As we edge cautiously into 2020 there are some big questions on everyone’s lips: Are we about to be dragged into World War III? How can we stop the entire planet from burning to a cinder? And, much less importantly, what’s the next big thing going to be in the world of sneakers? Unfortunately, we’re not really equipped to answer the first two; such matters are far beyond our menswear-focused realm of expertise. However, gazing into the FashionBeans crystal ball for the first time this year, we can have a damn good go at answering the third.
While the early 2010s brought us crisp white uppers, minimalist silhouettes and the first sniff of what would later become a full-scale ‘90s revival, 2020 looks set to offer a sharp contrast. From haute-couture collabs to revisiting the year 2000, these are the sneaker trends to know over the next 12 months.
This time ten years ago, you’d have been laughed out of Paris by tall, thin, good-looking people smoking tiny menthol cigarettes for suggesting an Air Jordan x Christian Dior collab, and yet here we are. In 2019, the Sacai x Nike LDWaffle was arguably the biggest release of the year, and with the aforementioned Air Dior sneaker, plus another from Adidas and Prada set to land later this year, the trend for high-fashion collaborations is only going to get bigger. Haute-couture houses hooking up with sneaker brands is symptomatic of a larger, overarching trend. It’s yet another step towards streetwear becoming fashion’s new normal – something which has been taking place for several years now. Still, for anyone convinced it was just a flash in the pan, this should serve as further proof of streetwear’s staying power in the fashion arena.
Function going fashion was one of the major menswear moments of 2019. Models were paraded down runways in technical outerwear, pockets were everywhere and Gore-Tex surpassed fleece and corduroy as the hottest fabric around. Dressing for an ice climb in the Karakoram had never looked so good. But the performance fabrics didn’t end at our ankles. AW19 brought with it an influx of Gore-Tex sneakers, some of which were shockingly wearable. Waterproof versions of classic styles like the Adidas Stan Smith, the Superstar and the Nike Air Force One all flew off shelves, solving that age-old sneakerhead winter dilemma of what to rock when the weather turns sour. Expect to see more of the same as we settle into the new year.
We’re always banging on about the merits of adding some texture to your wardrobe, but why stop at your feet? Textured trainers are already making inroads into mainstream menswear, but in 2020 they’re on track to really blow up. From cord plimsolls to hairy suede runners, tactile fabrics are taking over the sneaker world and we’re all for it. It’s tricky to pinpoint when this all started but if we had to put money on it we’d say it began around the launch of the corduroy Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97 in 2018. Ever since then, texture and trainers have been having a steamy love affair that has resulted in some of the most beautiful little sneaker babies we’ve ever laid eyes on. And with a new Wotherspoon collab set to drop in 2020, things are only going to heat up.
Hot on the heels of the trail-runners that have been peppering the front row of Fashion Week for several seasons now, performance running shoes are the latest functional footwear to have been picked up by the cooler-than-thou fashion crowd. Brands like Hoka One One and Nike and Undercover’s Gyakusou imprint have boosted your local running club’s street cred to unprecedented new heights, with colourful, high-performance kicks that bite as hard as they bark. Granted, you’re probably not going to run a 150-mile ultramarathon in them, but it’s nice to know the option’s there.
Mesh And Metallic
A bit like the infinite monkeys/infinite typewriters thought exercise, wait long enough and anything you can possibly think of will become fashionable. Wraparound shades? Check. Sketchers? Check. Those heavily detailed mesh and metallic silver trainers your high-school PE teacher used to wear? In 2020, that’d be another big fat check. They’re running shoes done ’00s style and thanks to the likes of New Balance, Saucony and Asics, they’re back in force for the new year. We like to think of it as Dad Shoe 2.0. The natural evolution of one of last year’s biggest footwear trends and something we’re going to be seeing a lot more of over the coming 12 months.
Speaking of stuff done ’00s style, in 2020 we’re all set for a timely reminder that the 20-year trend-cycle clock is still ticking with pinpoint accuracy. The last decade has been very heavy on the ’90s nostalgia, but as we enter the ’20s, attention is shifting to the millennium. We thought this day would never come but with the revival of baggy jeans and dangly canvas belts last year, the signs were already right in front of us. For further proof of what’s coming our way footwear wise, look to the recent resurgence of early ’00s styles like Nike’s Shox and the aforementioned shiny, shiny gym shoes made of mesh. Feeling old yet?
The Sneaker Trend We Can See Right Through
Here at FashionBeans, we spend every single day writing about menswear, but this latest sneaker-related development surprised even us. The first hint of see-through sneakers came courtesy of Virgil Abloh’s take on the Converse All Star and Nike’s React Element 87 back in 2018; two semi-transparent kicks that revealed the wearer’s taste in socks to the world. You’d have been forgiven at the time for dismissing it as a gimmick, but two years on, here we are, faced with a plethora of fully see-through sneakers and more popping up every month. Artist/model/skateboarder Blondey McCoy’s new Adidas Superstar collab has been the latest transparent shoe to set tongues wagging but we’ve also seen (or seen through) transparent Fila Disruptors, Nike Air Force 1s and many more. For better or worse, this trend is only getting bigger, and if you must get involved, for the love of God, put some socks on.