it is doing now in New York, you can expect to be outdoors more often. After a winter of hibernation, it’s in our nature to enjoy new sun, take a walk in the park, laugh at the last pile of melting snow, and take some meals alfresco. With that comes a little added exposure to the elements—snow-melt-made-mud, spontaneous April showers, and condiments. It’s a time for knocking around, and you need a good pair of shoes to do it in. That’s why there’s nothing better than a canvas sneaker. Think of the horror when a rogue cocktail spills on to your designer kicks. It’s like watching Mufasa die, only real.
But when a stain hits your $45 sneakers? Pfft, who cares? They’re built to be stained. When it rains buckets and you’re caught unaware? No big deal. Play some soccer in the soft baby grass, then hose the mud off of them and let ’em dry in the sun. Going to the airport? Nothing’s easier to slip off in the security line. Wear them sock-less and do so knowing that once the cold comes back, you can toss them (and any stench) away. It’s like a Swiffer, but for your feet. I also assume you won’t be bound by law to wear sneakers every day, so feel free to pull the good stuff out when necessary.
So, if you’re on the hunt for a new pair of shoes for the spring and any early beach trips you may have, maybe it’s time to exit the designer floor and find yourself a cheap pair of tennis shoes. You’ll look great. Trust me.