When I was tasked with unearthing the trainer trends that are taking over in 2023, I was excited. Excited because I didn’t know what I would find. Although I’m very much a shoe person, trainers wouldn’t be my specialist subject in University Challenge. Of course, I own and love to wear several pairs of trainers, but I would never say they’re particularly trend-led. Moreover, they’re trainer styles I’ve worn since my teenage years; classic kicks that work with my aesthetic as opposed to defining it. Still, I believe I can work this to my advantage. When it came to discerning the most important trainer trends of 2023, I knew I could do so without bias. Instead of already having an idea of what these trends would be and what they’d look like, I was completely open and eager to see which sneaker trends would come through as the most prevalent organically. So I hunkered down for what I knew would be a good few hours of research.
Spanning the runways to street style, Instagram to sales stats, I left no sneaker stone unturned. As so often happens, I got a little carried away, and eight hours later, I had found seven trainer trends I believed would set the footwear tone for the year ahead. Taking my findings to some experts on the subject for confirmation , I’ve detailed the need-to-know trainers for the season ahead below. Some are specific styles, some are movements, and others are general aesthetics. However, if you’re the trainer obsessive I suspect you are, you’ll want to make room in your wardrobe for all of them. Sorry about that.
If in doubt, go for a black pair.
Loewe’s take on the retro trainer trend looks so luxe.
I’m unexpectedly into this pink tone.
Style Notes: I think we can all agree that the trainer brand that has ruled for the past few seasons is New Balance. However, as we look forward, it’s clear there’s a particular NB to covet—the 550. Initially released in 1989, the 550 was designed as a basketball shoe but seemed to fade into the background while the flashy Air Jordans dominated. Thirty years later, it was reinstated to the New Balance offering and, having had three years to percolate into our consciousness, it’s now all the rage. The fact that it’s a cross between retro and sporty trainer aesthetics is undoubtedly a big part of why it’s proving so popular right now. The chunkier style in a hardwearing leather finish makes it the ideal trainer style for unpredictable British weather, so you can expect to see a lot of the 550 as we head farther into the year.
You can’t go wrong with classic white.
These won’t stick around for long.
Some colours are rarer than others, and I can imagine this orange pairing will fly.
Style Notes: Like the rest of the fashion industry, designers are looking for new and innovative ways to make their pieces more sustainable. Vegan trainers aren’t new or a novelty, but they’re certainly becoming more commonplace as we reach 2023. Take a look at Cecilie Bahnsen’s S/S 23 runway, where many of the dresses were styled with trainers. “We’ve always been styling the looks with trainers. That type of comfort speaks to the brand,” Bahnsen tells Footwear News. In the same interview, Bahnsen explains how she partnered with Asics to design a series of sneakers that were both on-brand and sustainable. Using past-season and dead-stock fabrics, Bahnsen created a capsule of 10 “one-of-a-kind trainers,” making a case for reusing and upcycling in the process. This, of course, is just one way in which trainers trends can be more sustainable. From utilising innovative fabrications such as mushroom and grape leather to finding ways to lessen the environmental impact of the manufacturing process, we can’t wait to see the advances there will be in footwear by the time we come to write our 2024 trainer trends report.
You read that right—these trainers are made from grape skins, created with repurposed waste from the winemaking industry.
Veja trainers are still a fashion-person favourite. Meghan Markle and Emma Watson wear them regularly.
Entirely vegan and made with less CO2e than the industry average.
Style Notes: Sporty trainers are ever evolving. First, they came in the form of running shoes—think Asics, and you’re on the right track. Next, they evolved into ’80s-style basketball kicks, not all that dissimilar to the New Balance 550s mentioned above. Now, however, perhaps it’s the time of year that we find ourselves in, but hiking trainers are now all the rage. Rebecca Rhys-Evans is a trainer expert who just so happens to be Who What Wear UK’s branded content editor. She says, “The hiking aesthetic is the next big ‘dad’ trainer trend, with brands like Salomon becoming more popular by the minute. I’m also seeing a lot of the Nike CdG Air Mada, which I think will be like gold dust by the time we settle into the second half of 2023.” You have been warned.
If you take outdoor pursuits seriously, then Salomons are an excellent investment.
Mark my words; Veja’s new Fitz Roy Trek kicks are going to be the trainer of the summer.
It’s only a matter of time before Kendall Jenner snaps these up.
Style Notes: As someone who spends a lot of their time on Instagram and TikTok, I was keen to see which trainer trends and styles were standing out to our social media editor and self-confessed trainer obsessive, Joy Ejaria. “That’s easy: the Chloé Nama,” says Ejaria. “Katie Holmes has barely taken them off her feet this season, and I just saw Lucy Boynton wear them during Paris Fashion Week.” The brand might be known for its bags, but Creative Director Gabriella Hearst has given the trainers the same attention to detail. They feature ornate blanket stitching used in a blend of beautiful colours, and we’d expect nothing less from sneakers born from an iconic French fashion house.
Classicists will love the beige, white and tan colourway.
An easy way to elevate your jeans and white T-shirt outfit.
Chloé is constantly releasing the Nama in new colours. Here’s the latest.
Style Notes: Perhaps it’s the influence of the Metaverse, but fashion is becoming more futuristic by the minute. You just need to look at all the space-age silver that filled both the A/W and S/S runways, and you can tell the new collections are lightyears ahead. However, one of the easiest ways to adopt any new trend is by way of shoes—or, in this instance, trainers. From technical compositions to architectural silhouettes, all in a colour palette of neutrals with flashes of control-panel neon, set against a backdrop of mesh and neoprene, trainers made for the modern age are highly prevalent right now.
Would you look at those soles.
These look like they’d be incredibly comfy to me.
The panelling and sculpted soles make these trainers feel otherworldly.
Style Notes: I work remotely, so when I do venture to London for work, it’s the fashion equivalent of a child entering a sweet shop, and if there’s one thing the city’s inhabitants deliver on every time I come to town, it’s trends. I can quite happily sit myself down on a bench for an afternoon and just take in the ‘fits as they stroll by. On my most recent visit, however, it was while I was on the tube that I came across a trend that was impossible to ignore: Nike Air Force 1s. Out of the 15 people in my eye line, most of whom were fashion-conscious, I’d say nine were wearing plain white Air Force trainers. Coincidence? There’s no such thing. Now, is this the most directional trainer trend on my list for 2023? Probably not. But is it the most versatile and broadly appealing, making it worthy of the seventh spot? Absolutely. Confirming my theory is Titi Finlay, the social media manager for Laced, a leading resale site specialising in trainers, who says, “The one sneaker that never goes out of style is the classic white Air Force 1. It goes with every style and every outfit. Everyone needs a pair in their wardrobe.” I, and Instagram’s finest, couldn’t agree more.
Nike regularly restocks these kicks.
Prefer pastels? These are for you.
Another stylish trainer option.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Next Up: Summer 2023 Fashion Trends: 21 Expert-Approved Looks You Need to See