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Our stylist ranks his favourite trainers

Our stylist ranks his favourite trainers

We’ve got a new stylist on the books, and trainers are his thing – so much so that he likened ranking his favourite trainers to “picking a favourite child.” Introducing Brian Collins, previously at footwear retailer size?, who’s childhood love of Micheal Jordan and hip-hop has led to a lifelong obsession with trainers. 

And after 20 years of collecting, (which yes, does mean there’s a room in his house dedicated solely to trainers), we thought who better than Brian to break down his 8 favourite trainers, from the best high-top to the best affordable choice. Let’s go. 

The Dad trainer – New Balance 920

Defined by chunky soles and ugly uppers, the Dad trainer has been a mighty force in the trainer world forever. But the OG? “Gotta be the New Balance,” Brian says, “I’m all for the new contenders, but the quality and timeless aesthetic of New Balance is unmatched.” The 920 style is Brian’s top choice – they’re super comfy (see: like walking on a cloud) and the grey colourway goes with everything. 

The high-top trainer - Nike Dunk High 85

Originally aimed at college basketball players, this shoe is an icon that has led the way to some of the greatest and most influential collaborations – of course, we’re talking about the Nike Dunk High, around since 1985. This collaboration with Japanese brand Undercover is top of Brian’s wish list right now, “the mix of the tumbled and smooth leather panelling really highlights the upper construction, while the bold graphic print gives it the classic Undercover signature – they’re just so cool.” 

The affordable choice - Converse Chuck 70

“Tough category this one, close calls were the Puma Suede, Stepney Workers Club Dello, also the Reebok Club C, but I’ve landed on the Converse Chuck 70,” Brian says. Recycled canvas is always a winner in our books, but this light blue, white sole colour combination is really making our hearts sing. See these as your classic, versatile trainer that bridges all aesthetics. 

The minimal trainer - Veja Urca

Minimal trainers are a certified wardrobe staple, mostly because they’re easily paired with any sort of look for any sort of occasion – you know, because they’re minimal. Brian says, “when choosing this one, I opted for a shoe that not only looked great but had a story.” Cue Veja. Veja have always stuck to their standards of building a quality product that is sustainable and ethically sourced. The Veja Urca, Brian’s personal favourite is built with  CWL (plant-based) leather, so perfect for those in search of vegan shoes. 

The retro trainer - Adidas EQT CSG 91

The Adidas EQT 91 is a prime example of just how good Adidas are at bringing back their classic styles. Designed over 30 years ago, the EQT 91 is still just as much of a favourite statement shoe today. “Just look at the grey, green, and white colourway, and the mix of material and aggressive mid-sole. They’re epic. The ‘90s were amazing,” Brian says. 

The technical trainer - Adidas Ultra 4D

The future is officially here – at least 3D-printed trainers seem to say so. The Adidas Ultra VD combines the iconic silhouette of the Ultraboost, layered on a 3D-printed 4D midsole – yep, our minds are blown too. But aside from all the technical stuff, the crisp white colourway and breathable knit upper also makes this shoe perfect for those long summer days.  

The all-rounder – Max 95

A shoe that spoke to everyone, the Air Max 95, which you might know as its nickname, the 110, is a real crowd pleaser. Originally designed with cues from the human body with a lacing design system inspired by a set of ribs, spine-inspired outsole, and a mesh and suede upper representing muscle fibres. The panelled canvas option is the perfect colourway to go with everything from jeans to joggers and neutrals, making it the perfect all-rounder. 

The statement trainer - New Balance x Casablanca XC72

Photographed: New Balance x Casablanca XC72 (£130)

Dubbed the sports car for your feet, the New Balance x Casablanca XC72 is a statement shoe that is unashamedly bold. The rugged-soled silhouette is composed of tonal contrasting panels, using yellow and red creating the ultimate summer trainer. In Brian’s words, “it looks fast and will definitely turn some heads.” When styling, the trick is to be confident. Wear them with whatever you like, jeans, chinos, shorts all work. Brian says, “just be careful with clashing colours and bold patterns, else you may end up looking like Timmy Mallett.”

 


Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Photography: Matt Joy
Styling: Brian Collins