Despite the fact that sneakers are a bona fide fashion item, when it comes to future trainer trends, the runway isn't always a good indicator of what's coming up, as this item tends to get more of a back seat from most of the big designers. For that reason, I decided to speak to an insider about the biggest sneaker trends we can expect to see for 2022. Titi Finlay, the social media manager for Laced, a leading resale site for sneakers, spoke to me about what we can expect to wear on our feet next year.
Finlay told me about five of the biggest trends for the new year, but she also had a few other points that we should all consider in 2022 when shopping for the hottest trainers. Finlay says, "2021 was the year of the Dunk and the Jordan 1, and these silhouettes have now reached the mainstream. Although they are timeless, iconic designs, they have become a bit saturated. Once brands start slapping pastel colourways on a shoe, you know it's on its way out. People are looking for something a bit different now."
The first point then is to avoid the pastel trainers if you want to look fashion-forward. I also wanted to know if the chunky sneaker is finally, officially dead. While Finlay says it depends on which pair, she did point out that items such as the Fila Disruptor or Balenciaga Triple S are on the out. However, "brands like Yeezy, Reebok and Pyer Moss are making waves with the chunky sneaker, bringing it into a much more futuristic aesthetic and away from the retro 'dad' style," Finlay says.
Finally, before we dive into the five trends below, I wanted to know: If we were to pick one shoe for the upcoming year, which one should it be? "Honestly, it's a bit of a Wild West right now, as everyone likes different stuff," says Finlay. "The one sneaker that never goes out of style is the classic white Air Force 1. It goes with every style and every outfit. Everyone needs a pair in their wardrobe." For more vital sneaker trends info, keep scrolling.
1. Technical Basketball
Photo:Courtesy of AMI Paris
AMI Paris S/S 22 runway
"Following The Last Dance doc from last year, the world has become more appreciative of the more technical, and perhaps less aesthetically pleasing, basketball sneakers like the Air Jordan 6 (à la Travis Scott), Air Jordan 14 (Aleali May's latest design has seriously piqued the interest of female sneakerheads) or the Foamposite (a major collab with Comme des Garçons is set to release soon). As someone who works in the industry, it's interesting to see sales spike on these silhouettes, where it used to be straight up Jordan 1s or Dunks," says Finlay.
2. Sustainable Sneakers
"Adidas and Yeezy are really paving the way in this space right now. Adidas's ongoing partnership with Sean Wotherspoon has produced fully sustainable sneaker silhouettes made from vegan leather, while Yeezy's latest foam runner is made from algae locally grown by Kanye's ranch in Wisconsin, which helps to clean waterways and reduces fossil fuels. Not to mention the cool aesthetic of these designs! As our generation becomes more concerned with sustainability, this is definitely something we are looking for in a sneaker moving forward."
"With a somewhat bleak future ahead, a lot of us are looking to the past for inspiration, and sneakers are no different. Creators like @philllllthy and @foxtrott_uniform are deliberately ageing their sneakers, yellowing the midsoles and swapping the laces out for faded pairs so that they look vintage, while brands like Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance are pushing the agenda of timelessness with style reminiscent of '90s NYC. Nike is also bringing back a lot of its archive Air Max silhouettes, which is super exciting. These silhouettes changed sneaker design forever when they came out, so it will be nice for that to be recognised again."
Photo:Courtesy of Farfetch
"Designers like Evan Belforti of Reebok and Steven Smith of Yeezy have been pushing the boat out when it comes to sneaker designs that have never been seen before. Reebok's new Premiere Road is techy and slick, while the Yeezy Foam Runners and 450s are almost like alien organisms. Stuff like that is almost jarring and ugly at first sight (because it's so new), but when you step back and appreciate the design thinking behind them, they are just brilliant product."
5. Gender-Neutral Styles
"I can't say too much, but I have it on good authority that brands are working on the bigger picture when it comes to women in sneakers. The female community was vocal in 2020 and 2021 about the lack of gender inclusivity in sneaker product, and let's just say the people at the top are listening. Say goodbye to overdesigned, pink-it-and-shrink-it sneakers and hello to full-size runs and gender-neutral designs."