These Are The Sneaker Trends You’ll Want To Embrace Right Away

From hikers to high-tops, take your pick.

Originally Published: 
2023 sneaker trends
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In recent years, it seems that every season has a specific sneaker moment, be it by way of a new design on the runway, or a retro silhouette taking off amongst street style stars. But while a pair of It kicks certainly captures the cultural moment, you can’t go wrong with wearing most trainers. Athletic shoes are comfortable, versatile, and inherently cool — all qualities the sneaker trends of 2023 fully reflect.

On the Spring/Summer 2023 runways, we saw plenty of designers trading towering stilettos for stylish kicks with lots of cushion. From the downtown-approved Salomon sneakers at Sandy Liang to Coach’s throwback ‘80s-style high-tops, designers didn’t shy away from sporty details. There were plenty of high-low collaborations as well, from the retro runners at Keds and Altuzarra to Cecilie Bahnsen’s partnership with Asics, for which the Danish designer created one-of-a-kind customized sneakers, embellished by hand, using past season stock.

“Comfort is king,” says Aya Kanai, the editorial and creative lead at Google Shopping, when asked about the relevancy of the humble sneaker. “We all want a little something that spices up our look but these days we don’t want to sacrifice comfort to do it. I know I’m not wearing heels ever again!” Herbert Hofmann, VP creative & buying at Highsnobiety, agrees, telling TZR that at this point, one might argue that sneakers aren’t even a trend anymore. “This footwear category is here to stay,” he states. That said, certainly some styles will always resonate more than others.

Coach Spring/Summer 2023Randy Brooke/WireImage/Getty Images
Altuzarra Spring/Summer 2023Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images Entertainment

“Seeing how certain brands and designs are taking over is very interesting because it seems to be the ‘outsiders’ who get the most attention,” Hofmann explains. He says outdoorsy brands like New Balance and The North Face often are co-opted by young people in the know before hitting the fashion mainstream. “Trends mostly come from consumers and aren’t only dictated by the brands and their marketing anymore.”

Sporty shoes, Hofmann continues, have proved to be a powerful way in which to express one’s tastes and preferences. “Sneakers became the ultimate key piece to show to which brand world, vibe, and lifestyle you belong,” he explains. “Your outfits can be easy and timeless, but the sneaker brand and model you are wearing will reveal if you’re ‘in the know’ and something about your lifestyle and identity.” Sneakers have always been in the pop culture vernacular, but now more than ever, they are really defining personal style.

There’s certainly plenty of data reflecting the consumer interest: “New Balance 550 still has a lot of traction, up in search interest 350% on Google,” Kanai reports. “But we've also seen other brands trending on our platform like On Cloud sneakers up 190% and Veja sneakers up 160%. The sneakers market is diversifying and consumers are researching all the options.”

On the other hand, Hofmann foretells old favorites falling back into favor. “I don’t want to be too dramatic and philosophical about trends, but we live in crazy times. We might find a bit of comfort in wearing what we know and what might humble us or remind us of times when we felt more at ease,” he says. “I totally feel drawn towards getting my old Stan Smith, 990s, Air Force 1, Asics Running shoe, and Tom Sachs General Purpose Shoe out and hope 2023 won’t be as hard on us.” Keep scrolling for the sneaker styles worth buying this year.

Hiker Shapes

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The hiker sneaker has blown up over the past few months, becoming a favorite street-style accompaniment on celebs such as Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid. For Spring/Summer 2023, Sandy Liang featured Salomon sneakers in black and white on nearly half of her collection looks, proving this trend won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “A hiking shape from Salomon, Merrell or Keen will stay interesting too,” says Hofmann. “Explore their offers and you’ll find very special and well-made shoes that give you protection, comfort, and style.”

Retro Soccer Shapes

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The Samba, Adidas’ classic indoor soccer sneaker, is becoming a popular go-to for celebs such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, who have been wearing the style religiously with casual gym looks — and dressed-up outfits for a night on the town. Marked with a rubber sole and suede exterior, other sneaker brands like Gola and Puma offer their version of the ‘70s-esque silhouette as part of their mainstay collections. And if you are looking for something a little more “fashion-focused, take Toteme’s suede version of the shoes for a spin.

Nostalgic Classics

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As Hofmann suggests, nostalgia is having a prolonged moment. So look forward to revisiting the classic — Stan Smiths, 990s, and Air Force 1s — that might be hiding in the back of your closet. If you never gave these a go before, it’s a great time to invest in these types of styles now, before the demand outweighs the availability. As Google data points out, the search term “shop white sneakers” was up by 2,900% in the past year in the USA, indicating a comeback of the classic white tennis shoe.

Sporty Silver Runners

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“We love and appreciate a good running silhouette from Asics, Hoka, or Mizuno,” Hofmann notes. “Combining these with a smart pair of pants and a white shirt or T-shirt is a look.” On the other hand, Bahnsen took the classic Asics running shoe to new styling heights, by pairing them with her feminine frocks, making for a much-talked-about highlight during Paris Fashion Week. “Getting this sporty vibe and having a little silver in the designs is the way to go,” Hoffman adds. Google data also shows that silver was the top searched sneaker color in the USA in the past month, making it the perfect time to snap this trend up now, before everyone else does, too.

‘80s High Tops

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In the USA, high-top sneakers were the third highest searched sneaker style this past month, according to Google. Blame it on Stranger Things, whose most recent Netflix season regenerated quite a bit of ‘80s fashion buzz, or Hadid’s recent street-style look inspired by the decade (see above), but we foresee the high-top shape making a major return next year. At Coach’s Spring/Summer 2023 show, the brand paired the shoe with oversized leather coats and baby doll dresses, solidifying its status in the fashion world as well.

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