There’s been some talk over in the tumbl-sphere lately over wearing jeans with running shoes.
It started innocently enough, with somebody saying, “The idea of wearing running shoes with jeans makes me really uncomfortable.” Lots of people liked this post, and reblogging it in affirmation. The word frumpy got thrown around, and I piped in saying jeans+running shoes= me every day. I was a bit annoyed that females would be dissing other females’ choice to wear practical and comfortable footwear. Like a Victorian-era woman with giant hoop skirts looking at my jeans and saying, “yes, you can take the stairs two at a time, but it’s just not as cute!”
So I was a bit miffed, but then this happened:
omg running shoes are the BIGGEST fashion mistake.
one should NEVER wear jeans and running shoes. ever.
you may only wear running shoes if your working out, thats it.
Well. Oh boy.
I feel like we see this conversation in reverse a lot, with women defending their choice and right to wear high heels.
That conversation has the side saying, “but heels are painful, can cause long-term damage, and decrease your mobility and ability to run away from unsafe situations! There is no justification and therefore what the heck!” and the other side saying, “some of us have to for work! Some of us want to because we like how they make us feel or look! Choose your choice!”
I’m a non-heel wearer, myself. A lot of this is because I walk with a slight limp, especially when not wearing orthotics. My orthotics only fit in running shoes (or other shoes with a large footbed). I can’t wear flip-flops in the summer, only Birks, Chacos, and other supportive sandals. The physical discomfort of heels is greater for me than for people with regular legs/hips/knees. I’ve also had knee surgery, and if I were to lose my balance in heels and fall over, I’d maybe need surgery again. But whatever, if you want to wear heels, and you want to bear the pain and take the risks, then wudeva. Go for it.
But this isn’t a talk about heels, though it does parallel. This is about telling people what they can or cannot wear. What they can or cannot do. I feel this is compounded by the fact that, in a way, we are telling people how to represent their gender. Running shoes=sports=lots of masculinity, right? I had never even though that wearing jeans and running shoes was a reason to call the fashion police, like wearing pink and red together, or two stripes with polka-dots, and all those other supposed fashion no-nos. After being called frumpy, I paid a bit of attention to the people around me. Jeans and running shoes GALORE, but I should point out that as an engineering student, I’m surrounded by males.
I’m also irked that the call was on not just a fashion choice, but a choice of practicality and comfort. I wear running shoes because I can do anything I need to do in them. Ride my bike to school. Jog to catch a bus. Not slip if I’m walking through a recently-mopped hall. You’re telling me to sacrifice that.
“Do you wear a sports bra sometimes? Well, you should be wearing a CORSET.”
“Do you just put your hair in a pony-tail to save time and keep it out of your face? Well, you should wake up an hour earlier and straighten it every day.”
“If you just grabbed breakfast to go instead of sitting down to a healthy meal, you’d have time in the morning to do your make-up.”
“If you keep lifting weights, you’re going to have man arms.”
It’s all the same sentiment, isn’t it? That how we look should be more important than something else?
So then I did a quick search and put together a slide show of my second favourite celebrity rocking the running shoes and jeans combo, and now I have all the fashion validation I need. If Jennifer Garner can make it work (and even if she couldn’t) then I will keep wearing my running shoes with my jeans.