Love them or loathe them, it is almost impossible to escape the fact trainers are very much part of the 21st century fashion scene. In recent times they have appeared as frequently on catwalks as they have on running tracks; they have sauntered down as many high streets as they have basketball courts and appeared on as many fashion / style blogs as they have gyms the length and breadth of the country.
Of course it wasn’t always this way, trainers were very much the domain of the sporting arena and were never to be seen in the world of fashion. The birth of the trainer as a fashion statement was born in the mid 80’s with the rise, quite literally, of basketball icon Michael Jordan and his subsequent – and very lucrative – footwear collaboration with Nike.
Brands such as Converse and Adidas had sponsored and provided footwear for famous sportsman in the past but this was the first time you could actually buy the very trainers off the shelves of your local sports store. Kids and teenagers the world over wanted a piece of the Jordan pie, they wanted to emulate their hero – they might not be able to jump and dunk like him but hell, they could sure be like him in their fresh Jordan kicks.
Since then, every brand under the sun has endorsed superstar sportsmen in order to get their own image noticed. This coupled with the advent of trainers as a fashionable form of footwear across both the street style and designer spectrum has seen trainers dominate the market in recent years.
The hi-top trainer – the bastion of street sports and cool kids – has been very much at the forefront of this crossover from sport to fashion so we here at MFM thought it was about time we compiled a list of some of our favourites and what you should be wearing them with.
Whatever anyone tells you, here at MFM we know the Converse Chuck Taylor’s are King of the hi-tops, maybe king of the trainer full-stop. Appearing for the first time almost a century ago – 1917 to be exact – the Taylor All Star is the most iconic hi-top no matter where your feet are in the world. Sporting footwear may have come on somewhat since the early part of the 20th Century but there is nothing that can beat this trainer.
Back before anyone had even heard of Michael Jordan (who’s range doesn’t even make the list I’m afraid to say) the Blazer was one of the very first basketball shoes to come out of the minds of the gurus at Nike. Designed to compete with Converse and Adidas who were ripping up the hard-courts of the U.S.A, the Blazer soon became an iconic part of the basketball court. Although Jordan went on to usurp this classic shoe, a quick look around the streets of any town will tell you this trainer is still very much a part of the style zeitgeist.
Vans Sk8 Hi
The hi-top of choice for any self-respecting skater, the Sk8 Hi is straight out of the empty swimming pools of sun drenched California. Baggy shorts, vests and caps worn backwards are the uniform of the Sk8 Hi and while British shores may not be blessed with the sunshine of America’s West Coast, it’s all the more reason to make hay while the sun shines. And even when skies are dark and the temperature is hovering around zero degrees, there’s no reason why you can’t just pull on a baggy sweater and ripped jeans instead.
Adidas Americana Hi ‘88
Inspired by the basketball pros of the early 1970’s the Americana hi is a clean, classic hi-top that does exactly what it says on the tin – makes you look good. Nowadays it comes in a multitude of colours but you can’t go wrong with the Adidas Originals inspired by, as the name suggests, the colours of the American flag.
Nike Air Force One
Any trainer named after the aircraft carrying the President of the United States ensures its place amongst the pantheon of hi-top greats. Originally released inn 1982, it was the first Nike trainer to feature the ‘air’ technology which the brand is now synonymous with. Coming in a gargantuan number of colour ways and available in low, mid and high-top designs, it is easy to see why this is Nike’s biggest selling trainer of all time. We at MFM say stick with the all white version and pair up with a blue skinny jeans and plain white tee keeping the looking both minimalistic and classic.
The transcendent nature of the hi-top – from sporting prowess to fashion must have – marks it out as an essential item in the footwear departments. No matter the climes, no matter your geographical location, from Tokyo to Turin, California to Copenhgen, the hi-top is marching to the beat of the style drum.
The selection you see above highlights just a few of the classics that have stood the test of time but delve a little deeper and you will soon realize just how integral the hi-top has become to the modern day fashion fraternity. From fashion brands such as Comme Des Garcons to the major sports apparel players, the hi-top is roaring on to victory on and off the court.