Walking Out of Lockdown with My First Pair of Sneakers
Impossible is nothing: a newfound walking habit required a different type of footwear.
Hello reader! Welcome to Fashion Foreword’s first Recollection column, where we explore the more intimate side of fashion by focusing on the personal experience of dressing.
Over the past year and a half, multiple global lockdowns have affected each and everyone’s relationship with clothes in one way or another. You may have fallen victim to a sweatpants forever mentality and cannot bear the thought of returning to jeans again. You may have done a closet clean-out or have possibly welcomed an unexpected article of clothing, the face mask, to your dressing repertoire.
I won’t give you an ode to sweatpants but please, if you feel inspired, submit one in the comments below – but some insights regarding my footwear during the pandemic. After a lot I have read and heard, I am probably in the minority for not having spent my days in sweatpants. I continued to wear my jeans, blazers, and pearl earrings, but I did adjust my footwear. Staying indoors wearing house slippers or fluffy socks, a large part of my shoe collection has become, at least temporarily, redundant. I would consider myself a devoted heel wearer. Over the past year and a half, however, I found myself preferring flat shoes, such as those loafers pictured, over my extensive heeled shoe collection. At the start of the second lockdown (December 2020) in the Netherlands, I even bought my first pair of sneakers.
I understand that at a first glance, there is nothing extraordinary about a pair of sneakers. Everyone and their mother, mine included, wears them. But I am simply not a sneaker person; most of my friends and acquaintances will confirm that sneakers are just not me. The last time I wore a pair of sneakers, workouts excluded, I was thirteen and in my first year of secondary school.
Yet, my newfound lockdown habits suddenly required a different type of footwear. While obviously spending more time indoors, I also began consciously making use of my time outdoors. Like many others around the world, I found a new hobby in simply going for a walk daily, and with it found a renewed appreciation of my surrounding environment and – living outside of the city does grant me a certain walking privilege – the seasonal changes in the polder landscape.
It is not that I promptly became more active, but I suddenly started seeing walking as an activity. Moving around the city on foot is simply not the same as actually going for a stroll. One is a means of transportation, moving from one point to another. The other is a conscious pastime, an escape from the containment of one’s home and a chance to get a breath of fresh air and clear the head. I had never really given much thought to my footwear when walking around the city, the shoes I pick then are part of my outfit and a deliberate styling choice. In the case of deliberately going for a walk, however, I felt like a pair of sneakers was lacking in my closet. My ankle boots just did not feel right for the occasion.
And so a pair of Adidas Samba in white leather with three black stripes, a retro style inspired by a classic football shoe, entered my shoe closet. While my intention for buying these was a purely practical one, the fashion historian in me does appreciate a nod towards a vintage original. As a non-sneaker person, their slim silhouette makes them a bit less intimidating. Going back to that pair of sneakers I wore when I was thirteen, Typhoon sneakers in white leather with two purple stripes by Dutch sports shoe manufacturer Quick (now Q1905), I actually see a resemblance.
So far, these Adidas sneakers have served me well during my daily walks. I still feel a bit awkward when I wear them and have received a few surprised looks from acquaintances, but these shoes are becoming increasingly more me. As my country is slowly easing out of lockdown, I might try to incorporate them into my daily dressing routine.
I suppose these sneakers are my ultimate pandemic purchase. Whether or not they will occupy a permanent space in my shoe rack I do not yet know. It certainly takes time adjusting to the ‘new normal’.
We would love to know how the pandemic changed your relationship with your clothes. Do you have any pandemic wardrobe items? Is there anything that you miss wearing? Join us on Clubhouse for a chat or let us know in the comments below!
This winter in lockdown I discovered turtlenecks. I used to hate them: I’m slightly claustrophobic so a tight shirt around my neck was a total no-go. But working from home behind my desk, not walking or moving at all (except for typing), caused that my body was too cold all day. Long turtlenecks really helped me through the long winter!