I Know Trainers, and These Trends Are Coming In Strong for 2021

Call me nerdy, but I love a good graph. If you’re similarly inclined, then allow me to direct you to this Google Trends graph that demonstrates just how popular trainers suddenly became back in March 2020. I probably don’t need to refresh your memory, but this was the month when the UK went into lockdown and all we could do for weeks on end was leave the house once a day for a bit of exercise. Most took up walking, and some did the couch to 5k, but plenty needed new trainers, with sales booming over that period.

Of course, to anyone who loves fashion, sneakers have been a cornerstone of our wardrobes for some time and not just something to wear with leggings and a sports bra. The Phoebe Philo effect means that white sneakers remain a staple for most of us, as they work so well with quite literally everything in our wardrobes. Then, there are the Converses and the Vans of the world—classics that don’t date and are always useful. But what about sneakers outside of the above? What are the new trends for 2021 that we’re going to see? In addition to the trainers being worn by influencers right now (they’re always a step ahead) and those on the runways, Net-a-Porter gave me some intel on the styles that it predicts will be super popular, too. Keep scrolling for all the trainer trends you need to know about next year. 



(Image credit: Getty Images)

Balenciaga’s Triple S and Louis Vuitton’s Archlight styles spring to mind when I think about the most recent and most popular designer trainers. For 2021, however, I can see more fashion houses branching out into the trainer game. Just last month, Nike launched its latest collab with Comme des Garçons, and Prada has teamed up with Adidas, not to mention New Balance’s sell-out crossover with Staud. Then, there are the new high-tops from Dior, a pair of classic-looking sneakers from Loewe, and Chanel’s expanded range of pastel-hued sneakers. So long as it has the logo of your favourite designer, you’ve mastered the trend. Your It bag just became your It shoes. 



(Image credit: @aude_julie)

According to Net-a-Porter, one of the most popular styles coming up is a basketball-inspired silhouette, such as the Nike Dunk. One of the coolest women on Instagram who loves sneakers is Aude-Julie Alingué. She’s often wearing high-top sneakers, so I’ll be taking my styling cues from her. The good news is there are plenty of styles around that are high-top, so you won’t need to look very far. 



(Image credit: @_jeanettemadsen_)

While this shoe is much more technical than your average sneaker, running trainers can’t be missed off this list when it’s easily one of the most popular categories right now and most likely in the future. Google Trends tells me that most people were searching for Nike’s React Sneakers (£140). If you want to invest in a pair of sneakers that is both stylish and functional for running, there are plenty to buy. 



(Image credit: @nnennaechem)

Sustainability had a big year in 2020, and I can’t see that slowing down this year. Already, we know that Veja makes an incredibly popular style. (Even when we walk around London on our walks, we see plenty wearing the brand.) But we've spotted many an influencer in the sneaker on Instagram, too. The good news is that there are loads of other brands getting in on the sustainability action, with the likes of Allbirds and Good News.

Retro Styles


(Image credit: @greceghanem)

If there’s one trend that I personally love, it’s the retro styles. According to Net-a-Porter, this is one of the bigger trends coming up next year. Think, trainers inspired by the ‘00s, such as New Balance’s 990 or Balenciaga’s Track or ‘70s- and ‘80s-inspired styles like Nike’s Daybreak. 

Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2021 fashion trends to know. 

This piece was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Elinor Block