Now I’m not usually one for trainers (give me chunky boots or sandals and nothing in-between) but that’s ok, because the biggest fashion houses have convinced me. The likes of Prada, Burberry and Chloé are creating lust-worthy styles season after season, and the sporty footwear has never been so chic.
Furthermore, play your cards right and you might land yourself a worthy investment (the Balenciaga Triple S trainers sell out every time they’re launched in a new colourway and regularly resell at high value).
The appeal is evident – they’re comfortable, fashion-forward and an easy way to dress down an outfit without sacrificing style. This season, it’s all about dressing them up with a masculine 80s suit or an oversized knitted dress.
Best fashion trainers
For AW21, it’s still all about the retro vibes. I love adidas’ neon sneakers, Fila’s 80s chunky kicks and Kim Jones for Converse’s modern take on the classic 70s high-tops. If chunky footwear is your jam, you’ll be pleased to hear 90s dad trainers are still a main fixture for the new season, and you don’t even have to invest in designer styles for those: influencers and editors can’t get enough of the mesh New Balance or Skechers sneakers.
If sustainability is high on your agenda (as it should be), I’ve also included plenty of vegan options from the likes of Veja, Waes and Yatay. See my sustainable trainers edit for even more styles.
Best running trainers
Choosing the perfect running trainers when you’re an avid runner is a serious business, as investing in the wrong pair could lead to injuries. Some specialist running shops offer a bespoke analysis, where you run on a treadmill to determine your gait and running style. Based on the results, staff will be able to offer styles that will work for you.
If you can’t make it into a store, online sports shops allow you to browse by section, such as ‘running’, ‘gym’ etc, though of course it’s always nice to be able to try them first.
Best trainers for the gym
Unless you’re doing high impact exercise such as the treadmill, you can get away with any sports trainers at the gym, as long as they are able to move with you (most fashion trainers are just too stiff for this).
adidas Originals' 'Special 21 W' sneakers are uplifted with bright pops of colour. Riffing on retro running shoes, they're made from panels of faux suede, nylon and leather in a comfy, low-top silhouette and detailed with pink and green grosgrain accents.
Every time Balenciaga releases the 'Triple S' sneakers in a new colourway, it sells out fast - so don't leave this pair in your wish list for long. Made with thick, sculpted rubber soles and dark-beige leather and mesh uppers, they have striped laces and, of course, the sans serif logo printed throughout.
Kim Jones re-imagines Converse's iconic 'Chuck 70' sneakers with streetwear from the late '90s in mind. Set on chunky rubber soles, this pair is made from ivory canvas that's overlaid with transparent TPU cages for support and wet-weather functionality.
With Eco Theory, Vans set out to rebuild more thoughtful versions of its Classics and evolve its brand story by combining environmental consciousness with the iconic aesthetic fans of the brand have come to expect.
The FILA Gara Women's Trainers features a chunky rubber sole, tech fabric lace-up fastening combining multi-colour applications, and semi-transparent panels, logo on tongue, and rubber sole with gommini. The perfect 80s vibes.
These black Prada Evolution tech knit sneakers are made in Italy. Designed in a low top silhouette, this style has a pointed toe, glossy panels, triangle logo details, lace-up fastening and chunky rubber sole.
This chunky and sporty silhouette will look amazing with your favourite loungewear pieces.
Victoria Beckham reimagines classic Reebok designs through a contemporary lens to create dynamic trainers such as this white Rapide style. They're shaped with a panelled construction using mesh with suede and a contrasting leather trim, then hallmarked with embroidered logos and set on a cushioned rubber outsole.
These pink Chloé Lauren lace sneakers are designed in a low top silhouette. Trimmed with leather, this style has a round toe, lace-up fastening, logo print pull tab and white rubber sole.
Superga's iconic trainer is made of 60% organic cotton and 40% natural hemp, making it a great sustainable option.
VEJA has been creating sneakers differently since 2005, mixing social projects, economic justice and ecological materials. The B-Mesh upper component used by Veja is made from recycled plastic bottles.
Acclaimed Japanese avant-garde fashion brand kansaïyamamoto brings its unique flavor to Skechers in this limited-edition collaboration inspired by the artist's signature bold and colorful style. Skechers Max Cushioning Premier™ - KY Luna brings a high fashion remix on a recurring Kansai theme with vibrant ombre colours representing the moon and the positivity of humanity.
Formed from a single piece of recycled textile fabric, the Run Spin Knit blends innovative design with environmental considerations. Created for comfort and performance, the glove-like fit of the uppers is enhanced by asymmetrical overlays that allow airflow, while a unique EVA midsole compound cushions the foot and ensures energy return.
Bringing the classic BRS athletics style into a modern realm with at least 20% recycled materials by weight, the Nike Waffle One Crater is eye-candy for your feet.