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Time was when buying a pair of trainers was a humble affair. Sports shoes were worn with jeans or sweatpants and if you dared to slip on a pair with tailored trousers you’d likely be labelled ‘edgy’ or a bit ‘out there’. A simpler – but much more conservative – time in terms of men’s fashion.
Fast forward to 2019 and sneakers pervade every walk of life, with everyone from the CEO to his army of interns flaunting the latest drops. The line between laidback and luxe has been blurred and there’s no going back. To help you navigate this brave new world, we’ve compiled our top trainer trends for AW19 that you need in your edit.
90s running shoes, reinvented.
They say that fashion has a 20-year trend cycle – hence designers’ obsession with turn-of-the-millennium style. Retro running shoes are one of the biggest benefactors, more specifically the kind of late-90s designs your dad refused to throw out. As per the norm, Balenciaga set the tone by releasing the Track in 2018, followed by Maison Margiela’s dadcore Security sneaker, and culminating with adidas Originals recent reinterpretation of archive styles. The look is all about amping up technicality, with mesh, multi-layered uppers and cushioned soles all tell-tale signs.
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Frankenstein footwear = a monster hit.
Bigger is better – fact. At least that seems to be the consensus in sneakerdom right now. From the runway to the high street, penthouse to pavement, chunky trainers pervade every walk of life. It all started back in AW13 when adidas x Raf Simons released the Ozweego – a cult sneaker among fashion buyers and influencers. It wasn’t until Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia stepped in with the Triple S that so-called “ugly trainers” went global. Ever since, labels have not only adopted but adapted the trend for a more refined take – see Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith and Valentino.
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Find balance in yin and yang design.
As a colour pairing, monochrome sneakers are most associated with a back-to-basics approach. Yet sometimes the simplest option is the most effective, with black and/or white kicks laying the foundation to experiment with colourful clothing. White sneakers go with anything and don’t have to be minimal – see the perforated designs at Valentino or the Supercourt by adidas Originals – while all-black kicks offer a smart look even if the style is sportier, as with Y-3’s classic Kaiwa. Available in inverted monochrome colourways, the Larry by Alexander McQueen perfectly captures this contrast.
Mixing materials for a textural contrast.
In a recent interview on his Yeezy sneaker empire, Kanye West explained that he had urged his team to create pieces from a single material. Now we’re not here to question Mr. West’s (self-proclaimed) genius, but we must stick up for those daring to mix things up by experimenting with texture. A close friend and Ye collaborator Virgil Abloh is one such designer: his Off-White low-tops set orange suede and canvas on a monochrome vulcanised rubber sole. Then there’s Alessandro Michele at Gucci, rendering the bestselling Ace sneakers in the house’s GG Supreme taupe canvas and metallic-snakeskin effect. So, if you’re in search of something more statement than staple, look no further.