Whether you see them as a fashion accessory, part of your gym kit, office attire or all of the above, trainers are an everyday essential for so many us.
Classic kicks will never go out of style, but new trainer trends are emerging all the time too – so if you want to keep up with the sneakerheads, you’ve got to pay attention.
To find out what’s hot and what’s not this season, we asked sportswear experts to predict the trainer trends that will dominate in 2022…
1. Retro sneakers
Nike Women’s Air Jordan 1 Atmosphere, €169.99
"Above everything else, the trend we can expect to see dominate 2022 will be retro sneakers," says Jamie Hyam, sneaker expert from The Sole Supplier. "Throughout 2021 we saw the boom of retro sneakers, such as the Air Jordan 1 and Nike Dunk, and we don’t see this trend slowing down."
Demand for New Balance was also high among trendsetters last year, with high-profile releases selling out almost immediately.
Hyam says the beauty of vintage-style trainers is that "they’re so easy to style. They can be seen on the feet of supermodels such as Bella Hadid, or even musicians such as Justin Bieber, in simple, laidback outfits throughout every season. Add them into any outfit and they’re sure to look great."
2. Futuristic fashions
Adidas Originals Ozelia Trainers in Triple Grey, €110, ASOS
One of the most opinion-dividing trends of recent years, trainers in unusual, oversized silhouettes will either make you say "Amazing!", or "Eww!"
"Although these futuristic, fashion-forward styles may not be for everyone, they make for great statement pieces in the right outfit," says Hyam, citing Kanye West and his Yeezy brand as a major influence.
"Futuristic styles are the by-product of designers really pushing the limit on what is possible in 2022. New materials, design techniques and ideas will really be driving this trend further forward."
3. Sustainable materials
Loci X Reed Nine Natural White, €150
Once a niche category, sustainable trainers have gone mainstream thanks to dedicated brands and the efforts of major retailers.
"In the last 12 months, sales of sustainable footwear have seen a 23% increase," says Mark Hoyal-Mitchell, head of Shoeaholics. "We’ve entered a new era, where your favourite kicks just got an environmentally-conscious makeover."
Hyam says that following the pandemic, shoppers are more concerned with the environmental impact of their purchases: "Consumers are looking to invest in brands which are shown to be active towards issues such as plastic consumption, sustainable operations and renewable materials."
4. Bright and bold
KG Kurt Geiger Leighton Lime, €115
Something of an oxymoron, the trend for ignoring trends and taking a more individual approach means OTT trainers are on the up.
"This season, we are predicting a ‘more is more’ approach, as our customers let their personality shine through and invest in a range of trainers outside there comfort zone – starting with colour," says Hoyal-Mitchell. "Neon pinks and yellows will have you standing out from the crowd."
5. Platform trainers
New Look White Stud Trim Side Stripe Chunky Trainers, €29.99
Hot on the heels of the uber-chunky trainer trend, this year it’s more about height than heft.
"We expect texture and materials to play a huge role in sneaker designs this year," says Hyam, adding that he also expects "functional designs such as platforms to be incorporated".
The minimalist ‘lifestyle trainer’ (meaning it’s not for workouts) gets a boost with thick Nineties-inspired soles.