Summer has arrived, and it's time to unearth those warm-weather kicks that have been hibernating in your closet.
You already know the Ultra Boost craze won't be slowing up, it sucks to get sand in your shoes, and brands like Vans will always remain on the radar with classic footwear options, but what other predictions can we make about summer 2016? Now that we've covered everything you need to know about men's summer sneaker trends, we turn our attention to the lady sneakerheads, to help inform the next trip to your local sneaker outpost.
In order to keep our readers ahead of the game, we tapped a few industry insiders to forecast the biggest sneaker trends for this summer. See what girls-only sneaker retailer Pam Pam, Parisian sneakerhead Ugly Mely, Complex's Emily Oberg, Oslo-based writer Madeleine Holth, and Miami's YesJulz had to share on the topic.
Which sneaker trends do you see dominating the summer?
Rio Holland, PAM PAM: There will definitely be a continuation of the lightweight, tech-driven sneakers from the major brands. For us however, the classic, iconic styles in simple colourways remain the strong sellers, for example the adidas Stan Smith, Nike Blazer, Vans Old-Skool, Reebok Classic Leather etc. Definitely a minimal, classic vibe for women overall with a sprinkling of the more technical selections.
Ugly Mely, Author & Collector: Each summer, we have the classics: white on white sneakers with a gum sole. But now the trend is pastel colors, and girls want men's models but with easy colorways you can wear every day.
Emily Oberg, Video Producer at Complex: Neutral tones, pastel colors. I would say a light fabric is key, you need your shoes to be breathable especially in the summer. Also, there's a lot of walking and activity in the summer months so you need something supportive but stylish at the same time.
Madeleine Holth, Fashion Journalist: For summer we’re seeing a lot of sock upper sneakers returning, both new styles and iconic silhouettes. It makes sense to have an easy to put on, easy to take off, breathable shoe in the warm summer months. Presto Flyknit, Sock Dart, NMD all of these are ideal shoes for this season. But I think it’s important to mention that the dad cap has been around now for quite some time and I think we’re gonna see more and more dad style sneakers recurring in the market, like Nike Monarch, New Balance 993 and generally more athletic performance style footwear. A lot of iconic models like the Nike Uptempo, Reebok Question and Air Griffey Max 1 is also making a comeback.
YesJulz, Owner of YesJulz Agency: Summer is a fun and sporadic time for me, with all the festivals and traveling. My vibe is all over the place. I'm definitely feeling the Fenty PUMAs right now. Also been having fun with Vans lately. I think adding color and patterns to the mix during summer months is fun and necessary.
Are there any upcoming sneaker labels that we should look out for?
Rio Holland: Of what we stock, Spring Court and Novesta are two brands that sell extremely well and are perhaps considered not as well known. Both brands have been absolute winners for us since day one and it's thanks to their simple silhouettes, easy colourways and incredible comfort. Both brands have a longer history than most others which gives them a certain prestige that is likeable. Novesta is produced according to the highest environmental standards. Their selections work so well with all style choices and the price points are perfect. We suspect these sneakers will be on a lot more feet this summer.
Ugly Mely: I've been enjoying No Name, which will soon release a collaboration with women's shop Onze Mètres Carrés. I also love what Filing Pieces is doing for women!
Emily Oberg: I'm not into new brands so I'm gonna stick with the classics. But I'm sure there will be another fashion sneaker brand just like there is every year. That's for a different market though. And, they seem to like it.
Madeleine Holth: Not a lot of up and coming brands has caught my attention, Casbia has some really cool shoes, will definitely pick up a pair soon. I think what’s important is to not sleep on releases and collabs for the following months, there are so many cool new collabs and new colorways coming up, stay on top of the game.
YesJulz: I really think PUMA is out to take over the female sneaker space, and they have been doing a great job. I'm not just saying that because I have a model coming out with them either. Patrick Mohr is cool too. I am always excited to see what young international designers have in store for us.
What new technologies, materials and fabrics can we expect to come in the next season?
Rio Holland: There is certainly a continuation of lightweight materials from the major players. More of the same will be seen in fresh new colourways and some brands will release iconic styles with this updated technology, as we saw Nike's release of the Air Force 1 Flyknit.
Ugly Mely: Light! Lots of premium materials like suede or leather but with treatments to make the lightest pair.
Emily Oberg: I think the YEEZY Boost 550 will be big for everyone. The Primeknit looks a bit more form-fitting and streamlined than the previous YEEZYs, making them super clean and even more minimal than before. I think we can always expect lighter materials, like Primeknit and Flyknit, Lunar and Boost, whatever is comfortable and practical will continue to do well.
Madeleine Holth: As for fabrics and future technology in sneakers I think all brands are doing everything in their power to minimize waste and consider sustainability as a global responsibility. Aside from that, adidas has its 3D Futurecraft sole and Nike will be doing self-lacing laces this year, I don’t think the worlds biggest sportswear manufacturers have any boundaries when it comes to the possibilities of future sneaker technology. It’s not just about performance any more, it’s aesthetics, technology and sustainability all together.
YesJulz: I'm no Ronnie Fieg, but I can give my personal opinion and say that I hope more of the Boost and Flyknit vibes come into play. I wear sneakers because they are comfortable and allow me to be as fun and wild as I want to be. Comfort is key. I'm always excited to see what new technology is being implemented.
Can you share any best-selling models in your shop? What are female sneakerheads looking for?
Rio Holland, PAM PAM: The two stand out brands for us this season have been Reebok and adidas. Both brands have shown major strengths in their classic ranges. Definitely Stan Smiths and Superstars continue to perform for adidas Originals alongside their more technical offerings. We are excited for the Hamburg and Gazelle releases to come. Reebok has blown up in a big way thanks to their successful, continued partnership with FACE Stockholm and re-introducing old school winners like the Club C 85. Their execution on colourways and materials has been well received and we believe will continue to be so.
Special mentions need also be made to the Saucony Jazz and New Balance 420. These sneaks are quiet sellers during the warmer months and need no assistance in being sold.
What will you be wearing this summer?
Ugly Mely: Without hesitation, the new collaboration between Le Coq Sportif x T&C, which will be released on June 21. This collaboration reminds me of my childhood, and the colors are original to that time, with a good '90s purple.
Emily Oberg: My summer go-tos are the white adidas Ultra Boost, and nude Air Force 1 mids. Anything in a neutral color that is easy to wear with skirts, dresses and shorts. I also want a pair of the adidas EQT Racers, I've never owned them but they're the perfect summer shoe.
Madeleine Holth: This summer I’ll be switching it up between heavy silhouettes like the Nike Uptempo and the Nike Monarch IV, mixing it with some more sleeker styles like the Nike Flyknit Presto and my NMDs.
YesJulz: Bikinis and PUMAs. All summer '16.
Much like summer offerings for dudes, womens' offerings seem to be dominated by either tech-savy options that are cozy on foot, not limited to the adidas Ultra Boost and the new Nike Flyknit Presto, or more classic, timeless offerings that fall on the other end of the spectrum like those from Vans.
Neutral tones seem to be resonating across the board, and UK heritage brand Reebok seems to be leading the way here with collaborations alongside Naked and size?, while the more adventurous sneakerheads might want to scoop a pair of pastel Club Cs.
For further sneakerhead insights, check out our report on the most expensive sneakers of 2016 Q1.