How to Wear Sneakers When You’re A Grown-Up

There’s no denying the fact that sneakers are not only trendy, but super comfortable. But if you’re over 40, sometimes the trendy sneaker styles might feel out of place or like they are meant for a twenty-something who is in an entirely different stage of life. But really, you can and should be wearing fabulous sneakers right now. And no one can carry off some of these crazy sneaker styles more than a woman who knows exactly what she wants. Here’s how to wear sneakers over 40.

Best Sneakers Over 40

Keep in mind that we’re talking about fashion sneakers here, not actual running shoes or the type of sneakers that you would wear to work out. These should be the kind of shoes that you wear when you are out and about and kind of casual, but still want to look like you care about your appearance. There are a few current sneaker styles for women over 40 you need to know about.

sneaker styles low tops saint laurent white superga animal print Chuck Taylor
Saint Laurent Andy Genuine Calf Hair Trim Sneaker, $545 | Superga 2750 Fanvelw Sneakers, $79 | Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70 Canvas Sneakers, $80

Low Top Sneakers Over 40

Classic low top sneakers are always a good look. You can go super high end with these Saint Laurent sneakers (we’re definitely fans of the perfectly executed animal print here), or these Superga animal print low top sneakers. Or go super old school with these Chuck Taylors and become the more stylish version of your high school self.


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Prada Tech Cageged Chunky Sneakers MICHAEL Michael Kors Felix
Prada Tech Caged Lace-Up Chunky Sneakers, $895 | MICHAEL Michael Kors Women’s Felix Slip-On Wedge Sneakers, $145

Platform Sneakers

If you are having flashbacks to the Spice Girls and their platform sneakers, we understand. But the newer platform sneakers are better and far closer to the classic styles than you think. For instance, these Prada Tech Cage sneakers are definitely a whole lot of look, but in a great way, or get sparkly with these MICHAEL Michael Kors platform sneakers.

Ted Baker flroal sneakers Kenneth Cole Kam Animal-Print
Ted Baker Women’s Roullyp Low-Top Sneakers, $160 | Kenneth Cole Women’s Kam Animal-Print Lace Up Sneakers, $135

Embellished Sneakers

Sometimes over-the-top looks work in the best possible way, which is why we think that after 40 (or any time really) you should wear what you love. That includes all kinds of shoes including something like these floral painted Ted Baker low tops that balance out the embellishment with an all black upper. Or you may like these Kenneth Cole zebra print low rise sneakers that have added pops of color.

sneakers SeaVees Steve Madden slip on
SeaVees Baja Platform Mulholland Sneakers, $117 | Steve Madden Gills Sneaker, $73.76

Sneaker Slides

You might remember the old school Vans (and the look is definitely making a comeback). But slide-style sneakers are becoming a serious trend and they are easy to wear with just about anything. We are fans of these SeaVees platform sneakers and their snakeskin print, or you can do a cheap and chic version with these Steve Maddens.

how to wear sneakers over 40 puma LQDCell Optic white Adidas falcon
Puma Women’s LQDCell Optic Sheer Low-Top Sneakers, $110 | Adidas Women’s Originals Falcon Shoes, $100

“Dad Sneakers”

Sometimes chunky can be a good thing, at least when it comes to shoes. And while this trend can be tough to pull off, sometimes it can be a great look, especially with leggings, cropped leggings or other athleisure styles. And if you’re going to do the dad shoe look, then why not go all out with something like these rainbow Pumas? Or if you want to keep things simple, Adidas Falcons in white can be a good choice.

how to wear sneakers Allbirds black wool Superga white Core Classic
Allbirds Women’s Wool Runners, $95 | Superga Core Classic Sneakers, $65

All Monochrome Everything

All white, all black, or anything in between can make a pair of sneakers easy to match with almost anything in your wardrobe. A black-on-black pair like these All Birds might be the easiest to style, or go super crisp with these all white Supergas low-top sneakers, which also come in lots of other colors if you want to switch things up.

Styling Tips: What To Wear With Your Sneakers

1. Sneakers are inherently casual, so basic pieces like jeans, t-shirts, leggings and other similarly athleisure styled looks will always work. However midi dresses or skirts (including the currently trending animal print skirts) can also look awesome. Or try  shorter skirts if you are confident about your legs.

2. Sneakers with skinny ankle cropped pants and a blazer or other tailored jacket can also be a modern look. Or wear wide leg pants and a more fitted top if your favorite pair of sneakers is more chunky (think platforms or “dad sneakers”) or a wedge style.

3. Sneakers are absolutely not just for the gym anymore, and there are plenty of reasons that you should make them be part of your daily wardrobe. In fact, sneakers are perhaps the best choice of footwear to wear everyday due to their comfort, versatility and general support for your feet. Furthermore that holds true no matter what your age!

4. But there is definitely a difference in the way that you wear sneakers as grown ups. That is, as opposed to the twenty-something and younger crew. Keeping things upscale – and keeping your sneakers clean and new-looking – goes a long way towards making your sneakers look sophisticated.

– Jacqueline Zenn

You may also like to read more of Jacqueline’s styling posts like How To Wear And Look Fabulous In The Lace Blouse Trend and The Top 10 Fall 2019 Trends for Women Over 40.

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2 thoughts on “How to Wear Sneakers When You’re A Grown-Up”

  1. Thanks for ideas and photos. I have three pair of sneakers right now and I often look at photos in catalogues to see how the models “dress” them up. Your ideas are great.


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