Trend Alert: Dress Sneakers

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Dress sneakers are one of the fastest growing segments of the $13.8 billion athletic footwear industry, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm. Since the days of the Air Jordan, sneakers have been slowly creeping beyond their athletic-only roots. “That was the era when kids began wearing sneakers to prom, and then to job interviews,” stated Elliott Curtis, professor of Sneakerology, a real course taught at Carnegie Mellon University.

Today luxury mass-market houses have gotten hold of the shoe and upped the ante. Popular among basketball stars like Dwayne Wade and musicians such as Kanye West, sneakers now act as another status symbol. “These sneakers have become so expensive that for an ad guy or a nonbanker, they’re a way of saying, ‘I’ve got cash,’ ” stated Mordechai Rubinstein, founder of the Mister Mort fashion blog. Brands like Mephisto and Mezlan have gotten into the game with their sleek and polished offerings. These pairs take the concept of the casual Friday to a new level. Up the style quotient at work with what's soon to be the next fashion craze from overseas.