Joe Biden’s Hoka Sneakers Aren’t ‘Fall Resistant’, They’re Right On The Functional Fashion Trend

Many have interpreted this as an effort to prevent vote-losing falls... we think otherwise.

Joe Biden’s Hoka Sneakers Aren’t ‘Fall Resistant’, They’re Right On The Functional Fashion Trend

Image: Telegraph

We generally steer clear of politics here at DMARGE, but when sneakers get dragged into the mix, we want to be there to set the record straight. With over a decade’s experience of style writing under our belt — including the very best footwear money can buy — we think we’ve earned our right to an opinion.

This week, amidst ongoing speculation about President Joe Biden’s physical health as the 2024 United States presidential election approaches, his recent choice of footwear has sparked a fierce (if somewhat shrill) online debate. At 81 years old, Biden has been spotted multiple times wearing Hoka Transport sneakers, a choice that many have interpreted solely as a measure to prevent vote-losing falls… we think otherwise.

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The Hoka Transport sneakers – that retail for a middling US$150 per pair — feature a highly functional pulley lace system and a thick sole, designed for commuters and city-dwellers seeking a delicate balance of comfort, performance, and street style. Critics were very quick to note Biden’s departure from more traditional presidential footwear — usually a smarter dress shoe or brogue — and came down hard on these bulky black trainers.

While some may view this as an election-prepping to age and physical vulnerability — with many outlets running with the line that if Biden were to have one of his (admittedly too regular) falls ahead of November, a serious amount of votes could be at risk — we want to pose a counter-narrative that aligns with a broader trend in fashion and marks Biden’s change out as a style-savvy one.

The shoe in all its glory. Image: HOKA

The President’s choice of sneakers is not about fall prevention alone; it is a deliberate embrace of functional fashion, a pos-pandemic movement that prioritises practicality and comfort alongside and integrated with style. Increasingly popular among all age groups, this approach blurs the lines between casual and formal attire, making room for comfortable yet stylish options like the Hoka sneakers.

As such, we could consider the President’s choice to be one that reflects — or, at least, wishes to project — a modern approach to fashion, where functionality is as important as aesthetics. This could be a vote-winner, rather than just a vote-loss-brake-pedal, as a move away from stiff formalism to a more relatable and approachable style that acknowledges the practical demands of daily life will likely land well with voters who often feel estranged from the well-to-do-Washington-bubble.

Plus, if we take a look at Hoka’s own status, you’ll find that the brand has enjoyed soaring profits for a number of years — most recently confirmed in their February 2024 results — while search trends show that interest in the brand has exploded over the past few years. In short, it’s a cool, fast-growing brand, and surely no president should be criticised for knowing what his people like…

My final point is an obvious one: aren’t they a hell of a lot cooler than Trump’s own brand sneakers? The red and gold monstrosities cost twice as much and look twice as bad as Biden’s new kicks… Politics aside for a moment, if the election was waged on taste in footwear, I know who I’d be siding with…