Stepping It Up

Since sportswear and fashion’s tryst resulted in the birth of stylish leisurewear, we’ve started to swap rigid tailoring for a more comfortable, casual type of cool.

Brands across the board have embraced the dressed-down movement, with even the most revered names in luxury fashion dipping their toes into the proverbial sea of stylised trainers – here’s looking at you, Tom Ford.

But what does that mean for the old-school sneaker labels known exclusively for their beautifully formed kicks? It means it’s time to step up the game, or get swallowed by the tide. These next seven brands are doing the former, so it would be wise to keep them on your radar for the foreseeable future.

1. adidas

Let’s kick off with a familiar face, shall we?

It’s very much the time of the Three Stripes currently, with adidas’ new silhouettes, reworked classics and limited edition collaborations proving they’re one of the most exciting brands there is right now.

That’s without even mentioning its Kanye collaboration. The Yeezy 750 Boosts were released in February of this year, proving to be ‘god level’ popular and selling out in minutes. The fast-approaching clothing line will likely follow suit, but ‘Ye isn’t the only string to adidas’ bow.

The Tubular has been, and continues to be, reworked in fresh new colour ways and designs, while a number of other classics from the German giant are being revamped and revitalised for the modern market. Stan Smiths are still the pre-eminent white leather trainer, although the Superstar is very much back on our radar, and our feet.

Add to that on-going collaborative efforts with the likes of Pharrell, Neighbourhood and Raf Simons, to name but a few, and it’s no wonder so many of us have been taking the stripes over the swoosh lately.

Web: adidas.co.uk

Spring/Summer 2015 Collections

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Adidas Originals Mens Grey Boston Super 84-lab Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Originals Boston Super – Size? Exclusive7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Superstar 80s Clean Trainers In Black7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Originals Stan Smith Leather Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Ultra Boost M Core Black & Gold7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Originals Gazelle Og Suede And Leather Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Hamburg Kopenhagen Collegiate Gold & Core Black7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Allround Og White & Core Black7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Adidas Originals Tubular Runner7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
2. Filling Pieces

If this Amsterdam brand – which broke major ground in 2014 – hasn’t piqued your interest yet, then now’s the time to get acquainted.

Formed in 2009 by designer Guillaume Philibert to – as the name suggests – meet a demand in the market, Filling Pieces is one of the originators of the luxe trainer. An indisputable savant in all things high-low, the footwear label produces superior quality sneakers at a price point that, surprisingly, isn’t all that eye-watering.

With a broad range of styles to step into, as well as collaborations with the likes of Aimé Leon Dore, Ronnie Fieg, Kith and END, Pieces is rapidly carving itself a niche in the crowded sneaker market.

What’s more, its shoes are handmade in Portugal using only the finest Italian materials, bringing a distinctly European flavour to the trainer game.

Web: fillingpieces.com

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Filling Pieces Mountain Cut Sneaker Red & Black Cubiq7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Mountain Cut Low Sneaker7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Mid Top Sneaker Red Woven7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces White Python And Leather Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Navy Quilted Leather Trainers Sc1125807 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Black Crocodile Effect Hi-top Trainers Sc1086317 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Grey Mountain Cut Pleated Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Grey Low Top Pleated Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Filling Pieces Off-white Low Top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
3. Common Projects

New York-based brand Common Projects has quickly established itself as the go-to luxury sneaker maker since its inception in 2004, and 2015 could be the company’s best year yet. Having tagged its BBall Low model as one of our favourite silhouettes of 2014, the label is continuing to bring the heat this year.

The brand has built its reputation by keeping things minimal. With the details extending to subtle, signature numbering only, it’s the quality of materials used and peerless manufacturing that really sets Common Project’s footwear apart.

The Achilles Low is easily the label’s best-known style, setting the bar in versatile, timeless trainers that are built to last.

Web: commonprojects.com

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Achilles Leather High Top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Bball Leather Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Achilles Leather Low Top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Bball Leather High Top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Perforated Leather Slip-on Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Achilles Low Nubuck Khaki7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Woman Achilles Low Foil White Sole Copper7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Common Projects Original Achilles Low Perforated7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
4. ETQ Amsterdam

Back to Holland and another Dutch label in its relative infancy. ETQ is just four years old and, like a few others on this list, puts emphasis on unassuming design fused with premium construction.

Favouring subtle rather than showy style, ETQ is similar to Common Projects in its ethos, but much more affordably priced. The hand-stitched leather uppers atop vulcanised soles make for trainers that are built to stand the test of time, both in terms of aesthetics and build.

Though its collection is slowly expanding, and beginning to include pastel-coloured and richly textured styles, the brand’s focus is firmly fixed on clean lines and a monochrome palette. ETQs are very much trainers you can wear with anything.

Web: etq-amsterdam.com

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Etq Amsterdam Blueberry Low Top 3 Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq Amsterdam White Low Top 1 Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq Amsterdam Blueberry Quilted Mid Top 1 Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq. High Top 1 Sneaker Microchip7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq. Low Top 1 Sneaker Blueberry & White7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq. Perforated Panel Runner Microchip7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq Amsterdam High-top Sneakers Collection Spring Summer 20157 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq Amsterdam Low-tops & Trainers Collection Spring Summer 20157 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Etq Amsterdam Low-tops & Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
5. Buscemi

The eponymous brand of fashion designer Jon Buscemi, these trainers aren’t for wallflowers. Truly unique in their design, Buscemi fuse classic streetwear shapes with premium fabrications and luxury detailing, including gold and rose gold-plated hardware.

Taking its aesthetic cues from the iconic Hermès’ Birkin handbag, Buscemi footwear is priced high and handmade in Italy from the finest materials; the company only deals in limited runs and exclusivity is at the core of its brand ethos.

Ostentatious is probably a bit of an understatement when describing Buscemi, with metallic shades, as well as crimson and orange, populating the current collection’s colour palette. What’s more, each shoe features an exaggerated heel handle – the label’s signature that marks it apart from other deluxe trainer brands.

If we’re talking strictly timeless style, then you couldn’t get much further than a Buscemi sneaker. But sometimes it’s OK to break the rules.

Web: jonbuscemi.com

Holiday 2014/15 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Buscemi Gold Clasp Mid-top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 125mm Handle Heel Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 100mm Hi Top Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi X Raif Adelberg Black Embroidered Hi-top Trainers Sc1101837 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 125mm Crocodile Effect Hi-top Trainers Sc958997 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 100mm Silver Leather Hi-top Trainers Sc1026757 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 125mm Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi Hi-top Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Buscemi 50 Mm Sneakers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
6. article n°

A newcomer, article n° (article number) debuted recently having piqued interest at last year’s Liberty Fairs menswear trade show. Blending elements from old-school trainer styles with a little high fashion futurism, the brand brings an edge to traditional minimal, monochrome sneakers.

Mixing advanced materials like neoprene with classic Nappa leather, the label’s statement silhouettes sit somewhere between the almost austere simplicity of a brand like Common Projects, and the head-turning nature of Buscemi.

Although very little is known about article number currently, this discreet brand’s freshman collection has us on tenterhooks.

Web: article-number.com.

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • 0621-02347 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • 0502-01347 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • 1115-05347 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No White Python Effect Leather Hi-top Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No Black Python Effect Leather Hi-top Trainers Sc1113937 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No Monochrome Leather Hi-top Trainers Sc1113927 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No Art No 1115 Hi Top7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No Art No 0502 Runner7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Article No Art No 0502 Runner Red White7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
7. Gourmet

Founded by Jon Buscemi, Greg Lucci and Greg Johnsen, this American-Italian footwear label tempers European sophistication with a US streetwear bent, resulting in styles that are often bold but still reliably constructed and entirely wearable.

Harbouring an unwavering appreciation for classic Air Jordan models, Gourmet has arguably gone a step further and refined these classic silhouettes, reconfiguring them for a more modern purpose.

Almost ten years old, Gourmet still remains difficult to categorise; its comprehensive collections (featuring uppers in everything from green snake embossed leather to silver foil and black mesh) and ability to stay up to the minute not only makes it a brand to watch this year, but for many more to come.

Gourmet’s 35 Lite model is perhaps the ultimate casual trainer, particularly for the summer season. Lightweight, with a supremely comfortable footbed, this versatile style comes in a range of colour ways and fabrics sure to satisfy any man who’s looking to update his shoe game this season.

Web: gourmetfootwear.com

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Current Styles

  • Corridore Black/citrus7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Netto White/burnt Orange7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Nove 2 Sp Black Polkadots/white7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet Corridore Mid Top Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet Libero Lx Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet The 35 Lite Bk Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet The 35 Lite Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet The 35 Lite Sp Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
  • Gourmet The 35 Lite Bk Trainers7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year
Final Word

Trainers have succeeded in transcending their original sportswear context, thanks to designers’ penchant for re-interpreting activewear.

With some of fashion’s most esteemed luxury labels muscling in on the market, specialist sneaker brands are noticeably stepping up to the mantle – with this shortlist blazing the trail.

Which trainer brands are you keeping tabs on?

Share your recommendations and tips in the comments section.

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

7 Trainer Brands You Need To Watch This Year

Standout sneaker labels poised for success in 2015

Image: filling pieces SS14

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here