We Pinpointed The Top 5 Fashion Aesthetics For Spring — & The Sneakers To Match


With every new season comes a fresh batch of trends — and in the age of TikTok, that means a whole new set of aesthetics that encompass an entire vibe, more so than a specific dress cut or handbag shape. We’ll be the first to admit that, at times, it can be hard to keep up, but among the many “-cores” to emerge on what feels like a weekly basis, there are always a handful that boast true lasting power, sticking around for an entire season or longer.

Spring 2023 presents an interesting mix. Some draw from the usual feminine, dopamine-infused designs we expect to see this time of year (see: balletcore), while others, such as dystopiacore, fall into the darker, moodier end of the spectrum. Speaking of dystopiacore, so much of it pulls from the ongoing Y2K revival that’s been prevalent in fashion for the last few years, as does rom-comcore and mermaidcore. And for those who consider themselves trend-averse (or simply don’t believe in low-rise jeans), there’s also the more-mindful classiccore, which relies solely on utilizing your capsule closet essentials.

But no matter which vibe we go for, when it comes to our shoes, we look to the sneaker as a versatile footwear hero, a seasonless, uncomplicated option that ensures we’re comfortable, no matter which trends we’re leaning towards. That’s why we teamed up with PUMA to break down five of spring’s leading aesthetics and pair them with the perfect classic sneaker (that you can style into the next set of aesthetics...and the next).
The Aesthetic: Early Aughts Rom-comcore
The Shoe: PUMA Mayze Mix

There are plenty of things we have the Y2K era to thank for, and providing us with countless top-tier rom-coms is most definitely one of them. Rom-comcore involves dressing like our favorite characters of these early aughts-defining films, busting out our best mini slip dresses, shrunken cardigans, tube tops, low-rise denim, and more — think Jenna Rink’s iconic rainbow-striped babydoll dress or literally anything in Bianca Stratford’s closet. It essentially encompasses all our favorite late ’90s and early ’00s trends at their most feminine and playful, and it exudes serious main character energy. A colorful platform sneaker effortlessly falls into this vibe yet remains a versatile staple to have on hand, regardless of what decade your style pulls from — we recommend a pair with pretty pastel accents that will play into the romantic, “happily ever after” of it all.

PUMA Mayze Mix, $, available at Browns
The Aesthetic: Effortless Balletcore
The Shoe: PUMA Cali Dream Leather

Early 2023 saw an uptick in ballet-inspired clothing and accessories, and now that spring has arrived, the aesthetic is in full swing. Balletcore is about easy elegance — pieces that allow for movement yet still feel polished and feminine. It’s layering soft-knit cardigans and skirts over bodysuits, coupling tulle with a chunky oversized sweater, and embracing activewear beyond the studio. And no, you don’t need a pair of ballet flats to achieve the look. In keeping with the chic comfort of this trend, we suggest opting for a classic pair of white sneakers. To channel your inner dancer, wear yours with your stretchy top of choice and an easy wrap skirt or bike shorts...or you can finally bust that tutu from the back of your closet. Don’t forget leg warmers!

PUMA Cali Dream Leather, $, available at Browns
The Aesthetic: Polished Classiccore
The Shoe: PUMA Mayze Stack in White

One of the easier-to-pull-off trends of spring ’23 is classiccore, which, as the name suggests, is all about embracing the classics. It means utilizing the best of your capsule wardrobe, like versatile basics, timeless denim, and polished tailoring — and what style of shoe is more quintessential to a capsule closet than an all-white sneaker? However, we firmly believe that classic should never equate to boring, so opt for a pair that’ll infuse a little excitement into the rest of your ensemble, like a platform. The chunkiness of the sole will keep things trend-forward, but the simple design pairs with anything and everything — and will for seasons (and countless new aesthetics) to come.

PUMA Mayze Stack, $, available at Browns
The Aesthetic: Utilitarian Dystopiacore 
The Shoe: PUMA Mayze Stack in Black

The antithesis of the fluttery, romantic, and whimsical aesthetics dominating spring 2023 is the dystopian look that has steadily gained traction over the last few seasons. Dystopiacore, avant apocalypse — whatever you want to call it — is essentially anti-dopamine dressing and channels your inner post-apocalyptic queen. It fuses the cyber-meets-grunge aesthetic of (surprise, surprise) Y2K-era fashion with the practicality of utilitarian styles like cargo pants and puffer vests. Unlike spring’s usual pastels and floral prints, this “-core” calls for all things dark and rebellious — and, of course, doomsday-ready footwear. A chunky black sneaker that exudes attitude is key for pulling off this look.

PUMA Mayze Stack, $, available at Browns
The Aesthetic: Sea Siren-Inspired Mermaidcore
The Shoe: PUMA Mayze Stack in White/Blue

Bid adieu to coastal grandma: Things are heading off-shore and under the sea. All signs point to mermaidcore having a major moment this warm-weather season, thanks to the influx of sun-catching sequins and paillettes, mesmerizing sheer and iridescent fabrics with a water-like fluidity, and seashell and baroque pearl-adorned accessories we’ve been spotting on and off the runway. However, when it comes to our footwear, it’s not all bare feet and jelly sandals, and you don’t have to hit the beach to radiate siren energy. Mermaidcore can instantly become spring-appropriate when you finish off your look with a closed-toe shoe, and an elevated chunky sneaker seamlessly couples with all your seaweed-adjacent looks. Try a pair that packs a pop of ultramarine, paying homage to the deep blue sea without being too literal.

PUMA Mayze Stack, $, available at Browns

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