Mens Designer Trainers: An Overview
Trainers, sneakers, kicks; whatever you call them, they’ve been a staple piece of every man’s wardrobe since they first made the move off of the tracks and sports fields, and on to the high streets of the world.
One of the few pieces of clothing that can unite everyone through their wear ability and representation in every nation around the world, trainers have spanned the ages, defying the changing trends and fads of fashion by constantly developing with innovative design, new technology, and new materials.
Gracing the feet of your everyday guy on the high street, to A-list celebrities, super star musicians and even royalty, trainers have long been the piece of footwear that binds us, and keeps our feet firmly on the pavement. However, with such a huge choice of trainers, how do you know which pair is best suited to keeping your feet looking trendy, and setting you off on the right foot in the style stakes?
In this handy trainer guide, you’ll find everything you need to make the most informed decision on which trainers will best suit your style, covering everything from high tops, to colours and where you should, and shouldn’t be wearing them.
Styles Of Trainers
First, let’s talk profiles. With everything from high tops which finish at the ankle, to lows which are cut below, and mid tops which sit in-between the two, getting the height right on your trainers can be a tricky task. High tops derive from classic American basketball styles, and as such, remain a very sporty style. They should be reserved purely for casual wear, no matter what finish they come in. Mid and low tops represent the bulk of trainer design. They are the hybrid of every sporting style that has come before them, resulting in a huge range of styles and finishes. With plush leathers, making them perfect for a cross over shoe between smart and casual wear, as well as patents, suede and mesh finishing’s, giving a style that is ideal for casual wear; these trainers are the ultimate piece of versatile style for your feet.
Despite their modern uses being mainly on the high street, trainers haven’t forgotten their athletic roots, with various brands and styles drawing their influences from the history of some of the world’s best loved sports.
Probably the world’s biggest and most loved sport, Football is seen as an international language that we can all speak. As a result, the sport has influenced a host of trainer styles, as brands seek to bring the flair of style of football boots, and the infamous players who wear them, into a more casual, everyday style. With brands like Cruyff, who keep their heritage firmly rooted in the sport thanks to the brands founder Johan Cruyff, you’ll find touches that are equally as classy as the way the former Dutch international played the beautiful game. Flashes of patent, fantastic mixes of materials such as mesh, suede and leather, as well as slim profiles and molded soles give these trainers a streak of Dutch footballing flair. You might find that you can cross these kinds of styles over into a smart casual look, thanks to their premium luxury appearance.
Also taking a huge influence from footballing heritage, Adidas have set the tone on the field for technical brilliance for years, creating some of the best loved boots of all time, from the Kaiser, to the Predator. The Adidas Gazelle pays homage to the brands roots in the sport, and is adored by terrace goers and weekend casuals all over the country. The mix of the famous three stripe branding, as well as the choices in suede or leather finishing’s, and options in the sole finishing’s with indoor and outdoor rubber, make the Gazelle a timeless classic that will never date- perfect for wearing with any casual outfit.
Giving huge influences to a host of styles, running is the sport that has left the biggest mark on casual trainer styles. Fondly referred to by sneaker heads as ‘runners’, these trainers are one of the most stylish and comfy designs you can get your hands on, thanks to their deep heritage and vintage aesthetic. One of the most infamous brands to dominate the runner style, New Balance have been designing top quality profiles for over 100 years, bringing the expertise they learnt from creating high performance running shoes for top athletes. With a host of colours finished in the perfect mix of suede and mesh, there is a pair of New Balance trainers for every season of the year. Perfect for mixing in with a casual street wear look, New Balance has the heritage to demand respect no matter where you wear them, thanks to their chunky soled profile and clean finishes. Much like New Balance, Saucony (pictured above) have also used their experiences making running shoes for top quality athletes to develop casual styles that bring a vintage running feel to your feet. With similar profiles thanks to the chunky, comfortable sole unit, Saucony trainers are perfect for wearing casually with your favourite pair of jeans. Adidas have also bought their runners onto the high street, with some of their most iconic styles being perfect for casual street wear style.
Tennis also has a heavy influence on trainer styles. With Britain having a huge affinity with the sport, thanks to national greats like Fred Perry and now Andy Murray, and events like Wimbledon, Tennis brings about huge waves of nostalgia of Great British class. Celebrating not only the style demands of the sport, but also the heritage behind one of the world’s oldest and most reserved games, brands like Adidas have watered down some of their most iconic Tennis styles and taken them off the court and onto the high street, mixing technical elements from some of their earliest tennis styles, such as ventilation around the toes, and extra ankle support.
Despite a lot of trainer styles clearly taking their influences from sports, some have been redesigned and re thought, to provide casual style on a hybrid shoe style, proving to be perfect if you need a style that you can cross over from weekend to evening wear. Typically coming from big name designers like Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren, these trainers offer clean lines, flush finishes and premium, understated branding. With styles that have been slimmed down, and given a new aesthetic, these trainers make for seriously easy wearing. Perfect to go with your favourite pair of jeans, they make the transition from the high street to a bar or dinner seamless.
Finally, another style that has managed to derive itself from its sporting compatriots, the luxury trainer has made a huge stir in the fashion world, with its expensive appearance, mix of flash materials and understated or often overt design. Perfect for wearing casually, brands such as Y3 (pictured below) are the godfather of the luxury trainer market. Bold colours, flashes of contrasting materials and often outlandish, innovative design are Y3’s trademarks, as they bring the wow factor back to footwear. Taking influences from a huge range of sports- from tennis to boxing, Y3 trainers use a host of profiles to gain their sought after reputation- covering everything from low to high tops. If you fancy something a touch more toned down, the likes of Moncler offer an ultra clean finish that is understated without blending into the background.
Advice When Buying Trainers
When choosing your next pair of trainers, bear in mind where you’re going to wear them, or what for. This well help you make an easy distinction between which styles you go for-whether you opt for something with a smart aesthetic, or a more casual sport infused runner. It can also help influence the colour choice you make. If you’re hunting down a pair to wear on a smarter tip, then try darker colours, such as brown, black, navy and grey. These will be perfectly suited for wearing a darker, dressier jean with, so you can follow up your look with a well cut shirt or piece of knitwear for an easy, smart style. However, if you’re looking for something to set your casual wardrobe apart from the crowd, then dive in at the deep end and try something with a bolder colour, to make sure they stand apart from your jeans. When you’re picking the colour way on your next pair of trainers, don’t forget to remember the changing seasons too- you might choose to opt for darker colours when finding a pair of sneakers in Autumn, and grab a pair of fresh white trainers for the warmer Summer months.
How Trainers Are Made
New Balance have put put together this informative video over on their Youtube channel which gives us a fascinating glance into how they create their range of sneakers at their factory in Flimby, UK.
Browse this seasons full range of mens designer trainers
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