Gym shoes back in style

Over the past year there has been a massive resurgence in wearing runners in a more casual setting.

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Lost and forgotten fashion trends have a tendency to come back in style. Some recent examples of this include logo sweaters, white heels, wrapping flannel shirts around the waist and the macho leather jacket. All of these and more were hot for a while, fell off and are now back in a big way.

Adding to this ever-revolving door of fashion is sporty shoes worn casually. Back in the day, guys and girls would wear running shoes not only for a workout or athletic activity but for casual purposes too. Whether it was clunky Reebok cross trainers or dorky looking FUBUs, the running shoe and casual jean combo was all the rage — just look at Jerry Seinfeld’s shoe collection.

Sneakerheads from all over the world worshiped Seinfeld’s athletic shoe collection for 10 seasons straight. Everything from Nike Air trainers to some of the more exclusive Jordans’ on the market, Seinfeld would rock them all with a nice pair of faded blue jeans.

As the years rolled on, the sporty kick trend declined. People started exclusively wearing running shoes for activities like the gym or pick-up basketball. The main reason for this disconnect was the fact that runners didn’t fit the casual mold anymore.

People started to care less about shoe attributes like pressure distribution, ankle support or mid-sole responsiveness and looked towards shoes being “cooler.” Those types of shoes could only be worn if those features were needed.

As the athletic shoe went out, the more casual loafer came in. Kids in the late 90s and early 2000s wouldn’t be caught dead in something that looked remotely “sporty,” especially in jeans.

Over the past year there has been a massive resurgence in wearing runners in a more casual setting.

Guys and girls these days wear what are meant to be running shoes in much more relaxed and non-athletic situations. Shoes like Nike Roshe Runs and Flyknits have been the hottest shoes for the past season on and off the gym floor. Even shoes as boxy as the New Balance low-cut trainers are back on the streets and soaring off the shelves.

Fashion icons like Kanye West, Olivier Rousteing and Riccardo Tisci have all tailored the creative direction of their companies towards running shoes coupled with your everyday pair of jeans.

To allocate a specific reason as to why these athletic shoes are back would be impossible. These days, trends come in and out faster than a couple of microwaveable Hot Pockets.

My best guess would be that with the more slender, form fitting outfits people are wearing, the sleek shape and feel of runners are the perfect match.

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