The New Era of Commuter Shoes You’ll Want to Keep On

Photo: Backgrid

Ah, the commuter sneaker. The toss-away athletic footwear worn from home to office has long been romanticized. Films show women trudging to work in their fit-for-a-geriatric sneakers with hulking rubber soles, dragging their heels onto the subway, and then galloping to their offices where they remove their anchor-like sneakers and replace them with spindly stilettos, made to puncture the glass ceiling and move their well-heeled selves right into a C suite. Ahem, Working Girl, anyone?

But in reality, the commuter sneaker is ugly. It’s the scuffed eyesore of a slick-suited look, a beacon of grime, and a bull’s-eye of unsavory clunk. (A ’80s sock shimmied up to the shin is just the heinous cherry on top!) 

Whenever I wear a commuter sneaker, typically my fraying Nike running sneakers, I know that I will sit in my office chair and remove them, touching a sneaker that has been everywhere in the city, from a public bathroom on 14th and 8th to a stagnant puddle outside of my home. My commuter sneaker is probably the precursor for this era’s bubonic plague, and my hands are all of it. In short, the commuter sneaker is a constant reminder of the unprofessional grime and the grit that comes with the professional hustle. I don’t want to be reminded of it!

However, I have no choice but to slip my hooves into a commuter sneaker. Case in point: Yesterday, I trudged to work in a glorious eBay find: $50-something Tom Ford–era Gucci stiletto boots. But if any heel could kill, it would be this one, and I would be the victim. By the end of my walk, my feet hurt. No, they were on fire. I limped to my open office desk…no C suite for moi! Not with that sad and bruised gait–and ego!