Over the last decade our perception of trainers has shifted dramatically. They’re no longer purely for playing sports or youths, they’re for everyone and they’re acceptable in pretty much any setting too – from fancy restaurants to the workplace.
Great news for our feet, and even better news for our wardrobes, because there’s a style out there for every outfit. Whether you’re a commute-only trainer wearer or an all-day-everyday devotee, these are the best styles for work – but remember our top tip; trainers for work need to be kept looking fresh or else they can stray into NSFW territory, so take care of them…
Everyone should have a pair of high-tops, they’re so useful and can be worn with pretty much anything – from jeans to dresses. They add a more carefree vibe to formal outfits – you can even wear them with a trouser suit – and can toughen up more feminine looks.
Converse’s iconic All Star Hi trainers are a failsafe style that you’ll wear until they fall apart, trust me (they’re also easy to chuck in your handbag without taking up tons of space), while Nike’s much-loved Blazers have more of a retro vibe and look great with denim.
Retro trainers are big news right now, thanks in part to the revival of Adidas’s Gazelle and Samba styles. The former is riding high again following a recent collab with Gucci and the latter thanks to the likes of Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner adopting it as their sneaker of choice. Both are adaptable, delicate styles that go with a plethora of outfits, from tailoring to athleisure wear.
If you’re after something a little chunkier, try New Balance’s 550 style, which has an 80s basketball era vibe and looks great with looser, wide leg trousers.
‘Dad trainers’ are chunky – I’m going to say it – fugly trainers that look like they’re made for hiking or running, the type you’d previously only see on a fleece-wearing dad in the 80s and 90s. They look practical and comfy rather than pretty and are a key component of the normcore trend.
They’ve been enjoying their time in the fashion limelight thanks to Balenciaga’s now-iconic bulbous Triple S style and show no sign of going anywhere soon. Probably best suited to a more casual workplace, they look great with leggings and sports socks – think ‘Princess Diana off to the gym’ vibes.
Colour pop trainers
You can’t beat a colour-pop trainer; pure joy in shoe form. I’m particularly devoted to New Balance’s 327 style, which are constantly released in new, fun colourways, but Nike’s Air Jordan’s are a fashion pack favourite and worthy investment. These are best worn with a simple outfit, like jeans and a plain sweater or head-to-toe-black.
Clean and simple trainers
Think of these as an outfit palette cleanser – they can be worn with anything and are wonderfully inconspicuous. Adidas’s beloved Stan Smith style is the ultimate – brought back to life by Celine designer Phoebe Philo a few years ago – but you’ll also find great versions on the high street.
Whether you go for canvas or leather, a track sole or a flatform, these will fit seamlessly into any work wardrobe. The key is to keep them looking clean and fresh.