Sunburn, festivals, wasps, supermarkets stacked ceiling high with disposable BBQs. It can only mean one thing: it’s summer in the northern hemisphere.
Yes, and as the temperatures rise so too does the number of new summer sneakers hitting shelves from London to LA. Keeping abreast of them can be arduous, though. Plus, who wants to be glued to a computer keeping an eye on what sneakers are trending when it’s glorious outside?
Actually, we do. Rounding up the best summer sneakers may be a full-time job in itself, but it’s one we take great pleasure in.
Here are our favourite summer sneakers of the year and the reasons why they deserve a foothold in your warm-weather rotation.
New Balance 991.9
Mixing sole units and uppers from different models has become a sneaker trend for sneaker brands lately. Sadly, it tends to be lazily executed and seldom yields wearable results. Still, now and again there’s an exception to the rule, which this season comes courtesy of Bostonian running and lifestyle legend New Balance.
The 991.9 is a mashup between two of NB’s chunky trainer classics: the 991 and the 990 v3. The result is surprisingly stylish, offering a tasteful take on the whole maximalist kicks thing.
Nike Air Max 270 React ‘Bauhaus’
Nike’s Air Max 270 was an instant hit when it first emerged last year but it’s futuristic look wasn’t for everyone and die-hard sneakerheads, in particular, have struggled to get onboard.
That all changed this summer with the release of the Air Max 270 React. The addition of an ultra-springy React sole and two retro-inspired ‘Bauhaus’ colourways have opened the 270 up to a more discerning audience. One of the best colour palettes we’ve seen in 2019, for sure.
Novesta Star Master Orange
The existence of Novesta’s canvas Star Master pump is hardly breaking news in the world of footwear. What is new, however, is a fresh crop of summer-friendly colourways, perfect for brightening up beer gardens while the nice weather lasts.
Orange has been trending hard for some time now and it’s still a solid option for adding a dash of personality to proceedings. So strap into a pair of these bad boys, teamed with white socks, shorts and a Cuban collar shirt, and tackle BBQ season the right way.
Nike Tailwind ‘79
Sneakers rarely come with more historical clout than Nike’s Tailwind ‘79. Originally released for the Honolulu Marathon in – oh – 1978 (think of this as the sequel), the retro beauty was the first Nike model to feature the label’s now-famous ‘Air’ cushioning technology.
Today, it’s hardly at the cutting edge of tech. It is, however, still at the cutting edge of looking really good with shorts, which is why we were so pleased to be blessed with a plethora of new vibrant colourways this season.
Adidas SPZL Silverbirch
There are plenty of reasons to love summer, but one of the main ones is that it means another drop from Gary Aspden and Adidas’ ‘Spezial’ line.
The terracewear favourite is based around the concept of reimagining sneakers from the Three Stripes’ archive. This time it’s the sky-blue Silverbirch sneaker that’s got tongues wagging. It’s an updated version of the Adidas Denver from the mid 1980s and you’d be hard pushed to find a more suitable shoe to accompany you on a sunny match day this summer.
As fashion begins to wise up to sustainability, many sneaker brands are having to rethink their entire business model. Not Veja, though. Ethical and environmentally-sound production has been central to the French label’s ethos since 2004. Oh, and did we mention the shoes are all vegan, too?
The minimal V-10 was originally designed to mark the brand’s 10th year but it’s been periodically updated in new colour schemes ever since. This ultra-clean white and black option is our favourite this summer.
New Balance 990v5
“Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio,” read New Balance’s 2019 ad campaign for an updated version of one of its most recognisable designs, the 990.
Many labels have turned their hand to so-called “dad shoes” since the trend first arose, but New Balance is the OG. The 990 series has been in production since the ‘70s but this tweaked version brings it bang up to date for 2019. It’s arguably the biggest release of the year and still a firm favourite among fashion insiders…and jort-wearing middle-aged men, of course.
Salomon S/LAB XT-6
Salomon’s induction into the world of fashion may have come as a surprise to some but it’s been on the boil for a while now. The French label’s Speedcross 4 trail-running shoe has been a favourite of fashion insiders for some time, but it’s the brand’s S/LAB series that has real crossover appeal.
The XT-6 is a prime example of why the brand is taking off. It’s functional and practical, but all while looking like something plucked from one of Raf Simons’s day dreams. If this is the future of footwear then count us in.
Nike x Sacai LD Waffle
A textbook example of what we’ll call the “Yeezy effect”, Nike and Sacai’s LD Waffle was unimaginably difficult to cop, yet it seems everyone is rocking a pair.
This OTT sneaker mashup from the Oregonian sportswear giant and Japanese fashion renegade is truly inescapable. Thanks to a delayed release, this tricked-out kick became the most hyped shoe of 2019 and with more colourways in the pipeline, things don’t seem to be settling down anytime soon.
Adidas Alphaedge 4D
Adidas has been teasing it’s 3D-printed sole technology for some time via a series of limited-run releases. The latest glimpse came in May courtesy of the Alphaedge 4D, a sleek knitted sports shoe sat atop a springy, geometric, latticed sole unit.
This latest 4D release offers performance updates in the form of reinforced stress points, a Continental rubber outsole and an upper that borrows more than a little from the Alphabounce.
Stepney Workers Club Dellow Raw Ecru
London Label Stepney Workers Club has been making inroads in the independent sneaker market for some time now, with its ‘Dellow’ model serving as something of a calling card.
This season, the simple sneaker has re-emerged in an array of new, subdued colourways, offering a seasonally appropriate antidote to maximalist kicks for those who like their footwear with a touch more restraint. If you’re bored of the go-to canvas sneaker options, these are well worth a go.
Reebok x Pleasures Club C
A vibrant block-colour sneaker is a must in every stylish man’s summer rotation and they don’t come much more vibrant or block-coloured than the latest hookup between British sportswear hero Reebok and Los Angeles streetwear label Pleasures.
The Club C is an all-time classic. Updated by Pleasures, it features a vivid, royal-blue upper with green accents, sat atop a white rubber sole unit. In short, these bad boys were born to make summer ‘fits pop.