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All the coolest trainers for 2020 | Trends

Know the difference between what's hot or not with our trainer's guide that'll put you ahead of the curve.

cool trainers for 2020

As we enter a new year, and of course a new decade, we’ll start to see an ever so slight shift in what people are wearing on their feet. Some trends will obviously continue, such as the ‘chunky’ dad-shoe type trend, but some new ones are set to emerge. With most men’s fashion weeks having just wrapped up at the turn of the year, we now have a somewhat reasonable idea of what will be popular throughout the next 12 months.

Here’s our take on what trainers we think people will be wearing this year…

Big trainer trends in 2020

Bright colours and fluorescent tones

Fashion as a whole is expected to drift away from the dark and beige tones that have reigned supreme in recent years towards more varied and brighter colours, and trainers are expected to do this more than anything. Purple and orange in particular are two colours that you will definitely see more of, contributing to some very 80s designs - 1980s trends being popular in the 21st Century? There’s a surprise.

‘Deconstructed’ designs and ‘functional’ footwear

Birthed by Virgil Abloh’s signature style (OFF-WHITE etc..), we fully expect this trend to really take shape over the next 12 months. Vans and Converse have already released multiple lines featuring ‘remixed’, dissected type designs that feature added materialing which intentionally looks out of place, or feature a mash-up of two or more standard models.

Paired with the bright colours trend that we’ve already mentioned, be prepared to see some very loud footwear in 2020. Furthermore, materialing as a whole will be interesting in 2020, with recent winter styles seeing huge amounts of ‘deconstructed’ designs being modeled into trail-like footwear featuring tough Gore-Tex material; expect to see this continue to a great extent.

Collaborations, and bringing high-fashion to the mainstream

Collaborations have long been a mainstay of the fashion industry, but we are seeing them now more than ever. Every week it feels like another two brands have come together to create something new, and why not? Brands love them because it means that they get to tap into each others customer base, and consumers love them because it leaves them with a unique, and often limited edition, product.

Last year we saw the mainstream brands collaborate more and more with high-fashion brands (see adidas x Prada, and Nike x Dior), bringing high-fashion further into the eyes of the masses; the explosion of people now wearing trainers that cost upwards of £350 is no accident. Expect to see even more of this in the coming year in terms of both unusual collaborations, and the everyman wearing higher end footwear.

As you can tell the underlying theme here is that bold, overstated designs should reign supreme. That isn't to say, though, that this is solely what people will be wearing this year - retro takes such as adidas Continental, Air Max 97s and Reebok Classics will still be wildly popular, as will mainstay models such as Vans Old Skool and adidas Gazelles.

Brands to watch in 2020


Instantly recognisable by the large ‘V’ visible on the majority of their models, Veja are an up-and-coming French footwear brand which prides themselves on their ethical practices both in terms of sustainability and financial injustice. They differ from other brands in that they want to have a ‘positive impact’ on every stage of the manufacturing process. This means that they use ethically-sourced materials which actually discourages deforestation of the amazon, but at the same time allow their manufacturing staff to unionise, pay them a fair wage, and use a logistics company (Ateliers Sans Frontières) which aims to help unemployed people return to work.

A whole host of famous faces, including Meghan Markle, have been spotted wearing these, and with good reason - not only are they ecologically responsible, they look great too! Their most successful models all have that retro tennis-shoe type feel, similar to the adidas Stan Smiths, and it’s a style which we expect to see right across the industry in summer 2020 . Employing soft tones and minimalistic designs, they make for great casual footwear.


Love them or hate them, the Italian giant Fila seem to be well and truly back. Propelled initially by the Vintage craze of the early 2010s which brought their apparel back into the mainstream, their foray into the trainer market struck gold with the Marmite of the footwear industry - the Fila Disruptor. They followed this up with the Fila Ray and the Ray Tracer which were also popular, and a wealth of similar type shoes (chunky soles and/or ‘loud’ designs) in F/W19. Expect to see much more of this in this coming year.


Teetering on the edge of mainstream fashion for a few years now, historic sportswear giants Diadora seem to have only ever released the odd lifestyle shoe here and there, but in the past 12 months more and more models have become available for purchase in the UK.

What is impressive about Diadora’s catalogue is that they seem to be equally adept at making chunky, suede-based shoes as they are at making the in-demand tennis shoe type model we mentioned before. This perfect blend of both heritage and contemporary design, along with the company’s Italian roots that it just loves to tell you about, make for an accomplished trainer offering. Some of their models are still on the pricier side, but no doubt when more reasonably priced pairs are released, the Treviso-based brand will go from strength to strength.

Most hyped trainers of 2020

Air Max 90

The iconic trainer saw a remodelling at the start of this year to celebrate its 30th anniversary, and as per the Nike website ‘the Air Max 90 is recrafted including the panel scale, toe box height and heel panel...’ and ‘internal renovations to the silhouette include the shoe’s original ultra-plush linings and constructions, with the sockliner featuring a hidden "Easter egg" — an Air Max 1 outsole on the bottom’. You can bet your bottom dollar this means that a plethora of new colourways will be releasing throughout the year, as well as limited editions - you can view the confirmed ones, and their release dates, here. It has already been confirmed that the Off-White x Air Max 90 will be releasing this summer in University Red, and streetwear giant UNDFTD are teaming up with Nike once again to release some more unique pairs.

Puma Future Rider

The Puma Rider first released a whopping 40 years ago, and towards the back end of last year Puma reworked it ever so slightly to create the Future Rider and the Style Rider, releasing them alongside the OG Fast Rider. All three are really sleek but our pick of the bunch is definitely the Future Rider; a sleek shoe with a contemporary design yet with definite retro undertones. The rubber outsole looks great but the TPU Heel stabiliser is the standout design feature. Initially available in limited colourways, expect much more vibrant ones to come throughout the year, including the multiple ones pictured in this High Snobiety article.

January has also brought with it two Chinatown Market collaborative pairs, which employ use of translucent materials in the upper - a style perhaps best known from the Nike React Element series - and are retailing for £100 in both black and white.

Air Max 270, and 270 React

Midway through last year, it was reported that the Air Max 270 was the number one best selling trainer of the year, and we can see why. One of Nike’s newer models, this shoe has taken the world by storm and does not appear to be slowing down.

A simple design, with an exposed air unit encompassing just the heel, it allows for a seemingly infinite number of colourway combinations. The 270 React offered even more combinations when it was released, due to having a slightly more intricate upper. This has made the 270 React wildly popular and it feels like a brand new colourway is releasing every week. Oh and did we mention, these are extremely comfy?

Obscure trainers that you should check out this year

Mizuno Wave Rider 1

First released as a running shoe in 1998, the Wave Rider series is now on its 23rd iteration of high-tech running shoes. The OG number 1s however, have recently made a resurgence amongst sneakerheads and after a series of collaborations in recent years, they are now widely available for a reasonable price too! An instantly recognisable and distinctive design which channels serious 90s vibes, we think you'll appreciate these.

Karhu Fusion 2.0

Despite having a history than spans more than a century, Finnish sportswear brand Karhu are perhaps best known for selling the famous 'Three Stripes' trademark to a small brand by the name of adidas in 1952. They have however consistently impressed with their meticulous technical approach to the development of running shoes, and in 2005 they established the 'Karhu Originals' line, focused on making ready-to-wear fashion trainers with a retro feel, the most iconic silhouette of which is the 'Fusion' (and recently the Fusion 2.0).

With thick, durable material and the inclusion of rope laces, there's no doubt these are inspired by the outdoors. They come in a wide variety of colourways and as of right now many pairs are on sale at a variety of outlets.

What we are looking forward to this year

2020 is expected to be a big year for Kanye West and the Yeezy brand, with the Yeezy 451 and Yeezy Basketball models both due to hit stores in the coming months. We're most excited though, for the February 21st release of the new Yeezy 700 iterations, called the Yeezy 700 MNVN. These are similar to previous 700s but feature large writing on the side of the upper that reads that figure. Releasing in Triple Black, Orange and 'Bone' at first, more colourways will certainly be fed to us in due course.

Air Max Day will once again take place on the 26th March, and will bring with it a plethora of unique designs, colourways or creations. It is also rumoured that, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the AM90 that we mentioned before, the iconic 'Infrared' colourway will return, but this time in the updated model.

Staying on the topic of Nike, arguably their two most iconic collaborators of the past 12 months will be looking to continue that success this coming year. Travis Scott sees his first pair release on the 29th February; a pair of SB Dunk Lows, decorated in typical chaotic fashion, featuring chequered and paisley-type patterns.

Meanwhile, as we've already mentioned, Virgil Abloh's University Red Air Max 90s will be releasing this year, but moving past that it has now been confirmed that a brand new model will be getting the Off-White treatment. Revealed at Paris Fashion Week recently, the Air Jordan 5s are the latest Nike shoe to be remixed in Abloh's signature style. Whilst no release date has been specified as of yet, expect to see them sooner rather than later.

In a more general sense however, the trends we’ve discussed could lead to an explosion of individuality both in terms of brand direction, and consumer choice; this is definitely a good thing. Also considering that bright colours are on trend, as are tennis shoes, we can only speculate just how amazing some of the summer choices will be, once brands really get going deep into prime trainer-wearing months.

Chris Semple

Manchester City season ticket holder and FC Schalke armchair. Wannabe trainer collector and travelling enthusiast.