As anyone who knows me knows, I’m not a sneaker person. I mean I love the comfort, I’ve just always felt more…dressed, when I’m in boots or booties or basically anything but sneakers. But recently I’ve discovered a few pairs that are striking the right balance between sneaker and not-a-sneaker, and I thought I’d share them for those of you with the same weird thing about sneakers that I have.

Admittedly these are all on the spendy side — they’re more like sneakers that replace boots, than replacing other sneakers. And for that reason, I’m looking at really high-quality brands, with styles designed to both look good and last. Let’s just say that Ellen would probably dig them all too.

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PLAE sneakers in the Abra high top adult style are like a sneaker for people who don't like sneakers


First, I’m a new devotee of PLAE — the kids shoes we’ve loved for years, only now they make them for adults too. They sent me a pair of the PLAE Abra WP shoes in black (shown up top) and…wow.  They’re well-structured and stylish, but still comfy, with that funky closure system — they close using very thin nylon laces that hook around a sort of bolt at the ankle, eliminating the most sneaker-y thing about sneakers, those fat laces tied up with a bow. The leather’s holding up quite nicely so far, and I find myself reaching fo them more than I expected. I even named them my cool pick of the week on a recent episode of Spawned.

Sneakers for people who don't really like sneakers: The Inkerman NYC Charlie High-Top


just discovered the gorgeous shoes from Inkerman at a local maker market and…oohhhh. Though their collection is heavy on men’s shoes, they do offer a few female styles including the beautifully constructed Max Hightop Sneaker. Made with ethically-sourced full-grain US leather, it has the look of a classic English dress shoe, only sitting on a nice, fat, cushioned sole of a sneaker. They are just stunning in person — you almost wouldn’t think it was a sneaker until you took a closer look.


ECCO Soft 8 high-top sneaker: Cool sneaker in a style that feels more like a bootie


The ECCO Soft 8 high top is one more option for a sweet sneaker that doesn’t look like a sneaker. With the thinner laces that I like from PLAE combined with a chunkier sole like the Inkerman high top, it’s kind of like a hybrid of the two. It looks luxe with that premium leather, and I do like that the sole is black instead of white. If you look at the video on the Zappos site you can see just how sleek they look on the model.


Frye Lena zip-top .high top sneakers


If you really want to go for high style in a sneaker, then oof, I’m totally coveting these Frye Lena zip-up high tops. As in, heavily coveting. And I never say that about a sneaker. That 70s style! That fat, moto-jackdet zipper! That Frye pricetag! Okay, so these will probably remain safely on the covet list for a while.