Introduction

Colour has become an indisputable cornerstone of menswear over the last couple of seasons, and I think we can all agree that the modern man’s wardrobe has done nothing but benefit. Whether you’re cracking out some vibrant socks, working the pastels or making a bold statement, colour is fantastic.

Following on from my article last week – the men’s white canvas trainers guide – I thought it might also be worth visiting the other end of the spectrum; the bolder, brasher, coloured trainer.

Now, I am fully aware that coloured trainers might not be everyone’s cup of tea; smarter, more structured dressing is certainly the general theme, and whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it is still important for us all to remember that not everyone is the same – we do not all dress the same and we do not always appreciate the same styles. We here at FashionBeans bang on about versatility and new ideas like there is no tomorrow, but we would rather the fashionable versatility and new ideas of everyone could be appreciated just as much as having a signature style and set formula.

As a group of style conscious men, we should be able to appreciate elements of all style, of every individual’s style (within reason of course). We are all unique and I don’t think anyone could disagree with the idea that we all need a little boundary pushing every so often to get us out of our comfort zone.

Coloured trainers can either be the trademark of a particular look or be the signifier of a person with two very separate styles. Sportswear is huge at the moment and colour is just as much a part of that as it is of someone obsessed with American Prep. With two completely different images, you might just as readily be seen in a sharp double breasted jacket, loafers and shirt as you are a pair of skinny jeans, a crew neck tee and hi-tops.

Fashion is as diverse as it is rooted and as changing as it is constant; coloured trainers are one of those things that you either love or you hate, but they cannot be ignored.

Coloured Trainer Lookbook

Men's Coloured Trainers Lookbook

Coloured Trainers: Top Tips
  • Shape – even though we would like you to appreciate all elements of style, it would be facetious to say that there are no boundaries. In the context of coloured trainers for example, shapes should be kept simple and clean, no high tops with wings or massive tongues. Skate shoes have never, nor ever will be acceptable attire. Keep your designs classic; there is a reason certain styles have been around so long.
  • Colour – it would seem contradictory to suggest a restriction on colour in an article telling you to embrace colourful shoes, but bear with me a minute. Go crazy if you want but be aware that your outfit choices will suffer as a result. Regardless of the fact that you are wearing trainers, colour matching rules still apply (albeit slightly relaxed). Go for single block colours that work with nearly everything, so think reds, greens, blues and purples etc. Use them to add a splash of colour, not look like you’ve had an accident in B&Q’s paint section.
  • Laces - We can all do the knot (I hope no one still needs Velcro) but just because you want to keep in practice doesn’t mean you should be ruining the shape and look of your nice flashy trainers with a big floppy pile of laces. Have a go at straight lacing (having perfectly horizontal stripes) or pre-tying out of sight to create smoother lines that keep your trainers sharp and uncluttered. If you are concerned about getting them on and off, invest in a shoe horn (honestly, one of the best tools ever created).
  • Cleaning – just do it. They will look much better when the colour isn’t hidden behind a disgusting layer of grime.
  • Purpose – avoid trying to make them something they are not. White trainers can replace your shoes, colours cannot. They do not fill the same niche and shouldn’t be treated the same. It is your style therefore that would need to change if you wish to incorporate them.

It is perhaps in the last point that the biggest division between opinion occurs. We all have individual opinions and we all appreciate different styles – coloured trainers, more often than not, don’t feature in this appreciation.

But without trying to drag up too much from the past, I personally believe that a lot of the stigma and a lot of the dislike stems how they are worn, not what is being worn. We are all familiar with the stereotypes: Young men dressing in exactly the same clothes, in exactly the same way and all acting exactly the same.

However, rather than completely ignoring all of the clothes these stereotypes incorporate, we should be thinking of how we can make them more individual. What makes the way we might wear them more unique?

Think about your hair, your beard mastery, accessories, colours, posture and demeanour. All of this makes a huge difference to your outfit as a whole and will divide very clearly your outfit from the stereotypes, even if you are wearing 80% the same kind of clothes. How you wear is really just as important as what you wear.

How To Wear Coloured Trainers
Look 1

This looks makes good use of the current print and sports wear trends. Whilst it may not be considered stylish from a more classical aspect, it is still a look that incorporates many features that are very on trend and are fashionable. Keep things simple and well cut – the shirt in particular should be fitted – feel free to wear it tucked in to give your look a touch more edge.

By keeping the outer layers more muted you can afford to get a bit more creative with your patterns or colours in the under layers and footwear. If you have a multi-coloured shirt try to pick out a colour with your shoes (something tonally similar) to make both items pop and make the most of the more underused colours of trainers. That alone makes you more unique.

Finally consider your accessories; a watch is always a timeless and classic way to introduce a bit of extra detailing to your look and a tote or shopper bag is an excellent way of marking yourself out from the crowd.

  • Asos Short Sleeve Aztec ShirtAsos Short Sleeve Aztec Shirt
  • Asos Faux Leather Sleeve Baseball JacketAsos Faux Leather Sleeve Baseball Jacket
  • Nudie Jeans Thin Finn Dry Ecru Embo Skinny JeansNudie Jeans Thin Finn Dry Ecru Embo Skinny Jeans
  • Uniform Wares 200 Series Steel WristwatchUniform Wares 200 Series Steel Wristwatch
  • Fred Perry Canvas ToteFred Perry Canvas Tote
  • Nike Blazer Hi VintageNike Blazer Hi Vintage
Look 2

Contrary to what I said earlier, you can of course make your footwear your main statement. You can make the most of the pattern trend (or just continue with a brighter block colour shade) in a unique way by choosing a pair of patterned trainers – but if this is your choice then the rest of the outfit would benefit from simple construction.

A pair of lightweight chinos and a soft tee is a great way to stay cool and look good in summer, and if you continue to play with your colours (think pastels for easy matching) you are sure to create a look that is completely you.

Once again, make the most of those accessories. A straw hat can work outside a festival if worn right, and there is nothing wrong with a good old canvas backpack – a piece of subtle jewellery wouldn’t go amiss either.

  • Levis Vintage Clothing 1951 Cotton T-shirtLevis Vintage Clothing 1951 Cotton T-shirt
  • Topman Turquoise Green Skinny ChinosTopman Turquoise Green Skinny Chinos
  • Etro Straw Trilby HatEtro Straw Trilby Hat
  • Burberry Shoes & Accessories Woven-leather And Metallic BraceletBurberry Shoes & Accessories Woven-leather And Metallic Bracelet
  • Topman Peace Corps Military Backpack Topman Peace Corps Military Backpack
  • Ymc Navy Floral Printed ShoesYmc Navy Floral Printed Shoes
Look 3

Update your casual looks with a pair of bright, block colour hi-tops. By choosing a brighter shade and mixing them in with classic pieces such as dark wash jeans, a plaid shirt and a mac you can put your own twist on an everyday outfit and make it truly your own.

Great for our unpredictable weather, all you need is to step out with your trusty umbrella and you are set for anything that is thrown at you. I think this outfit concept is a great way of showing just how much a pair of coloured trainers can elevate a previously underwhelming look that I’m sure is a staple of many a modern gents wardrobe.

  • Topman Blue Rustic Oxford Plaid ShirtTopman Blue Rustic Oxford Plaid Shirt
  • Reiss Watcher Zip-through Raincoat PuttyReiss Watcher Zip-through Raincoat Putty
  • Asos Super Skinny JeansAsos Super Skinny Jeans
  • Pierre Hardy Leather High Top SneakersPierre Hardy Leather High Top Sneakers
Men’s Coloured Trainers
  • Vans Cali Authentic CaVans Cali Authentic Ca
  • Supra Assault Waxed Suede TrainersSupra Assault Waxed Suede Trainers
  • Superga Turquoise 2750 Cotu Classic PlimsollsSuperga Turquoise 2750 Cotu Classic Plimsolls
  • Converse Jack Purcell Cotton-twill SneakersConverse Jack Purcell Cotton-twill Sneakers
  • Adidas Originals Malmo – Size? ExclusiveAdidas Originals Malmo - Size? Exclusive
  • Adidas Originals Gazelle IndoorAdidas Originals Gazelle Indoor
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Hanford Canvas TrainersPolo Ralph Lauren Hanford Canvas Trainers
  • Puma X Undftd Clyde Ballistic Orchid Bloom PurplePuma X Undftd Clyde Ballistic Orchid Bloom Purple
  • Adidas Spezial Purp/wt/tan SmuAdidas Spezial Purp/wt/tan Smu
  • Nike Quickstrike Mens Blazer Mid SneakerNike Quickstrike Mens Blazer Mid Sneaker
  • Nike Blazer Hi-top TrainersNike Blazer Hi-top Trainers
  • Common Projects Mens Vintage High SneakerCommon Projects Mens Vintage High Sneaker
Final Word

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this article will divide opinion. Most will remain unfazed by the possibilities presented by the coloured trainer whilst a few may have strengthened their resolve or even been converted. It is also worth mentioning that this is only a short introduction to a much wider topic, there is more to be made of coloured trainers.

These shoes really can work in the fashionable man’s wardrobe, there just has to be a few adjustments. Coloured trainers cannot be made something they are not, they occupy a very different niche and work in a very different way to the one many of us might be used to – but that does not make them any less relevant.

We shouldn’t be disregarding a look simply because it doesn’t fit our own opinion of style.

But now it’s time for your say, what do you think of coloured trainers? Let me know in the comments below.

Will