With hotter weather finally looming on the horizon (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) it's time to consider how the sneaker game will be shaping up for the summer season. Spring has seen a ton of lightweight, breathable models enter the market, as both Nike and adidas go in hard on their respective Flyknit and Primeknit silhouettes, and it's looking like things will be pretty similar for the fast-approaching warmer months.
We hit up a few sneaker industry experts to get the low-down on what kicks will be hot this summer. James Trivunovic from size? knows the UK market better than most, while Brendan Denault from Canadian store Livestock gives us tips for North America and Julian Kalitta from Berlin's Overkill is holding it down in mainland Europe.
What's the overall vibe like for the summer season, in terms of sneakers?
James Trivunovic, size?: The overall theme for Summer ’16 is very similar to what we've seen at the beginning of this year, but with a lot more color! We've seen sneaker culture's obsession for new technology and styles reach boiling point. This has been driven almost entirely by adidas with the NMD and YEEZY taking release-day madness to new levels. We're expecting much of the same throughout summer.
Brendan Denault, Livestock: For summer we are expecting a lot of what we've been seeing so far: lots of knitted uppers, lots of Tubular, a lot of kicks with sock-like collars, along with more reissued classics. Overall, it's a pretty minimal vibe.
Julian Kalitta, Overkill: The vibe is superb and the demand remains strong. Women and kids are receive more and more attention, and you can see it in the big sneaker brands' collections. It’s a positive trend for the market.
What models in particular do you think will be a big hit next season?
James Trivunovic, size?: adidas Originals is ramping up their styles very quickly. The re-released Climacool was followed up by the highly anticipated OG NMD Primeknit in "Triple White" and "City Sock" models, completing SS16’s top tier NMD styles. size? will also release some more exclusive versions of the Jeans and Munchen silhouettes in May and June.
Nike has a rainbow of color and an army of styles releasing with the “BREATHE” pack. Our shelves will look very colorful and summery towards the end of April. Throw in the re-release of the long awaited Mayfly Woven and the brand is looking very strong in Summer '16.
size? also have some interesting collabs coming in over the next few months with Reebok on the Club C, and New Balance on the Vazee 801 running shoe.
Brendan Denault, Livestock: Personally, we've really been feeling the adidas Pure Boost ZG, and classics like the Samba. I always loved the Samba, I just feel like that shoe hasn’t truly hit it’s rhythm yet, we're still waiting for a banging colorway.
Julian Kalitta, Overkill: The hype around adidas's NMD and Boost models will definitely continue, while our insider tip for the next season is the Equipment Support ADV. This completely new model features a Primeknit upper, has a gigantic sharp shape and is perfect for the summer - watch out!
Nike will rule the summer when the Flyknit Presto, Sock Dart and the Nike "Plus" (better known as TN) hit lifestyle accounts. For women, we’d recommend the Reebok Classic and Club C, both models are highly requested by our customers. PUMA and its main girl Rihanna will have no problems with selling the Creepers or other Fenty models.
Are there any upcoming sneaker labels that we should look out for?
James Trivunovic, size?: We've added a few new brands to our roster here at size?. People Footwear is a relatively new brand from Canada, and creates contemporary casual footwear that's a mix of modern, clean and lightweight but still has a real sneaker feel to it. Novesta is another brand we're excited to be dropping. Their footwear is ideal for summer, and looks good with anything from Levi's 501s to shorts. It's "anti-tech" product that's built on simplicity.
What new technologies, materials and fabrics can we expect to come in the next season?
James Trivunovic, size?: As mentioned earlier, Primeknit from adidas Originals and Nike's lightweight breathable mesh are the key material stories for Summer ’16. Throw in some woven suede from Nike and some EVA from Birkenstock, and the whole season is about lightweight materials.
Brendan Denault, Livestock: It seems as though the Olympic podium really sets the trend for kicks, as was the case four years ago, when we first saw Flyknit introduced just prior to the London Summer Olympics. I think we can expect something new and exciting with Brazil coming up this summer - most companies will be bringing out their best new innovations for the games.
Julian Kalitta, Overkill: The trend with Flyknit and Primeknit uppers will continue. When it comes to technologies, adidas's Boost will determine the immediate future of the brand and Nike’s "HyperAdapt 1.0" power-lacing products will hit the news soon.
It looks like the summer is going to be all about lightweight, breathable uppers and highly cushioned sole units - hardly surprising, seeing as they make perfect sense for the hotter months.
What's really interesting to see, though, is just how excited sneakerheads are getting about adidas these days. The NMD and Boost series have been undeniably huge over the past few months, and judging from the army of releases the Three Stripes has lined up, we won't be seeing the last of the two highly coveted silhouettes. And that's forgetting the jewel in adidas's crown - the YEEZY series. While details are scarce at the minute, there's no doubt that we can expect more from Kanye's hysteria-inducing footwear project in the coming months.
It's also been great to see many brands rediscovering clean, heritage classics from their archive. The Stan Smith was undoubtedly huge a few seasons back, and it's looking like similarly clean, low-profile options will be enjoying a similar resurgence - Reebok's Club C is looking particularly promising.
For more sneakerhead insights, check out our report on the most expensive sneakers of 2016 Q1.
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