Surely you’ve noticed that outfits with pants are no longer a piece to be used exclusively for going to the gym. And the same goes for looks with sneakers and other sportswear, which are gaining more and more prominence in street style and the closets of celebrities and girls. Not even the extreme heat of Florida is an exception; you can hardly take a step without running into several sneaker stores in Miami.
Once the symbol of athletics, sneakers (also known as trainers) have transcended their primary function to become objects of commercial and fashion desire. From sportswear and street style to runway fashion, sneakers have made their mark as cultural commodities.
And the athleisure trend is here to stay. It emerged in 2019 and gained momentum in 2020, as athleisure outfits became the best option to be at home comfortably, without losing style, during the confinement caused by covid-19.
The term is derived from two other words: “athletic” and “leisure.” It is a trend that consists of combining sporty pieces with more sophisticated ones, intending to elevate outfits considered “sporty” and wear them on the streets.
This has given rise to the so-called sneakerheads. This English term, which can be translated as ‘sneakerhead,’ defines those people obsessed with collecting this type of footwear, always looking for the most exclusive models. Wearing a pair at the workplace or on more formal occasions is no longer frowned upon.
It is a rather expensive hobby, which focuses on sporty creations, mainly for basketball and skateboarding, and on famous brands, many of which are a permanent presence in the windows of the sneaker stores in Miami.
The origins of this phenomenon are not entirely known for sure; while some claim to find the first signs of it in the ’50s with the rebels who wore their hair slicked back, blue jeans, white t-shirt, and black leather jacket, others believe it dates back to the ’70s, when the sexiest sport was tennis, making people start wearing them.
In that decade, an obsession with running arose, and that later evolved until it became a prevalent form of exercise around the world.
The truth is that the influence of international sports stars was decisive. In the 1980s, basketball gained momentum, and athletes such as Michael Jordan emerged and actively promoted running shoes.
In the 1980s, sneakers made the definitive leap from the sports field to the music world, thanks to the hip hop group Run DMC who released their song “My Adidas.” This marked the beginning of the modern sneaker era.
The continued dominance of the athleisure trend has had a significant impact on the growing sales of sneakers, along with the quest for comfort. This trend grew further during the pandemic, as quarantine and site closures caused people to prioritize comfort even more, resulting in increased sales of loungewear, athletic shoes, and flats, as well as sneakers.
Brands knew they could not miss this opportunity and collaborated with haute couture designers who gave a different approach to lifestyle. Also, they improved and created categories of the best-known brands that are only available in certain countries in terms of materials. Thus, brands are learning how to make pairs with attractive designs, generating extra life to the scene.