Sneaker Etiquette: Where to Wear, Faux Pas to Avoid, and How to Style

Of all the athleisure trends to come in style over the years, one has certainly become a mainstay–the much-loved sneaker trend.  It’s no secret that sneakers are being paired with just about anything to create stylish and fashion-forward new looks. From chucks to high tops,  the options are endless but still, as with all trends, there is still proper etiquette to wearing sneakers.

Are sneakers appropriate at a dinner party?  Can you wear high tops with a dress?  How do you style sneakers with socks?  For these answers and more, we tapped former fashion blogger, Charnele Michel for her expert take on the dos and dont’s of wearing sneakers.

Read on to see what our expert had to say about the subject and to shop a few of our favorite pairs!

RULE 1: MAKE YOUR HIGH TOPS THE FOCAL POINT OF YOUR OUTFIT

High tops are a statement piece in their own right. They demand attention—so why not give it to them? When wearing high tops, be sure to style your outfit in a way that highlights south of your ankle.

Converse Women's Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneakers
Converse Converse Women’s Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneakers ($55)
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RULE 2: SWITCH THINGS UP

Trends are always exciting but sometimes we try a trend and only wear it one way, but why? According to Michel, “It’s easy to go with plain colors and styles that match everything, but try adding a bolder color in your wardrobe. Colors like red can go with more things than you think.” It’s easy to stick to the basics but why stop there?

adidas Gazelle Sneakers
adidas Gazelle Sneakers ($68)
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RULE 3: WHEN PAIRING SNEAKERS WITH A DRESS, SIMPLE IS BEST

Sneakers and a dress equal perfection—but be warned, when rocking this combination, remember not to overdo the look with distracting sneaks. “Try wearing chucks or lace-less sneakers to bring the look together,” Michel advises.

Womens Canvas Shoes 
Womens Canvas Shoes ($19.99)
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RULE 4: COMFORT OVER STYLE

I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say pain is beauty. But it doesn’t always have to be. The one accessory that shouldn’t be uncomfortable is sneakers. When shopping for your next sneaks, be sure you pick a pair that packs the perfect punch of style and comfort. Your feet will thank you and you’ll be comfortable enough to rock your outfit without wincing.

Nike Women's Air Force 1 SP
Nike Women’s Air Force 1 SP ($119.96)
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RULE 5: CUFF YOUR JEANS

If you’re pairing sneakers with jeans, try cuffing them to bring more attention to the sneaker (ahem, and to elongate the leg).

adidas Originals womens Superstar Sneaker
adidas Originals womens Superstar Sneaker ($59.95)
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RULE 6: RUNNING SNEAKERS AREN’T JUST FOR RUNNING

Sneakers have made the shift from active shoe to day shoe to fashion shoe. It doesn’t matter if you run five miles a week or you’d rather binge watch Netflix shows, running shoes are the perfect addition to your closet. Michel gives an example of the perfect times to grab your running shoes. “Headed out to a ball game or fun, casual activity where you’ll be on your feet a lot? Rock those running shoes!”

NIKE Women's Tanjun Sneaker
NIKE Women’s Tanjun Sneaker ($67.22)
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RULE 7: WEAR THE RIGHT SOCKS Socks can make or break an outfit–especially if you’re wearing sneakers. The best recommendation is to go sock-less or rock no-showing training socks. A Style Salute favorite is the Nike DRI-FIT Lightweight No-Show Socks ($33) — they never peep out.

Veja Women's Rio Branco Hexamesh Sneakers
Veja Women’s Rio Branco Hexamesh Sneakers ($140)
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RULE 8: STYLING SNEAKERS IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING

Sneakers have the amazing power to make any look casual, but you can still style sneakers with professional dress. “If sneakers are allowed at your job,” says Michel, “Pair them with dark jeans, a casual tee and a light blazer for a professional yet casual look.”

Nike Womens Vista Lite Womens Ci0905
Nike Womens Vista Lite Womens Ci0905 ($149.97)
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RULE 9: TRUST YOUR INTUITION

This is definitely the season of the sneakers. They’re worn everywhere but often when it comes to a more formal dinner, it can be considered offensive–whether it’s a date or a dinner with girlfriends, use your good sense and if you have any reason to doubt the appropriateness of wearing them, don’t.

Fila Disruptor II Premium Women's Sneaker
Fila Disruptor II Premium Women’s Sneaker ($99.99)
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Do you agree with these rules? Tell us why or why not in the comments!