A step up from sneakers

STYLE FILE

January 11, 1998|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,Sun Staff

The modern urban animal faces a number of tantalizing possibilities when it comes to casual footwear. There are flip-flops, soccer slides, boat shoes and all manner of leather lace-ups that will take you from casual Fridays through the weekend.

But nothing can compare to the universal popularity of a pair of plain old white sneakers. Except maybe a good pair of sturdy boots.

There is now a happy -- and hip -- medium: "brown shoes" -- a combination of athletic shoes and hiking boots. Think of them as a fly mix between an Air Jordan basketball shoe and the ubiquitous Timberland yellow winter boot.

The outdoor fashion boom of the past few years favored by homeboys and Wall Street types -- Ralph Lauren's polo shirts, rugged hiking boots and baggy, oversized jackets by Nautica and Hilfiger -- has now spawned this new "athletic" shoe.

Brown shoes have the technology of an athletic shoe with the durability of a trail boot. They're also made to withstand rain, snow and the withering gaze of a picky boss. And unlike basketball shoes, a good-looking pair of brown shoes can be purchased for around $100.

Brown shoes have been on the market, in one form or another -- for about six years, but have slowly evolved to meet customers' needs for a pair of tasteful weekend shoes that can travel anywhere.

"We noticed that outdoor wear is being seen now as an activity lifestyle," says Timberland representative Nan White. "White sneakers used to be the shoe of choice for the weekend but people now want something that's a little more tasteful."

At last, tasteful can also mean "in."

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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