Fancy feet: hiking boot and sneaker trends for 2016



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Sneakers and hiking boots are still on-trend, and athletic brands are rising to the occasion by creating functional shoes that any fit fashionista will love. Perhaps you’re not thinking about a new pair of sneakers or hiking boots. After all, it’s cold out, and you may not be exercising outdoors very often for the next few months. However, when the temps are frigid and all you desperately need some motivation to get moving, your new gear can inspire you to move your body to prep for exciting outdoor fitness adventures ahead.


Happy trails

If you’d like to start hiking but are intimidated by the thought of heavy, cumbersome boots or just need something more suited to day hiking, some brands are creating footwear for 2016 that may be easier on your feet and are far more attractive than current options. According to Backpacker, a spike in interest surrounding hiking has resulted in brands creating shoes that are lighter and more breathable but still supportive. Some low-cut shoes highlighted by Backpacker are sartorial sisters to sneakers, allowing novice hikers and fashionistas alike to dip their toes into the trend. Salewa’s Lite Train in particular is a lightweight, hyper colorful training shoe for budding hikers with an innovative sole created in partnership with Michelin. This video from Mountain Blog offers a better look at the Lite Train’s sole and additional features.

In fact, hitting the trails seems to be a big trend for 2016. According to Running, sneakers built specifically for trail running are seeing a surge in popularity, which is so exciting for those who enjoy a good run on paths that can be festooned with branches, leaves and rocks (oh my!). For instance, Mizuno’s Wave Hayate 2 shoes, available for men and women, are lightweight and have features like a Concave Wave to protect feet from rocks and a sole with X-grooves that can handle different terrains. They also feature an au courant graphic print that’s bold without being obnoxious. The women’s version, with bright tones reminiscent of the softer Pantone 2016 Colors of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity, is particularly on-trend.

Interestingly, while athletic footwear designers are skewing brighter and more graphic with their designs, the fashion world has, for the most part, actually co-opted the classic hiking boot shape and neutral color palette for a slyly subversive style statement. The new look is a far cry from fashion’s last love affair with hiking, the Manolo Blahnik high-heeled hiking boot of the early aughts. (Yes, I had a pair of ridiculous mock-Manolos. I regret nothing.) For example, Nicholas Ghesquiére, creative director at Louis Vuitton, showed brown hiking boots with just a hint of the iconic Vuitton print at the toe in the house’s 2016 Resort collection.


High (top) fashion


It's not surprising that, along with fashion’s love affair with hiking boots, high tops are also seeing a runway resurgence, undoubtedly influenced by street style. High tops are a bit of a controversial shoe choice, with strength and conditioning coach Jeanne Goodes for Breaking Muscle warning against allowing children to wear high tops regularly for fashion’s sake, as they do not promote natural ankle strength, which can in turn cause a host of issues. “Because high-top shoes are now used as a fashionable alternative to regular shoes and sneakers, high-tops have stopped performing their primary function of protecting an athlete’s ankles and have now become an aesthetic choice,” Goodes wrote. “Unfortunately, this fashion statement comes at a price knee pain, restricted mobility in the ankle, weakened ankles, tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the surrounding area, decreased range of motion, and an increased chance of injury to the ankle.”

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, or AAPSM, says that when it comes to playing basketball, “The use of a high top basketball shoe is still one of the best means for protecting the ankle from inversion sprains.” The AAPSM concludes that ultimately, the choice of what shoe to wear when playing basketball will vary depending on what works for you and what is available. If you are heading to the court, take a cue from the fashion brigade and go with a classic white high top shoe with interesting details, like adding thick black or red laces, as Rag & Bone did for the Spring 2016 runway show. If you are wary of the all-white shoe and the upkeep it takes to make them sparkle, you could try a style like the Adidas D Rose 773, a lightweight, breathable option that has a white top with black trim for a sleek, fashion-forward look.

Exciting technology and fashionable designs are sure to make your 2016 shoe game better than ever!