Sneakers, like anything else, go through design trends. Some are great, some I look back on with disgust, but something that i’ve definitely been loving is recently is the trend in sneakers using different materials and the fact that it’s being highlighted now with different colors so it really accentuates the silhouette of the sneaker. The first sneaker that I can vividly recall seeing this in is the classic Nike Cortez. In the picture below you can see how the shoe is predominantly made of nylon, with a suede top, and leather check mark. It just adds a different touch than an all leather upper and the nylon definitely makes it a more breathable shoe, which I’m sure was a vast improvement for runners, it’s original audience.
Probably the reason for this recent trend is Off White founder/designer, Virgil Abloh. Abloh’s collaboration “The Ten” with Nike that started in 2017 and ended in 2019, was probably the most successful collaboration in recent history, both artistically and commercially, as they look great, sell out instantly and the resale is insane. “The Ten” features Nike’s most iconic sneakers with a deconstructed/reconstructed look. Abloh sought to make sure that you can see all that goes into the sneaker construction and you can see all the materials and details that go into an everyday product. Below you can see a picture of my Off White Air Max 90s. You can see all the different layers from the nylon, suede, and translucent soles. Little details like the tape look on the check and the details written on the instep of upper pay homage to the original samples and the designers.
I can confidently say that “The Ten” line probably influenced the latest Russell Westbrook Why Not Zer0.2. What do you think? Sure the colors are a bit crazier, but each color highlights a different part of the sneaker.
Adidas isn’t immune to this trend as the recently release Futurecraft 4d ZX 4000 is a perfect example of this. The 4D printed sole doesn’t overshadow, the similarly looking deconstructed upper. Little details such as the two tones of blue used on the mesh as well as the lightly used pink stitching really make this shoe stand out as whole, whereas in most of the other 4D shoes, the sole steals all the attention.
Finally even Yeezy is getting in on the action as you can see this in the Yeezy 500 and 700. You can see how the different colors of mesh, leather and suede build upon one another for a unique layered look. If you are seeing these for the first time, you probably don’t see it as me and many other people felt that same, but trust me when I say these particular chunky dad shoes grow on you.
I’m sure there are hundreds of other examples, but these I think are a few great ones. I wonder how much longer I’m going to continue to enjoy this aesthetic? Tell me what you think. What did I get wrong? What can I add? Let me know!