STYLE: Buy Me: Royal Elastics pounds 65

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The Independent Online
It's hard to say how the slip-on trainers trend happened, but it may have started with Mickey Rourke. He wore them last year in Paris when he modelled for British menswear designer Nigel Curtiss; after the show he decided to keep the shoes. The trainers in question were designed for kick-boxing, and were subsequently snaffled up from Parisian sports shops by fashionable men who found they were unavailable in the UK.

A year down the line two 21-year-old students from Sydney, Tull Price and Rodney Adler, have invented a new slip-on fashion trainer, Royal Elastics, which hit British shops at the beginning of this month. Price thought of the idea for sneakers without laces when the laces from his skate shoes kept getting caught up in the wheels of his skateboard. Advertising was placed in the style press a few months before the launch date to get people interested. The ad featured a man, trousers around knees, looking at a peep show - only there was no sexy woman doing her stuff. Just a pair of Royal Elastic trainers sitting on a table. Very sexy.

Looking like a cross between nurses' shoes and conventional sneakers, Royal Elastics' appeal is that easy, casual, Hush Puppy feel. Strong elastic panels take the place of laces and they are extremely comfy, require no effort to put on, and look good with most casual wear. Slip-on trainers could be the next big thing, and who knows Nike and Adidas could follow suit with a version you can actually wear: the kick-boxing ones had such thin soles they were impossible to wear down the street, as those oh-so- fashionable men who bought a pair soon discoveredn

Melanie Rickey

Royal Elastics, pounds 65, come in white with black soles, all white, navy/white, cream/grey and all black. Available from branches of Office Shoes, and Offspring in London and Shuh branches nationwide. Call 01785 819 787 for your nearest stockist.