Here’s a trend that won’t run out any time soon: Sneakers. Yes, what was once considered a mundane closet staple used strictly for getting fit is now shaping up to be 2014’s most sole-satisfying trend out of the gym. And the quirkier, the better. Think out-of-context materials such as pony hair, ostrich skin, spikes, python skin, acid denims and lace. Yes, lace.
Two Miami-based designers, Matthew Chevallard of Del Toro Shoes and Alessandra Gold of Alessandra Gold Concept Store and Kruzin footwear, have their feet firmly planted in the unorthodox sneaker sphere. Both designers utilize innovative textiles and applications for their creations — from exotic skins to rubber spikes. “Sneakers are relevant now more than ever because casual style is accepted more than ever. There are less dress codes and status quos about how one should dress, therefore sneakers play a nice role of enabling the individual to be casual and comfortable all the while unique and stylish,” Chevallard says.
According to Gold, the sneaker evolution can be pinpointed back to 1985 — the year Nike introduced the multi-hued Air Jordan to the masses. At the time, basketball sneakers were primarily all white and Michael Jordan’s hightops literally shook matters up both on and off the courts. “Dunks have become everything from a fashion accessory to a status symbol. Jordans came out as a rebel sneaker and were banned from the NBA because of their color. Over the years, Jordan changed the whole sneaker game,” Gold says.
Highbrow brands are kicking up their game, too. Chanel, Valentino, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Tory Burch and more have added sneakers to their collections. “Prada really paved the way for sneakers in the high-fashion realm,” Chevallard says of the Milan-based brand. According to Gold, Parisian Designer Isabel Marant spawned a kick kerfluffle with her controversial introduction of the wedge sneaker two years ago.
Did we mention people are willing to pay jaw-dropping prices, too? A pair of Nike Air Yeezy 2 sneakers designed by rapper Kanye West fetched a staggering $93,000 on eBay (meanwhile, said shoes retail for $245). That’s so not a typo. Call it hype or call it a hoax, the rapper’s collaborations with Nike sell out immediately and fetch major bucks on the popular auction site — anywhere from $2,000 to $12,300 for his “Red October” kicks.
Intrinsic comfort aside, sneakers are giving sky-high, backbreaking high heels a run for their sexy cred, too. “I think sneakers are more provocative because they convey a self-confidence in a woman not found in heels. It says you aren’t concerned about what you should be wearing and instead wear what you want,” Chevallard says.
And it’s not a fleeting trend. “There is a sneaker phenomenon happening in the world right now and it is definitely here to stay,” Gold says.
So consider yourself warned: Get a kickstart on the look today.