Chunky trainers

Dad trainers, ugly trainers… whatever you want to call them are ‘in’. Who’d’ve thunk it?

Fashion is a fickle and ridiculous thing  — not that that is a criticism. People do pay a lot of money for the whims of looking ‘fresh’ and on-trend, and some times I understand it, and sometimes I don’t. I understand it more than paying the same amount as some shoes as for a season ticket to watch some men chase a ball around a field. At least I have some control over the shoes, but I digress.

Fashion, as I’ve mentioned before, is not always kind to those with health issues, which is fine for me as I’m not a massive slave to the trendy in any case, but I find that fashion can be fun, and it can be a good way to make peace with a body that doesn’t always do what you want it to do. For this reason, when you find a fashion trend that is positively useful for your disability or condition it’s a real boon. Not only will your preferred clothes/footwear be filling the shops, giving you far greater choice, but you can find new inspiration and different ways of styling something that you may be bored with. Pinterest is a good place to look:

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Image from Pinterest

So, now it’s the turn of chunky trainers. Apart from the Adidas NMDs, I’m much more of a retro trainer kind of girl, so I’ve been sort of ignoring this trend. However, I was recently reminded of a time, several years ago when I was waiting for an operation, when walking in a pair of Adidas gazelles would have been unbearable, and would have had to resort to running-trainers or similar. So, I decided to write this post, as my younger self would’ve found it useful.

So, my favourite chunky trainer, aside from the NMD, would probably be the Nike Huarache. They’re supportive, I like the heel strap because it adds interest, and they have a nice rolling sole (something I talked about here; basically, it helps you walk with less effort and is good if you have arthritis). They sell at about £90, but you can customise your own pair on the website, which is quite a cool thing to do because I like stuff with my name on them:

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Nike customised huarache: £109.95

Another option, if you want to keep a retro profile, with some chunky trainer comfort is the New Balance 574. They come in some nice retro colours, like this orange suede:

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New Balance 574: £70

However, it’s worth mentioning that these are very much in the fashion-trainer category, and if you’re struggling with arthritis, you may want to use this chunky trainer trend to wear proper running shoes that are designed to keep your joints stable and support your feet when you hit the floor.

Whilst we’re on New Balance then, the 1260v7 are very supportive and cushioning and excellent for over-pronators:

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New Balance 1260v7: £135

They’re especially good for people with toe issues as they have a wide toe-box, and are available in different widths, so you can really tailor the shoes to your body. They are pretty colourful, but that’s in at the moment too. Next to these Stella McCartney designer trainers, they look positively wall-flower:

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Stella McCartney Eclypse: £450

It is, however, harder to find good running trainers in classic colours (i.e. black or white), but the Asics gel-kayano is not only very supportive and cushioning, it comes in black and a very inoffensive peach, though it does run narrow:

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Asics gel-kayano: £158
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Asics gel-kayano: £150

 

 

There is then the question of what to wear them with. The answer is of course, whatever you want, but for myself I would steer away from anything else ‘athe-leisure’ for fear of looking a bit Vicky Pollard. Contrast seems to work better on me, so smart tailoring or floaty skirts and dresses are what I’d choose:

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Images from Pinterest

 

 

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New year, new trainers

And just like that [snaps fingers] it was 2018.

We’re well into 2018 now, but I got very busy before Christmas, then got flu, then had to catch up on all the work I didn’t do because of the busy/flu’y situation so it’s only now that I am blogging. I am sure everyone found suitable Christmas party solutions/had a lovely Christmas/picked up a bargain in the sales so I’m going to just gloss over all that excitement and get back to blogging about awesome shoes for arthritic girls (and guys) who still want to look cool.

So, my beloved Adidas gazelles finally died just before Christmas after being worn to death, and my first thought was, naturally, to buy more gazelles. However, the question of the correct colour combination reared its head, and as I was trying to determine what I really wanted, it came to me: I wanted leopard-print trainers.

Leopard goes with everything (except maybe more leopard, but you know what, if you want to go full Big Cat then do it, if 2017 has shown anything it’s that rules are just an abstraction) and it looks especially smart with black, which makes up 90% of my winter wardrobe (and also my heart).

So, there is a lot of choice around at the moment, at a range of prices. In the end, I went with the Air and Grace trainers, because I was so impressed with their espadrilles in the summer:

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Air and Grace Copeland: £159

Air and Grace have memory-foam in the soles and provide a lovely cushioning when you walk but without being unsupportive. They also look really good, and really pep up an outfit based around black jeans, which is basically my go-to on dark mornings when I have 5 minutes to get dressed before the school run. They are a little heavier than I was expecting (it’s not a massive issue, but it’s worth noting if you get tired legs).

Other notable mentions that competed for my attention included these Hush trainers, I really liked the black facing edges, but they are quite expensive (though they do look very classy, check out the gold lace tips):

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Hush leo: £170

At the other end of the price spectrum, New Look has these reduced from an already bizarrely low £19.99 (I mean, how is it possible to pay someone a reasonable wage on top of materials, if the shoes cost only this much?) They don’t look cheap though, I really like the colour and the velvet, although the soles look maybe a little thick to give a comfortable flex:

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New Look velvet leopard trainer: £12.50

If you need a wide shoe, Superga are a really good bet, and this mini-leopard is currently in the sale, reduced from £55:

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Superga 2750 spotted: £27.50

And finally, if you prefer a traditional sporty trainer shape, rather than he flatter soles of the sneaker styles, Scandinavian brand Woden, which have ultra-lightweight, cushioning cork insoles, have a leopard offering, which is currently in the sale:

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Woden leopard: £60

And although this is not leopard, an honourable mention goes to the new Rogue Matilda sneakers. I love everything about these: the colours, the heart on the heel… [spoiler alert] these will probably be my next trainer purchase:

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Rogue Matilda cow sweetheart: £179

Just need to save up a bit first…

Gore-Tex Stockholm

More waterproof trainers for the wet winter weather today, and if the NMDs are not your style, maybe he retro look of the Stockholm will be up your rain-soaked street:

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Adidas Stockholm: £109

Available in two colours, the blue is already available, and the lovely burgundy will be out on the 13th of December.

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Adidas Stockholm: £109

Unlike the NMDs, these are available in small sizes for women (yay!). They’re more expensive than regular trainers, but the waterproof Gore-Tex will keep your feet dry and looking great.

Panto time!

Oh yes it is! With apologies to the international readers who may not be aware of the rather quintessentially British ‘immersive theatre’ that is pantomime, but it’s Christmas and it seems ASICS are also getting in he mood with their Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs range.

For adults you can choose between the sweet Snow White, the colour is lovely, and I surprisingly really like the removable bow, maybe it’s the velvet:

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ASICS Gel-Lyte Snow White: £115

Or, for the darker of soul there’s the Wicked Queen:

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ASICS Gel-lyte Wicked Queen: £115

The shoes are based on the pleasingly retro 1987 Gel-lyte model, and were designed to be very light (always good when you have sore bones). It is, however the fleece-lined older children’s range of ‘dwarf’ shoes that I REALLY like — these do go up to a UK6 (starting at 2.5), but sadly this is too small for me. I think the fun is picking, which dwarf you are. I would argue that I am sleepy:

 

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ASICS Gel-Lyte sleepy: £60

Although I am sure my family might suggest grumpy might suit me better (I also like the colour, maybe I am grumpy!):

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ASICS Gel-Lyte Grumpy: £60

But the pair I think I will be buying for my daughter is the adorable Bashful (although that’s not an adjective I’d often associate with her). The sunny yellow is just perfect (oh no it isn’t, etc, etc):

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ASICS Gel-Lyte Bashful: £60

 

Feeling retro

I’m feeling a little bit of a retro vibe this morning, and Adidas are feeling it too as they have released a shoe from the archives that were last produced in 1984, the Köln:

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Adidas Koln: £84.95

Adidas re-release small runs their archive shoes quite regularly, but I’m never particularly interested in buying a limited run at an inflated price. Also, the colours aren’t always for me, like these London gazelles, that came out last year:

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I want to like them but they’re giving me a headache…

The Köln aren’t that much more expensive than a pair of regular gazelles, and they have a 70s, boxier soccer look, which I really like. They only come in men’s sizes, which can be frustrating for the girls, but if your feet run large, the increased width in men’s shoes can be beneficial if you have swollen joints. I also really like the blue suede and gum sole combination:

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And unlike the limited runs, you’re much more likely to get a pair.

40% off sparkly trainers

Alternative title: 40% off looking smart when you have to wear trainers (priceless)

As I have written about several times, I am a fan of embellished trainers. If you have to wear trainers all the time for foot health (I certainly had a long stint when I was recovering from surgery on my legs) then you need options beyond jeans and jogging bottoms.

One of the problems with wearing trainers is trying to smarten them up, especially if you work somewhere you need to dress a certain way. I think embellished trainers actually look better with tailoring than casual clothes because there is a contrast between the clothes and shoes, but the embellishment ties it together, so you don’t look like you lost your shoes at the gym in your lunch-break.

Uterqüe are currently doing 40% of selected footwear, which includes their sparkly trainers, and they’re all really good.

I think these are my favourites; I like the ribbon detail, and monochrome always looks good and it’s easier to style:

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Uterque embellished bow trainer: £72 (normally £120)

But I also really like these too:

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Uterque embellished trainer: £72 (normally £120)

And there’s a green hi-top version, I really like how they look with the shirt and skirt:

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Uterque embellished hi-top: £72 (normally £120)

And I also love these:

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Uterque satin gem trainer: £72 (normally £120)

And if you prefer to keep it subtle, these little pearl embellishments are removable:

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Uterque plimsolls: £58 (normally £98)

And for smart trousers, my favourite place is still ME+EM, I especially like this side stripe pair, and you can see they look pretty good with trainers:

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ME+EM man pant: £149

I also love this dress, and it would look great with the hi-tops above:

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ME+EM wool dress: £189

But for a cheaper option, Zara has some good work trousers:

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Zara wide-leg trousers: £29.99

and knitted dresses that would look great with trainers:

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Zara rib dress: £29.99

Eco-friendly Tiger

I have had my eye on a pair of Onitsuka Tigers for some time, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect pair. I did have my eye on a yellow pair (I love yellow), but I decided the black stripe was a bit too waspish for me: I want the yellow to be mellow, not invoke a fight-or-flight response when you look at them.

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing the Onitsuka website when I noticed they had brought out a new selection called ‘Soft Marty‘. I think it was the basic and minimalist approach to these shoes that grabbed me, coupled with the ‘micro-knifing’ technique used to give a raised texture to the accents. They were just a bit different to the millions of other trainers on the market:

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There are two models available on the UK website, the Mexico 66:

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Mexico 66: £155

and the Corsair:

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Corsair: £155

I didn’t realise this at the time, such was my fervour to put a pair on my legs, but they’re also made with leather produced without using chromium-based tanning methods. Chromium IV, used in leather tanning, is harmful to the environment and to the people doing the manufacturing. So hurrah for not using this method! However, they don’t explicitly state which leather tanning process they do use, and given the colour of them I am assuming they probably use the aldehyde method rather than vegetable tanning methods. Formaldehyde is pretty toxic to the environment and people, so I don’t think we can be claiming any bold step forward just yet, but it’s a nice try for the marketing department. I am not going all eco-warrior here and demanding we boycott leather; leather manufacturing is toxic by its nature, and as long as we protect workers and dispose of chemicals responsibly I am happy. I just don’t think non-chromium leather can make any outlandish claims about being eco-friendly if they use formaldehyde instead.

Anyway, back to the shoes… from an arthritis point of view, the Corsair would be a better choice. They’re more stable, with great cushioning and arch support and not as slim-fitting as the Mexico 66. However, with my slim feet and love of the shape I went for the Mexico 66.

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I was very impressed from the start. They’re very, very soft and light-weight, and although they don’t offer a lot of support along the foot because they’re so soft, there is enough arch support to stop me over-pronating, meaning I can walk a reasonable distance in them.

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I also love the detailing on them, the cream colour is a quite like ‘cricket whites’, which I find very pleasing, and it goes with everything, especially denim. I quite like the fact they are not just another pair of white trainer that look the same as all the others. The micro-knifed texture is a nice touch, they feel good when you hold them, which, again, I really like. The narrowness and close-fitting form, coupled with the lightness, makes me think of fencing shoes, which for me is tremendously nostalgic (yes, before I was f*cked by the arthritis, I was handy with a sword and used to represent my university at fencing), but I realise that won’t be for everyone, but the Corsair is not so fitted…OI000035.jpgThey’re also very flexible, which is great for tired arthritic feet that don’t want to work hard. I can’t imagine they will be so great when the temperature drops because the leather and soles are thin in order to accommodate the softness and flexibility, and cold is worse for arthritic bones but, for the cool summer the UK is having, they’re perfect. I also wonder about how hard-wearing they are given their delicate feel, but I can report back next year.

So, in summary, I really like these shoes and I would heartily recommend them.