You’re likely looking at your weather app on a daily basis right now, trying to preempt whatever combination of rain, sunshine, and cold winds that autumn is going to throw at you and what footwear will be the best option.
Changing seasons can often cause us to do a complete overhaul of sneaker rotations, swapping out styles that we deem as only summer appropriate for those that can hold up against the elements — but is there another way? We think so. Here’s how to create your own season-proof sneaker rotation.
In order to work across multiple seasons, the sneakers in your collection need to be able to work for a variety of different occasions and climates.
Looking to styles that have a more subdued palette can work well here, but don’t let versatility get in the way of personality — if a pair of sneakers fits well into your personal style then the likelihood of it being that versatile shoe you’re looking for will increase thanks to the fact you’re more likely to actually wear them. There’s no point having a nondescript pair of sneakers that, while they might work for any occasion, you just don’t ever feel good wearing.
Versatility can conjure up images of those sneakers with an upper resembling a dress shoe, something that can supposedly ‘do it all’ — when in reality they fail at doing anything thanks to their confused design that doesn’t quite fit anywhere. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Instead, think of what occasions you’re likely to be going to frequently, and look for sneaker options that will fit into your lifestyle well, regardless of the weather and go from there.
If you’re not in a job that requires you to wear a suit day-to-day, but does ask for a ‘smart casual’ dress code, something like a pair of the New Balance 550 White Grey would be a good option. They’re easy to smarten up by keeping your outfit on the smarter end with some tailored cotton trousers and a simple overshirt, but also don’t look out of place in an off-duty outfit for your days not in the office.
Getting the most out of your rotation isn’t just about having sneakers that you can wear all year round, but year after year as well.
When you’re looking to bring a new pair of sneakers into your collection, think about why you’re buying them. Are they a trend or something you think you’ll be wearing for a while? Often the shoes that stand the test of time are the ones that are least dependent on trending colours or materials, but focus on solid construction and easily wearable silhouettes. Look at any brands most iconic sneaker shape, the New Balance 990, the Nike Air Jordan 1 or more recently the adidas Samba, they all share a more minimal approach to design with most details being reserved for more subtle branding and considered contrasting material use.
Longevity is also about how long the shoes will actually last — part of this is down to quality of construction, but also down to how well you’re caring for your footwear. Regularly cleaning your sneakers, especially your white pairs, and storing them correctly with shoe trees inside can significantly extend their lifespan.
Sometimes the rain can’t be avoided. As much preparation as we can do can still fall short when the heavens really open and you need to turn to the more hardwearing side of things.
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate real functionality, look no further than GORE-TEX. The material’s use has increased in popularity over the last few years with some of the most sought after silhouettes, such as Nike’s Air Force 1, now being available in the waterproof and breathable fabric. This crossover of style and functionality, along with tried and tested methods like using suede protection treatments on the less rain resistant sneakers in your collection, are the best approach for complete year round protection.
Another sure bet would be to keep your rotation on the darker end, colour wise. Light sneakers (obviously) mark easier, and will show their wear and age quicker than darker ones, which will hold up against the odd shower or two.