"Sneakers" or "Trainers"
What do you call them?
Hi. My name is Marv, I am the Founder of LANX. In this blog post I try my best to explain why I created sneakers and not trainers.
For some this is an easy question to answer. For others this question causes some dilemma. My decision is based on when, where and how I grew up. I shall try and explain…
Firstly I get that if you’re from America you call anything and everything “sneakers”, I shall therefore not try to convert you. However, I was born in Lancashire, England, in 1985 and I don’t think I ever used the word “sneakers” until I was in my early 30s (I’m 35 now). So it’s safe to say I didn’t grow up calling some of the shoes on my feet sneakers, so it may seem strange to many that I’ve decided to adopt this word when describing some of the styles of footwear we have created here at LANX.
The reason I have decided to do this blog post is because of the flak LANX/ I have received on social media. To some (mostly British folk) it seems we’ve broken some forbidden rule and offended them, their mother, the Queen and her pack of Corgis. If you’re in that offended camp, I are sorry, I understand your pain (to a degree) but I’d like to try and explain my most heinous of crimes.
Ok so here goes... The story starts with me just about squeezing in to my school PE kit and running around trying to keep up with all the fast kids. Back in the 90s I wore “pumps”, or I sometimes called them “training shoes”. I think my mother called them “plimsolls”, but that was before my time and I haven’t heard anyone say “plimsolls” since my school sports day in 1993. My pumps tended to be Slazenger or Dunlop (image below), pristine white with flashes of green. I’d wear them for pretty much all sporting classes and occasions. Pumps were basic, no frills, weren’t particularly easy on the eye and got the job done. Some of the cooler kids had Adidas and Nike, I was very jealous.
As I moved in to my teens I started to wear a new type of shoe for PE class, I referred to them as “trainers”. Trainers were sportier and much nicer to look at than pumps. They were higher in spec, with a more futuristic design and advanced sole. My adopted and go to trainer brand was Adidas and I can tell you the exact reason why... Predator football boots and David Beckham. Beckham in a pair of Adidas Predator boots to me was like what Jet in a Gladiator costume was to many other young men in the 90s. Beckham influenced me to buy the 3 stripes and I haven’t been able to stop since.
As I moved out of my teens and in to my Uni days and then mid twenties, my trainers collection grew. The purpose of their use remained largely the same, that being for the gym, 5-a-side or cross country. Basically anything that caused me to sweat. Never did I consider wearing trainers or casual shoes with formal wear or on a night out. In my world trainers were for running in, that’s it, black and white. Leather brown or black formal shoes were for wearing to work and going out in. There was no grey line, these 2 worlds did not overlap like they do today. Walking in to a nightclub in the “noughties” bouncers would check what shoes you were wearing and trainers were strictly forbidden. Anyone wearing trainers on a night out, or to the office for that matter, were swiftly sent home with their tail between their legs.
Fast forward a few more years and I’m now in my later twenties and suddenly a more casual fashion movement started to develop. I remember walking around city centres seeing high end brands shop windows displaying trainers paired with suits. These new fashionable trainers, by the likes of Prada and Valentino (image below), still appeared to be sporty but with new materials and in more formal colours. Suddenly it became more acceptable to turn up to work, or be on a night out, in a pair of smart trainers. People started to dress down, a bit, and fashion editors around the world declared “casual is here to stay”, which it has.
Fast forward a few more years and I’m now in my thirties and the new fashionable trainer scene keeps picking up pace and would later see brands like Balenciaga (image below) take the look much louder and to the extreme. However the Ying to the likes of Balenciaga’s Yang were the minimal sneaker brands which started popping up a few years back. The likes of Common Projects, Greats and Axel Arigato caught my eye and produced a minimal look which appealed to me and sat well alongside the more laid-back fashion movement bubbling up in to the mainstream. These new minimal footwear styles seemed to be referred to as "sneakers" only, and not “trainers”. They also didn’t look like the trainers I knew and grew up with. Sneakers had a cup-sole, looked like they shouldn’t be run in, should be kept clean and were for lazy Sundays strolling around. This was the first time I looked at a shoe and likely thought (subliminally)… “that kinda looks like a trainer, but it’s definitely not a trainer, or a pump, I guess I’ll have to call it a sneaker, as that’s what a lot of other people seem to be calling them”. So I joined the sneaker bandwagon.
When it came to be that LANX started the process of producing more casual footwear, I was presented with the question… do I call them sneakers or trainers? The decision was fairly easy, in my eyes, as the style of casual shoe I wanted to produce was not sporty or for running in, but more casual, fashion focused and laid-back. Indeed the silhouette and look we intended to and did create for LANX (image below) was better suited to being called a “sneaker”. So, rightly or wrongly, that is the term I went for.
To possibly make things more confusing, we do intend to create LANX “trainers” soon, which will still be fashion focused but will have a sportier design and sleeker shape. A trainer that looks like you could go running in but you wouldn’t want to get them muddy.
Hopefully that explains why we called LANX sneakers "sneakers", and why in the future we intend to call our trainers "trainers".
Ok my head hurts now and it’s probably best I stop writing. Please do let me know your opinion in the blog comments section below. I’ve also started a vote/ discussion on the LANX Facebook page, so let us know by commenting on the post.
Cheeky plug at the end… anyone looking to buy LANX sneakers please click here for men's and please click here for women's. All our sneakers are handmade in England using the highest grade of materials and craftsmanship. Please watch our behind the scenes video below.
Cheers for reading.