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Our stylists' favourite statement trainers

Our stylists' favourite statement trainers

If statement dressing is your thing, you’ve come to the right place. And if it’s something you’re interested in but haven’t quite taken the plunge on yet, you’re also in the right place. Because the beauty of statement trainers is that they can be a part of a bold head-to-toe look or the focal point of an otherwise pared-down outfit. From chunky silhouettes to bold prints, the maximalist trainers options are endless and with the trend growing stronger, there’s a stand-out sneaker on the market for just about anyone, no matter where you fall on the statement-making spectrum. 

We spoke to stylist Toby Standing about the brands he recommends turning to for boldest trainers around, and how to ease into the look if attention grabbing is something you’d rather side step.

1. Converse

Photographed: Converse Chuck 70 Hi Top ($94)

“If you’re just dipping your toe into the statement trainer arena, Converse offers the perfect entry point,” Toby says. Known for their classic black Chuck Taylor style with the iconic rubber sole and toe, they now come in such a wide range of colours, patterns, and shapes that you could find a pair to fit pretty much any outfit.  

“The progression of Converse from a basketball shoe to something that you can buy in a patchwork bandana print says all you need to know,” Toby says. Converse knows exactly how to stake their claim in the market, and it’s paid off as you’ll find them in just about anybody’s wardrobe, from teenage skaters to stylish grandads.  

If you’re new to bold clothing, a bright colour will draw attention without standing out too much from the rest of your outfit. Or if you’re here for the statement sneaker trend but want to stick to a tried-and-true brand and shape, go for one of their bolder textures or prints.

2. Karhu

Photographed: Karhu Fusion 2.0 ($175)

Karhu trainers rose to fame in the early 1980s, but don't feel left out if you've not heard of them. The Finnish brand is one of the footwear scene's best kept secrets, and they still take inspiration from vintage shapes and styles in their modern collections.

For those who like a chunky shape that's not too overwhelming and is still easy to balance with other casual pieces, the Aria and Fusion 2.0 styles are one of the easiest statement trainers to pull off. They come in interesting colourways as well as neutrals, depending on how attention-grabbing you want to go – and as an added bonus, they're designed for performance so you could even wear them to the gym.

3. New Balance

Photographed: New Balance MR530SF ($79)

If you’re ready to take on something bolder than the trusty Converse, it’s time to play with shapes. “New Balance is known for the classic ‘dad’ runners which inspired the famous ‘Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio’ tagline. And that just about sums them up,” Toby says.

Make them yours with bolder or more subtle colourways – either way, they pack a punch. Even the neutral greys and whites stand out thanks to their chunky silhouette. “If you want to go for a more mainstream take on the New Balance trend, stick with the MS327CLA. But if you’re one to push a look to the max, the MR530SF is the style for you,” Toby says.

4. Nike

Photographed: Nike Space Hippie 04 ($149)

You probably already own a pair of Nikes, but as far as sports brands go, they’re the OG in making a statement. “With Nike you can go from wild, experimental shapes like the Space Hippie, which literally looks like it was meant to be worn on the moon, to stripped back styles in statement colours,” Toby says.

They’ve been making a statement since before bold trainers were even a thing. Need proof? Just look to  like the Nike Shock style that’s made a massive comeback in recent years. “Designer Tinker Hatfield – the man responsible for Nike’s iconic Jordans – is always trailblazing when it comes to sneaker design, so if you’re looking for something unique yet unmistakable that you know is going to last, a pair of Nikes will go the distance,” Toby says.

5. Balenciaga

Balenciaga could be credited with kicking off the maximalist trainer trend. Their take on colour, size, and silhouette in footwear is nothing short of groundbreaking, albeit an acquired taste. “Denma Gvasalia’s approach with Balenciaga design has been to dial the normcore trend to 11,” Toby says. “If Frankenstein was a fashion follower, this is what he would wear.” From coats to trousers to shoes, the brand is all about huge, outlandish silhouettes, but nobody could have predicted the cultural impact of the Triple S trainer.  

“They’re the meme shoe of the decade,” Toby says. “They’re unrivaled when it comes to making waves in the footwear scene.” The style has gone from Instagram influencer favourite to everyday must-have, and whether you love them or hate them, their success is undeniable. From Adidas to ASOS, just about every high street brand you can think of has scrambled to follow the trend and create their own take on the unanticipated essential trainer of the 2010s.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing