With new sneakers being constantly released, this article will look at some of the major and most hyped-up releases, so far, and their impact on new trends. A few of the sneakers mentioned are repeatedly brought up in order to showcase how these trends overlap and influence one another. Continue reading to discover the latest sneaker trends, collaborations, and collections.
Sneaker Trends Straight from the Runway
Fashion houses have increasingly been inspired by both athletic and streetwear influences. One sneaker collaboration that walked in the Spring Summer ‘23 Fashion Week shows was the Adidas X Wales Bonner collaboration. It featured a Samba sneaker with a mirrored metallic finish. The high shine, the stitching, and the cream crochet triple stripes seamlessly blend both traditional athletic and couture details. From the Fall Winter ‘23 season, the Cecilie Bahnsen and Asics GT-2160 sneaker features a floral pattern set against a silver metallic finish.
The exaggerated velcro strap is reminiscent of a Mary Jane shoe which has risen in popularity with other designer brands, such as Prada and Miu Miu. There is another Cecilie Bahnsen and Asics collaboration also scheduled to drop on the 20th of October for the Spring Summer ‘24 collection. Both collaborations have elements typically seen in formal wear and have given the sneakers some couture details as they remain comfortable enough to wear every day.
The Onitsuka Tiger’s Spring Summer ‘24 collection from Milan Fashion Week was another big moment. Parts of the collection drew inspiration from Onitsuka Tiger’s Yellow Collection. The Mexico 66 in this colorway has seen a huge resurgence in the past year and was a dominant feature of the show. The collection included a variety of different shoes including rain boots, sandals, and of course, sneakers. Their Mexico 66 in silver/off-white has also been a popular new color choice. While collaborations between design houses and footwear brands have appeared in the past, the more recent additions have been able to blend cohesively into the collections and runway shows.
Combining Athletic Details with Streetwear Influences
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Sneakers were initially worn primarily for sports and leisure activities, but now they are used for any kind of occasion. Current collaborators are taking inspiration back to these athletic influences by adding elements found in other types of footwear. One such collaboration is the Nike X CLOT with a Nike Cortez sneaker dubbed the CLOTEZ. Martial arts, particularly kung fu, inspired the slip-on style, and once the outer black sleeve is removed, the recognizable cortez shape is revealed. It also reveals the words kung fu, written in Chinese calligraphy on the heel. The shoe literally combines two separate shoes into one cohesive design.
The Nike X Albino X Preto also took a classic Nike sneaker, the NIKE SB Dunk Low, and gave it a new twist. The pair used Brazilian jiu-jitsu as inspiration for the collaboration by incorporating specifically placed stitching, color choice, and layering of textiles to reflect the traditions of the sport. It took a sneaker that is commonly associated with skateboarding and seamlessly brought the two sports together.
Both Moncler and Canada Goose are brands that are known for their luxury outdoor wear. The Moncler x Salehe Bembury Trailgrip Grain sneaker, part of the Genius line, uses the brand’s own mountaineering history to create a sneaker that has elements typically seen in hiking boots. The heavy tread of the outsole creeps up and extends over the toe. It also features thick hiking-style laces and an array of durable materials that add to the textured surface. The earthy color scheme, inspired by hues found in nature, plays a huge role in representing both collaborators’ influences.
The Canada Goose Glacier Trail Sneaker, part of its first sneaker release ever, is another example of how luxe and durable materials can be used to make sneakers suitable for both the outdoors and casual wear. Featuring pull-tabs, thicker laces, and durable soles, its high-performance capabilities are matched by striking color combinations. It is a sneaker that is meant to be worn in any kind of terrain.
Over-the-Top and Abstract Sneaker Features
Sneaker designs are constantly pushing the boundaries between what is considered wearable and conceptual. A stand-out this past year has been The Tormenta by the sub-label CAMPERLAB. A recent release that has received a lot of attention, its abstract silhouette has made it a highly referenced sneaker launch this past year. The curved and wavy lines seen throughout the design give the overall appearance an oblong shape. The sneaker features asymmetrical lacing and intersecting textiles, which create an organic feel reflective of the naturally sourced and recycled materials used in its construction.
The very recent release of the Nike Air Footscape Woven Cow Print (or possibly a giraffe print, depending on personal preference) is another release that has captured a lot of attention. It also features asymmetrical lacing wraps alongside the length of the shoe, which blends with weaving seen alongside the sides of the outsole. Aside from the abstraction of the sneaker’s shapes, what makes these an appealing choice is their fluidity and loose shape. With no rigid lines or stringent features, they just look so comfortable, therefore they blend together both ease and boldness.
Are Boots the New Sneakers?
MSCHF’s Big Red Boot became one of the most viral and hyped-up releases of the year so far. It’s technically not a sneaker, but it still had major hype in this sphere alone. The over-the-top and cartoon-ish boots were meant to bring a 2D cartoon into our 3D world. It blurs the lines between not only what footwear looks like, but what is considered wearable as well.
There was another release, this time by Croc and MSCHF, featuring a yellow Croc boot. While not everybody will have access to these boots, other brands are also experimenting with the idea of blending boots and sneakers. The 2023 Adidas and Moncler collaboration is set to continue this trend by mixing both brands’ respective histories into one larger-than-life collaboration.
The collection takes the Adidas Campus sneaker and infuses it with the Moncler’s DNA. Made from durable materials such as Ripstop, leather, and GORE-TEX the padding on the sneaker creates a boot-like silhouette. It references the padding of a puffer jacket, which Moncler is known for. The Onitsuka Spring Summer ‘24 runway show also featured their own version of yellow rain boots and sneakers that have chunky bright yellow soles. While this isn’t the first time that sneakers have been meshed with other types of footwear (remember the 2000s sneaker heels?), this shows a resurgence in past trends and the energy to continue experimenting with them.
Color Clash: Bold Sneakers That Stand Out
Bold colors seen both from the 1990s and early 2000s are back with traffic-cone oranges, golden yellows, neon lime greens, hot pink magentas, and ocean cobalt blues. One of the more colorful releases from this year is the Jae Tips x Saucony Grid Azura 2000 which captured attention with its patchwork combination of vibrant colors, prints, and textures. Saucony has a wide array of bold colors to pick from in its line, but by meshing Jae Tips street style influence they created a sneaker that was meant to stand out amongst the crowd. It combines floral, checker, and zebra prints that are layered beneath jewel-toned suede overlays.
Another colorful edition is the Action Bronson and New Balance’s 990v6 Baklava. A unique color story and silhouette blends various sources of inspiration, one, of course, being the decadent layers of baklava. The muted earth tones make the neons pop even more. At first glance, it doesn’t seem as if all these different elements should work together, but it gives these sneakers a four-dimensional appearance and further emboldens their individualistic design.
On the opposite side of the spectrum. sneaker colorways in solid black and white color palettes are also on the rise. The Nike x PEACEMINUSONE G-Dragon Kwondo 1, the Converse x Off-White Chuck 70 Hi, or the Asics x Gmbh Gel-Kayano Legacy all take a high contrast approach to their designs in both sharp graphics or organic wavy-patterned lines. The Marni x Veja V-10 and the Nike ISPA Mindbody black/white both focus on this colorway as well. By utilizing naturally derived materials and more sustainable production practices, the abstractly constructed textiles and patterns push these colors further. Since the release of the highly sought-after Nike Panda Dunk, there have been (and will continue to be) even more releases experimenting with this classic colorway.
The New Neutral: Earth Tones with an Edge
Even though more colorful sneakers are having their moment, this hasn’t stopped the dominance of neutral colorways from being a popular choice. Greens in either moss, olive, or camo tones are some of the newest and most frequent choices of the year. Deriving from either utilitarian or militarian inspirations, these sneakers have deeply rich earth tones. A few highly rated releases include the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 Low Olive, the Mizuno x Maharishi Wave Rider 10, the New Balance X Joe Freshgoods Beneath the Surface Rainier Boots, the New Balance x Stone Island 574 Legacy, and the Moncler x Salehe Bembury Trailgrip Grain sneaker.
They also are paired with industrial-like colors such as stone, fossil, cement, or iron. Other sneakers take inspiration from patterns seen in the natural world. More literal translations include the Nike Air Footscape Woven Cow Print, the zebra print seen in the Jae Tips x Saucony Grid Azura 2000, or the elephant print on the Air Jordan 3 White Cement 2023. Others took a subtle approach including the muted color schemes seen in either the Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro Low OG Year of the Rabbit or the New Balance 2002R Lunar New Year Pack, both of which were inspired by the year of the rabbit.
Re-spins on Classic Sneaker Staples
Brands are releasing re-mixed silhouettes and colorways of cult-favorite sneakers. They pay homage to the legacy and history of a sneaker’s collaborators, designers, and the sneakers themselves. One of the most top-rated sneakers of the year is the Kith x Clarks x Adidas Samba sneaker.
Originating from the soccer pitch, the Adidas Samba sneaker has grown in popularity since its inception in 1949. The twist from this collaboration took the staple sneaker and meshed it with a crepe sole platform, which comes from the Clark aspect of this collaboration. The Air Jordan 3 White Cement, part of the re-imagined line-up, is another classic shoe staple that received a refreshed update. This is the sixth iteration of this colorway with re-releases since its debut in 1988. Its overall form was designed to reflect the original sneaker design and is used to pay homage to its 35th anniversary.
The Air Jordan 2 Black Cement was also just released for an updated take on another cult favorite sneaker. The New Balance Protection Pack/Refined Future Pack takes a futuristic deconstructed silhouette of the New Balance 2002R. It was originally released in 2010 but was discontinued and wasn’t revived until 2019 amidst growing popularity for the resurgence of the Dad Shoe. It combines both futuristic shredded details while still keeping the thick, chunky silhouette intact. All three sneakers have incorporated vintage tones including yellowish tints, rugged oranges, or dusty neutrals, making them look aged which therefore makes them look well-worn and well-loved.
Celebrating Soccer Collaborations
While sneakers have been synonymous with soccer, particularly Adidas and Puma, the newest collaborations between large footwear brands and soccer clubs have released sneakers that can be worn off the pitch. Converse and the Liverpool FC collaboration released two sneakers that pay homage to the fans of Anfield and its supporters of the club. A re-imagined classic Chuck 70 and a Run Star Hike both include emblems of the club including the YNWA (You Never Walk Alone) and the Liver bird symbol/emblem.
The PSG Air Jordan 6 Low is a collaboration between Paris Saint-Germain and Air Jordan. Inspired by the architect of the Paris Saint-Germain stadium it includes cool-toned grays and blues as well as bright orange details in the heel patch and Air Jordan logo. Last year, the Mexican Football Federation and Adidas released a kit of six Samba sneakers which contained an array of patterns and color combinations representative of the team’s signature red and green.
Nike and British designer Martine Rose have collaborated twice with campaigns that have focused on celebrating women in soccer and breaking barriers in soccer apparel. The most recent collection included three new colorways of the Nike Shox Mule MR 4 and a combination of a heeled Shox Mule MR 4.