The original purchase of cool women’s sneakers

A little over a year ago, this very site question whether sneakers were “over” in fashion. Well, last time I checked, humanity has not yet found feet to be superfluous appendages and evolved into a race of people with vestigial skin hoverboards running between our legs. (There are plenty of hoverboards though — but you still need feet for those.) Plus, the whole “athleisure” market comprises roughly $97 billion of the $330 billion footwear, apparel and accessories industry. This is to say that, no, sneakers are not going to be irrelevant anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter.

What they are going to get, however, is more confusing to buy. Especially for people who don’t want just any sneakers, but want the kind of kicks that say “I’m not like a regular pair of shoes, I’m a cool pair of shoes.” Admittedly, that market primarily caters to men, and for the longest time, women have been an afterthought. But now we live in a world where Beyoncé and Kate Hudson both have activewear lines, and numerous designers have left their signature stamps on plenty of iconic sneaker silhouettes.

To help you navigate between the perennial classics and limited-edition gems of the sneaker world, here’s a comprehensive primer on the big brands, independent labels and fashion houses churning out some of today’s most covetable kicks for women. Soon, you’ll be breaking the necks of hypebeasts and pretentious sneakerheads all over Instagram.

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