A Science Student’s Guide to Fly Kicks

A Science Student’s Guide to Fly Kicks


The quintessential label assigned to students within the College of Natural Sciences is that of the geeky science nerd, unwilling to dress to impress like business students. However, even we can look fly! With most of us spending the vast majority of our time in labs, whether that be Organic Chemistry Lab, or various research labs, we can still stand out from the crowd with the shoes we put on our feet. How many times have you heard “closed-toed shoes only!” Sneakers, sneaks or kicks, whatever you want to call them, are a blessing for those long hours in the lab. That’s why, below, I’ve listed my top choices for shoes that are both fly, comfortable and affordable.

1. New Balance 998’s

         Men’s M998CEL ‘Elephant Skin’                            Women’s MADE MiUK 998

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New Balances are not just shoes for fratstars and the lazy. The Boston based company boasts a variety of styles and silhouettes for the savvy sneaker, with many falling in the 574, 990, 998 and 999 lines. The 998 silhouette is my particular favorite for its thick ABZORB sole as well as the variety of collaborations and colorways that have made their way to the forefront of sneaker culture across the years. An easy pick-up for both women and men, these shoes are extremely comfortable. My own pair of New Balance 998’s are my go-to for long walks around UT’s hilly campus and casual wear. Whether it be inside or outside of the lab, these shoes are a must-have for any CNS student looking to update their wardrobe. These shoes are also very durable, capable of withstanding many of the elements, (I’ve taken mine in the snow), and even lab hazards. Spill some solution on the floor in Chem Lab? No problem, these shoes are resistant to (mostly) everything.

2. Reebok Classics

        Reebok Classic Leathers - Black                          Reebok Classic Leathers - White

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These classics have been around longer than most of us have, and while many of us look at Reebok as a brand for dads and cross-trainers, these Classic Leathers are a staple for any guy or girl looking to up their streetwear. These sneakers are a perfect fit with a pair of light wash jeans or those baggy sweatpants you know you wear to every lab. Comfortable, but not meant for a hot summer’s day, these sneakers are clean and basic with minimal color offerings. The leather detailing and iconic silhouette offer a lot in the style department, and the Reebok Classics can be used on the go when you’re running those reactions.

3. Allbirds

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An atypical offering in the sneaker department, these all-wool runners are a recent development from a New Zealand-based company. Focused on building shoes out of quality, natural materials, these shoes are known for their comfort. The company’s focus on renewable and natural materials are evident in the company’s status as a “B corp”, a class of companies that focus on social and environmental justice. Moreover, Allbirds is partnered with Sole4Souls and use recycled materials in their packaging. The shoes are unique in their all-wool custom made upper, the use of recycled materials in their laces, and sustainable materials such as castor oil in their padded insole. More than that, the sleek and clean design of their silhouette and spacey colors offer a very modern alternative to other “comfort” shoes. Wear these from lab, to your workout, to class and then back to lab, because these are all-in-one shoes.

4. Nike Air Max Ones

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Nike is the world’s most dominant sportswear and sneaker designer - period. With success from collaborations with Michael Jordan leading to 15+ iterations of J’s, to it’s popular Air Max series, Nike is unparalleled. Even the Air Max concept, based around the air bubble you see on the sole, has several lineages including the Air Max 97, the Air Max 98 and my favorite, the Air Max 1’s. The Air Max 1 represents that coming of age, when you want to look young but not 13, sporty but not too sporty, clean but not too sleek. With various colorways and collaborations, you can’t go wrong putting on a pair of these whether it be with a lowkey outfit to lab, or even on a date. Oh, and did I mention comfortable?

Above, I’ve listed just 4 of many shoes that you can buy right now to up your wardrobe, whether it be to impress your PI, or to stand out from the other research assistants in your lab. 

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