No doubt working in the hotel business keeps you on your toes, and definitely your feet! Nancy Mendelson's column, "If the Shoe Fits..." about the trend of wearing sneakers to work struck a chord... so much feedback on when to wear sneakers and which ones. Clearly, post pandemic, you are 'all in' on the sneaker trend, and it makes perfect sense as many hotel employees rack up 10K steps before break time, not to mention the hours spent just standing, your feet might be your most important body part. Here to help, we've compiled a list of the most work-friendly sneakers / trainers and how to style them from the hertelier community plus Black Friday Deals where we could find them!
Sneakers with a Suit
Turns out that amongst the hertelier community, we've had some early adopters of the sneakers-for-work trend. Debbie Castillo, VP of Commercial Strategy/Asset Manager at DrivingROI, recalls her first time wearing sneakers for work in 2016, "I remember clearly because my client remarked on it. He had just been to China and said he saw women there pairing sneakers with suits." Debbie was wearing a pair of Golden Goose that day, but her favorite sneakers are Prada. "Shoes are what I like to splurge on, and when I want a nice quality sneaker I get Prada. I still have a few pairs of Golden Goose, but I wear them more with jeans, so mainly on my travel days. Or I wear the Golden Goose for a business dinner with jeans and a blazer, for a more refined casual look."
For Joy Rothchild, Chief Human Resources Officer at Omni Hotels and resorts, COVID was a turning point in her sneaker habits, "I had been wearing sneakers only casually, but once COVID started they became my 'go to' work shoes and I have never taken them off." Wearing sneakers has become so much a part of her work identity that she was gifted a pair of Nike Air Force One on Bosses Day, "My post about them had 64,502 impressions and 1500 likes so they clearly struck a chord!"
Joy's favorite brands are "Golden Goose (especially metallic and bling!), NeroGiardini, and Paul Green." In terms of when NOT to wear sneakers at work, Joy remarked, "I probably wouldn't want to see someone walk into an interview for an executive role with sneakers on, nor would I do that myself. And I have never worn sneakers to a black tie event but the minute I see black sequined ones, I am 'all in'!"
Survey Says: Yes to Sneakers / Trainers in the Office
London-based Dai, a sustainable performance workwear brand that has recently launched uniforms for the hospitality industry, just conducted a survey on the topic of sneakers for work. Of the 397 respondents, 46% selected "smart-looking trainers" in the office in autumn/winter and 50% in spring/summer. CEO Joanna Dai, chooses "a polished white trainer" to go with her work outfits.
Davonne Reaves, CEO of Vesterr, and hotel owner, is a fan of Gucci, Michael Kors, and Steve Madden, "big YAY on wearing sneakers to work events and when I travel." When asked when Davonne wouldn't wear sneakers, "I don't wear sneakers when I have a speaking engagement."
For something more budget-friendly and understated, Addidas Stan Smiths, Allbirds, New Balance, Veja, and Treetorns were mentioned, "I’ll wear simple Tretorn shoes with anything, like plain white mesh in summer and taupe/tan leather in Spring/Autumn," says Monica Sapirstein Berg, Hospitality Consultant.
To help you up your sneaker game, we've compiled a list of favorite models tried to find them for you in the Black Friday sales.
The most coveted sneakers of all the women we interviewed––Golden Goose. Hand-stitched in Italy, Golden Goose broke the mold in 2000 by creating sneakers with individually sewn uppers and hand-hammered soles found in formal shoes. Today, the company fabricates more than a million pairs of sneakers a year using traditional techniques in eight factories in Veneto and around Italy. By the way, you can have them repaired, so though pricey, should last a long time. Snag a bargain, Golden Goose are up to 29% off on RueLaLa Prices starting at around $450.
For classy Italian vibes at a lower price point, check out the NeroGiardini low top in Black Leather. Easy to pair these with pants, a suit, or a skirt. Currently on sale at Nordstrom in the US and John Lewis in the UK. Right now these are £108 at John Lewis (20% off retail).
Allbirds Women's Wool Pipers
With crisp tailoring yet a cozy feel, sustainable Allbirds which are made from wool can be paired with a suit or skirt. Though we could not determine if they are doing a Black Friday deal, these are currently priced at $110.
Michael Kors Georgie
The crocodile-embossed leather with metallic accents, Micahel Kors Georgie sneakers are a "sport-luxe" pair. Set on a wedge heel for plenty of lift, they will look just as cool styled with flouncy skirts as with pants. Retail: about $190, there will be a sale on November 25th.
Adidas Stan Smiths
The classic Adidas Stan Smith sneakers now come in 13 colors! The gold trim is very snazzy, but if you're looking to bag a Black Friday deal check the site to see which are on sale. No matter which accent color you choose, these are subtle enough to wear for work. Some models are already on sale for Black Friday, prices start at around £80.
Parisian brand Veja (pronounced vay-ja) was founded in 2005 and has since carved out a niche for itself in the sustainable sneaker market, but gained popularity in 2018 when Megan Markle wore a pair on a trip to Austrailia, causing searches for the brand to increase by 115% soon afterwards. Veja's strong eco-credentials mean it’s a certified B Corp: a company that meets the highest stands of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. In the UK various Veja models are on sale at Zolando, in the US you can try Nordstroms. Prices start around £79 on sale.
New Balance 327
New Balance, the sneaker brand that feels like it has been around forever has recently become uber hip by rebooting their retro styles and using more sustainable materials. A top seller is the 327, whose design is originally from the 1970s. It works for work with the big N and comes in 13 different color combos, including the fun leopard print in the pic! You can snag New Balance on sale at Zappos in the US or Zolando in the UK for as little as £69 (however, the leopard model is £95, currently not on sale).
Treetorn Nylite Podium
Another throwback from the 1970s, Treetorn has updated the classic Nylite model by adding a platform and using recycled canvas which is locally sourced, while the outer sole is made of natural rubber to minimize the ecological footprint of the materials. This simple style can truly pair with anything and is currently on sale for £52 (reduced from £75) on the Treetorn site.