You can sign up to every mailing list, follow all the hypebeasts on Instagram and line around the block for every drop, but if we’ve learnt anything in recent years it’s that you’re not always guaranteed to get your hands (or rather, your feet) on every must-have trainer. Which makes planning ahead all the more important.
While there’ll always be one-off collaborations and limited editions nobody saw coming, we’ve rallied together some of the game’s biggest names to predict what trainer styles we’ll all be wearing in the next 12 months. On your marks, get set…
A trend almost as divisive as Crocs, in recent seasons designers have gone big on going big, and it’s a look that seems to have legs. “Arguably the most well-known (and controversial) chunky trainer is Balenciaga’s Triple S, which has been a staple at fashion weeks already this season,” says Jack Stanley, associate editor of Hypebeast UK.
It isn’t just happening at the (occasionally batshit) designer end of things. Stockholm-based footwear label Eytys has made a name for itself with platform trainers inspired by 1990s skate culture, while New Balance has been keen to push the Larry David-tacular 990v4.
“I’m looking forward to the death of sock-like sneakers, which look like you’re getting ready for an afternoon at the beach,” adds Matt Welty, associate editor of the Complex sneakers channel and co-host of the YouTube series Full Size Run. “Can we get a sneaker with four soles this year?”
Had anyone said a few years ago that before long we’d all be fighting over the ugliest trainers in our parents’ loft, it’s safe to assume they would have received some questionable looks. But here we are, with high-end uglies indistinguishable from genuine bargain bin botherers.
“The whole ugly trainer thing seems to be disseminating at a mad pace,” says Morwenna Ferrier, assistant editor of Guardian Fashion. “A lot of people were doubling up their actual jogging trainers and Fashion Week looks.”
As well as bold colourways that look like they stepped straight out of an eighties sitcom, Ferrier expects people to take their feet into their own hands this season. “There’s going to be a lot of DIY-ing going on, too, with people scribbling on their sneakers.” Best start perfecting your tag.
A Return To The Old School
When you can’t go forwards, go backwards: it’s an adage as true in fashion as it is in the mindset of the England football team’s coaching staff. But unlike the turgid passing of our nation’s midfield, there’s still a little fun to be had in trainers, as brands revisit their best sneakers.
“I think the big story of 2018 will be 2017’s trends taken as far as possible,” says Andrew Lindsay-Diaz, a writer for publications such as Highsnobiety and Hypebeast. “With the success of ‘dad shoes’, every brand is going to want a piece of the unsightly pie.”
That’s not to say you actually have to raid the bottom of your dad’s wardrobe to get the look. “With the 20th-anniversary celebrations and some big OG colourways set to drop, 2018 is surely to be the year of the Nike Air Max 98,” says the team behind the SneakerDealsGB blog. Lindsay-Diaz agrees: “I expect some of the more forward-thinking sneakerheads to begin dialling it back with more classic silhouettes – think Converse One Stars and Chuck Taylors.”
Forget artificial intelligence and virtual reality, if whispers in the sneakerhead world are anything to go by, 2018 is set to be the year trainers get seriously techy.
“[Innovation] will have a significant part to play in the year ahead,” says Ry Barr, a writer at online sneaker resource The Drop Date. “[There’ll be] plenty of conceptual products arriving in the marketplace, not only inline, but throughout a host of collaborations, too.”
Chris Danforth, sneakers editor at Highsnobiety, predicts The Big Two will bring the heat with differing tactics: “Adidas is set to push technology like Carbon 4D and Futurecraft, while Nike will try to rely less on retro models,” with other brands not far behind with ripstop fabrics and waterproof finishes.
Footwear designers are taking it outside. Just like hiking boots have gone from mountainside to street style, now trail running shoes are jogging down from the hills and into streetwear collections.
“Last year Supreme, Patta and White Mountaineering all collaborated on archive trail runners with Nike, Asics, and Adidas,” says Hypebeast’s Stanley. “Since then, a whole host of old silhouettes have come back — like the Nike Air Humara — as well as rising popularity for more technical and niche trail running sneakers including brands like Salomon and Hoka One One.”
Look for styles that mix on-trend chunkiness with very practical materials, making them the perfect choice for our poor planet’s eccentric weather patterns.