I am now in my forties and despite having a fairly relaxed attitude to what I can and should wear, it is always possible to look like a mid-life crisis guy by wearing inappropriately youthful footwear.
Nobody wants to be “that” guy who is obviously trying way too hard. Sneakers can look great, but not with everything all of the time. When and where is it cool to do so then?
(Just as an aside, I am Scottish. In Scotland would call this type of shoe a pair of “trainers.” I now live in Ireland where they are referred to as a pair of “runners.” There are probably plenty other names around for this type of shoe across the globe, but I settled on sneakers for this article, as everybody knows what they are).
Sneakers are 100% OK for weekend wear when you are that bit older. I like wearing a comfortable pair of Veja or Saucony when I am off work at the weekend. It’s almost a middle finger to the relative formality of my working week that has preceded it. These are grown up sneakers that look good and will last a few years.
Comfort and functionality must be considered too. It’s easier to hare around a supermarket, followed by the swimming collection, in between a Scouts drop off in sneakers rather than leather soled brogues.
Sneakers in a white, grey or blueish hue, will sit nicely with most denims, chinos or shorts. I still find turning up the trouser leg makes the look that bit cooler. Your appearance (and denims) will be totally ruined by having material hanging down the back of your sneaker and dragging on the ground. Not a good look.
As a guy in his forties I avoid any sneaker that is too garish, heavily branded or chunky. That trend last year of those ugly, hunks of plastic sneakers is not one I would be advocating you follow.
Going for a coffee or lunch
I would wear a more stylish (and as it happens very much on trend) sneaker out to coffee or lunch. By more stylish, I mean a sleeker, more minimal shoe with very little branding. This is the type of shoe you will see the cool guys wearing. We all want to be that guy don’t we?
Team them with trousers or decent denim for a laid back cool look. I think these social occasions (having two primary school kids means lunches out are an “occasion”) means I would wear my best sneakers out. These are ones that are kept in good shape and a man might have spent a few quid on them.
My version of these are from AMI and you can find plenty variations on the minimalist sneaker theme such as from Amsterdam-based ETQ or the new Stateside sneaker brand Koio. These are mid to upper luxury sneaker prices. What you get in the case of my AMI Paris sneakers is premium Italian, cross-grain leather with leather insole, good quality stitching and a sturdy sole. You pay for this in a product and so you should. The best time to pick up these pricier sneakers is in the summer sales from the likes of Mr Porter.
Minimalist style at lunch or over a brew will always be sophisticated and desirable in my book. Your clothes and shoes don’t have to shout, as long as you are happy in them. An older guy does not go looking for attention, but you may well get some admiring glances in your white t-shirt, navy trousers/pants and minimalist sneakers. Them’s the breaks.
Cinema or Theatre
You’ll be in the dark for most of these outings (literally and possibly metaphorically), but don’t let that be an excuse.
As above a cool, clean look will make you feel the part. Add a jacket or blazer to your look and you are really getting it on. You could go more casual with a bomber or leather jacket. Just make sure glow in the dark laces are not included.
Yes, sneakers are totally cool and acceptable for us older guys. Not all of the time however. Pick your moments. I wouldn’t wear them out to dinner with my wife. That’s what brogues or a smart boot is for. A mature man does not need to enter into a conversation with a doorman about his footwear when entering a late-bar either.
A good-looking sneaker is a great option during the daytime and you will look as if you are trying, but in a good mature man about town way.
Thanks for reading. Hope some of the above was helpful.
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