No one can deny the Adidas Samba’s enduring reign over street style, or the equally ubiquitous presence of the Onitsuka Mexico 66. For the past two years, sneaker trends have manifested in the form of singular models that it feels like everyone wears, from the upper echelons of celebrity wardrobing to everyday outfits worn inside and outside the fashion industry. (I’ve seen counted at least three people wearing Sambas on my block every day since 2022.) The anointing of a new ‘It’ sneaker is a big event in fashion—and we eagerly tune in each season. But after so many years of one pair ruling us all, now’s the moment to make space for personal style.
We’re predicting 2024’s biggest sneaker trends will leave room for interpretation—and personal style. It’s not about having the exact model everyone else has, so much as translating bigger-picture themes into sneaker form. Runway metallics are distilled into shiny accents and futuristic colorways. The upcoming 2024 Olympics, to be held in Paris, are influencing brands’ embrace of pumped-up, track-appropriate running shoes. 2023’s girlhood moment is morphing into footwear embellished with bows, ruffles, and more bows.
Ahead, get acquainted with five 2024 sneaker trends defining the year ahead in footwear. And who knows? One of the styles above may just break out and become the next ‘It’ pair.
2024 Sneaker Trend: Girlhood 2.0
We aren’t leaving bows behind in 2024. In fact, we’re wearing them from our hair clips and headbands to our sneakers. Some of the buzziest collaborations of the last few months by ShuShu/Tong and Cecilie Bahnsen have used chunky, athletic sneakers as a canvas for their most whimsical designs, in the form of gingham ruffles for the former and tiny beaded floral embellishments for the latter. Then, designers like Simone Rocha have doubled down on their most romantic signatures, with ballet slipper-inspired shapes and crisscrossing ribbons. The takeaway? Embracing your inner child doesn’t have to end with a trend cycle.
2024 Sneaker Trend: Pumped Up
For some corners of the sneaker world, 2024 is about putting your biggest foot forward with an extra-chunky sneaker. Thank Balenciaga. “Bulky sneakers, best attributed to Demna Gvasalia’s pioneering efforts, will continue to be popular,” Diego Abba, CEO of luxury online retailer Italist, said. “In fact, Balenciaga is doubling down on the trend, offering even bigger, bulkier styles each season, including for Spring-Summer 2024 with the 3XL model.”
2024 Sneaker Trend: Track Star Styles
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate the most track-appropriate sneakers arriving in 2024. With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, athletic sneakers with a slightly Y2k bent are worth a second look. These pairs have the shock absorption, support, and durability to last miles and miles—and their pumped-up designs give casual outfits some sporty spice energy. When you’re not logging miles in training, you can channel Scandinavian style and wear them with a flouncy dress and coat (weather permitting); or, you can go the off-duty Olympian route with a matching workout set.
2024 Sneaker Trend: Retro Runners
One of last year’s biggest collaborations has had a lasting impact on the sneaker market. “Thinner-soled, more retro style sneakers are experiencing a renaissance thanks to the Adidas Samba x Wales Bonner collab,” Abba says. These pairs have all the support and comfort of a chunkier sneaker, plus a delightfully nostalgic aura. Naturally, designers have leaned into the look: “Similar styles appeared on the summer runways of Dries Van Noten, Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo, and MM6,” Abba adds. Then there’s the Miu Miu runway, where several back-to-back seasons have included low runners designed with New Balance. Versions to shop now range from The Row and Loewe’s neutral-toned pairs to Bally’s vibrant, bubblegum pink take.
2024 Sneaker Trend: Pedal to the Metals
Maybe it’s a precursor to the next chapter of Beyoncé’s Renaissance era, or maybe it’s another nod to the major sporting event awaiting us this summer. Footwear brands are going for silver with sneakers heavy on the metallic accents. A rare pair of the aforementioned Wales Bonner Adidas aren’t the only way to interpret the look (though they do come with bragging rights). Gucci, Golden Goose, and Chloé each have pairs coated in leather that glistens in the light—for shoes that feel like a prize to wear.
Halie LeSavage is the fashion commerce editor at Harper’s BAZAAR. Her style reporting covers everything from reviewing the best designer products to profiling emerging brands and designers. Previously, she was the founding retail writer at Morning Brew and a fashion associate at Glamour.