The Best Trainers for Summer

best mens summer trainers
PHOTO CREDIT: FashionBeans

With the unprecedented rise of trainers as an acceptable footwear choice in almost any setting, the range of choices available to us can be a little overwhelming. Check out our complete guide on the best summer trainers for men.

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The days are getting longer, the temperature’s rising and the rain showers are becoming less frequent, it can only mean one thing, the great British summer will soon be upon us. So now is the perfect time to make an upgrade in the footwear department, as the saying goes: There’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes.

In the last couple of years’ trainers have been well and truly thrust in to the mainstream. Trainers are no longer the preserve of the gym rat and teenage boys; they are for everyone, and we should give thanks for this fact. A good trainer can tread the line of style and comfort unlike any other piece of footwear and are now acceptable in most aspects of life, even the work place and on nights out.

Key Trainer Trends for Summer

Whatever your particular style or brand preference, the one truth we can take from the rise of the trainer, is that they’re here to stay, so take a look at our guide below, for some of the best trainer trends to keep an eye on this summer.

Best White Trainers for Men

2015 was without question the year of the fresh white trainer and although this look still prevails for this summer, other neutral colours are also in the ascendancy. This should hopefully add a little bit of spice to the march of the purely white trainers from last year.

With that in mind, trainers in various neutral shades such as beige, browns, creams and greys are the popular palette of choice for this summer’s trainers. Obviously the great thing about that is that these colours pair-up with pretty much anything.

mens common projects
PHOTO CREDIT: Common Projects

At the luxury end of the market there’s the likes of the white Prada’s trainers – a selection of neutrally coloured trainers for the sartorially aspirational man. Our other top picks from the high-end trainer manufacturers come from new start-ups Greats and industry trailblazers Common Projects.

If these luxury brands are a little bit rich for your taste, then you can’t go wrong by sticking with something classic like the Adidas Stan Smith or something new, like Puma’s Blaze Ignite.

Best Sports Trainers for Men

A combination of some of the most high-tech training shoe technology and sleek design, the new generation of running shoes have risen above a simple tool to aid athletic performance. At their very best, this new breed of athletic shoe serves also as a fashion mainstay.

High end performance sports trainers fused with a slick aesthetic are here to stay and the market is awash with beautiful shoes that also benefit from their high functionality and comfort, the best of all worlds.

The other beauty of sports shoes fighting their corner in the fashion market is that they’re built staying cool and are therefore perfect for dealing with the best the British summer has to offer.

adidas nmd boost
Adidas NMD Boost | Photo Credit: Pinterest

The big players in this part of the trainer market are always looking to push the technology forward and this year’s highest profile designs use new breathable and lightweight fabrics and the most flexible and springy soles ever, such as the Adidas boost and Nike Lunar.

Here at The Idle Man, our top picks from the sports shoes out there on the open market, are the Nike Flynit racers, Adidas NMD Boost and Nike Mayfly.

Best Fashion Trainers for Men

As we discussed earlier, cool trainers are now no longer the sole preserve of teenagers and the sporty, they are for everyone. So as logic would dictate, fashion houses on every part of the scale has started to dip their toe in to the trainer market.

Trainers are now a suitable choice for most occasions and so therefore it makes sense that the trainer industry is being infiltrated by the fashion industry.

As part of the move towards collaborations, fashion labels and high-end designers have had their fingers in the pie that is the trainer market for many years now. However, the direction of the wind is changing and not only are the designers and labels working with the well-established trainer makers, they are now also creating their own.

Some of the best luxury trainers on the market this summer include the likes of Sandro’s High Tops, Maison Martin Margiela’s Replica inspired by the German Army trainer.

ami trainers
PHOTO CREDIT: Ami

The beauty of the rise of the luxury fashion trainer is that you are guaranteed quality for your money, the fashion houses often sparing no expense when it comes to the materials used to create their versions of the footwear staple.

On the downside however, is the price tag. There is no question that while the quality of the luxury labels is second to none, sometimes the price means these shoes are out of range for the average Joe. But never fear, as the more traditional sports trainer companies and the high-street retailers are responding to the popularity of the luxury trainer and alternatives to the richer of the fashion trainers are becoming more widely available.

Of particular note for those of you who don’t want to blow the whole of your summer holiday savings on a pair of trainers, are the Adidas Tubular. While most high-street retailers are producing viable alternatives to the pricier end of the market too that, shall we say, ‘take inspiration’ from the luxury trainers of the big fashion houses.

Adidas tubular
Adidas Tubular | Photo Credit: Pinterest

Best Classic Trainers for Men

The classic trainers are called classic for a reason, some trainer designs simply have an aesthetic which has had the ability to withstand the test of time and fight off all the other late comers to the party.

There’s a good reason that certain trainers have endured in popular culture over time and are still standing strong after years or even decades, in what is an extremely crowded market and that is because they are often design masterpieces.

As well as trainers that haven’t gone away over the years, there is also a recent trend for the big trainer manufacturers to reissue old designs. A recent spate of these has arguably been instigated by the success of Nike’s reintroduction of the Cortez.

Others to keep a keen eye on in this vein are the likes of Adidas’s Stan Smith and the Converse Chuck Taylors. The Chuck Taylors actually featured their first redesign in around 100 years last year and the iconic trainer is now more comfortable than ever, as well as holding on to its sacred status in the trainer world. The new Chuck Taylor shoe now features a perforated micro suede liner, a padded tongue and collar and a Nike Lunerlon sock liner.

Basically, whatever the new pretenders to the throne have to offer, the wide range of classic trainer designs out there still have so much to give and have maintained their popularity over time for very good reasons.

best mens classic trainers
Stan Smiths, Converse, Nike Cortez | PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Best Spring / Summer Trainers for Men

When it comes to summer trainers, the general rule of thumb is to keep to lower cut styles and veer away from high-tops or heavy leathers which might make your feet a little to warm. We’ve picked out a few pairs for you below which would be ideal, and right on trend, for 2016.

mens trainers for summer
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man | SHOP: Trainers

The Best Trainer Collaborations

As has been the case over the last few years there is an absolute raft of collaborations between two brands or a label and celebrity designer and 2016 is not set to be any different.

The basic idea of the collaboration is that you take two things that on their own manage to create something pretty cool and smash them together and hope that the resulting fallout transcends the brilliance of the basic sum of the two parties brought together.

However, this is not always the case, sometimes monsters are created, or even worse than that sometimes a collaboration is so uninspired it can get lost in the depths of trainer hell. But, when it’s done well, a trainer collaboration can be a real thing of beauty, an inspiring marriage of design genius and know how that manages to set our hearts a flutter and force us to open our wallets.

This year look out for Taka Hayashi once again teaming up with Vans to create the TH Sk8 Nomad LX and TH Slip Nomad LX, which feature Hayashi’s trademark native American style, with laser cut leather upper.

Vans TH SK8 nomad
Vans | Photo Credit: Pinterest

Another partnership to keep a close eye on Adidas’s pairing with the German retailer A Kind of Guise, which features an elegant collection of waffle sections and mesh bound insole.

If you’re looking for a collaboration that pushes the boundaries in terms of style, very much a ‘love them or hate them’ kind of shoe, then look no further than Raf Simons collab with Adidas. But the truth is, there is no shortage of collaborations to choose from, the trend for this kind of creative partnership is now ubiquitous.

The Rise of The Trainer

The increasing popularity of the trainer is looking truly unstoppable at the moment, with the industry apparently worth somewhere in the region of $50 million a year and growing all the time. The humble trainer has come a long way from its simple beginnings, and the market for the versatile footwear shows no signs of waning anytime soon.

The very first incarnation of the trainer as we know it today, was invented in the 19th century and they were nicknamed ‘plimsolls’ due to the join of the upper of the shoe and rubber sole resembling the Plimsoll line on ships.

The durable and relatively cheap vulcanised rubber, made possible by the technological advances of the industrial revolution, was the material that made the sole of the plimsoll, attached to a canvas or leather upper and it’s a design which is relatively unchanged today in modern trainers.

mens trainers
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

From the end of the 19th and in to the beginning of the 20th century, the early trainers surged in popularity, as this revolutionary, comfortable and practical shoe was adopted by middle-class holiday makers, sportsmen and women, and even the military.

Today, the trainer is utterly ubiquitous, trainers are worn by children, men and women from all walks of life and of all social status. In fact, to many, trainers have ascended far above a simple piece of footwear, millions of us see our trainers as a symbol of status, power and affiliation to a particular way of life.

Brands like Vans have heavy links in skate culture, the likes of Adidas and Nike are entrenched in to Hip Hop. But in recent years, high-end brands have got in on the trainer market too, with the likes of Chanel, Prada and Alexander McQueen all getting in on the act.

President Obama has a pair of red, white and black Under Armour Basketball shoes, the presidential seal stamped proudly on the tongue. Celebrities from David Beckham, Miranda Kerr and Pharell Williams have all professed their love for the iconic Adidas Stan Smith, with Jay-Z even including the name of the 1970’s designed trainer in some of his lyrics.

Beckham Obama Williams Trainers
Photo Credit: Pinterest

In fact, the link between celebrity and trainers has become commonplace, with some brands becoming synonymous with certain sports stars or musicians. The link between Nike and Michael Jordan has been the most notable of these affiliations. According to Forbes’ Billionaire list, Jordan makes around $100 million a year, primarily from sales of his Air Jordan’s, the first incarnation of which came out in 1984. That’s more money in a single year from shoe sales than he made in total from his salary over his fifteen-year basketball career.

Many also see Kanye West’s foray in to trainer design, originally with Nike, now Adidas, as something of a watershed moment in the mainstream popularity of trainers. The CEO of Adidas Herbert Hainer recently claimed that their $10 million collaboration with Kanye West had helped the brand to reconnect with the consumer in light of stiff completion from Nike and Under Armour.

Your Quick Guide to The Best Summer Trainers

  • Go for lighter colours in materials like canvas, suede or real leather to allow feet to breathe
  • The Best White Trainers: Common Projects, Stan Smiths, Garment Project
  • The Best Sports Trainers: Adidas NMD Boosts, Nike Lunar, Nike FreeRun
  • The Best Fashion Trainers: Bottega Veneta Woven Slip-On, Givenchy Leather low-tops
  • The Best Classic Trainers: Stan Smiths, Converse, Nike Cortez

On That Note

So whatever your style or brand of choice, be it fashion or purely practical – there is a whole world of trainers out there to explore and get excited about this summer.

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