Sneaker style: 5 essential fashion tips for wearing trainers

Sportswear experts offer their top styling tips.

Katie Wright
Tuesday 13 July 2021 08:30 BST
Nike Jordan 1 Low SE Arctic Punch
Nike Jordan 1 Low SE Arctic Punch

If loungewear was the dominant fashion trend of lockdown, trainers were the footwear that ruled, as shiny loafers and high heels gathered dust in wardrobes across the land.

Even though pandemic restrictions are coming to an end, many of us aren’t about to say goodbye to our sneakers. In fact, sports shoes are trendier than ever, but there are a few do’s and don’ts to be aware of if you want to look cool in your kicks this summer…

1. Keep it simple with a suit

Adidas Stan Smith Cloud White Green

“These days, nothing says sartorial prowess like a well matched pair of sneakers and a crisp suit,” says George Sullivan, CEO and founder of The Sole Supplier. “Keeping it simple with your choice of footwear will make the world of difference – you’ll remain formal whilst also displaying effortless style and revelling in your comfort.”

He recommends the “utter classic” Adidas Stan Smith in white or the Veja Campo, a “firm favourite of both Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton” as ideal options.

Sullivan adds: “Another thing to note here is to make sure your suit trousers are slim cut and tapered so they don’t fall over the shoe, keeping the look sleek and finished.”

2. Make a statement with your sneakers

woman wearing a suit and trainers

Instead of thinking ‘what shoes go with this outfit?’ why not start with a pair of trendy trainers and work your way up?

“With any outfit there always has to be one statement piece,” says Moses Rashid, founder of The Edit LDN. “It might be a Dior sneaker with the logo all over it, but then you marry that with neutral tones. Or if you’ve got something like a bright orange sneaker, you don’t really want to be rocking a bright orange T-shirt as well, so wear them with nice blue jeans and a white T-shirt.”

3. Experiment with trends

Idris Elba wearing trainers on the red carpet

Wondering which is better, classic kicks or the latest designs?”Sneaker brands make it easy enough for us to have the best of both worlds,” says Sullivan. “With new colourways of classic silhouettes releasing every week we’re spoilt for choice, giving us the option to have a classic pair of sneakers with a trendy twist.”

If you’re looking for something timeless he suggests “a classic silhouette like the Nike Air Force 1 or Adidas Continental in simple colourways.”

As for the hottest properties right now? “Our recent report looked into the trending sneakers of 2021, Yeezy [Kanye’s collaboration with Adidas] and Nike Dunks are certainly on the rise with many people saying 2021 is the ‘Year of the Dunk’.”

4. Customise your kicks

“One of the tips that I would give you would be something like lace swapping,” says Rashid – switching out the black or white laces that came with the shoes for bright pink or neon green, for example. “That’s the beauty of trainers, it literally just comes down to how you’re expressing yourself on that day.”

5. Don’t forget your socks

Nike Jordan 1 High Mocha

“Once deemed an afterthought, socks have swiftly made their way into fashion statement territory,” says Sullivan, who offers these three tips if you want to be on trend: “Pull them up; don’t buy novelty; and don’t be afraid of colours.”

Rashid says that your clothes and trainer style should determine your sock choice: “It all depends on who you are. If you’re going to a festival and you’re wearing a pair of shorts and you’ve got Nike Jordans on, normally the look would be to have a pair of socks that are just a little bit higher than the top of the Jordan. The point is it’s not just about the sneaker, it’s about the whole outfit.”

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