Why I’ve fallen in love with sock trainers

Back in the late Nineties, my mum (of all people!) got herself a pair of Nike trainers from the newly opened shopping outlet Gunwharf in Portsmouth. This came as somewhat of a shock for me, as this is the woman who until recently, had never owned a pair of Converse (she’s also got a pair of Stan Smiths now – we’ve come a long way, guys!) but rather, she favoured picking up artisan leather sandals from French markets when on holiday and had an obsession with Birkenstocks. It’s fair to say my mum is more chic than me by nature. For some reason though, she loved these trainers. They were a bit like a trainer clog – slip on with no laces – and were made from a curious material that could only really be described as a neoprene “sock”.

En Brogue wearing Stine Goya

En Brogue wearing Stine Goya sock trainers

The sock trainers were around for years. When they were finally past their best, they lived by the back door, relegated to being worn in the garden. I’ll admit, I borrowed the sock trainers on a number of occasions, since I lived with my parents at the time and they reminded me of my Nike Air Huaraches which must have died a death a few years earlier. They were incredibly comfortable and I liked their modern vibe, and you really can’t beat the fact that a sock trainer doesn’t need to be laced up – even when there are laces, they are usually simply for show. You can just slip a sock trainer on and off like a, err, sock.

Stine Goya orange

Stine Goya Abel sneakers in coral, £192.41 (stinegoya.com)

Anyway, why am I telling you this story of a pair of shoes that probably don’t even exist anymore? Well, sock trainers are having a moment again, a fact not lost on Danish brand Stine Goya, which launched its own take on the sock trainer this week. They’re a pretty snazzy affair, with a speckled sole and subtle glitter heel, and are available in two colours. I can report that they are as comfy as you would expect, too.

Stine Goya olive

Stine Goya Abel sneakers in forest green, £192.41 (stintegoya.com)

Of course, the big guns have plenty of options when it comes to sock trainers too. Pharrell Williams’ latest collection for adidas is cracking (read this week’s Shoes News for more about that), and Nike’s Sock Dart is brilliant if you’ve always loved the idea of the Air Rift but could never quite bring yourself to do the toe-split trainer. So here is my round up of the best sock trainers available right now.

Nike Sock Dart

Nike Sock Dart SE Premium, £99.95 (nike.com)

adidas NMD Primeknit

adias NMD-CS2 Primeknit, £149.95 (adidas.co.uk)

Christopher Kane high tops

Christopher Kane knitted high top sneakers, £445 (christopherkane.com)


FitFlop Uberknit slip-on high tops, £69.96 (fitflop.com)

Puma at Kickslove

Puma B.O.G. Limitless Evoking, £95 (kickslove.com)


Filling Pieces low top Lee, €240 (fillingpieces.com)

adidas Stan Smith Primeknit

adidas Originals Stan Smith Primeknit, £100 (net-a-porter.com)