From retro style high-tops to high-end collaborations and limited editions, the luxury sneaker remains the king of street culture. The convergence of streetwear and luxury fashion labels has veered the posh sneaker to prime pavement real estate and now it's all eyes on the next new shape.
Sneaker Freaker magazine founder Simon 'Woody' Wood says it'll be a return to late '90s chunk.
"When anything new comes along it'll be a bit shocking at first and not for everyone, but we're seeing a move away from the stretchy sock sneaker to more substance in its shape with a dynamic upper," says Wood.
"There's an appetite to move away from the minimalist style to take on something more maximalist in a sport shoe," he adds.
"The new high top will draw on a lot of different influences, but that '90s shoe design is where everybody is heading at the moment."
Top shelf collaborators
At menswear mecca Harrolds, Comme des Garçons x Nike Air Vapormax and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus and the Nike Air Force One have hit the shelves and it's a sign of things to come for the luxury department store.
"We are finding that low tops are the general trend at the moment," says Harrolds Head Buyer Rob Ferris.
"There's also more styles incorporating a knit fabric into their sneakers like Balenciaga's Speed runner," he adds of its popularity in store.
Other collaborations wooing the sneaker market include Raf Simons x Adidas, Comme des Garçons PLAY x Converse, Vetements x Reebok.
Other luxury brands chiming in on the sneaker space is ever growing – from Moncler and Christian Louboutin to Fendi and Louis Vuitton – all are delivering classic low sneakers and some built with high top power in shades of brown, navy, creams and colour blocking intensity.
It really is a case of something for everyone depending on your level of fashion participation – there are robust high tops for bold statements and minimalist elegance from brands like Zegna.
The collector's take
Adidas might have ruled the sneaker and high fashion collaboration space in recent years, but Wood says there's a changing of the guards taking place with Nike upping the ante.
"Adidas has long enjoyed being at the top of its game and Nike has had to rethink things," says Wood.
"I expect in the next six months there'll be some big changes taking place here," he predicts.
Chef Dan Hong might be known for his culinary excellence (Sydney's Mr Wong) but he's also passionate about sneakers, with roughly 150 pairs under his belt.
The comeback kick
It started with a $4000 limited edition (only 48 made worldwide) pair of rare Nike Flyknits in 2013, and has been collecting sneakers ever since.
"I got into sneakers because of Nike. I wasn't so interested in having high end brands, but I find it fascinating that these collaborations are happening and they've become a cool thing to own," says Dan Hong.
For Hong, it's all hail Nike in the new season.
"I personally reckon the Adidas/Yeezy sneaker is dying," says Hong.
"They're doing other great strong collaborations with Raf Simons and Rick Owens, but for me I feel Nike is making the bigger comeback and the hyped Nike X Off White collab is one I'm watching," he says.
You'll find Vincent Wu, director of online retailer Incu, wearing Common Projects Original Achilles in white for practicality.
"They look clean and sharp and I wear sneakers everywhere," says Vincent Wu.
Incu stocks some of the best luxury brands around the globe, with Common Projects being one of his best sellers. Wu says brands to watch this coming season are French label A.P.C and Italian brand Diemme, the later delivering a cross between a sneaker and a mountaineering boot.
"There's definitely a trend away from the clean court shoe to more of a '90's sneaker trainer style," says Wu.
"There's quite a few luxury brands that are influenced by the Nike Air Max 97 which I think will push the fashion side of sneakers."
Check out the gallery above to see some of the best retro-inspired sneakers to buy now.