The trending trainers of 2018

In 2016, stats showed that the sale of trainers had massively overtaken the sale of high heels and other popular footwear, so it’s no surprise that the global footwear market is expected to grow to $95.14 billion by 2025. Originating as a sportswear essential for athletes, trainers have since worked their way onto catwalk runways and become synonymous with athleisure – the trend of wearing athletic clothing for non-athletic activities. In the last few years, trainer giants Adidas and Nike have cashed in on the sportswear-not-for-sports trend with their Stan Smiths and Air Force 1’s, but this year we’ve seen the likes of Balenciaga, Gucci, Fila and Yeezy joining the race. With brands climbing over each other to create the chunkiest sole and wackiest (or arguably ugliest) design, let’s take a look at what trainers have been trending this year.

90s Revival

Cycling shorts, mom jeans, bodysuits and chunky trainers. 2018 has definitely seen a re-emergence of 90s fashion. The nostalgia of the 90s has brought into the spotlight dad trainers with their clashing colours and chunky soles. South Korean brand Fila’s Disruptor was one of the pioneers of the chunky trainer trend. As one of the more affordable options, the model shot to Instagram fame and currently has over 136,000 posts with the hashtag #FilaDisruptor.

Fila Disruptor

Another popular style basking in the remnants of the all white trainer trend from past years was Nike’s Air Max 97 “Summit White”, featuring 3M reflective piping on the upper and contrasting detailing on the outsole. The shoe was worn by many a celebrity, including supermodel trendsetter Bella Hadid, superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and rap icon Drake.

Nike Air Max 97 Summit White


“Ugly” Trainers

As brands took the chunky trainer trend to the extreme, the ugly trainer was born. The most famous offerings came from high-fashion designers Balenciaga and Gucci. The Triple S trainer retails for £615 and saw a large spike in Google searches in February this year, with the number one related search term being Gucci. This is no doubt a nod to Gucci’s Rhyton logo trainer, a shoe that screams ugly and designer all at once.

Balenciaga Triple S


Sock Style

There’s only really one honorable mention for the sock style trainer, and that’s Balenciaga’s Speed trainers. Another entry by the Spanish fashion house, the unique looking sock-trainer hybrid caused waves this year. The combination shouldn’t come as too much of a shock seeing the popularity and success of the shoe boot in recent years, and they were even released at a similar time seeing as the Balenciaga Speed sock trainers are nearly two years old. Likened to scuba diving shoes and perhaps most accurately summed up by Cardi B, these “Balenciagas, the ones that look like socks,” are still hugely popular and still dividing opinions today.



Yeezy’s for all

Entrepreneur, businessman, designer and rapper, Kanye West’s agenda this year for the Adidas x Yeezy trainer collaboration was inclusivity rather than exclusivity, or in his own words, “Yeezy’s for everyone.” West’s brand has seen a number of new releases this year, as well as a massive restock of the hugely popular Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 “Cream White.” Kanye’s decision to make Yeezy’s more easily attainable on the market may have upset some sneaker-heads by decreasing their resale value, but it has meant that the brand’s popularity and sales have rocketed. This year we’ve seen the drop of the Yeezy 500s, the Boost 350 Butters and Yeezy Powerphase to name a few. Following the success of his Yeezy brand, Kanye declared that he was the highest paid person in the trainer industry this year – which while possible, is more likely questionable.

Adidas Yeezy Boost 350


But what’s in store for 2019, you might ask? The next year will bring in a whole host of new and exciting trainers no doubt, but here’s what we’ve got our eyes on:


4D Trainers

Last year Adidas revealed the Futurecraft 4, trainers created using Digital Light Synthesis, a process which Adidas claims is the next step of manufacturing after 3D printing. This cuts out the need for prototyping or moulding. Adidas are now able to make midsoles that are personally tailored towards the individual wearing them. Next year Adidas will be releasing adidas Y-3 Runner 4D II, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week this year and will featured a new coloured midsole. We can’t wait to see what other 4D creations are on their way.

Adidas Futurecraft 4D

On the topic of trainers, have you seen the work that we did for sportswear retailer DW Sports? Check out the Back to Black digital campaigns we created to boost exposure for their new black football boots. Read about it here.



Image Credits: Asphaltgold | Thesolesupplier | Yahoo | Pintsizenay | Sneakers-magazine | Highsnobiety

Alex Wan

Share this article