Sneakers have seen me through every stage of life. In elementary school I had a pair of fuchsia hi-top Reeboks (with double velcro!) that I adored. Later, in high school, I was a sprinter so I had some seriously tricked out kicks: light as slippers, bright as the sun and with metal spikes in the sole that would leave Lady Gaga agog. These days, however, I only wear my Nikes for an occasional jog, but you'll never catch me out and about in athletic footwear.
My negative feelings toward the sporty shoes changed recently when I saw style iconSolange Knowles out in New York City wearing a cute shorts-and-top-ensemble, Chanel bag ... and hi-top sneaks. I would never have thought to pair running shoes with the classic purse, but that's what makes Knowles a trendsetter: she takes the unexpected and makes it look so why-didn't-I-think-of-that easy.
Why have I fallen in love all over again? Because sneakers take any look down a notch. Your skirt's too short? Add a pair of Converse and they are now weekend-appropriate. Your dress is too girly? Add Isabel Marant's hidden wedge sneaks and you're channeling Kate Bosworth. Best of all is that the footwear is undeniably comfy; leave your band-aids and that extra pair of flats at home.
Check out 26 celebrities who serve as inspiration, plus eight pairs of seriously cute kicks.