The sneaker has undergone a baptism. Reborn and restated, the trainer has outgrown its sporting origins and has pushed the boundaries of modern-day fashion; it is now the ultimate staple for every man.
Initially designed with a practical purpose, sneakers are now the focus of style and creativity. The trainer is now a method of expression; and ideal way to add a strong statement to your outfit.
The renaissance of the sneaker can be credited to the mid ‘80s through the revival of retro sport styles like the Adidas Stan Smith and the Nike Air Jordan’s. Certain brands updated the retro vibes with new collaborations, like the J. Crew x New Balance suede makeover of the 1400 silhouette – which not only saw the rebirth of British brand in a big way, but also the rise of collaborations.
Collaborations have accelerated the growth of sneakers in a big way. If the excitement and nostalgia of owning a fresh pair of kicks was not already huge, the idea of having a bespoke, unique pair of sneaks has taken the game to a new level. Now new colourways, styles and collaborations are taking trainers away from being fashion accessories and in to fashion staples- to be seen as modern fashion collectable pieces.
Adidas are the resurrection of the of the collab, bringing back Stan Smith in a big way this season, as well as recently updating silhouettes and styles alongside heritage brand Barbour and finding new ground with the adidas Originals x Pharrel Williams project and the hotly anticipated Yeezy x Adidas drop.
But it was the infamous Adidas x Run DMC venture that took the first steps in merging success through collaborations.
Run–D.M.C. were the first Hip-Hop group to challenge fashion in the mainstream market in the 80s – taking the original steps in founding the contemporary urban streetwear synonymous with the genre today. The trio was famous for treading the Adidas Superstar without laces and pushing the tongue out of the shoe, which helped to form the first endorsement deal between a Hip-Hop artist and a major brand, since replicated by the Wu Tang x Nike for the Hi Dunk Series, Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang x Converse collab and Jay Z facing up with Reebok in the early 00s.
Since forging the relationship with adidas, DMC have taken the three stripes to new levels, giving birth to the era of the hi-top in the 90s after wearing Adidas rivalry high tops for their 1988 Tougher than leather album release. Still reigning strong today; the latest collab ‘Unite all originals’ is a limited edition collection of Run–D.M.C. Superstar 80s and a premium apparel pack.
But taking the shoe game to all new heights, the Michael Jordan and Nike collaboration saw the collaboration take a unique, groundbreaking approach to sneakers.
The first Air Jordan silhouette dropped a year after the original Jordan, with the colours and cultural significance of the sneaker turning the industry upside. The Air Jordan 1 paved the way for vibrant colourways and transformed the way people look at athletic shoes.
With 24 years of unrelenting success the Air Jordan has continued to redefine the industry dropping the Nike swoosh from designs on the AJ II in favour of the Jumpman logo, infusing Huarache inspired silhouettes on the Jordan VII and adopting transparent window panelling and an asymmetric collar design on the 25th anniversary edition in 2010.
Now, new collaborations are forged every day, look no further than the wide range of collabs out now; The Penfield x Saucony project merging outerwear with the suede meet mesh silhouettes signature of Saucony, or the New York/Tokyo shoe mercenaries ‘atmos’ switching up the classic Nike styles with woven, animal printing or even the Supreme x Vans urban inspired Sk8-hi collection. Today, the trainer continues to defy traditions.
The sneaker has become a god to its sneakerhead disciples and that makes events like CrepeCity the congress. The Mecca of all trainer conventions, CrepeCity, which hosted its 5th annual event in London, has established itself as an event to scope out exclusive silhouettes and styles as well as showcasing your own array of treads.
Alongside the sneaker buying, swapping and worshiping the event has added clothing lines and bespoke footwear brands like Ropes Laces that continue to increase the popularity of trainers in terms of modern-day trends.
The rise in popularity has served to feed the desire for people to keep new designs and exclusive styles, to such an extent that the hype is now the trend. The prestige around securing the newest kicks has become paramount, with midnight releases and select outlets increasing this fire, but if you lose out, the reseller market is calling you.
The resale game, typically hated on, as it increases the speed of sneaker sell-outs, is now the ideal way to find that perfect sneaker in stock. PAUSE is here to help you secure your most sought after kicks, bringing you the best sneaker resellers from across the globe; Air Jordan’s are the home to all things Jordan from bespoke collections to original designs, Kix Files for the greatest collection of Nike drops and finally Sole Control who drop new collections on the daily.
Yet the newfound popularity of the trainer wouldn’t have hit its current heights without the infiltration from fashion industry.
The high-end explosion of trainers has handed everyone a sneaker impulse, with every fashion house displaying their own designs, be it Tom Ford high-tops, Givenchy slip-ons or the Prada 90s sneaker. From Converse to couture, there is simply a statement sneaker for everyone.
The versatility of the modern sneaker is where the trainer has eclipsed the craze and become a trend.
Having seen a shift from youth street-wear to a fashion essential, the strength of the sneaker is that it still remains a strong look for both styles. The modern sport infused silhouettes of the Nike Roshe Runs, Free Run 5.0 and the more recent Adidas Tubular drop are perfect examples of traditional sport silhouettes that can still create a strong urban inspired street-wear look.
But now there are no boundaries of when to lace up- as more and more outfits look stronger when infused with sneakers. Trainers are now the primary footwear choice, with the simple sneaker redefining fashion. Suit up a plain sneaker with a slim-line trouser sitting above the ankle to showcase your chosen footwear, to create a clean look that combines style and comfort.
Besides suiting up, the trouser and trainer trend is the ideal way to combine a smart/ urban inspired look- as when it comes to trainers, there are no boundaries to how you wear them.
The sneaker explosion shows no sign of slowing up, as the 10-year-old you is still telling you how you need that one pair of sneaks to impress; and that is why every man holds an illogical, unbinding relationship with sneakers that will keep burning.
So next time you are debating your next purchase, remember, you are a child at heart; buy sneakers.
Check out our Sneaker section online for all updates of every sneaker release.
Words: Tom Everest