Cover Story: Sports shoes rule

Want to be proper cool? Then ditch the heels in favour of trainers this summer, advises Annemarie Quill

When it comes to footwear, everyone wants to be like the cool kids and the sports shoe industry is seeing a growth in demand for lifestyle shoes.

And while typically these lifestyle shoes, by the likes of Nike and Converse, were adopted as streetwear by the "street" fashion scene, they are now becoming mainstream with everyone from teenagers to grandmothers sporting the Nike swoosh or coloured converse.

Bruce Trebilco has owned Smiths Sports Shoes on Grey Street for more than 14 years, with wife Alison, and over that time he has seen the sports shoe emerge into both a functional shoe and a fashion item.

"In the last eighteen months in particular we have definitely seen a rise in demand for sports shoes as fashion statements - in fact, this is a huge growth area in the sports shoe industry, what we call the performance/lifestyle shoe - that is, shoes that you can use for activity but also wear every day."
Trebilco says that the Nike Free range and Converse fall firmly into this category. With models in sneakers adorning the catwalks, the trend has filtered down to the everyday and Trebilco says white converse are popular among females wearing both with jeans and dresses. This year Trebilco says he has sold "thousands" of Converse shoes.

The Nike Free range is also popular with everyone from children to teens to older people up to their 70s.

"In the Nike Free range, the black with the white stripe has been very popular with both sexes, but we've also had demand for the very bright statement colours."

Trebilco says other shoe brands are recognising the growth in the category and launching their own lifestyle shoes. "New Balance, for example. These were traditionally a very technical sports-focused brand but they're branching out into the lifestyle shoe, too."

Trebilco says he expects Under Armour shoes to take off in New Zealand.

"In the States, this brand is rivalling Nike. Their shoes are entering New Zealand and I think they will be very popular."

When looking to purchase a shoe, a buyer should consider a number of factors, he says.
The shoe's function "Ask yourself what you need the shoe for, what will you be using it for. If you are just running, there will be particular shoes that suit. If doing a lot of weights, you would need a stable shoe. Or you might be mainly doing gym classes.

"So that is the first thing we discuss with people." The right fit "We offer a free in-store video analysis in which we video people walking and running. Then we blow it up on the screen and talk them through it. It helps us understand how they move and what will suit them.

"And of course measuring and fit is a big part of choosing the right shoe."

Indulge asked podiatrist Rikki Ringrose for some tips buying sports shoes. Ringrose is the podiatrist at Aspire Health and Sports, as well as at Food Mechanics in Mount Maunganui.

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