Even if you haven’t been watching the runway shows this year, you can’t go anywhere without seeing men and women wearing what can only be described as ‘dad sneakers:’ clunky, unsightly and probably very comfortable. The footwear of choice for unassuming middle-aged men with two kids and a mortgage has become the unlikely star of men’s fashion this winter. Well, Paris was burning this week as designers once again sent newly interpreted sneakers down the runway for Fall Winter 2019 Men’s Fashion Week.

Balenciaga and Raf Simons was one of the pioneers that lead the charge when it came to this unwieldy footwear trend. Simons’ Ozweego Bunny sneakers, made in collaboration with Adidas, have developed a cult status among fashionistas across the globe due to their extreme ‘dad’ stylings. One of the most interesting parts of this trend is its reliance on comfort and functionality. Many of the designs seem to take influence from practical footwear designed for hiking or even gait correction. With Vibram Rollingait soles and all-important ankle support a common feature among some of this season’s hottest sneakers, it feels a far cry from the sleeker ‘fashion sneaker’ designs of the early 00s.

• Y-3: Star athletes, including sprinter Noah Lyles and track-and-field runner Tori Bowie, walked the runway alongside the regular models at Yohji Yamamoto’s Adidas Y-3 show. Footwear included modern versions of styles from past collaborations between Adidas and the designer.

• Balmain: Black and white at Balmain was the star of the show. The hero shoe in Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain collection appeared to be a white sneaker with a black strip bearing the new Balmain logo. Some of the shoes were also emblazoned with the message, “Things Have to Change.”

• Off_White: Given how much hype that comes with every Off_White x Nike collaboration, Virgil Abloh’s footwear feels inextricably linked to the sports giant. So, when the designer presented his show this week, it was to everyone’s surprise that there were no Nikes in sight.

• Louis Vuitton: However, Virgil Abloh’s second collection as creative director didn’t let us down. Described as an infusion of retro-vintage inspiration, with the designer channeling his inner Michael Jackson for the uniquely designed runway show. There were fiber optic-infused monochrome bags and light-show-bearing sneakers that stole the show.

• Vetements: At Vetements, Demna Gvasalia delivered a Darknet-inspired presentation at Paris Fashion Week that included new accessories and footwear from Reebok. While the tone of the show was tinged with dystopian projections from the post-internet present, Reebok’s offering took a more nostalgic outlook. The footwear collection paid homage to Reebok’s heritage PREMIER RUNNING premise, a hyper-focused and award-winning performance running line that reigned from 2003-2011.The resulting silhouette taking obvious aesthetic cues from the bygone days of Reebok, albeit with a striking update.

• Pierre Hardy: Pierre Hardy’s new hero sneaker for fall ‘19 is called the PHMC. The MC stands for master of ceremonies and the shoe is inspired by ’80s hip-hop culture.

• Sacai: Sacai debuted its latest collaboration with Nike during its runway show. Embedding the Japanese fashion house’s signature collaging and layering into the design, the collaborative high-top Blazer Mid incorporates overlapping, lateral Swoosh motifs as well as two sets of laces fastened onto the lacing system.

• Rick Owens: Rick Owens has joined forces with sustainable Parisian sneaker label Veja and premiered a new co-designed 100% vegan runner on his fall ’19 runway during Paris Fashion Week Men’s. While we may not have seen it coming, it makes perfect sense. Owens, is, after all, known for his environmentally conscious approach to fashion.

The sneaker and streetwear trend are definitely here and isn’t planning on going away anytime soon. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the other collaborations that continues to be strong as well – Birkenstock. Don’t miss Valentino X Birkenstock and Rick Owens X Birkenstock.

What does this mean for interior design? Look for soft cozy textiles, less structure and 1980’s inspirations (hence all the brass).

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design