UK Sneaker Trends 2022
Uk Sneaker Trends 2022
A QOPPD report into UK sneaker sales
There are plenty of sneaker reports out there – some focus on popular sneakers across the globe, many focus on the most sought-after sneakers in the US – but which kicks are UK sneakerheads currently snapping up?
Nike have been killing the game for decades - they’re both the world’s biggest footwear company, raking in $11.64 billion in North American sneaker sales last year alone, and an ultra-exclusive designer, creating some of the most sought-after sneaker silhouettes in the world.
But, will they come out on top in the UK too? Well, we’ve done some digging to find out…
The Nike Dunk Trend
Over the past few years Nike Dunks, one of Nike’s stalwart styles, have experienced an extraordinary resurgence. Highly anticipated collaborations with cultural powerhouses such as Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Travis Scott and... Ben & Jerry’s have meant Dunks are in high demand.
Numbers have been kept low in the market, and celebrities including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner have all been papped wearing them, creating hype, and reinforcing Dunks as a hot and scarce commodity. Dunks are currently selling out instantly when they drop on the Nike store and are commanding higher resale prices than ever before.
Due to their immense popularity, we were surprised to see them at only eighth on our list of popular UK sneakers.
Most Popular Sneakers in the UK Right Now
Air Jordan 1s Reign Supreme
The Nike Air Jordan 1 made its debut as a basketball shoe in 1985. Since then, it’s become one of the most important sneakers in footwear history thanks to its association with Michael Jordan and the legendary “banned” colourway controversy.
Now, new Jordan 1 colourways and collaborations drop regularly and sell out instantly. Air Jordan 1s were searched for 429,000 times within the UK in March 2022, making them by far the most in-demand sneakers in the UK right now. Despite the hype around Nike Dunks, they only take eighth place on our list with 64,000 searches.
Also appearing in our top 5 are: Nike Air Force 1s (337,000 searches), Air Jordan 4s (253,000 searches), New Balance 327s (184,000 searches) and New Balance 550s (114,000 searches).
The New Balance Phenomenon
New Balance claiming 2 places in our top 5 most popular list won’t come as a surprise to many sneakerheads. The New Balance brand has been on the up for several years, going from every day, humble footwear manufacturer to one of the coolest labels on the planet.
Thanks to some clever collaborations with the likes of Crooked Tongues, Kith, Casablanca and Leon Dore, the New Balance brand has gone from strength to strength. Endorsements also help to move stock, and when it comes to fans, New Balance have some big names in their corner – celebrities including Timothée Chalamet, Chris Pine and Rihanna have all been papped wearing New Balance sneakers in the last year.
The brand even received royal backing with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, revealing New Balance are her favourite kicks. That won’t hurt New Balance’s credibility either.
Sneaker Brands on Their Way Up in the UK
Just like with songs and TV programmes, the sneakers that were popular last year might not be popular now. To identify what’s currently trending in the world of sneakers, we’ve compared data over a 12-month period to identify which brands are ‘in’ right now.
And guess what? The New Balance phenomenon strikes again.
New Balance is currently top dog when it comes to trending sneaker brands in the UK. In fact, the New Balance brand is a whopping 80% more popular now than it was this time last year!
Don’t Sleep on Converse
Converse take second place on our list of trending sneaker brands, having seen a 54% increase in interest over the past 12 months. Not bad for a brand that’s been around for 114 years.
Converse have collabed with Commes des Garçons since 2015, which won’t have done anything to damage their reputation – the minimalist heart-and-eyes design kicks have well and truly entered the mainstream. In fact, the sneakers have become such a success that Sneaker Freaker named them the “decade’s most influential sneaker.”
Converse also recently teamed up with Pokémon to celebrate their 25th anniversary and tap into a market that is once again on the up. As expected, the collection featuring Pikachu, Eevee, Charizard and Mewtwo sold out instantly thanks the renewed interest in catching ‘em all.
Upcoming collections include Converse x Ibn Jasper and Converse x Peanuts – another nod to cartoon nostalgia that’s likely to boost Converse sales even further.
Air Jordans Are Up 41%
The Air Jordan 1 is currently the most popular sneaker in the UK, so it’s no surprise to see the Air Jordan brand trending overall – more so than Nike, Yeezy and adidas.
In 2021, Air Jordans became one of many fashion brands to enter the world of Fortnite. Players were given the chance to wear their sneakers in the game, thrusting the brand in front of millions of young and impressionable eyes.
Global Sneaker Trends
The Air Jordan 1 might currently be the most popular sneaker in the UK, but it faces stiff competition in our global chart. Coming out on top as the most popular sneaker in the world is currently Nike’s Air Force 1.
Stompin’ In My Air Force 1s
Air Force 1s racked up 5,400,000 worldwide searches in March this year, 1 million more than Air Jordan 1s which feature at number 2 on our global list.
Mainly thanks to Gen Z and the rise of TikTok influencers, the iconic Nike Air Force 1 has seen a resurgence over the past few years – mainly in the classic all-white colourway.
First released in 1982, Air Force 1s have become one of the most recognised shoes on the planet thanks to their classic, minimalist design. The iconic sneaker silhouette has been rapped about by Jay-Z and Nelly (give him 2 pairs), and today AF1s are often seen on celebs such as Victoria Beckham, Addison Rae and Hailey Bieber.
Nike Blazers Are Still Riding High
Although Nike Blazers aren’t too popular in the UK right now, they’re still commanding attention throughout the rest of the world. They’re currently racking up just under 1 million searches a month on Google.
First released in 1973 as a groundbreaking basketball shoe, Blazers have morphed into a modern style staple for sneakerheads everywhere. The low Blazers have been the focal point of a few high-profile collaborations recently, most notably with Off-White and sacai – a luxury Japanese brand spearheaded by Chitose Abe. These collaborations have only added fuel to the Nike Blazer fire.
adidas Superstars Are Still Going Strong
Classic adidas Superstars are still proving to be popular around the world, despite first being launched in 1969. With 710,000 worldwide searches in March this year, Superstars are the most popular adidas sneakers in the world right now.
The Superstar silhouette is a masterclass in simplicity - 3 bold diagonal stripes, a body of crisp white leather and a trademark rubber toe cap. There’s literally no reason why any sneakerhead shouldn’t own a pair, especially since they’re available in every colourway imaginable.
Old Skool Vans FTW
Back in 2018, Old Skool Vans were everywhere, and while they might not be as popular in the UK anymore, they’re still making waves around the rest of the world. The sneakers reached 696,000 Google searches in March this year, placing them 13th on our global list.
Classic black and white Old Skool Vans are a lesson in versatility, which is perhaps why they’re so in-demand. Everyone from skateboarding teenagers to global supermodels to high-flying businessmen can pull off the look. They’re not too pricey either, which will also add to their popularity.
Both Rihanna and Kim Kardashian have been spotted wearing the Old Skool silhouette recently, so maybe they’ll see a comeback in the UK soon too.
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