SS22 Sneakers: A Guide to Step Up Your Style

by Sharon Tulasidas

The fashion sneaker needs no introduction.

With luxury labels tapping into streetwear, designer sneakers are hot commodities, as well as high-fashion staples. A status symbol in their own right, high-end kicks are also the best product category for tapping into successful crossover-branding initiatives.

Last year, Prada’s team-up with adidas (to commemorate the adidas Superstar sneaker’s 50th anniversary) opened doors for a second collaboration with the Italian brand’s Prada Re-Nylon collection — a luxury/sustainability collection launched in 2019. The sneaker focus this time around was the adidas Forum but the collection also included an extra capsule of sports-inspired clothing and accessories, which together with the Forum sneaker also combined the heritage and manufacturing technologies of both companies.

Dior Vibe sneaker and tennis-inspired dress, by Dior. Socks, stylist’s own.

The power of iconic collaborations has an appreciation in value, too. Long before sporting giant Nike rubbed shoulders with the runway labels Sacai, Dior and Off-White; Reebok created the Chanel X Reebok InstaPump Fury (a running shoe with the Reebok Pump technology) for the French label’s Spring/Summer 2001 show. Dubbed by Highsnobiety as, “the unicorn of sneakers”, these rare kicks never saw its production beyond the runway. Made solely for the runway presentation, they were later gifted to a selected few within the Chanel posse. To find a pair today would be impossible. Be prepared to pay an arm and a leg (pun intended) if ever there was an offer out there anyway.

Such limited and elusive crossovers are what the fashion cognoscenti and sneakerheads lap up and adore. The fashion houses know this and they know how draw on it to create the sales buzz. The coveted Nike Air Force 1s from Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, by the late Mr Virgil Abloh, had no drop date since its runway showing in November ’21 until the French label revealed a Sotheby’s auction to globally release the first 200 pairs. The record-breaking auction hauled in a phenomenal USD25.3 million (more than fivefold of what the auction house had anticipated). 100% of the auction proceeds benefited The Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund for Black, African American or African students. A retail release for these classics will however, be available later this year.

Archlight sneakers, cotton shirtdress and Coussin PM handbag, all by Louis Vuitton.

Limited edition sneakers aren’t the only sure-win methods for elevating your A-game. Any stylish pair of white kicks will do the trick easy-peasy. Ask a discerning stylist what the quintessential fashion items in a woman’s wardrobe are and an all-white sneaker will be on the list. Pristine white sneakers are versatile and they offer a le sportif chic that’s both clean-cut and old-school.

Depending on design and fabrication, a pair of fashionable kicks can also solve the sartorial conundrum of style vs comfort. The attention to detail for some designer sneakers alone make them great everyday shoes, fit for smart casual and semi-formal dress codes. With a touch of styling expertise, anyone can looked pulled together while dressed in sneakers. Gone are the days where sneakers were footwear options for merely ease and convenience.

Contrary to the mindset of dad sneakers being the most challenging styles, it is — surprise, surprise — also the trend that’s dominating social media. Again, this could be attributed to fads but any stylista worth her Yeezys will agree that comfort is a prime consideration for footwear.

One of the sporting industry’s most comfortable sneakers are by New Balance. Cut wider with ample heel and front-foot support, even the late Steve Jobs wore them religiously as part of his daily uniform.

This season, New Balance shares the spotlight with Miu Miu as Miuccia Prada trades in her punky princess pointy heels for socks and sneakers. Released as pre-orders, these frilly-fraying denim kicks have all been snapped up.

Block Wedge 50 sneakers, cropped bra top and sequinned bicycle-inspired shorts, all by Celine. Socks, by Nike.

The other design on the style radar is the chunky sneaker. This is a trend to love for more than just a bold statement but — yes! — all that added height.

Its heavyset and often exaggerated appearance have earned these shoes the monikers, “ugly sneakers”, or, ‘turbo trainers’. And boy, some designs do look over-the-top and avant garde. A derivative to dad sneakers, these in-your-face chubby shoes are however, the ones to rock for 2022.

The sole is everything when considering the upsized sneaker. Picking the right ones lie in personal style and for that matter, mood. The au courant performance-inspired styles are having their fashion moment, so, these will definitely be the babies for springing into action this season. They will however, take nerve and sassiness to make an impression. A style tip: Wear the shoes and don’t let them wear you.

Defender Trainers, turtleneck T-shirt and denim mini skirt, all by Balenciaga. Socks, stylist’s own.

There are no style rules that state the chunky sneaker as strictly for the fearless either. Those favouring an understated and sensible chic can opt for many alternatives in stomper sneakers — think high-tops, a mid-chunky sole, a unique styling touch with unusual and decorative shoelaces? Or, simply all of the above.

Envol sneaker and linen/leather-trimmed dress, by Hermès.

Related Links:

Adidas for Prada Re-Nylon: Luxury Sportswear, Reimagined

Louis Vuitton: 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries


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