5 Key Mens Trainer Trends for 2020


If you can believe it, 2020 is just a few weeks away. A new year means a bunch of new trainer trends and exclusive collaborations that will soon after be marked up on Depop or Grailed. 2019 felt predictable in many regards, with the exception of those one-piece sneaker-socks, wool lace-up dress shoes, and more mature sneakerboots, now better described as “winterized trainers.” To some degree, especially where your footwear collection is concerned, it’s time for something new and fresh, without being too outlandish and impractical. On that note, in thinking ahead, here are some of the looks on our radar:

Hiking and Tech Features are Here to Stay

Even Church’s is getting in on this trend. Inspired by the great outdoors and all the features required to stay comfortable, styles reflect the chunkier, heavier nature necessary for navigating the trails and might even go a step further with work boot qualities. Collectively, you’ll spot lugged outsoles and stability shanks on dress-style boots, mesh paneling mixed with leather, toe caps, insulation, waterproof properties, and sturdier lacing systems. At times, the silhouettes make the techiness obvious. At others, they’re all hidden, adding value, strength, and comfort to a workplace-ready design.


Strappy Sandals

“Strappy” is a descriptor nearly always reserved for women’s footwear – particularly gladiator sandals and open-toed heels. Yet, within men’s fashion, we’ve seen lace, organza, pale pink hues, and wide-legged trousers edging close to skirt silhouettes over the past few years, so this trend doesn’t seem that too far out. You have a couple of ways for trying it out. On one hand, the orthopedic-style sandal seen in SS20 collections by Prada, E Tautz, Dolce & Gabbana, and Tiger of Sweden presents a hybrid design, mixing the thicker, chunkier dad-style outsole with a multi-strap upper that’s very similar to an Adidas slide. In womenswear speak, someone would call this a “flatform,” but for men, added trainer comfort offers just a tad more support. The other side is the no bells-and-whistles sandal – simply a flat, thinner outsole and a few wider straps on top. Hermes’ and Pierre Hardy’s SS20 offerings tred this familiar territory, with Hardy himself taking inspiration from campground style. We think, frankly, they look like a Birkenstock circa 1995, with a bit more support in the back to avoid sliding off.

Dolce & Gabbana

Patterned Boots

“Statement shoe,” these days, gets associated with too-large-for-their-own-good Balenciaga dad shoes or colourful, multitextured trainers emerging from a fashion and athletic brand’s collaboration – see just about every project Nike has lined up for next year as a reference point. Patterned mid-height boots offer the antidote, to some degree. Often over the clean lines of a Chelsea silhouette, but not discounting lace-up styles, a bold, all-over print gets us nostalgic for 2013-2014 era streetwear. While it’s not a trainer, versions by Versace and Giuseppe Zanotti colourfully balance out your collection. Go the rock star route by pairing them with skinny trousers and a billowing silk shirt – Yves Saint Laurent’s latest presentations offers just enough inspiration – or jazz up your usual chino, button-front, and bomber ensembles for a night out.


The Dress Trainer

Most might argue that Cole Haan already has a stranglehold on this concept. Working with Nike for years certainly helps in terms of lightening up and improving the comfort of this men’s staple. Yet, the shoe we’re talking about here doesn’t add trainer attributes to a dress shoe. Rather, it’s done in reverse, with Santoni’s SS20 collection being the paradigm of this trend. Basically, the exterior resembles a trainer, perhaps one akin to an Adidas Stan Smith – itself the embodiment of a work-appropriate trainer. You’ll notice the leather overlays, lace-up vamp, and more casual shape. However, beyond these attributes, the dress shoe-like upper material goes bounds beyond the usual mesh-and-leather combo. Within the sole unit, too, the cushy midsole is less visible, and thus the shoe looks less like something you’d wear to the gym. Within that smart-casual sweet spot, styles like this are sure to take off and add variety to your work wardrobe.


Statement Outsoles

Although the dad shoe’s starting to see its twilight, the chunky, statement trainer hasn’t completely ridden off into the sunset. Instead, it appears to be taking a new form with the statement outsole. Basically, a less-obnoxiously large trainer has a more prominent outsole that’s brightly coloured, innovatively designed, or adds a uniquely patterned element. As one example, Jimmy Choo’s Dipped Diamond trainers, from its SS20 collection, add a diamond-patterned texture across the solid-colored hot-pink sole unit. In a more extreme direction, the Walter Van Beirendonck x GIDDY UP collaboration has resulted in a bubbles-shaped, semi-transparent outsole that, if we can be forthright, looks like you just got out of the tub. To create this effect, Van Beirendonck utilized the three-dimensional printing capabilities of Mikio Sakabe’s GIDDY UP project. Here, the outsole resembles a lugged texture on a maximized level that’s been rounded out, and contrasts against the understated, nearly one-piece woven upper.

Walter Van Beirendonck