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The new trainer trends to know in 2024

The new trainer trends to know in 2024


by Suzie Coen
15th Jun 2024

From hotly anticipated trainer collabs and the ongoing Adidas Samba fever, to the TikTok beloved aesthetics and next level “dad” trends, there’s a lot to obsess over, says Suzie Coen.

I don’t need to tell you that trainers aren’t just for working out in: we’ve all witnessed the rise and rise of athleisure over the past few years. Thanks to Phoebe Philo taking a bow in her Stan Smiths at Celine in 2011, we said goodbye to dainty ballet flats and sky-high stilettos and never looked back. The Stan Smith changed how we wore trainers, because it bridged the gap between the obsessive “sneakerhead” and a wider fashion culture, which until then had viewed trainers as something to be worn to the gym, on the commute, or by teenagers. Trainers as a status symbol used to be something you grew out of. Now, trainers are a front-row staple.

Accepted into the wardrobes of many, they’re the footwear of choice for every occasion, from work to weekend and everything in between. Staking a claim on our “on-duty” footwear rotation, the best trainers are an effortless go-to for nearly every occasion and add a touch of zero-effort cool to almost any outfit.

For the past few years, trainers trends have manifested as singular styles that it feels like everyone wears, from the upper echelons of celebrity wardrobing to everyday outfits worn inside and outside the fashion industry. But after so many years of one pair ruling us all, now’s the moment to make space for personal style. It’s not about having the exact model everyone else has, so much as translating bigger-picture themes into sneaker form. So what are the trainer trends that matter in 2024?

Vintage-inspired trainers have been kicking around for several seasons. Those with a real sneaker sensibility will have seen Onitsuka Tiger’s sunshine yellow Mexico 66 trainers, brightening up street style pictures everywhere from London to Stockholm. But the Adidas Samba took the top spot for the most cult-adored trainer in 2023 by a landslide, adored by the likes of Bella Hadid (who’s never out of her black pair), Hailey Bieber, Zoë Kravitz, Kendall Jenner and mega-influencers alike. Gen Z flocked to the shoe, in large part thanks to Hadid’s unmatched trendsetting capabilities, but also because it became the unexpected trainer that could add the necessary quirkiness for every trending TikTok aesthetic.

Trainer addict and stylist Corina Gaffey is a big fan. “I succumbed to the viral Adidas Samba and I’ve had four pairs in different colourways. They’re exactly the retro aesthetic I look for when I’m investing in a trainer and they’re perfect with straight-leg trousers. Trainers trump any other shoe for comfort while ticking the stylish boxes. Also having a trainer on my rotation means I can dress down particular looks by giving them a more relaxed feel, whether it’s a sequin midi skirt, metallic top or a feminine silhouetted dress.”

Adidas’s sister shoe – the Gazelle – is the perfect alternative if your sought-after Sambas are nowhere to be found but take note, their biggest competition this year is coming from Puma. Originally introduced back in 1999 in a fireproof version for Formula One drivers, the Puma Sparco Speedcat has since been reimagined in numerous colourways and fabrics and is already a favourite with model Emily Ratajkowski and It girls around the world.

With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, pumped-up athletic trainers with a slightly Y2K bent are worth a second look in 2024. If you prefer a chunkier running style with a dad shoe vibe, New Balance 1906R is perfect to pair with everything. And Asics 2000s-inspired styles are selling like hot cakes. Some of the buzziest collaborations of the last few months by Shushu/Tong and Cecilie Bahnsen have used chunky Asics as a canvas for whimsical designs, in the form of gingham ruffles for the former and tiny beaded floral embellishments for the latter.

As the popular “gorpcore” trend evolves, we’re seeing a new wave of trainers by hiking brands, with On and Salomon leading the way. According to Google, searches for Salomon XT-6 trainers, the label’s bestselling shoes, are up by 250 per cent over the past year. These are the cool-girl sporty kicks that have fashion people in a stir, giving an instant Scandi twist to any outfit. Expect pops of colour, chunky soles, specialist technology and hot-off-the- heels designer collaborations.

Eco-friendly trainers are by no means a new trend, but this year you’ll find new recycled fabrics and reimagined ways of making sustainable materials fashion-forward. Brands such as Veja, Pangaia, Saye and Allbirds are working to reduce their footprints by using low-carbon materials like Tencel Lyocell. New sustainable fabrics like grape or mushroom leather, and the repurposing of waste are lessening the environmental impact of the manufacturing process to create a more circular system that hopefully has a lasting impact on the industry.

Stylist Jan Brierton knows that there’s a bunch of exciting and cool ways to get your sneaker fix sustainably. “A trainer devotee since 1981, my love affair started with Kangaroos – they had pockets – so I’ve always been a ‘trainer with a twist’ seeker. I still look for that unique detail – it could be colour, material or shape. Right now, I love London designer Helen Kirkum’s artisanal trainers – she’s considered a pioneer of the hacked and deconstructed aesthetic. And I’m obsessed with the Colville collection, which takes dead stock sneakers and reinvigorates them with bursts of colour and texture.”

Another sporting nod to the upcoming Games, footwear brands are going for silver with sneakers heavy on metallic accents. Top bragging rights go to those who score a pair of silver Wales Bonner X Adidas Sambas but look to shimmery styles at Gucci, Golden Goose and Chloé that feel like a prize to wear.

But you probably own the “It” shoe of the year already: white trainers. Your Adidas Stan Smiths, perhaps. Or your Vejas or Reebok Classics or the Nike Cortez. When you look at the big picture – of catwalk shows and front rows, street style and wellness, of Netflix-and-chill and gender- fluid wardrobes, of athleisure and the new rules for workwear – a constellation of white trainers twinkles across the board, touching every zone of fashion. White sneakers are another one of those everyone-has-them staples. They work effortlessly across seasons – just as easily styled with black jeans and a puffa as a floaty floral dress. Plus, there’s something about the pop of Colgate-bright footwear that makes an outfit feel polished and put together. So if you’ve been wearing your white trainers forever, you’re in luck: they are more in vogue now than ever.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of IMAGE.

IMAGE Summer 2024

The Summer issue of IMAGE is here, and we’re taking the longer days as an opportunity to slow down, take stock, and luxuriate in the lull that summer brings. From laid-back looks to in-depth reads, there’s everything you need to set you up for the season. Plus: * Warm-weather style * Boho is back * In studio with Irish designer Sinéad O’Dwyer * Career success stories * Growing and foraging * Women in music * Reframing divorce * Tackle your tiredness * Summer beauty favourites * Bringing the outdoors in * Irish eco escapes * Garden getaways * and so much more…

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