PUMPED UP KICKS: SNEAKERS ALL MEN NEED TO CHECK OUT

Maybe it’s a sign I’ve been living in New York for too long, but I love seeing a guy in a dress shirt, jeans and sneakers. Or even better, a suit and sneakers (I’d have called suit pants “slacks” but that’s a little too close to my grandmother’s vocabulary for my liking). Either way, whether you’re 21 or 41, men should never lose the ability to rock a badass pair of sneaks.

My only suggestion is that not enough of you take risks with your footwear. I understand the inclination to play it safe, but if I have one piece of advice for you, it’s to throw off your self-imposed limitations and have a little fun. Sneakers aren’t just for casual wear, in fact they can be more chic than a pair of dress shoes at times. Use them as an opportunity to show off your individuality – women love to see your style. So if you’re going to broaden your horizons, here are some amazing options to set you off on the right foot:

If I were a guy, I would pretty much live at the SUPRA store on Prince Street in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood. It’s the only store I’ve gone into lately that made me have gender envy. SUPRA not only boasts it’s own skateboard team, it’s also the brand worn by riders in the know – and if they seem cooler than you, it’s because they actually are.

First up on my favorite styles list are the Skytops ($120). These are a more hip incarnation of standard high-top styles, and come in the above black/teal (also available in equally-awesome Skylow lower-tops for $80), as well as charcoal/purple ($120), yellow soles ($100), my almost-favorite – navy and white ($120), as well as about a dozen other colors/patterns/fabrics.

Equally standout are the Society Mids in hunter green and white ($120), as well as the Vaider style in Black and Magenta ($100, shown below).

All of SUPRA’s styles comes in a variety of colors and heights. For the really daring male, there are some pretty stellar low-top prints to choose from as well, like these that retail for $70. And if that’s not hot enough for you, they do sneaker snobs one better with their line of 413 edition shoes. Each style of this exclusive run only has 413 pairs made – in total – and once they’re sold out, they’re gone for good. Pretty f*ckin’ cool, if you ask me.

And if you’re the guy who just has to have the latest thing, these newly-released-but-throwback Reebok Classic Crepes are a present-day revamp of the 1983 version – in flaming red, no less. Recently featured on Hypebeast and Sneaker Freaker, who get all the credit for the find, if you’re feeling brave or nostalgic, these are a must-have.

Another strong option for the equally-hip-yet-slightly-more-plain sneaker fan is anything by Common Projects. These solid-colored styles are much pricier but worth every penny, in Miss Wingman’s humble opinion. *Note, I am a female though, and we tend to ignore price tags when it comes to shoes, common sense be damned. Though the brand makes everything from court shoes to dress styles, some of my favorites are the following:

The Tournament High-Top Sneakers (above) in this putty/gray color retail for around $335.

The classic Achilles Low-Top style retails for around $450 (told you, not cheap).

And these leather Low-Tops retail for around $465 and can be found on Common Projects’ website, or e-commerce sites like Park & Bond, or you can just pop into the kickass shop Unis on Elizabeth Street in Soho and stalk them, I mean check in, for new styles.

They’re expecting Common Projects’ new Spring line to arrive soon, and while you’re there boys, you’d do well to pick up a pair of their Gio Skinny chino pants ($198). Even if you’re not daring enough to try them on in this color reddish color (called Ox Blood, whoa), they offer a flattering profile of your posterior.

Boasted as the it brand for in-the-know shoe fanatics who want “high-end, low-key kicks,” Common Projects styles can be found on everyone from Kid Cudi to Kanye’s own DJ, A-Trak (and if ‘Ye approves, so do I).

Finally, if all else doesn’t suit your footwear fetish, you can’t go wrong with some good old fashioned Converse Chuck Taylors. But perhaps check out the collaboration between men’s designer John Varvatos and your favorite one-star sneaks, instead.

Varvatos’ line of Converse are equal parts urban chic with a slouchy, laid-back vibe. I dig the Star Player EV low-tops in black-on-black and black-and-cream ($170), but these Leather Double Zips are also kind of fabulous – and come in other colors than just eggplant, promise.

So that’s what I’ve got for you guys in the shoe department (no pun intended). Choose a fun way to express yourself, if the shoe fits, or just keep it classic and clean.

Just be cognizant that when it comes to sneakers, leave the athletic ones at the gym where they belong please. You can rock performance sneaks when you’re running, but in matters of fashion you should find kicks that suit your mood and stand out in the crowd. And remember: showing your personal style is always good for the sole.DAPPER WINGMAN

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FAIL-SAFE GIRL GIFTS: DAY 1

Santa came early this year, boys. As promised, this is the inaugural post of Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts, where I direct your attention towards some very cool holiday options for the females in your lives. First up: personalized gifts, because you can’t go wrong with a little attention to detail.

The folks at Chocri allow you to design your own chocolate bar for the candy-loving female. Originally founded in Germany, these purveyors of chocolate-y decadence have thought of everything when it comes to customizing your candy bar to suit her unique taste bud needs. Seriously, they have real gold flakes, cayenne & chili peppers, even candied rose petals – the list goes on and on.

You can choose from over 100 toppings and elect for either white, milk, dark chocolate or a combo for the chocolate bar base, then build on from there. Chocri allows you to add up to five options per bar and has everything from nuts to exotic fruit to breakfast cereal and even wasabi. You can also write a message on her chocolate bar, and if she’s vegan they have an option for that, too. (Told you, they thought of it all).

Depending on your creation, bars rarely cost more than $15 each. They ship to the U.S., only take a few days to create (though this holiday season there is a backlog due to a spike in their popularity), and are a solid gift choice. Sweets for your sweet, how could you go wrong? Check out their website for full details, it would make Willy Wonka proud.

Perfect for: Any girl with a sweet tooth. Dating timeline appropriateness: Any – this would please a new main squeeze or a long-time love, no restrictions. What it says about you: In short, “I rock.” Also “Give me a bite!”

If simple monogramming is more your speed, emblazon something with her initials this holiday. New Soho retail addition C. Wonder offers personalized everything (and I mean everything) for the preppy fashionista in your life. The store is a Tory Burch-meets-Target-prices (ok fine, a wee bit more expensive, but still very affordable) emporium of everything from home goods to high heels. Currently they have stores only in NY and NJ, but their website covers it all.

You can choose from conventional customized pieces like alphabet mugs ($8) and wine stoppers ($22), to monogram cheese boards AND spreaders ($18) for the hostess with the most-est. They even sell a do-it-yourself cocktail napkins and coasters kit – which rocks. Or, you can just opt for the additional $10 required to stitch her initials on anything from tote bags to cardigan sweaters, in a variety of thread colors and font styles.

Even Miss Wingman likes to find this under the tree, I picked up their Goyard-esque coated canvas tote ($68) and added some personalization myself this year – stitch initialing only takes about a week to complete. If you can’t find it and monogram it in C. Wonder, it doesn’t exist. Seriously.

Perfect for: The Kate Spade-type girl, preppy women, girly girls or any female who loves to decorate her space (or her pet) – their home goods and stationary are also standouts. Dating timeline appropriateness: Any, it doesn’t take much to slap some letters on, but it goes a long way in the pizazz department (um, that is manly pizazz, obviously). What it says about you: That you care enough to add a little something extra.

If sneakers are more her style, Converse has you covered. You can customize her kicks now, too. Converse stores feature a bar where you can cherry pick everything from fabric to height to colors and laces, or you can go on their website and Create a Converse for your shoe-loving lady. With sneaker base prices ranging from $67 for plain Chuck Taylor All Stars to more expensive higher styles ($90) and leather options ($80), the geniuses behind this craze have struck gold.

Every piece of the shoe can be customized to your specifications – with solid color options, funky prints, racing stripes and even the option to “tag” her shoes with a word or phrase. Want the tongue to be plaid but the lining to be neon? Done. The possibilities are endless.

Though they, too, are backlogged for the holidays (allow 4-5 weeks for shipping for online orders), you can try to speed it up by visiting them in-store where they build shoes on-site. Not a bad way to say “I love you” or even just “I love your shoes,” if you’re not there yet.

Perfect for: Hipster girls, girls who like shoes, sporty girls or even just the female with an appreciation for the funkier things in life. Dating timeline appropriateness: It’s not pricey, but it is very specific, so unless you know her style really well this is more of a ‘later on’ gift for established relationships. What it says about you: That you respect her individuality and like to think outside the (shoe)box

Ladies, have a suggestion for my list? Ever unwrapped a particularly amazing holiday gift? Share your story, email me at misswingman@gmail.com and keep it right here for 11 more days of gift-giving wisdom. ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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