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 sneaker trends we’ll all be wearing in the next 12 months. On your marks, get set…
Chunky Sneakers Continue
Like that guy who always insists on showing up to dress-down Friday fully suited, the chunky trainer was all anyone could talk about in 2018. And despite being almost as divisive as Crocs, going big on going big is a trend that has legs.
“Chunky soles will continue into 2019 taking after shoes from the luxury sector like the Louis Vuitton Arclight, Gucci Flashtrek, and Balenciaga Track,” says Ridwane Ettoubi, founder of London sneaker consignment store Presented By. “The major footwear brands have been clearly influenced by these as seen with the leaked news about several of the new Adidas Yeezy Silhouettes for the year ahead.”
There’s hope too for those without the dollar, dollar bills to chuck on Kanye’s creations, as the cheaper trail runners of the past year will also continue to be popular, according to Daniel Langhorn from Footpatrol. “It’s a trend that continues to captivate. Chunky 90s-vibe runners, performance styles from the early ’00s and modern hybrids will be fixtures on shelves and on feet this year. Recent releases such as the Nike Zoom 2K, Adidas Originals Falcon and the recently released Asics GEL-Kayano 5 encapsulate this perfectly.”
The Future Is Textured
One-upmanship is driving a lot of the weird and, well, just weird menswear pieces being thrown around at the moment. What’s better than one coat? Try six coats piled on top of each other (thanks, Balenciaga). This goes some way to explaining chunky trainers, but besides making a shoe the size of a toaster, where else do you go?
Thom Scherdel, a buyer at Browns Fashion, believes that unusual textures could become the next must-cop sneaker trend. “When you come up with a new sneaker idea, the most difficult part is to find the shape but once it’s deemed a success you end up seeing the gradual rollout of ‘versions of’ that silhouette.”
Technology is now at a point where anything is possible for a sneaker, so things are changing up. In other words, new textures will be everywhere. “This year, my favourite pair is the Golf Grass Nike Air Max 1 – it’s beautifully bold and different. Let’s face it – who owns a pair of green furry sneaker pairs already? And that’s what’s brilliant about it.”
White Is Alright
It’s a well-known fact that the world of high-fashion and the sneakersphere is becoming increasingly linked. Just look at the trend for simple white sneakers. Okay, so those aren’t exactly ‘new’, but hear us out.
For proof these styles are still hot property, turn to no other than menswear overlord Virgil Abloh, whose first show for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week SS19 was dominated by the two key shades. “When we talk about sneaker trends, one of the most important things to note is colour, and this year it is all about white and cream,” says Scherdel.
“It’s the counterbalance to the chunky fluoro madness we have at the other end of the spectrum, with simple silhouettes in premium leathers that give you that millionaire feeling when you wear them for the first time.”
Forget artificial intelligence and virtual reality, if whispers in the sneakerhead world are anything to go by, this is the year trainers get seriously techy.
Leading the charge, Nike recently unveiled the Adapt BB, a self-lacing basketball sneaker that links up with your smartphone, while Adidas has started a wider roll-out of the Futurecraft 4D, a futuristic silhouette that contains a 3D printed sole that, if some enthusiasts are to be believed, is made out of pure light and oxygen.
What’s the point in all that futuristic tech though if you can’t make it obvious enough to ignite flames of green envy at the sneaker convention? “’Visible Tech’ is really key for athleisure brands like Nike and Adidas who have this really heavily represented in their SS19 offering,” says Schuh athleisure buyer Adnan Khan. “Sports brands are always innovating new technical and functional features, and are now using bold colours to call out these ‘techy’ features out on the product”.
One of the most influential silhouettes in the Nike back catalogue, the Dunk is set for a figurative slam in 2019. First released in 1985 as a basketball shoe, the multiple layers allowed it to be spun in a range of different colour combinations, ideal for college basketball teams trying to carry the team spirit into their sneaker choices.
“Following the massive release of the Nike x Staple Panda Pigeon SB Dunks Low at the end of 2018, I can definitely see Dunks being revived but with more rich and vibrant colours than previously seen,” says Ettoubi.
That’s not the only reason. Despite being designed for use on-court, the Dunk Low was soon aped by skateboarders thanks to the shoe’s padded design. With skate clothes now the menswear uniform de jour, it could well be time to get in on the rebound then for this classic.
The 90s trend in trainers, and fashion in general, has seen us leave behind all the god-awfulness of the decade – acid wash jean shorts, those linen berets that only Samuel L. Jackson could pull off – and come out with a strong edit of pieces you can file as instant classics right now.
One remnant we’re yet to decide on for the long term, however, is neon. All-over Day-Glo can make even the most seasoned weekday ravers a little queasy. But hinting at the hues in your footwear when worn alongside some simple denim could be a surefire way of racking up the likes on the ‘gram.
“Neon is a big SS19 sneaker trend,” says Schuh senior streetwear buyer Pamela Dunn. “For SS19 we will see neon starting to filter into streetwear, and the high street where it’s really going to be huge with Adidas, Fila, Nike and Converse all designing strong styles backing this trend.”
A vital component of the scumbro look repped by Jonah Hill and Justin Bieber, tie-dye is a trend bubbling under the surface, but we’re yet to figure out a way of bringing it out of the LA bubble and into something Tom, Dick, and Harry can all pop in their wardrobes.
With the potential to blow up this summer, Dunn thinks the wearable tie-dye dilemma could be solved by investing in a pair of psychedelic kicks.
“Inspired by 90s skate fashion, we’ve seen streetwear brands using tie-dye in their collections for a while, along with luxury labels like Prada and Ambush. In trainers, Converse and Vans have some amazing collections coming through with tie-dye pieces in.”
High End Takes On Sportswear Signatures
Collaborations are what makes the fashion world go round. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time when the most hyped drops weren’t due to some team-up between two style behemoths.
In the world of trainers, this offers up some particularly juicy prospects for the luxury end of the market and the mainstream sportswear brands to cross-pollinate.
“The footwear styles for luxury designer trainers and sports brands have blended, this year trainers will appear with more accessories, repetitive logos and the layering of materials,” says Ettoubi. “We saw this on the planned Sacai x Nike collaboration for the year ahead which has built upon the Nike Daybreaker and the Blazer silhouettes thus bridging the gap further between luxury and hype.”