Much of shoe culture focuses on ultra-limited and/or expensive new releases from top designers, obscure European labels or limited collaborations with rappers and athletes. Hey, I want pairs of Yeezy Boost 750s and OVO 10s as much as the next manchild. Unfortunately, I can't spend upward of $2,000, in Yeezy's case, for a single pair of shoes. These releases inspire scores of people to sleep on the streets outside of elite boutiques for days just for the chance to spend a lot of money on shoes.
Although we admire their dedication, most well-adjusted people just want to spend the minimum required not to look like an earwax-sniffing shut-in. I scoured some of Portland's busiest shoe retailers to find out what's trending in the city's streets, and provide some outfit suggestions so you can look as effortlessly cool as your favorite barista.
Fortress of Inca Adriana Coco ankle boots, $240
What are those? Fortress of Inca produces several models of minimalist, all-leather upper and wooden-soled shoes sustainably produced in Peru by workers paid a fair wage. The Adriana Coco boots are striking, modern and affordable, while retaining a classic silhouette that dresses up and down.
Pair them with: A hand-knitted asymmetric cardigan, floppy sun hat and white guilt.
Buy: Limited stock remains at Miss Meers, 7347 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, 726-0701, missmeers.com.
Nike Roshe Flyknit sneakers, $75-$160
What are those? With a clean, stripped-down design, ultra-light construction and an almost bargain-basement price, Nike's Roshe Flyknit and One shoes have slowly grown to become part of everyone's wardrobe, from teenagers in drop-crotch joggers to slightly cool parents. If you have a bigger budget and are more fashion conscious, upgrade to Adidas Ultra Boosts ($180). Kanye wore them!
Pair them with: A skintight Lululemon Lycra jacket, Lululemon yoga pants, ponytail and your baby, whom you gave a dumb old-timey name like Otis.
Buy: Most major sports shoe retailers at Lloyd Center or the Nike store, 638 SW 5th Ave.
Vans Sk8-Hi high tops, $55-$85
What are those? The classic is back. Vans' iconic high-top skate shoe has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to an expansion of colorways, patterns and collaborations. Although you could choose a pair in your favorite color, the all-white canvas Sk8-His are timeless and will make you feel nostalgic and hip.
Pair them with: Your best pair of blue jeans, a crisp, white T-shirt and a selfie of yourself bored and smoking a cigarette.
Buy: Vans store at Lloyd Center or vans.com.
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger Style No. 8114 boot, $320
What are those? You know those expensive-looking black leather boots that every Tom, Dick and Harry with a flannel, black jeans, beard and beanie is wearing? They're Red Wing Iron Rangers. American-made and resoleable, Red Wing boots are worth the investment because they last forever with minor maintenance.
Pair them with: The bored Portland barista uniform and your trust fund.
Buy: Animal Traffic, 429 SW 10th Ave. and 4000 N Mississippi Ave.
Nike Jordan Eclipse low tops, $110
What are those? Air Jordans are a little ostentatious for some. This is where Jordan Eclipse, the more-affordable, low-top option that doesn't look like an embarrassing dad tennis shoe comes in. Eclipses are modest, but sleek enough to communicate that the wearer knows what he is doing. You can show flair with some of the more daring colorways.
Pair them with: Black joggers and a snapback. If you are WW arts and culture editor Martin Cizmar, baggy blue jeans and a soiled hoodie.
Buy: Nike store, 638 SW 5th Ave.
Adidas D Lillard 2.0 low-top basketball shoes, $105
What are those? Adidas has just released beloved Blazers point guard Damian Lillard's second shoe for the company. Jazzed up from the first edition with new homages to Dame's upbringing and new sneaker technology, the D Lillard 2.0 is among the most affordable basketball shoes on the market. Although the "Home" colorway is sweet, I'd wait for the mostly black "Away" colorway, which drops in early February.
Pair them with: Your Damian Lillard jersey and Trillblazin hat. Rip City.
Buy: Foot Locker at Lloyd Center or adidas.com/us.