– By Jacqulen Loder, Staff Writer
There is no better way to give off a cool but relaxed look than by sporting a pair of sneakers. Sneakers are great for campus life for students on the go and for all-around comfort.
By the looks of Montclair State’s campus, students are getting in on this laidback trend. However, when I tracked the campus for stylish sneakers I came to a crossroad.
There are many types of casual kicks out there, but the brands most frequently seen on campus are Vans and Converse. I decided to dig in on the confliction of kicks.
Converse is an American shoe company that originated in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse. However, it wasn’t until 1917 when the Converse All-Star basketball shoe was introduced.
A basketball player by the name of Charles “Chuck” Taylor began promoting the shoes nationally, and in 1932 his signature was added to the All-Star patch on the classic high-top sneaker.
“I think Converse give off more of a punk image. The Ramones wore them, but I think now girls wear them to be edgy,” said Jeff Onorato.
For girls, personally, I like when sneakers are paired with leggings, skinny jeans or even skirts. The sneaker gives off a boyish look to any wardrobe. For guys, I believe it also gives off an edgy vibe.
“I’ve always worn Converses — they’re just comfortable,” said Naraly Vazquez.
In 1966, Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren and three other partners opened up their first store in California that sold what is known now as the “authentic” style of Vans.
Vans became popular through skaters in the early 1970s. They liked the rugged style and sticky sole. Tony Alva and Stacy Perata designed the Vans “95” in 1975, known today as the “Era.” With its padded collar and different color combinations, the Era became the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders due to the non-slip bottom being more conducive for a better grip.
“Vans have been more traditionally skater-styled. I almost exclusively wear Vans. I think they have a nice clean look. They are more comfortable,” Onorato continued.
Both trends offer a flat-footed sole and a variety of patterns and colors. I would it find hard to believe that you couldn’t find one to fit your preferences. They are both American manufacturers and have original, classic and authentic styles that they have held onto throughout the years.
In the end, to college students, it all comes down to comfort. There are a lot of gimmicks out there when it comes to Vans and Converse look-alikes. However, nothing is like these brands when it comes to the styles of casual and edgy.