Forget summer sandals this season, Marie Claire's Chloe Mac Donnell explains why it's all about the trainer mania...
I spotted my first pair going up the escalators at Green Park tube station. Bright pink with contrasting red panels – akin to a packet of a Hubba Bubba chewing gum. The finishing touch? A chunky air-filled sole and that distinguishable swoosh. This pair of Nike Air Max trainers immediately raced my mind back to my school days where for PE classes the sporty girls dashed onto the basketball court in their enthusiastic Asics while those of us more concerned in dodging the ball in fear of a fat lip pranced around in Nike or Adidas kicks.
Seeing a pair of trainers on the tube escalators wasn’t that much of a surprise. For years my eyes have had to bear the ugly sight of pencil skirts and tan-coloured tights topped off with chunky practical trainers as the corporate city workers power walk their way to their sky-high offices. But this woman that whizzed by me in her luminous trainers taking two stairs at a time was a complete revelation. Teaming her footwear with a pair of simple Paige skinny denim jeans and an oversized grey cocoon coat, she looked tres chic. Not a phrase I’d usually use when talking about trainers. Suddenly candy coloured hooves were trotting past me everywhere – from the crowds outside Topshop on Oxford Circus to the hipster-packed Broadway market in Hackney. I have grown accustomed to people tottering around in Isabel Marant wedge sneakers and the various others brands that emulate the strange hybrid but this current shoe fetish is all about the unadulterated sports trainer. Practical?Yes. Functional? Yes. And now even fashionable!
It was kickstarted on the spring/summer runways as models strolled rather than stumbled. Ashish paired their 90s inspired collection with classic white Reebok trainers, Japanese designer Junya Watanabe sent his avant garde collection down the runway teamed with Puma trainers whilst even Moschino Cheap and Chic chose colourful Nike Air Max trainers over a bright sky high heels. Since then a plethora of celebrities including Rihanna, Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora have been snapped in similar trainer styles and even the street style brigade during fashion week were all laced up too. As Nichola Carroll, a footwear buyer for ASOS, explains, at the moment, it’s all about retro classic styles: ‘Nike and New Balance have been extremely popular this spring, especially the Nike Air Max and all retro styles from New Balance. To keep up with trainer demand we have already booked new updated colours for AW13.’
Yes, that’s right, New Balance trainers, once favoured by police officers and bar staff for their specialised arch support, are now being scooped up by women who for years have hobbled in pointy stilettos. You can almost hear their arches sighing in relief. The brand that is manufactured in the UK grew by 22% in 2012 and having now been featured all over the coolest street style blogs one can only expect continued increased sales for 2013.
So what’s the trick to carrying off this new practical trainer trend? Firstly, go for a bright coloured pair – clashing neon colours work well and add a fresh feel. If citrus brights cause too much of an eye glare choose a neutral minimalist style. Label lovers are currently lusting after the whiter than white Saint Laurent Court Classics sneakers. Whatever the colour make sure to keep them clean or boxfresh as trainer fans say. There’s nothing worse than a pair of scruffy, mud splattered trainers. And, finally, stick to trousers or jeans and make sure to neatly roll the leg up to expose your ankle. This will soften the look and make it less gym-goer and more future fashionista.
On your marks, here are our top ten trainers (all available on the high street now):