Remember the dopamine dressing trend that dominated the fashion and wellness corners of the internet in 2020? When it felt like everyone was ditching their understated basics to make room for something more happiness-inducing? Well, it seems the viral styling hack is catching up to footwear in the form of outfits centered around colorful sneakers. And no, I don’t just mean a pale pink arrow on your white Air Force Ones — think trainers in the boldest hues possible, from splashy cerulean blue to sizzling yellow.
That said, spicing up a look with bright kicks definitely requires a little more style know-how than putting on simple slip-ons. The extra effort, however, definitely pays off by adding an unexpected edge to your wardrobe choices — just enough to set what you’re wearing apart from the crowd, without seeming like you tried to stand out. (“Oh, these old neon lace-ups? I just threw them on!”)
A good place to start is by thinking about what kind of vibes you want from your statement-making trainers. Perhaps you are leaning toward a multicolored, Sporty Spice-inspired high-top that works wonderfully with athleisure pieces; maybe you prefer a head-turning hue on a timeless silhouette. From there it’s fairly straightforward to settle on everything else you should add into the look. For instance: A pair of classic New Balance 584s in rich purple or cherry red would play nicely into Sofia Richie Grainge’s easy luxury aesthetic when teamed with a silk skirt and a cashmere sweater. Meanwhile, those chasing effortless glamour will find that a streamlined sky blue is just the thing to take a Audrey Hepburn-worth black dress and gold jewelry into more casual settings.
Keep scrolling for more ideas on how to style colorful sneakers, straight from curated feeds of a few of TZR’s favorite digital creators.
With A Contrasting Trench
Colorblocking — aka, wearing a few eye-popping solids together — is always a reliable choice for those just starting to expand their footwear palettes. Here, the sunny warm hue of the yellow shoes adds just enough contrast to make the cool blue top and army green pants feel more interesting.
With A Sheer Skirt
Tap into the sheer trend by pairing a romantic, subtly see-through midi with sneakers like these Gazelles from Adidas. The difference between the feminine skirt and chunky knit gives the entire combination a ‘90s-esque feel, while the kicks keep the overall effect fresh and modern. Top it off with a neutral shoulder bag and you’re ready for a mid-day stroll.
With Contrasting Bold Prints
Here’s a fun challenge: For a day out with your styled-minded BFF, wear two contrasting prints (perhaps a striped button-down and an animal motif mini skirt?) and you’ll see that a vivid sneaker is all you need to pull the clashing elements together.
With A Denim Maxi
While jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers are always a reliable combo, consider shaking up the formula with a denim dress. The best part? Thanks to the fabric’s versatility, pretty much any type of trainer will work. In our opinion? Go big or go home.
With A Neutral Blazer & Trousers
If all this color is a bit much for you at once, limit the intensity of your look to neon sneakers that’ll grab all the attention and keep the rest of your pieces quiet. The tried-and-true officewear selections here work so well — follow suit with an oversized blazer and relaxed tan trousers.