Jacob: I’ve been coming across sneakers with Gore-Tex uppers or that sit on a giant, boot-like sole from brands like Nike, Arc’teryx and Converse. You compared them to “scented garbage bags” so I’m gonna guess that you think they’re superfluous?
Jason: I think winter sneakers are an answer in search of a question. Was there an epidemic of frozen feet in sneakers I was unaware of? After all, isn’t there an entire category of winter footwear out there—i.e., boots?
Jacob: But it’s sneakers’ world and we’re just living it! If I went outside our office right now, I’d see scores of men wearing all shapes and shades of sneakers. Guys have just gotten so used to sneakers, they’re not willing to lace up something different—even on days when it’s snowing.
Jason: I agree that sneakers have penetrated our wardrobes to the point it’s hard to remember when they were unacceptable. (I remember that! I’m old enough to remember when wearing sneakers to an event was basically like showing up without a shirt on!) Winter sneakers just seem like sneaker-makers trying to slice off another part of the market. “When do people with too many sneakers not wear sneakers?” “Maybe the 23 days of the year when it’s 19 degrees and slushy?” “OK let’s make something for those days.” It’s not answering some dramatic public need. I turn this winter sneaker question back to me: What winter sneaker would I wear? I’m older than you, Jacob, so my window of socially acceptable footwear gets narrower and narrower. I am about three years away from only being able to wear gray New Balances. But if I had to pick one…I guess it would be the Adidas Stan Smith with Gore-Tex…but it doesn’t have a high ankle, so I imagine stepping into a pile of slush and…Nightmare, thanks for nothing, Stan!
Jacob: To answer the same question: There’s an Italian label called Roa that makes water-resistant sneakers. [see above] Not only would I wear those, I do wear those. The best part of these sneakers is the Vibram “Megagrip” sole, which provides a good few inches of lift for bounding over snow bluffs.
Jason: That sounds like a good shoe. But also…basically a boot?
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