Cute outfit ideas when wearing athletic running shoes in summer
July 25, 2012 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out cute outfits when wearing athletic running shoes all day in the summer. I have to wear these for my severe flat/ pronating feet and cannot wear sandals in the summer but still want to look cute and sporty. I am a healthy middle aged woman who travels a lot, walks a lot, lives in a small town and generally has a casual lifestyle. (I would not wear them out to dinner--don't worry) just errands, housework,yard work,family bbqs) I don't need help figuring out my fall and winter outfits because sturdy cute boots are my lifesaver but since in summer I cannot wear sandals I need help with cute sneaker outfits. Please don't suggest Converse or other "fashion" sneakers because they are not sufficient. (i tried!). thanks so much for your help!
posted by seekingsimplicity to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Leggings, full or 3/4, something light and blousy on top..
posted by sexyrobot at 2:58 PM on July 25, 2012

sundresses, especially sporty looking sundresses (think tennis outfits, but longer, polo dresses, etc), can be really cute with sneakers.
posted by nadawi at 3:00 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

could you post a pic of the sneakers you are wearing?

athletic running shoes can very so widely that it might be hard to tell without seeing them. esp if you have more than one pair, some thing might work others wouldn't.
posted by sio42 at 3:02 PM on July 25, 2012

I rock casual skirt (~knee length or shorter, in a denim or canvas-like material) + t-shirt + sneakers pretty regularly, and so far haven't gotten any flak for it. I also wear very brightly colored short (below ankle) socks, so that if someone bothers to look at my feet, they'll be too distracted by hot pink polka dots to care about my shoes.
posted by phunniemee at 3:06 PM on July 25, 2012

Here is a link to the sneakers. They are specifically for over-pronators and are running shoes not fashion sneakers.

posted by seekingsimplicity at 3:07 PM on July 25, 2012

Phun can you tell me the brand of skirt you wear? thanks!
posted by seekingsimplicity at 3:10 PM on July 25, 2012

I have had to do this this summer, with big ol' orthopedic sneakers, and like phunniemee do a lot of casual skirts with t-shirts and bright ankle socks. I also wear casual dresses, and even a few dresses that really aren't "right" with the sneakers. I had bought myself some very charming dresses this summer, and there was no way I was going to not wear them after I figured out I couldn't wear the cute shoes I had bought to go with them, so I decided this was my Year of Rocking The Orthopedic Sneakers.

Capris--or leggings, if you prefer that, as suggested above--also look darling and sporty with sneakers and a cute shirt. A t-shirt. camp shirt, or polo will work well/

As I've been out and about, I've noticed lots of women wearing serious shoes with their summer garb. I don't even stand out.
posted by not that girl at 3:13 PM on July 25, 2012

I have a few that I've just sort of acquired over the years. I think most of them are cheap ones from Old Navy. A quick browse says something along the lines of this.
posted by phunniemee at 3:14 PM on July 25, 2012

I usually only wear pants with sneakers, because I'm short with large-ish, muscly legs and I feel like sneakers "cut off" the line of my legs and make them look shorter when I'm wearing dresses or skirts. I recently got these linen pants from Loft and they're just right for summer -- very light and cool, not too formal or too messy-looking, and the color is great with a navy-blue or light green T-shirt. So if you prefer pants, try linen!
posted by ostro at 3:15 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

omg this is so helpful everyone! thank you so much-----i have been feeling bad over this and life is too short for this kind of worry!

I feel like I need to honor what my body is telling me---not be a fashion slave/victim. So glad to know there is a way to look cute but still feel good!
posted by seekingsimplicity at 3:17 PM on July 25, 2012

any more suggestions?
posted by seekingsimplicity at 3:26 PM on July 25, 2012

I wear capris (jeans or cotton twill) with sneakers, or dresses/skirts that hit just above the knee. With the capris or skirts I'll wear a cute short-sleeve top. I pretty much leave the bottom plain and wear patterned or bright colors on top.

You can also try getting supportive inserts for overpronators - New Balance makes some nice ones, as do Superfeet, so if you find some shoes that are cute but need a little better support, that may be an option too.
posted by bedhead at 3:26 PM on July 25, 2012

Athletic skorts are making their way back in and look very cute with sneakers, t-shirt, hoodie, etc. There's a big selection at Atheta, but you can also check REI and other similar retailers.
posted by HotToddy at 3:38 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Check out title 9 catalog. Dresses, skirts, capris, jackets. Also EMS or REI stores. Lots of cute sporty stuff.

Good luck !
posted by beccaj at 3:46 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love a denim pencil skirt. The shape is cute and flattering on most people, but denim makes it casual enough to get away with sneakers.
posted by politikitty at 3:56 PM on July 25, 2012

When I think about it, I even like the look of cute floral flowy summer dresses with big ole supportive oxfords with those black rubber soles. I think I even once saw the look featured on The Sartorialist blog. Don't know if I am brave enuf to do it but who says I can't, right?
posted by seekingsimplicity at 4:05 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have leggings, khaki skirt, denim skirt, cotton short dress from Gap. so maybe I can do this!
posted by seekingsimplicity at 4:06 PM on July 25, 2012

I used to wear Brooks shoes, as I have many of the same problems you do -- over-pronating, flat feet, and have bad knees and plantar fasciitis on top of those problems. Then a helpful shoe salesperson guided me towards the Ecco brand, which has a much broader realm of shoes ... including hiking boots, business-appropriate shoes, and sandals ... that have since pretty much solved all of my foot and knee problems, allowing me to resume walking the dogs and standing for up to 14 hours per day in a datacenter when the need arises. At current count, I own six pairs of Ecco shoes. They have retail stores in big cities and you can order them from as well.
posted by SpecialK at 4:12 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

You've gotten some great suggestions but I just have to ask -- have you discussed orthotics with your doc or podiatrist? Using them might open up the range of shoes you are able to comfortably wear.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:28 PM on July 25, 2012

i know this is off topic, but i googled "sandals flat feet overpronate" and it came up with these a lot, which might(?) be an option for you since the footbed shape looks a lot like the inside of my sneakers. just a thought.
posted by koroshiya at 5:22 PM on July 25, 2012

Seconding Athleta and Title 9; if you wear US size 16/18 or above, Junonia has similar offerings for those sizes.

I often wear tennis skorts just for hanging around, and they're designed to look cute with sneakers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:31 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might seek inspiration from sportswear-inspired fashion. Echo its tricks while wearing actual running shoes, thereby calling this trend's bluff while highlighting your own cred points.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:08 PM on July 25, 2012

the linen pants ostro linked to are nice - I think that pants that are slim in the thighs but have a bit of a flare, and are long enough to drape over the shoe a bit are the best match for sneakers. There are lots of yoga pants with this sort of fit, for extra-comfiness.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:32 PM on July 25, 2012

Someone on AskMe recently recommended the Barking Dog Shoes blog and it is very, very helpful for those of us who have hard-to-fit/problem feet but still want nice-looking shoes. The woman who runs it has LOTS of foot problems so she knows what she's talking about. You might get some inspiration from the outfits on her blog, or you might even find a good alternative shoe that you could wear with summer outfits. (She reviews lots of styles from a variety of shoe companies, so I don't feel like she's just shilling for one company.)

I did a specific search for "over-pronating" and came up with the following posts (there are more):
  • "If you're an over-pronator, have plantar fasciitis, back pain or knee problems, Chaco's a great choice for you."
  • "While we're on the topic of Naot footwear, I found out yesterday that my mom ordered this very shoe [Naot Matai] in black pearl. She has over-pronation due to fallen arches and loves the arch support of the Matai."
  • "If you have problem feet (bunions, plantar fasciitis, neuroma, arch problems, over-pronation), give Wolky a try."

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:35 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the question of what looks good with sneakers is largely decided by what fabrics they are made of. People wear jersey, cotton, lycra, twill, khaki, fleece, linen and denim with sneakers. They do not wear silk, satin, velvet, suiting, or crepe with sneakers. Just stick to the kind of fabrics casual clothing is made out of and your outfits will look cute and sporty.

I suggest you take things one step further and get yourself a cute backpack or sporty messenger bag to carry instead of a purse. A regular purse won't look right on your arm when you've got sneakers on your feet.
posted by orange swan at 6:49 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Title Nine and Sahalie are my go-to for sporty, comfortable, but stylish clothing. Also, Horny Toad, though their choices are a bit more limited.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:11 PM on July 25, 2012

Gah. My links abo ve were borked. Sorry. Title Nine and Sahalie are the proper ones.
posted by skye.dancer at 7:12 PM on July 25, 2012

I have flat feet and psoriatic arthritis that affects one of my big toes and I regularly wear my Nike frees (similar to these, mine are black with neon pink swoosh and laces) with capris, and casual skirts and dresses. I don't know if the Nike Frees would offer enough support for you, but I regularly get compliments on them, especially when they were newer and not many people had them. My 67 year old sister also has a pair and wore them when I frog-marched her around New York city (we probably walked 3-4 miles and she's normally quite sedentary; she was tired but her feet were fine). This season, I've seen some cute striped dresses (like those french sailor T-shirts) that I bet would look fine with sneakers. I'd agree orange swan, that fabric would be an important consideration.
posted by kaybdc at 7:22 PM on July 25, 2012

I popped back in to add that I think that cargo pants look good with sneakers. They aren't as popular as they were in the last few years so they might not be as readily available as they once were.
posted by kaybdc at 7:39 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

This may not be a realistic option, but getting a pair of more stylish (read: not white, less bulky) yet functional sneakers will make almost any outfit cute. I have three pairs of Nike Frees (the training version, in gray/lime green/sky blue) and their low profile really makes it look like I'm wearing a normal "fashion" or streetwear shoe.
posted by acidic at 7:47 PM on July 25, 2012

I will say that in NYC this summer I'm seeing a lot of ankle boots with summerwear - short skirts or shorts. I notice it because it seems a bit odd to me but it's clearly a thing. If your feet can take the heat then maybe you can make that look work and use your winter shoes. (Or oxfords, yes - that's a great idea.)
posted by yarrow at 7:44 AM on July 26, 2012

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