Once linked to the world of sport, the sneaker has established itself in street fashion. Gradually, it nibbled away at market share to become today a spearhead of the luxury footwear industry. And for good reason, the high-end sneaker suits all styles. Details of this ascent.
The sneaker, the story of an unlikely success
Even if it took a long time to dethrone the classic moccasins, the sneaker is nevertheless a young centenarian. Its first commercialization dates from 1916. At that time, the sports shoe was much less stylish. However, it already bears its trademark: rubber soles. It hardly takes more than a year for famous brands to take hold of the phenomenon. Basketball begins its career in sports clubs. But, she quickly invests the streets. The United States sets the tone. In 1950, Americans combined sneakers with all their outfits. They thus launched a new trend which, today, is a real fashion.
A trend that continues
In the second half of the 20th century, trainers and sneakers became fashionable across the Atlantic. Nike, Adidas, Converse, Puma are snapping up market share. Young people are seduced by this trend. They appropriated the style and cool attitude of their favorite athletes.
It was in 1980 that everything changed. Nike offers its first collaboration with a sports icon: Mickaël Jordan. Together, they create and market the famous Air Jordan. Success is on the way. It has never been turned off since.
Today, more than ever, sneakers are in. It is even a real phenomenon. The most addicted line up for hours to acquire the new models first. Collector sneakers sell for gold. The enthusiasm they cause can easily be compared to the queues in front of Apple stores when each new iPhone model is released.
The meeting between the sport and luxury
The high-end sneaker is also the improbable encounter between sportswear and luxury. Two trends, two audiences, two cultures that everything opposes. And yet, it works. These two markets have never been so linked and so competitive. But given the sneaker craze, there should be room for everyone.
With its encounter with the world of luxury, the sneaker market has changed significantly. The first obvious change is that of prices. Major luxury players such as Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga are betting on high-end sneakers to boost their sales. Traditional brands in the sector such as Nike, Adidas or Puma are responding with increasingly daring (and expensive) models.
In this booming market, prices are spiraling. High-end models start at around 350 euros. They can easily reach 2500 euros for current models. Some rarer or more “prestigious” models flirt with 10,000 euros.
A growing market
Currently, the sneaker is one of the engines of the luxury shoe industry. It is also the category that shows the fastest growth.
And for good reason! The sneaker is part of the trend that combines streetwear with luxury. Two universes, a priori opposed, which bring together the aspirations of the population: elegance and comfort. Luxury fashion then allows itself the alliance, formerly decried, of the suit with sneakers.
In addition, luxury brands are just listening to new customers. Millennials now represent more than 30% of the luxury market. They grew up with this casual style and want to keep this comfort. Brands are renewing themselves and offering more and more items related to these desires: first and foremost, sneakers.
Neat and casual looks
With this marriage of (more classic) luxury and streetwear, sneakers now go with everything. And this, to the delight of young and old alike.
The Air Jordan 4 woman, for example, goes just as much with a casual outfit as with a classic outfit.
For a casual outfit, the Air Jordan 4 is worn with jogging. If this combination seems too obvious (or too casual), the sneaker also works wonders with high-waisted straight jeans and a crop top. Want a more neutral association? Try the oversized white t-shirt with mom jeans.
For a classic and comfortable outfit, follow the example of Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, followers of the brand. Your sneakers will go perfectly with neutral-colored dress pants, a white shirt and a dressy coat. Remember to match the color of your sneakers to that of your coat for a perfect look.
Trendy pairs without breaking the bank
With its entry into the world of luxury, the sneaker is becoming more and more expensive. Should you lower your level of requirement? Should you turn to lambda brands? Certainly not!
More than ever, with the increase in offers, sneakers are accessible to as many people as possible. The brands compete in ingenuity to allow you to acquire the most popular pairs. You can get some really nice sneaker sets at a pretty decent price thanks to fashion hot deals. Prestigious models with significant discounts.
Pervasive in pop culture
If the marriage of streetwear with luxury explains part of the success of sneakers, they also owe their new notoriety to their alliance with pop culture.
Over the years, the major brands have been able to forge relationships with big names in sport and entertainment:
- Mickaël Jordan with his Air Jordan collection and his appearance in Space Jam;
- Nintendo with the Air Force 1 which resumes the visual identity of the PS1;
- Farrah Fawcett, who proudly wears Nike in Charlie's Angels;
- Run-DMC, who releases the Adidas Superstar.
The most recent highlight is undoubtedly the release of the popular Sneakers addicts series.
Over the years, sneakers have become more and more established as the new shoes of luxury. If their prices have soared, they remain the darlings of all generations. Today, these comfortable shoes seem to be becoming the new standard and have the luxury of being accessible to everyone.