A sneaker feeling brought on by age

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 March, 2010, 12:00am

Past a certain age, despite your willingness to suffer for fashion, your body just gives up. All those years of abuse from tight trousers, shrunken shirts and jackets, and slim and pointy shoes bite yours truly rather painfully in the ass.

I have had this epiphany lately. My body is no longer willing to squeeze itself in to my very tapered trousers and slim shirts. My feet, after swearing off trainers for years and years, refuse to walk in anything but. I always said runners are for children and thieves, so imagine my surprise when I found myself making a beeline to Hogan to buy a pair of trainers a day after I moved back to Hong Kong. I guess age does eventually take its toll.

That said, trainers are officially cool for spring. With sportswear being such a strong trend this season, they have become the new Holy Grail of men's fashion. But take note, those chunky pairs you wear at the gym will not make the grade. Those belong on the treadmill, not in the fashion lane.

Hogan makes good trainers. I especially like its classic Olympia styles because they are not too rugged or sporty. I like that they can be dressed up or down because they are not bulky and come in all sorts of fluorescent colours. My own pair is white with a blue and silver trim. I have worn them with everything, from jeans, a T-shirt and beat-up leather jacket to a striped shawl-collared knit with chinos for a Martha's Vineyard look.

If you're not used to wearing trainers but want to get in on the action, ease yourself into the trend gently. Think of yourself as a cigarette junkie wanting to quit. You don't just wake up one day and stop smoking altogether. You go through the process of smoking less each day until it is completely out of your system, otherwise you'll never get rid of the habit.

Find a pair of trainers with a similar design to dress shoes: sleek, a little slim and if you aren't comfortable wearing white shoes, pick a pair in black. Zegna Sport has a black pair in traditional dress shoe materials such as leather and suede. These look as good with black trousers as they do with jeans. Tod's has a beautiful pair in a high gloss black finish. Prada has perforated leather sneakers (1) in black and in grey, which reminds me of the perforated formal leather lace-ups two summers ago.

Dressier sneakers also come in other colours. Brunello Cuccinelli at The Swank has a pair in camel-coloured suede, Giorgio Armani in white canvas with grey piping, and Boss Green has one in the classic combination of red, white and blue. However, I would not recommend that you wear them with suits even if you see a lot of Hollywood celebrities doing so. I am of the strong belief that one should never mix suits with trainers. I am a purist that way.

But if you want a pair that will draw attention, then you have to get high tops. At Lane Crawford, there's a pair of Nike leather and rubber high tops (3) in fire-engine red that could elicit as much gawking as the neon Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton shoes from a couple of seasons back.

Kris Van Assche also showed a lot of high tops both for his eponymous line and for Dior Homme. He paired them with just about everything, from loose shorts and see-through shirts to harem pants with graphic sleeveless tops. For his own line, the high tops came washed in a single colour, either black or white. For Dior Homme, styles have a little more detail (2) with layers and layers of laces wound around the ankle.

Boss Orange has a pair in silver metallic and off-white. Even Hogan has jumped on the bandwagon although less edgy and dramatic and more utilitarian.

New at Brothers & Sisters is cool local brand Cipher. It has a pair of high tops with quilting on the sides in black, white or a combination of both. These would look good with trouser hems insouciantly tucked in or if you are really pushing the trend, with retro-style track pants that have a garter band on the ankles.

Personally, I'm not ready for high tops yet.

Shopping list

Boss, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1833

Cipher at Brothers & Sisters, 1881 Heritage, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2369 1991

Giorgio Armani, Chater House, Central, tel: 2532 7700

Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388

Hogan, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 0181

Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 3388 Prada, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2522 2989

Tod's, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2810 8692

Zegna Sport, Seibu, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9320