Welcome to my (now, almost annual) Big Trainer Issue. It really is BIG; I’ve practically written a novel here, so settle in. But if you are looking for a new pair or trying to work out what to wear with your old pair, then you are most definitely in the right place. Trainer trends may come and go but some styles are forever. More on those later.
I think my first trainers (other than school-issue plimsolls) were probably a pair of Dunlop Green Flash, although I don’t recall wearing trainers much until I got to secondary school. I bought my first pair of Converse All Star on a French exchange trip to Paris. I got a green pair and my friend Tansy got a black pair. We wore them with our chinos and braces (it was the 80s) and we genuinely thought we looked like we were straight out of a John Hughes movie.
I moved through my teenage years with a love of a Nike Air Jordan, worn with 3/4 leggings, an oversized Ned’s Atomic Dustbin T‑shirt and a headband. For some reason I was a big fan of a headband when I was about 17. I don’t really know why, although I think maybe I was trying to emulate the singer from Deee-Lite. With dyed red hair and a sharp bob too. That never suited me either but a teenager will never be told, as I well know now I have two of my own.
Into the 90s I swung between Travel Fox for raving and Adidas Gazelle for Blur gigs. I went to A LOT of Blur gigs. I ended up working with Damon Albarn quite a bit in more recent years. He’s also like a teenager even now, kind of like a fun arsehole. He has a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths with his own face on. He still tells me I owe him £20k for having to buy his dad a new car after the crash we had. But that’s another story entirely…
These days I run the gauntlet of trainers. I can go from classic Vejas and Stan Smiths to a chunky Air Force 1, an overpriced pair of Golden Gooses, slip-on Vans and, my current favourite once again, the Nike Air Jordan 1. I even bought those huge Balenciaga Triple S sneakers a few years ago. Worn them four times and they aren’t really me, so if anyone is a size 6 and wants them for a knock-down price, hit me up. They are actually a size 5, as they come up big. This can be the thing with trainer sizing so, for the ones I own out of those listed below, I will give a bit of advice.
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CLASSIC WHITE TRAINERS
I got a message from someone last week asking if Stan Smiths were still cool. Yes of course they are. They are classic white trainers that will be around forever. My only issue with them is that when they crease and get dirty they don’t look so good. BUT fear not, as they are pretty easy to clean. DON’T put them in the washing machine, apart from the laces – you can definitely machine-wash them. I like to use Cif cleaning cream on my white trainers. Just apply a small amount with a damp sponge, rub in, then remove with another clean, damp cloth. Brings them up lovely. I find Stan Smiths true to size, as are Vejas, which are a slightly newer classic. They take a while to break in though.
I do like a pair of multicoloured trainers as I still like to match my shoes to my outfits, and the more colour you have on your feet, the more choice you have to match with the rest of you. New Balance come in loads of colours. Be sure to go up a half size though as I find they come up small. Also, I love the Nike Air Force 1 for a colourful look. Although I usually advocate checking men’s styles if you have larger feet, the Nike Air Force come up bigger in men’s shoes than women’s, so you might like to go down a size. Air Max are true to size.
1. & Other Stories oversized patch pocket jumper~
2. & Other Stories oversized floral quilted jacket
3. River Island mid rise straight leg jeans
4. Nike Air Force 1 Fontanka trainers
5. New Balance 327 pink trainers
6. Nike Air Max 90 trainers
HI TOP TRAINERS
I recently developed a rather unhealthy (for bank balance) obsession with Nike Air Jordans. I bought a great pair on NET-A-PORTER in September that I love, but when shopping for a pair for the teen’s Christmas present I found them impossible to find. I did find him a pair from FARFETCH that came from the US, and the price wasn’t that much higher than UK prices so I was lucky there. When the other teen wanted a pair, I had to go down the resale-site route. I bought from Laced, and I’ve also bought from Klekt. Both took quite a while to arrive and I did wonder for a day or so if I’d been scammed, but they are both legit. The prices can vary massively, depending on style and size. You can also try joining the Nike SNKRS app, but you’ve got to be so quick to get them on release.
I had a few people complaining that hi-tops are too hard to get on and off. I agree, but unless you really need to keep taking your shoes on and off then quit complaining. This is FASHION darling, it’s a minor inconvenience. But my tip is to fully loosen the first four lace holes. Don’t try and get them on if you’ve only loosened the top two, you will be cursing. All the below styles I find to be true to size.
1. The Outnet JW Anderson logo embroidered sweatshirt
2. Arket double breasted navy hopsack blazer
3. COS pleated barrel leg chinos
4. Adidas Forum mid hi trainers
5. Nike Air Jordan 1 trainers
6. Nike Blazer mid 77 jumbo trainers
As a general rule of thumb, the most comfortable trainers are going to be made by sports brands, so you really don’t NEED to splash out on a designer style. See my costly Balenciaga mistake. I also bought a pair of monogrammed Gucci trainers that are too big and need two insoles for me to wear them. Can’t even sell them as they have MY initials on. When will I ever learn that shopping online after a few wines is not a good idea. That said, I still like them and I also really like my Golden Goose trainers. They have massively gone up in price, like everything else these days, but are actually very comfortable and have elevated insoles that make your ankles look really slim. Should you decide to ever buy a pair of Gucci trainers, go DOWN a size. Golden Goose are true.
1. Oasis pintuck detail ruffle top
2. H&M jacquard weave handbag
3. Boden belted chino trousers
4. Golden Goose Superstar distressed leather and suede trainers
5. Axel Arigato clean 90 trainers
6. Alexander McQueen leopard print exaggerated sole trainers
During Lockdown 1 and the summer of 2020 I practically lived in my Adidas Ozweego trainers (true to size). They are honestly THE most comfortable trainers I have ever owned. Unfortunately, I failed to hide them from Thomas Frank when he was a puppy and now they have been decimated beyond all recognition and reside in his toy basket, but I may well replace them for this summer. I had someone ask if it’s OK to wear tights with trainers in winter. I mean, of course, everything is OK in fashion, but in the winter I tend to wear boots with tights and dresses and trainers only with a good sock and trousers. In summer, secret socks are the order of the day. The best ones I have found are from Primark.
1. Alex Mill colour block cardigan
2. Marc Jacobs red leather tote bag
3. COS tapered leg high rise jeans
4. New Balance Staud 57/40 trainers
5. Nike Air Force 1 Shadow trainers
6. Adidas Ozweego trainers
Lastly and not leastly (is that a word? And well done for getting this far), the humble canvas trainer. My favourites will always be the classic slip-on Vans checkerboard ones, with your Converse All Star running a close second. Both true to size and you can actually put canvas shoes in the washing machine if they get dirty. Although the Vans will fade if you do this. Also both very easy to replace once they wear out or get eaten by the dog.
1. Warehouse retro tile jacquard knit polo top
2. Superdry college varsity jacket
3. ME + EM adjustable high waist barrel leg jeans
4. Vans checkerboard slip ons
5. Comme Des Garçons Play x Converse hi tops
6. Novesta Star Master plimsolls
I have noticed we’ve been rather ‘trouser heavy’ of late, so next week I think we will do early spring dresses to balance things out a bit.