When Paper cover girl Kim Kardashian proudly endorsed Skecher Shape-ups in 2011, the fashionable elite quickly turned up their noses at the clunky calorie-burning sneaker. Fast-forward a few years and the gym shoe has become an unlikely nightlife staple, actively sported by two leading ladies in the club scene: NYC's Miss Queen Sateen and Chicago's Jazzeppi Zanaughtti.
"They're the perfect shoe for a girl who wants to walk seven miles [and] look like a Spice Girl in the process," says Sateen, who copped her pair at a local thrift store. "I really only wear my Shape-ups while serving day looks; I'm 5'7" and usually never go to the club without at least a six-inch boost. All my friends are drag queens, so if I wore Shape-ups to the club, I'd be speaking to the breast plates and chest hair of all my girls."
Styling the Skechers calls for an outfit that makes Zanaughtti look "as puss as possible," she says. Cascading pigtails, a pouty lip and dewy highlighting are all essentials and to round out the perfect ensemble, she recommends a size 3T Hollister polo, light wash denim mini skirt, "leg, leg, leg," and baby ankle socks that peek just out the top of her Shape-ups.
Sateen's approach is a bit more trash-glam, opting instead for cheap stripper bustiers and lingerie. During her VFiles "URL 2 IRL" episode, she paired her Shape-ups with a red vinyl teddy and Galliano Dior logo mini skirt. "My pillowy white Skechers perfectly offset the overt sluttiness of the look," she says.
Though she's adamant about leaving her sneakers at home, Sateen remembers an evening at Susanne Bartsch's weekly On Top party when her Shape-ups "saved the night." While hosting with her husband Exquisite, she suddenly lost her voice from speaking over the loud music. "As a singer, I didn't dare utter another word to save my voice," Sateen says. "But as a host, it's my duty to entertain the club goers, so thank Goddess I packed my Shape-ups. I slid them on and proceeded to the dance floor, [where] I vogued, dipped and swirled the night away."
Though they might be a lifesaver when you want to extend your stamina at the club, Zanaughtti challenges the workout draw of Shape-ups, suggesting that a kitten heel would lead to more shapely calves. But unlike Sateen, she says she'll turn up to a party wearing her Shape-ups and not just pack them in her bag for when her feet hurt. She says they help her "dance without being inhibited because you're worried your [heels] are one twirl away from you hobbling home."
Like any micro-trend, the lingering question is if the look is palatable enough to affect a wide-reaching audience. "The world probably hasn't caught on yet because Shape-ups are totally tacky," Zanaughtti says. "I myself love to have a tacky bitch moment regularly." Sateen confessed to genuinely loving the sneaker's synthesis of form and function, but like "in all great fashion, a sense of humor is required."