Many things make up a well-rounded wardrobe. You should have things like a little black dress or classic black suit, a crisp white button-down shirt, a trench coat, some basic white tees, a pair of heels or dress shoes for lights and darks, and a couple of pairs of versatile lace-up shoes like Lacoste trainers or sneakers. If you have a few specific things, versatile items that will hold up for a long time and give you a good cost per wear, you can keep a reasonable-sized wardrobe and still be able to put together a wide range of outfits.
Trainers, or as the Americans know them, sneakers, are an important part of any man’s or woman’s wardrobe. They are comfortable and practical, if you buy a good quality pair, they will last for a long time, and if you opt for a versatile look when you shop, you’ll be able to wear them for a number of occasions and with a number of different looks. We believe that there are five classic kinds of trainers that every wardrobe needs: do you have all five in yours?
If you do any kind of exercise (and you should), then you’ll need a pair of trainers tailored to that kind of movement to keep your feet well supported while you’re active. Of course, if your exercise of choice is an activity like yoga or dance, you may need no shoes or a special kind of dancing shoes. But if your exercise of choice is to go to the gym, do trail runs, hike, or play football or basketball, you’ll need a pair of trainers that are tailored to that specific activity. Cross trainers are a good option for people who do more than one different form of exercise, but for some sports or forms of exercise, these just won’t cut it.
Most sneaker-heads believe that Converse All-Stars were the first ever high-top sneaker. These absolute classics were first released in 1917 and were made with special non-skid rubber for use on basketball courts. The circular patch on the ankle is not just a nice piece of design work: these were originally placed where they are to prevent the players’ ankles from knocking together painfully while they played. Nike followed with their well-known Air Jordan’s in 1985 – a far chunkier style of shoe. The Air Jordan, much like the All-Stars, has gained a cult following and can sell for incredible prices if the shoe is the right model. You can find a high-top sneaker to suit every kind of style: streetwear, punk rock, clean cut, retro. However you like to dress, you can find a pair of high tops that will be perfect for you.
There’s nothing like a great pair of retro sneakers. Like high-tops, retro sneakers come in many shapes and sizes, and there’s probably something to suit most styles. For us, the pre-eminent retro sneaker has to be any of the Adidas retro styles. The Samba was first released in 1950 as a football trainer. Little did Adi Dassler know that those three stripes would go on to be world-famous! In 1968, the Gazelle became the next big thing, followed by the Superstat in 1969 and then the Tournament and Nizza in 1971 and 1975. These shoes were popularised once more in the early 2000s by indie bands and retro fans the world over.
The world of canvas sneakers is wide as well as deep. All Stars are canvas sneakers; Vans Off The Wall makes a nice plimsoll style canvas sneaker in a range of colours. There are Keds, Supergas, and PR Flyers. Canvas trainers have quite a history as well, beginning in the late 1800s when the first plimsolls were made as swimming shoes for ladies because they dried so fast. Though these were made to walk on sand, the athletic community soon snapped the style up (Converse and their All-Stars), and the canvas sneaker became part of standard PT kits all over the world. Canvas shoes really took off in America in the 1950s and 60s. They were still relatively humble and usually only appeared in black, red, or white: the classic colours. The 80s saw colour and fit evolve, but we still love the simple, classic colours that go with everything.
Whether this last pair is actually leather or vegan leather (pleather) is up to you and your preferences. Take note that leather shoes need a lot of maintenance in terms of cleaning, feeding, and protecting the leather so that they last a long time. The upside is that once you’ve worn them in, you won’t find a better fit anywhere. Leather trainers might sound a little strange to some people, but they are great to have on hand as an alternative to dress shoes to wear into the office, on a date, or to a wedding. They smarten up any outfit you pair them with!
If you have these five pairs of trainers in your wardrobe, you’re all set to go for any look or occasion.