What your trainers say about you
Are you Superstar or Huarache?
Trainers are the 21st-century status symbol. Facebook groups exist solely for devoted “sneakerheads” to discuss, trade, buy, sell, ID and obsess over release dates, like a stockbroker following the Wall Street ticker.
But no one pair is the same; the ‘subtle’ differences between brands, styles and colourways are in fact massive – if you care about these sort of things, which obviously you do – and in so many ways, reveal everything you need to know about the wearer.
Here’s what your trainers say about you.
For House Agents and League One footballers. Loves: UniLad videos, skinny jeans, sun beds, cage fighting, shuffling, Canada Goose, creatine, pints, tattoo sleeves, Instagram and Jäger.
Inoffensive but bland, New Balance is the Gap of the trainer world. The brand will always be the bearded guy who works in “the media”, owns a juicer and wears too many flannel shirts from Uniqlo. Think Marouane Fellaini distilled into canvas form. Or Coldplay. The black-out 373 wearers try but, at the end of the day, your dad’s got the same pair.
Nike Air Force 1
You see Laura in Warehouse Project. Laura wears Air Force 1s. Laura has a North Face puffer jacket wrapped round her waist. Laura probably has a double-barreled name. Laura is the coolest, most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen. She has long, unbrushed dirty blonde hair, that’s purposely half-tucked into her faded adidas sweatshirt.
This is the problem with Laura and Air Force 1 wearers: their cool exterior is undermined by trying too hard. The white ones are consciously dirtied to mark all the dingy basement Fallowfield parties they’ve been to. See the can of Red Stripe, untouched for the whole night? Yeah, that’s deliberate too. All this means the trainer has been ripped from the original Harlem context Nelly rapped about and, rather clumsily, adopted by Laura from Surrey.
Laura might give off a wavier vibe than your average Air Max wearer, but no matter how many nose rings she gets she’ll never be able to fully shed her lingering Guilford-ness.
adidas Stan Smith
Every girl who wears Stan Smiths seems to look like a Camel cigarette in a Cos coat. Continental, cultured, refined – you really couldn’t look any cooler if you try. Which you don’t, obviously.
Asics Gel-Lyte III
Henry knows a lot about trainers and wants everyone to know it – but in a subtle, understated way which basically says: “if you know, then you know”. So he bought something more refined, more niche, more original. He’s a seasoned connoisseur, spending huge amounts of time and money scouring Wavey Kicks and Crep Check for “VVVNDS” to add to his extensive collection of special collabs and exclusive colourways.
In his spare time Henry likes to mix a new, progressive sound he calls “ketty bangers” on the CDJ 2000 Nexus his mum bought him for Christmas. He goes to secret raves in art galleries and owns an extensive vinyl collection. He’s likely to be pissed off at this article. Takes himself a bit seriously, does Henry.
Perhaps the 21,433th Home Counties girl to panic buy these on Asos for your first house night. A walking Tumblr. Overuses the crying smiley face emoji. Loves pugs. Really, really fit.
Nike Air Max 95
Fun fact: 95s are the most common footprints found at crime scenes. And so this distinct, classic trainer is worn by two types of people: 1) KuruptFM roadmen from the ends who wear True Religion jeans and run pirate radio stations and blare out garage from Golf GTIs and sell knock-off Ralph Lauren T-shirts and get busted after leaving footprints around their weed farm, and 2) private school back-up dancers called Theo who live through Stormzy, sell Nos at parties out of their shotty bags and spend evenings recycling pars about dads and shin pads on Roadman Talk UK/EU. They’ve basically forked out £120 to be a parody.
Nike Air Max 1
Another all-time classic trainer ruined by deep house. You got your mum to buy these for you during your first reading week at Leeds to go with the Palace tee and Supreme beanie. Lads in these still wear pin-rolled jeans from Topman along with a Ralphie shirt, top button deliberately done up with the remaining ones open. Their profile picture is them posing in Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, or DJ-ing for the underwhelming House night they set up at uni. Unless they’re flexing the Patta collabs, they’re about five years too late to the scene.
Nike Free Runs
You wear gym clothes around campus without ever actually go to the gym. Free Runs always come in the most lurid colourways paired with the jazziest tights possible and Class of 2014 leavers’ hoodie. They might have been bought for exercise, but now you only wear them for nights out. Fair play – they’re comfy. Otherwise seen on yuppie mums dropping off Mimi at Putney High before “yoges”.
Air Max 90s
You have the leopard print ones, don’t you Grace?
When Poppy/Daisy/Lily some other blonde girl with a flower’s name graduated from Leeds/Manchester/Bristol/some other Russell Group university she outgrew her beaten up AirMax. Now she needed something more refined and to wear on the tube on the way to her marketing job in Kensington. Naturally she bought the Theas. They match her Mulberry bag.
Reebok Classics used to be the footwear of Broken Britain, the beaten up trainers MC Devvo wore during the Kestrel-fuelled years of the peak chav mid-noughties. But then things changed. Over the past couple of years sportswear merged with streetwear, and at this intersection the Classics lost their Sports Direct aesthetic and began to be made in bright, neon colourways for girls called Lottie at Russell Group unis. You see Lottie chain-smoking Amber Leaf rollies in the Bussey Building smoking area, talking about how she’s excited to watch Jamie XX at Alexandra Place later this month. But Lottie’s only really edgy in that insulated Urban Outfitters-friendly, rooftop party kind of way which reminds everyone she’s from Dorset – not Doncaster.
Shit, I need some new shoes. I’m not edgy enough for Air Max and Phoebe has the Superstars. Don’t worry Liv, get to Office, buy some Roshes and know you’ll have the same “cool kid shoes” as everyone else on your netball social.
adidas 350 Boost Yeezy
You’re either rich, have too much free time, or both. Anyone who drops their student loan on a pair of limited edition creps needs to chill out. You keep shoes in boxes on display and hang off buildings to get the perfect Instagram pic.
Nike/Asics runnings shoes
The vanguard of the unpretentious, you still rep these OGs your mum bought you for Year 10 PE with an endearing don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. While others around you stay up late searching for limited edition releases, you’re at the SU in bootleg jeans and trusty Nikes downing Carlsbergs on a cricket social.
You love Chelsea Dagger, wear vintage football shorts, shop at Aldi, still use Wet Look VO5 gel and generally brim with infectious joie de vivre. You epitomise everything we should aspire to be and, in a landscape dominated by posers, are the real, authentic heroes of our times.
Nike Stefan Janoski
The hipster’s choice. Do you even know who Stefan Janoski is?
adidas ZX Flux
Tried to be original and cool by shunning Air Max but couldn’t have been more unoriginal with their alternative. Closet Huarache wearers.
Nike Blazers Hi Tops
It’s not 2006 anymore, Olly.
Sambas inspire profound loyalty to create a strange, cult-like following. They’re for people who know what they like and aren’t taken in by faddish releases. Josh is on his seventh pair and doesn’t own anything else. They’ve helped him score worldies at 5-a-side, trek around Glasto, get into Berghain and smuggle pills into Fabric. Sambas are the original Originals and, like the people wearing them, will never let you down. Legends.
Vans are worn by three kinds of people: the hipster Converse wearers; the ones who have had the checkboard plimsoles since ’06 and the effortlessly cool. The latter neglected the obvious choices and went for something more stylish and alternative – but not in an overbearing pretentious way. No doubt you smoke a lot of weed, love Vice and probably vape. Kudos.
Your mum wears these.
You’ve been shopping in the TK Maxx clearance aisle again, haven’t you Dom?
Le Coq Sportif LCS R900
You are cool, understated and dress immaculately. Builders might have worn these back in the day, but now you keep them really clean, scrubbing away at them with a toothbrush.
You’re either a die-hard Scunthorpe fan on the platform awaiting the 12:43 to Blackpool for an away day or, more likely, picked out the first shoe in the shop. Perfectly nice, your mum probably likes them.