How to wear...the chunky trainer
January is sportswear’s time to shine, but this year we’re more interested in footwear for outside of the gym, writes Meadhbh McGrath
As January kicks us into gear, there's no escaping the activewear rush, when sequins and sparkle are replaced with sweat-wicking spandex. In the last few years, however, the humble trainer has become a fashion trophy, and it's one trend that won't be stopped.
The craze for 'ugly shoes' saw 2018 become the year of the It trainer, with the likes of Balenciaga's chunky-soled Triple S trainer and, on the high street, Fila's Disruptor style becoming viral hits.
While the 'dad trainer' has been the subject of much ridicule, the fashion crowd can't get enough of them, and they're now popping up on every bus and in every town centre across the country. But how can you pull off the look without crying out 'fashion victim'?
Everyone from Chanel to Jimmy Choo is trying to get a piece of the action, with increasingly silly results.
Instead, look to the classic sportswear brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma for styles that are suitably chunky yet lightweight and comfortable - no one needs to be weighed down by hefty clomping footwear.
If you are tempted by the Frankenshoes like Balenciaga's sell-out Triple S (which usually comes with a waiting list at Brown Thomas), take your inspiration from Tracee Ellis Ross rather than models like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
The Insta-set prefer to pair theirs with minidresses, sporty white socks and ripped denim, but we like the Blackish actress' take on the look.
Steer clear of any further 90s nostalgia and keep the rest of your outfit decidedly modern with crisp trousers and heritage checks. A structured blazer like & Other Stories' brown version will work well to offset the chunky lower half.
These trainers often look best when styled with their sartorial opposite, from blazers and chic outerwear to floral midi dresses and faux fur.
A touch of feminine elegance provides a flattering contrast that elevates the look from clumsy to considered. Stella McCartney manages to make her own design workwear-appropriate, smartening up a pair of spongy shoes with sharp slacks, a rollneck and a wool coat.
The cool-toned palette of blues and greys complements the rust-coloured trainers, injecting a sophisticated polish.
Her minimalist approach edges the look into the 21st century. Emulate her contemporary styling with streamlined accessories like COS' soft leather tote bag or H&M's stone earrings.
If you prefer a sporty look, keep it subtle with athletic-inspired flourishes like Zara's knit dress with shoulder cut-outs, or a pair of checked trousers with a bold side stripe: it leans into the athleisure trend while still looking refined.
When choosing a pair, the bright styles may be eye-catching, but to get more wear out of your trainers, try a muted shade with colour-pop details and flashes of metallics, like Adidas' Falcon in white and navy or Nike's M2k Tekno in grey and orange.
They can be teamed with suiting, denim or feminine skirts and dresses.
And yes, you can wear these with dresses. An oversized pair of trainers will add grit to the most flouncy dress, and they're a handy wardrobe tool to prolong the life of your party pieces - a chunky trainer will dress them down enough for low-key January nights out.