As we’re cautiously maze ourselves through 2020 biggest pandemic there are some big questions on everyone’s lips: Will this COVID-19 ever come to an end? How do we adjust to the “new normal” ? And, much less importantly, what’s the next big thing going to be in the world of sneakers? Unfortunately, we’re not really equipped to answer the first two; such matters are far beyond our fashion trends realm of expertise. 2010s brought the world cup in SA as well as crisp white uppers, minimalist silhouettes and the first sniff of what would later become a full-scale ‘90s revival, while 2020 is set to offer a sharp contrast. From high fashion brand collaboration, to revisiting the year 2000, these are the sneaker trends to know over the next 12 months.
1. High-Fashion COLLAB
Air Jordan x & Christian Dior collab, is here we are. In 2019, the Sacai x Nike LDWaffle was arguably the biggest release of the year, and with the aforementioned Air Dior sneaker, plus another from Adidas and Prada set to land later this year, the trend for high-fashion collaborations is only going to get bigger.
High fashion brands are teaming up with sneaker brands is symptomatic of a larger, overarching trend. It’s yet another step towards streetwear becoming fashion’s new normal – something which has been taking place for several years now.
2. See Right Through
The first hint of see-through sneakers came courtesy of Virgil Abloh’s take on the Converse All Star and Nike’s React Element 87 back in 2018; two semi-transparent kicks that revealed the wearer’s taste in socks to the world.
You’d have been forgiven at the time for dismissing it as a gimmick, but two years on, here we are, faced with a plethora of fully see-through sneakers and more popping up every month. This trend is only getting bigger.
You’d have been forgiven at the time for dismissing it as a gimmick, but two years on, here we are, faced with a plethora of fully see-through sneakers and more popping up every month. Artist/model/skateboarder Blondey McCoy’s new Adidas Superstar collab has been the latest transparent shoe to set tongues wagging but we’ve also seen (or seen through) transparent Fila Disruptors, Nike Air Force 1s and many more. For better or worse, this trend is only getting bigger, and if you must get involved, for the love of God, put some socks on.
3. More Gore
Function going fashion was one of the major menswear moments of 2019. Models were paraded down runways in technical outerwear, pockets were everywhere and Gore-Tex surpassed fleece and corduroy as the hottest fabric around. Dressing for an ice climb in the Karakoram had never looked so good.
But the performance fabrics didn’t end at our ankles. AW19 brought with it an influx of Gore-Tex sneakers, some of which were shockingly wearable. Waterproof versions of classic styles like the Adidas Stan Smith, the Superstar and the Nike Air Force One all flew off shelves, solving that age-old sneakerhead winter dilemma of what to rock when the weather turns sour. Expect to see more of the same as we settle into the new year.
4. Performance Runners
Hot on the heels of the trail-runners that have been peppering the front row of Fashion Week for several seasons now, performance running shoes are the latest functional footwear to have been picked up by the cooler-than-thou fashion crowd.
Brands like Hoka One One and Nike and Undercover’s Gyakusou imprint have boosted your local running club’s street cred to unprecedented new heights, with colourful, high-performance kicks that bite as hard as they bark. Granted, you’re probably not going to run a 150-mile ultramarathon in them, but it’s nice to know the option’s there.
5. Noughties Revival
Speaking of stuff done ’00s style, in 2020 we’re all set for a timely reminder that the 20-year trend-cycle clock is still ticking with pinpoint accuracy. The last decade has been very heavy on the ’90s nostalgia, but as we enter the ’20s, attention is shifting to the millennium.
We thought this day would never come but with the revival of baggy jeans and dangly canvas belts last year, the signs were already right in front of us. For further proof of what’s coming our way footwear wise, look to the recent resurgence of early ’00s styles like Nike’s Shox and the aforementioned shiny, shiny gym shoes made of mesh.