Premium POV

Premium Style by the Foot

From wild new materials to crazy cool colors, today’s premium athletic footwear is definitely not your old Air Jordans. 

Something’s been afoot now for some time in the shoe business.

Athletic footwear has undergone seismic changes.  Long gone are the days of choosing between Nike Air Jordans and not much else. Now, retailers and websites are spilling over with shoeboxes full of premium performance and styling from a myriad of brands. And most with the premium prices to match.

Now don’t get me wrong – the latest Nike Air Jordans are still highly prized and sought after. It’s that now they have competition from a myriad of other brands, some of which have recently walked back from near style obscurity.  K-Swiss and Brooks are two that come to mind.  Once bastions of basic function over fashion, even these brands have clambered aboard the crazy color and design train.

Visit any athletic shoe store or website. Your retinas will be scorched from the dizzying rainbow of eye-popping colors and graphics to choose from. Whether you’re into running, basketball, cross-training or just walking around looking hip and trendy, you will find it hard to choose from the ever-changing collections of Adidas, New Balance, Puma, Nike and other available brands.

I’ve personally embraced this fashion-forward avalanche of colorful foot power. As a kid (I’ll betray my age here) I had to make do with shiny white PF Flyers (Run Faster, Jump Higher PF Flyers!). Today, my closet is chockablock with a rainbow-worthy variety of colorful athletic footwear options. Premium brands, all resplendent in blues and greys and blacks and reds. It’s enough to make an old creative duffer like myself feel almost hip.  (I said almost…)

This dizzying array of brands, colors and designs is proving to be very popular: according to national industry statistics, men’s athletic footwear comprises 20% of all shoe sales. And with yearly sales of shoes in America now reaching thirty billion dollars, that’s a lot of green behind all these colorful shoes. And there are no signs of the premium athletic category slowing down anytime soon.

Case in point: the trends for 2017 athletic shoes.  Even more bling, glitz and glamor are entering the game, even as I type.  According to Trendhunter, sci-fi athletic styles inspired by Star Wars are a must have.  The same for military-inspired desert camo designs. There are new gilded finishes with puffy lettering.  Platform styles in wild pastels.  Laceless, lightweight designs.  Even crystal-covered black and gold Nikes commemorating Michael Air Jordan’s birthday. Holy Hang Time!

So get ready for even more sizzle and pop in the premium athletic category. Actually, I predict “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” In the meantime, if you haven’t already, consider adding a little color to your step with a pair of these fun fashion kicks. And if you’re simply too dressy or conservative to make such a move, not to worry – they’ve got you covered too: Adidas now offers athletic style penny loafers. And Cole Haan has stretchable, breathable knit wingtips. Shoe-pendous!

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