Look down at your feet: what do you see? Sneakers? Probably, given that casual footwear has been safe fare for pretty much everywhere except weddings and funerals for some time now.
While some of you might be suffering from trainer fatigue after a banger-packed 2016, this year looks to be another big one for those of us soldiering on through the endless onslaught of new kicks.
And now that they’re a solid part of our everyday wardrobes, sneakers too have started to follow trends just like our clothes. ‘Another lot to keep up with?’ you say. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Lesser Known Brands
Ignoring the fact that the firm has been putting out premium casual footwear for a few decades now (it even sold Adidas its three-stripes motif), it took Kanye championing Finnish brand Karhu for people to sit up and take notice.
Off the back of this co-sign, indie brands like Japanese label Terrem, Adidas collaborators Ransom and standout colourway kings Gourmet are getting ready to step out from under the shadow of the big boys and make waves this year.
With each producing its own unique designs, there’s never been a better time to uncover a new brand and build a footwear rotation full of kicks that are anything but cookie cutter.
Brands cross-pollinating with others to make something that appeals to both sets of followers was one of the things that brought this trainer business to the fore in the first place, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing.
Just in the opening month of 2017 Diadora continued to bring the heat alongside Philadelphia sneaker boutique UBIQ with a cheesesteak-inspired model, while sportswear dons Champion teamed up with premium Italian label Casbia on a triple-black mid-sneaker-boot that looks like something a Transformer would wear.
Adidas has already laid out its plans to follow up its year-long string of Consortium World Tour collaborations from 2016. A new series called the Sneaker Exchange will see retailers – including Kith, End, Foopatrol, Overkill, Colette and SlamJam – team up with one another.
Champion x Casbia AWOL Atlanta
Diadora x UBIQ Whiz Wit N.9000
Nikelab x Stone Island Sock Dart
No longer just for people who stand outside Fashion Week hoping to be photographed, metallic trainers are ready to deliver retro-futurist takes on classic models that the rest of us can wear.
Moving into men’s categories will be bronze and silver iterations of the Stan Smith (of the non-Raf Simons variety), gold-accented Gazelles, and a mirrored version Puma x McQs. Sure, they’re pretty hard to pull off, but with so much stuff going on in the world, we feel we’re due a bit of high-risk, high-reward leeway.
Adidas Originals Stan Smith Metallic Pack
PUMA X MCQ Move Lo Metallic
adidas gazelle gold
Proper football-inspired trainers have gone from the pros, to five-a-side, to all over your Instagram in no time at all. While we’re not advocating going out on the town in actual astros (you’re not nine-years-old), there are plenty to choose from if you want to show your love for the beautiful game.
Look for gum soles like those found on Europe’s answer to the iconic Air Jordan: the Adidas Samba, as well as the Nike TiempoX Proximo, Umbro Speciali and Puma Paulista Novo. Oh, and some Nike R9 Mercurial Air Max on eBay (if you can find them).
R9 Mercurial Air Max by Nike
Forget box-fresh fetishism, it’s time to get some well-worn footwear back in rotation and start looking like someone who actually wears their trainers rather than keeping them in sealed ziplock bags.
There will always be a sharp intake of breath when someone steps on your favourite shoes, and it’s fine to be cleaning them back up while you can. But when they take a nosedive into ‘Okay, that’s… Yeah, that’s a scuff. That won’t come out,’ territory – don’t bin them, it only adds to the character.
Just make sure you know when a look calls for battered and bruised Converse and when it’s better to call on the pristine Common Projects.
Anyone who watched Gosha Rubchinskiy’s AW17 show will have clocked the insane, ultra-sleek Adidas Ace 16+ Super Futsals. There was a lot going on there with football detailing (told you) and bold colours, but it’s the sock-like construction that really got people talking.
Both Nike and Adidas have been hard at work making pro-footballers take to the sock-silhouette of their new boot ranges, so it’s only natural that the construction transitions to the streets next. Think of it like a natural merge of the ever-growing hype around mesh-uppers and this year’s football flex. Makes twisted sense, doesn’t it? Plus, Alexander Wang’s rumoured to be working on a sock-based Boost shoe of his own, too.
adidas nmd city sock
nike sock dart
Puma Ignite Sock
Runners Not For Running
You hate running, it’s okay, you can admit it. We all do. Doesn’t mean you can’t buy some runner-inspired trainers, though – giving you the comfort of a shoe built for abuse without the need to break a single sweat.
Besides the incredibly popular Adidas EQT, the incoming Iniki Runner looks to be a certified hit, as does the Y3 Yohji Run Boost. Nike, who really started the lifestyle runner movement with the Roshe Run, is right there too with the Flyknit Air Max, Lunar Skylux, and Zoom All Out.
adidas Y-3 Yohji Run Boost
nike lunar skyelux
adidas Iniki Runner Boost
Then there’s the actual serious business. Maybe you’re going to finally build that summer body this year or maybe you actually enjoy running, and if that’s the case then you’re
weird in luck. The next 12 months is set to offer up no shortage of kicks built for training and off-duty.
Nike Free Run and Pegasus silhouettes are tipped to be ever-present once again, as well as the New Balance M590V2s and Puma’s new Ignite range.
The only trouble with actual running trainers is finding them in a colourway that doesn’t make them look like they belong on a children’s TV channel. Once you crack that, however… *kisses fingers like an Italian chef*
Nike Free Run
Nike Zoom Pegasus 32
You’ve heard it a million times: build your wardrobe around neutral, high-quality wardrobe basics. Your footwear, dear reader, is a high-quality wardrobe basic.
Invest in a few pairs of simple neutral colourway trainers and you can wear them with anything. If you want some guidance, look back at the last year and Adidas Original’s clay and olive iterations of the suede Gazelle, Nike’s ice white Internationalist trainers and New Balance’s marble M575END collaboration with End Clothing.
END x New Balance M575END
20 Years In The Making
Aside from being the year that gave us musical bangers like R Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and the Men In Black theme tune, 1997 was also a pretty bumper year in trainers. Over the next 12 months, expect plenty of models to be celebrating their 20th birthday in style.
For instance, Nike is planning a spate of must-have reissues, including all the classic Air Max 97s as part of its #LondonOnAir campaign this spring. Around the same time, new drops of old and forgotten favourites will start to appear like the well-titled Adidas Crazy 8 basketball shoe, Adidas Spezial, Nike Air Pegasus 97 and the underrated Reebok DMX Run.
If Three-Stripes could also throw in a tasty re-up of the original, serrated Predator football boot while they’re at it, things might just be looking up for the year after The Worst Year Ever™.
Reebok DMX Run 10
Nike Air Max 97
adidas Crazy 8 basketball shoe