Trainers, like Pokémon, are incredibly important. Unlike Pokémon, you can’t just pocket any pair you spot in the street. Which means the smart sneaker freak should be discerning. You can’t catch ’em all – but you should snap these up the second they appear.
Beauty & Youth x Reebok Club C
This is Reebok’s 121st year in business, but only its third of finally being cool again. The Bolton brand has shrugged off playground stigma with some canny collaborations, not least its hook-ups with Japanese brand United Arrows. Last year, it blacked out the Insta Pump Fury, but 2016’s pairing, with sub-brand Beauty & Youth, treads softer waters.
This is the year of the tennis shoe – we see you, Rod Laver – so it’s only fitting that the Club C, which first hit courts in 1986, should turn 30 in such grown-up style. The collab’s sandy suede uppers, embroidered labelling and debossed logo are subtle enough to work with your entire wardrobe, from suits to tennis shorts. So long as you don’t actually try to play a set in them.
Get it now: from around £100 (plus flights to Tokyo).
Nike Air Max LD-Zero H
From the brain of Hiroshi Fujiwara, godfather of Harajuku street fashion and top boy at design house Fragment, comes yet another instant classic.
The LD-Zero H combines the bubble cushion sole from the most recent Air Max with choice elements plucked from one of the Nike’s most played out silhouettes, the Roshe LD-1000. The coupling is so much more than the sum of its parts, it made us think Fujiwara could make Huaraches cool again. Maybe.
Navy trainers can be tough to style, but Fujiwara deftly manipulated tone, detail and technology to make this shoe really stand out – so much that it sold out almost immediately on its Air Max Day release. Bummer.
Get it now: from around £250 on resale.
Gosha Rubchinskiy x Reebok Phase One Pro
From a brain that’s young, colourful, Russian. Gosha’s designs apply a who-gives-a-shit attitude to the obsessed-with-fitting-in world of fashion. We couldn’t be happier. Nor could the street kids who snapped up his collaboration with Reebok on the Phase One Pro – a reissue of the 1984 tennis shoe that became an NYC street classic.
Who can blame them? Subtle styling – a white and grey colourway and burnt orange Cyrillic stitching across the heel panel – and the fact they were almost impossible to get your hands on (or rather, feet in) makes this a pair of kicks to kick yourself for missing.
Get it now: from around £200 on resale.
NikeLab Air Max 1 Royal
NikeLab seems like a great place to work:
“What are we gonna do today?”
“Oh, shall we just make a luxe version of an already beloved trainer? Make it out of a single piece of premium nubuck, with super-sensitive, untreated Vachetta leather? The kind of stuff that develops a gorgeous, unreplicable patina over time?”
The simple detailing, combined with the rawness of the finish, meant Air Max heads don’t bat an eyelid at the £190 price tag. And frankly, nor should you.
Get it now: from Footpatrol, priced £190.
Adidas Originals Stan Smith PK
In a year dominated by punchy silhouettes given the luxe materials treatment, Adidas Originals went the other way and reworked its most iconic shoe in mesh. Simple, yes. But if you mess with a classic, a light touch pays off.
The Stan Smith is already perfect. So what can fiddling add? In the case of the PK, the mesh inserts drag the shoe into the future without sacrificing its clean aesthetic (which can sometimes happen when the Three Stripes goes full Primeknit).
And don’t miss the side-panelling nod to another court classic, the Rod Laver, which dropped only a couple of months later. Gotta rep the squad.
Get it now: from ASOS, priced £95.