This pair of Alo sneakers is the one thing that motivates me to move more
My daily reminder to walk comes in the form of my Velocity Knits.
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I’ve long had a fascination with shoes that look a little bit like socks. This started the very first time I glimpsed Balenciaga’s street style-ready, beloved-by-celebs Speed 2.0 sneakers. I loved the way they looked, but I wasn’t exactly keen to shell out nearly $1,000 for the designer pair.
Since then, I’ve kept an eye on other brands, many of which have their own cheaper versions. None of them really worked for me until one of my favorite fitness brands, Alo Yoga, debuted its very first sneaker, the Velocity Knit, in 2018. Immediately, I fell in love with these not-quite-knockoff $198 knit sneakers. I held off on buying them until this year, when I was in need of some new footwear for the regular strolls around my neighborhood I've come to rely on. Now, I can confidently say that, in addition to being stylish, they're functional—and actually motivate me to go out and take walks.
What is Alo Yoga?
Alo Yoga is a yoga apparel and accessories brand that aims to create gear that’s suitable wherever you are, whether you’re in the studio or out and about. It's also one of those brands has a bit of a cult following, especially with celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift, Hailey Baldwin, and Kendall Jenner. I’m ride-or-die for my leggings from another brand, Carbon38, but I also love Alo's stylized leggings and crop tops. Based on my experience with its apparel, I trusted the brand and felt secure enough to try its sneakers out. And I haven’t regretted my decision since.
What should you expect when ordering Alo Yoga Footwear?
Like Alo’s athletic attire, its sneakers are engineered with the same high quality standards in terms of materials, design, and performance. Its Women’s Velocity Knit Sneaker is currently available in three different shades (black, white, and "Digi," or speckled white and black), and come in whole sizes that range from 5 to 10. They’re a slip-on stretchy style kind of shoe so the website advises that you size down if you’re between sizes (so, if you’re usually a 7.5, opt for size 7). My usual size for sneakers is a size 7.5 or 8 depending on the thickness of the socks I’m wearing that day. I have wide feet so I ordered up, going for the 8 (in white) rather than opt to size down. Ultimately, I’m glad I did this because sizing down actually would have been a tight squeeze for me. The 8 fit perfectly when worn with thin socks and snug (but breathable) with thick ones.
Why I love Alo Yoga Women’s Velocity Knit sneaker
This may sound cheesy, but when my parcel arrived at my doorstep about two weeks after I ordered it (I live in Canada, so it may have taken longer for it to arrive), the packaging alone made me happy with my purchase. First impressions count and the sneakers came in a sturdy white box with a black tabbed flap, which made opening the box much easier. Inside, the shoes were protected in tissue paper and the sneakers themselves were carefully stuffed with paper; and lastly, they came with a duster bag. Overall, this kind of tactile pleasure worked for me—the whole experience made me feel like an Instagram influencer doing an unboxing, which made it much more fun than a lot of online purchases.
I was impressed by the ways the shoes actually function, too. I usually forgo sneakers that are too stylish because the style aspect feels like a red flag for me: All those bells and whistles often mean the shoes neglect comfort and practicality. But these sneakers are composed of a stretchy, breathable knit material that hugs my foot comfortably without feeling squished. They’re easy to slide on thanks to the ribbed opening and tabs at the back to help you pull them on—one imagines they were designed with people who rush to and from yoga class in mind. The shoes are also as light as air (truly, it’s like walking on a fluffy cloud) but are still supportive, thanks to the chunky sole cushions and squishy insoles. Since I’ve gotten these shoes, I’ve been much more keen to go outside for walks. Instead of staying inside all the time, I’ll remind myself that I have these luxe sneakers, slide them on, and briefly head outside to my nearby park for fresh air and sunshine.
I’m also in my second trimester of pregnancy right now and although I miss my heels and thigh high boots, they’re certainly not the most practical things for me to be wearing. But it’s hard for me to find shoes that work—I am not a fan of flats because they don't offer enough support for me, and I don’t like wearing gym shoes everywhere for aesthetic reasons. Fortunately, these street stylish sneakers are the perfect solution to accommodate my lifestyle needs. They are comfortable yet sleek in a way that gives them more flair than a lot of sneakers.
Finally, I wear these shoes pretty much everywhere. They’re perfect for mild-intensity fitness related activities but also for social events such as dates nights with my husband, going for socially-distant brunch, shopping, and more. I can easily dress them up or down, simply by swapping out my workout leggings for something like a long slinky skirt. They’re not as suitable for activities such as running, but because they offer far more versatility and opportunities to wear them out (compared with, say, my heels or straight-up running shoes), their cost per wear justifies the cost for me.
What I don’t like about them
I could have opted for black or the speckled colored options. But to be honest, I love a strikingly bold look, so I was willing to commit to keeping these clean after every wear (my secret weapon is my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which I use to polish the white sides and keep the sneakers in pristine condition). Because I got the white sneakers, I will always have to be mindful about environmental elements such as the weather as well as when and where I sport these—I love wearing them for a stroll in the forest, but I won’t if it rained the day before. Babying the shoes is kind of a hassle but is by no stretch a dealbreaker, as I already do this with some of my other wardrobe pieces. But if you’re not as fastidious with your footwear upkeep, you may want to go for a darker shade.
They’re also not orthotics friendly. I like wearing my orthotics as much as possible because they offer more structure and shock absorption, but unfortunately they don’t fit into these sneakers. Their cushioned insoles are removable, but, with my orthotics and socks, there’s still way too much bulk inside the shoe. As a result, my foot juts out against the walls of the Alo sneakers, making the top of the smooth surface instead look like it has bumps and craters on it, all with my toes feeling compressed. If this was a running sneaker, this would be a major issue, but because I don’t intend on using these for any sort of running activity, I’m okay with wearing these sneakers without additional orthotic support.
Finally, they're pricey. They're not as expensive as those $1,000 Balenciaga kicks, but at $198, it's fair to expect these sneakers to work as an all-purpose gym shoe as well as a style statement. But compared with my Nike and New Balance gym shoes, which I use to carry me through running, cycling, and elliptical workouts, the Alo sneakers don’t offer quite enough arch support. They’re best suited for low impact activities such as running errands, strolling (and maybe light jogging) through the park or city, and even tai-chi, but are certainly not designed for anything strenuous. The soles are not engineered to handle such intensity, simply because they aren’t tractioned enough and could likely wear out with their more simplistic ridge design.
Are Alo Yoga Women’s Velocity Knit Sneaker worth it?
For me, these sneakers are absolutely worth it—and if you're looking for a cute, functional pair to motivate you to get outside more, I think they will be for you too. In fact, I'm thinking of also getting the speckled pair, just to have an option to switch up my look. I’d even consider the black pair if I wanted to go hiking through the forest without worrying that they’d get dirty and marked up. Overall, I’m thrilled with these sneakers. They have everything I’m looking for in terms of daily footwear—modern style, light-as-a-feather soles, and extra-comfortable long wear.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.