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Our Futurist's Guide to Sneakers

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

The BDA team, made up of trend forecasters and commercial strategists, has identified their most-loved footwear innovations across the sneaker industry. From hyper-functionality to modular design, read below for their top picks.

1. NIKE, ISPA Link Sneakers

ISPA Link is a collection of glue-less modular trainers from Nike that can be easily disassembled. The sneakers come as part of the brand's move towards a circular design economy.

Modular design is a principle that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules, which can be independently created, modified, replaced or exchanged with other modules.

ISPA is Nike's design division, standing for Improvise Scavenge Protect Adapt. The team work to create sustainable solutions to design problems. The ISPA collection is designed to swagger and perform — then be taken apart and recycled.


High-performance shoes have now firmly made their way into an essential part of casualwear. The Salomon XT-6 is a big shoe for 2023 for the simple fact that it takes cues from outdoor influences and the casual space, therefore appealing to many different types of consumers. Salomon is an outdoor sports manufacturer best known for its high-quality trail running shoes and hiking boots.

Out-Leisure is a new term coined to describe the evolution of leisurewear in a blend of functional wear and casual silhouettes. The hunger for hyper-functionality is a phenomenon that contradicts fashion’s ephemeral nature as pieces that are built to be near-indestructible become more desirable.

3. ADIDAS Samba

The Adidas Samba has already been labelled iconic sneaker of 2023. Around since 1949, it first debuted as a classic, low-top football-style shoe.

The sneaker has become synonymous with the ever-popular phrase 'dad shoe', a term generally characterised as a chunky trainer with plenty of support. This once uncool silhouette has now transcended to become a popular across the fashion community. Part of its transition into the mainstream came alongside the trend Normcore, a unisex fashion trend characterised by unpretentious, average-looking clothing, encompassing basics from jeans, t-shirts, sweats, and sneakers. New Balance has long been synonymous with 'dad shoes', but it is the Samba that is expected to be the successor to last year's hyped New Balance 550.

4. Travis Scott Air Jordan 1 Low OG

The revolutionary collaboration between Travis Scott and Nike has pushed the boundaries of popular culture by creating unique designs that appeal to sneaker and fashion enthusiasts. Their work has become a statement in the streetwear industry, with each release causing a wave of hype, attracting massive amounts of attention and selling out almost instantly.

Rappers are becoming the new athletes in the sneaker world, and it’s clear that industry leaders, such as Nike, rely on these collaborations to maintain consumer excitement. So much so, Nike let Travis Scott flip their iconic brand tick, putting a spin on various silhouettes ranging from Air Force 1s to Air Jordan 6s.

6. Heron Preston x Zellerfeld HERON01

Heron Preston launched its first-ever fully 3D-printed sneaker, dubbed the HERON01 and produced in collaboration with the emerging technology company Zellerfeld.

This slip-on sneaker has no seams, stitching, glue or any other weak points that you would expect to find on a standard sneaker to eliminate wear and tear. This collaborative sneaker can be fully recycled by Zellerfeld and turned into a new product, creating a circular product economy loop.

5. Auralee x New Balance 1906

This sneaker partnership has birthed a trainer comprising the nostalgic New Balance silhouette and the Japanese craftsmanship of Auralee.

Auralee is known for delivering functional wardrobe staples produced entirely in Japan, sourcing premium materials from all over the world. The collaborative 1906 is a classic yet fresh style designed for everyday wear. It embodies a unique blend of contemporary design and traditional craftsmanship.

To stay ahead and learn more about key footwear trends, click the banner below to explore our Womenswear Subscription. If you're already a Trendhub subscriber, look out for our Women's Footwear AW24/25 product deep-dive, available now, as well as our ongoing series of catwalk and trade show reports, all designed to support and enrich your research and design process.


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