I hate trainers. There, I’ve said it. But I suppose I should quantify quite so contentious a statement. I’m not an exerciser. I’m also not great at casual: I’m not the kind of bloke who walks around in a tracksuit. I don’t even own blue jeans. I like starch, a bit of formality. Tailoring, brogues, polished leather. Neoprene and Air-Max soles don’t have room in my wardrobe.
Trainers are the easy way out: easy for the wearers, and easy for fashion designers trying to hit that tragic, oft-repeated “sports-luxe” trend. I was once talking with Lucas Ossendrijver, creative director of Lanvin Homme, the label inside some of the most luxe trainers on the market. “At the time when I put sneakers with suits, it was quite shocking,” he said. “Now it has become more accepted and encouraged.” It’s also become a bit old-hat.
Lanvin is one of the few designer brands that do them well. Raf Simons is another: he collaborates with Adidas, so his trainers have a realism many others lack. They’re not over-designed. They also make sense with his clothes – for spring, he showed brief printed tunics in crunchy synthetics and the shortest of shorts. Fast clothes. Streamlined. A bit like Concorde. Trainers make perfect sense there, as opposed to club-footing a businessman on the way to work.
I realise I’m in the minority. Samantha Cameron hit headlines when she tripped out in a pair of printed Air Max last week. And the fashion crowd loves trainers. I know a veritable marathon of male stylists who wear little but trainers below their ankles – most notable are LOVE magazine’s Anders Solvsten Thomsen, The Gentlewoman’s Jonathan Kaye, and Joe McKenna, who styles Victoria Beckham and Jil Sander’s shows. Those are some heavyweight names right there. And they look great in them, too.
There’s also the fiscal reality: Nike’s profits jumped 22 per cent in 2012, Adidas’ rose 6.5 per cent. That wasn’t down to the Olympics – most people don’t just wear trainers for training, but for life. Just, not my life…