The last year has gone space age. Collaborative styles from Cecilie Bahnsen, Grace Wales Bonner and Aimé Leon Dore all released this year with shiny, silvered uppers which were followed by a slew of general releases and reissues of styles like the Nike V2K and P-6000.
Does this new wave of statement sneakers have the potential to last beyond a seasonal trend cycle?
In the past we’ve seen sneaker trends like the chunky ‘dad shoes’, made popular by New Balance and luxury brands like Balenciaga, move beyond just a passing trend and become cemented as a mainstay of many rotations. Functional footwear styles from the gorpcore aesthetic like Salomons XT-6 becoming a more regular feature in urban spaces prove that sneaker trends can begin to outlive the usual cycle. We thought we’d pull together some arguments for why metallic sneakers might be the next style to make the leap into the long term.
Metallic Sneakers are Surprisingly Wearable
Like all-white sneakers or any other lighter toned footwear option, metallic sneakers are more easy to bring into your wardrobe than you might think at first glance. When seen in isolation, they can be a daunting prospect, but when offset within a whole outfit, the statement becomes less severe thanks to the lighter tones being more neutral despite their reflectiveness.
Of course, there’s not a one size fits all approach to more statement styles. The wildly popular Samba collaboration from Wales Bonner, with its completely metallic upper will be more eye-catching than styles from brands like Asics which use metallic accents in designs. There’s going to be varying degrees of wearability depending on your style and how far you like to push it in terms of statement pieces, but the fact there is an entry point option for metallic sneakers gives them a big plus when it comes to making it out of the fast-moving trend cycle.
Usually the trends that stick the landing in terms of longevity are the ones that are able to be bought into by a wide audience. For the chunky sneaker trend you had options from the under £100 price point all the way up to luxury £800+. This allowed everyone to get in on the fun, and allowed the trend to become widespread not just within a certain style or economic bracket.
Metallic sneakers are already managing to tread this line thanks in no small part to brands being able to quickly introduce options from their archival designs. Look to Nike and New Balance reintroducing Y2K styles like the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 or NB 1906R, both metallic sneakers that come in at under £150 retail — a far cry from the more premium and luxury offerings of the previously mentioned Wales Bonner Samba.
This wide gamut of pricing and styles means that whether you want to be wearing the most sought-after collab of the year, or want to dip your toe into the silvered sneaker sea, you’re able to do so.
Not in the Christmas jumper sense, but in the ‘something new and unusual’ sense. A few metallic sneaker styles have popped up in the past, most notably on some of the final Ozweegos to come out of Raf Simons adidas partnership, but none have really taken off like the styles we’ve seen this year.
The novelty of something as bold as a fully chromed-out pair of Sambas off the back of the general release styles’ already huge popularity shot the trend onto the TikTok For You Page, and gave trendsetters a chance to flex some statement newness to their audience.
Trends often feel like they’re moving at a breakneck speed, exacerbated by social media. Influencers often trying to get ahead of the ‘next big thing’, means that bolder styles like metallic sneakers get adopted quickly in an effort to make an impact on our feeds. This widespread buy-in to originally more niche styles makes them normalised at a faster pace. It appears that everyone who’s anyone is suddenly wearing silver shoes, making many feel like they missed the memo and need to rectify it by jumping into the trend feet first.
After years of minimalist, all-white sneakers in the early 2010s and then a swing to brighter, statement silhouettes over the past five years, it’s inevitable that we would see a trend toward a more untouched colour/material like metallics.
High-shine sneakers have certainly caught our attention over the last six months, with more metallic styles releasing regularly (including a pair of the ever iconic Nike Dunk), and google searches for ‘silver sneakers’ increasing again, it seems that they’re not going anywhere in a hurry.