You don't have to be a full-blown sneakerhead to clock the value trainers add to a wardrobe. There's nearly no event, at least in chronically casual Australia, where a pair of sneakers can't be subbed in in place of heels.
So what's making waves in the sneaker world this year? Two years ago, sneaker trends slimmed down drastically. Basketball styles like Nike Dunks and Air Force 1s were subbed out for dainty soccer-forward silhouettes like the adidas Samba and Spezial. In fact, last year we hit peak Samba, with the style flooding sidewalks, offices, and our digital feeds. Which has one wondering if overexposure will push them out of the trend cycle in 2024?
You'll still catch bulky trail-running footwear in droves (Salomon are gearing up for another huge year). And who among us is willing to part with our always comfy Asics, especially when Andersson Bell and Cecilie Bahnsen put their own spin on the style? However, there are a handful of sneaker styles that are due for a resurgence.
We anticipate the adidas Superstar will replace the Samba and Spezial. At Nike, the Cortez will draw an audience (I'm talking about the people who miss out on Bode's Astro Grabber collaboration). Meanwhile, slim sneakers will continue their reign, with Puma's Speedcat driving shoe vying for first place.
With so much emphasis on terrace culture in fashion, you'd think we'd be betting on the Puma Palermo. The brand is certainly pushing for recognition, with Dua Lipa in its recent Palermo campaign and by teaming up with Coperni. However, it's the Speedcat, which first emerged in 1999 after partnering with Sparco and became the shoe of choice in motorsports, that we'll be seeing more of in 2024. Not only does its smooth, slim profile fit the bill, but in the last few months the style has been seen on Emily Ratajkowski, and old Y2K releases are being snatched up on Depop like hotcakes. A post-Samba renaissance alternative. Need another rec? The Puma Mostro is also on our mind.
Let's suppose interest in the adidas Samba dies down after two years of going gangbusters. Where does that leave us? The Spezial perhaps; maybe even Gazelles. My feeling is that adidas Superstars have the staying power to replace Sambas in 2024. The style, which enjoyed a surge of popularity back in 2015 (with adidas selling 15 million pairs, the most for that year) will return thanks to its recognisable look and versatility. And if you're not prepared to move on to a boxier shape such as the Superstar with its signature shell toe, why not pick up a pair of adidas SL 72s? They're slender while still standing out from the crowd – plus, they have Bella Hadid's tick of approval.
Like most sneakers, the Mexico 66 style from Onitsuka Tiger comes with its own origin story. Far from simply being the shoe Uma Thurman wears in Kill Bill, they were designed initially as a style for athletics, and in 1968 were selected as the official sneaker of the Olympic Games in Mexico City (yes, the one when Tommie Smith and John Carlos did the Black Power salute). Hence the name. Their shape has always seen people draw comparisons with the adidas Samba, and recently they've had a moment as an alternative to the popular German sneaker. Although, we suspect the style will hit its peak in 2024. Shrewd shoppers might opt for the Onitsuka Tiger Tokuten instead.
Yes, the "Forrest Gump" shoe. Released 52 years ago now, and one of the first track shoes Nike designed, it would be naive to think the Cortez ever went out of fashion. It's all time. Nike re-engineered the recent versions of the shoe to feature a wider toe box and more durable materials. We particularly like the retro feel of the styles that arrive with nylon uppers. And if you can't get hold of the Nike x Bode Astro Grabber collaboration, then this is your next best bet.
The first America's Cup sneaker was conceived in 1997 for the Luna Rossa Italian sailing team, and in doing so Prada kicked off the genre of luxury sportswear. That iteration of the sneaker, and its signature Linea Rossa logo, found fans in UK grime artists and the fashion set alike, and now they're fetching hundreds on resale sites like Vestiaire, The Real Real and Depop. The modern iteration is more bubbly than the original, but no less iconic.