FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 14, 2023
Sneakers at work: Any day is casual day for fans of Nike, Jordans, Adidas, Converse, Sketchers
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Sneakers aren't just for streetwear, gyms and sports. They're worn to business offices, in Congress, by politicians visiting the White House and even by the president and vice president occasionally. On Capitol Hill earlier this summer, some U.S. senators, representatives and aides wore soft-soled kicks to celebrate the first Sneaker Day hosted by the new Congressional Sneaker Caucus. One staff member sported red, white and blue Heelys.
"I launched this caucus to use sneakers to promote social interaction between members of Congress, their staff and visitors to the capital," says first-term Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla. (see video below). He's a fan of Air Jordans and owns about 150 pairs of various kinds. Another House newcomer, Florida Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, describes the group as "a lighthearted way to build relationships with other members of Congress and our constituents." There's also a practical side: Dress shoes are wildly uncomfortable for those taking thousands of steps across marble floors throughout the day.
At the White House, three congressional leaders wore sneaker shoes (a hybrid style) at an Oval Office meeting with them president in May. Those semi-casual visitors were House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Two months earlier, "Ted Lasso" star Jason Sudeikis and TV castmates wore Nikes to the Oval Office for a mental health care discussion. And in early July, President Joe Biden was photographed wearing navy and grey Sketchers without socks as he boarded Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base for a trip to London. For her part, Vice President Kamala Harris is a fan of Converse sneakers.
In another North American capital, sneakers supplement dress shoes for some Canadian politicians in Ottawa. Wearers include Parliament member Melissa Lantsman (Jordan 1 Mid), House Leader Mark Holland (Chuck Taylor Converse), Transport Minister Omar Alghabra (Adidas), Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and their boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wore Nike's Los Angeles Dodgers model this year to a Liberal Party meeting. "There's a new kind of politician. People wear sneakers in their lives, and showing up in the [district] in a suit doesn't work," says Lantsman, a Conservative Party deputy leader.
Congressman says: "Obviously, there is tradition here. . . . But you can wear whatever suit you want or tie you want. It should be no different for the sneakers you want. . . . Congress is getting younger. Traditions change." – Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., a self-described "sneakerhead"
Fox News host says: "A man of that generation, wearing those shoes [sneakers], particularly as commander-in-chief, in public, . . . that's the equivalent of wearing your bedroom slippers outside. That's like wearing a speedo and flip flops to a funeral." – Dagen McDowell, criticizing Joe Biden on July 21
Style adviser says: "We've witnessed a massive shift in the way we think about workwear over the last three years. Personal style can reign supreme." -- Heather Newberger of Brooklyn, N.Y., fashion commentator and wardrobe consultant
Front Page Talking Points Archive