Back to school means spanking-new notebooks, clothes and shoes. Clogs, boots, Mary Janes, moccasins and loafers are all school-worthy. But this time, pick the sneaker for its good looks and comfort.

This season's sneak is prettier and more stylish than those of the past and certainly not meant for a hard run on the playground. It can be paired with pants, skirts or dresses. Many are suede -- with color (lots of metallic), mesh, embroidery or a mix-and-match combination.

"Consumers are more sophisticated and savvy to designers," says Jon Wexler, U.S. manager for Adidas Originals footwear. They are looking for clean design and the sneaker version of the low-heeled, point-toe pump: Whimsical and sensible.

Adidas Originals -- they make old hip again -- has turned the Okapi (above) into an everyday shoe. "You'd never know that it's a 1973 track shoe," says Wexler. Unless you are running late for class.

-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond

Clockwise from top: Ralph Lauren Polo Sport in silver and burnt orange, $69 at Bloomingdale's, Tysons Corner Center and White Flint Mall. Converse for Lady Foot Locker All Star multi logo print, $45 at area Lady Foot Lockers. Two-tone sneaker in green and metallic, $68 at Diesel Aquila Oxford in red with pink accents, $94 at Bloomingdale's. Originals Okapi track shoe in scarlet and bone, $70 at Adidas Originals, 1251 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Blue nylon and suede polka dot sneaker ($78) and Cirrus canvas high-top with embroidery ($158) at Anthropologie, Tysons II and 11500 Rockville Pike, Rockville.