As with just about everything things in sneaker culture these days, this story traces back in a roundabout way to Kanye West. Before Kanye’s deal with Adidas that had him gifting shoes to President Obama, the rapper was set to release an all-red version of his second signature shoe with Nike, the Air Yeezy 2. Nicknamed the “Red October,” the sneakers got the web in a tizzy. But the shoes were scheduled to drop at the same time that Kanye’s relationship with the Swoosh was unraveling, and when ties were severed between the two, Nike unceremoniously released them with no prior notice or fanfare.
While the Yeezy 2’s remain valuable collector’s items (a size 10 will set you back $6,000 at Flight Club), they also set off a larger trend in red sneakers. Suddenly, every brand had to have its own version of a “Red October.” As with most things, that trend eventually got played out, but it helped birth a new one: Blue is the new red. And it isn’t just the color that’s taking over sneakers, it’s the material. The blue suede shoe isn’t just something Elvis Presley (the Kanye West of his time—LOL) sings about anymore. From midnight to navy to brighter shades, blue suede has become the go-to combo for discerning sneakerheads this spring and summer.
But as with red, there will likely come a time when the all blue sneaker gets overdone. So before that happens, be sure to snag one of the shoes below because they will make you feel anything other than blue.
ASICS GEL-KAYANO TRAINER
Originally launched in 1993, the Asics Gel-Kayano Trainer was a high-performance running shoe. Now, more than 20 years later, it has been reinvented as a lifestyle sneaker, albeit one that still packs plenty of comfort and performance attributes. If you had to run from the cops after getting a little too rowdy at the bar, these would be great shoes to do it in. Especially because the midnight blue suede would keep you in stealth mode.
SAUCONY SHADOW 6000 PREMIUM
Easter may have just passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock these Easter egg-inspired sneakers. The Shadow 6000 is a classic running style that looks good with just about everything and the perforation on the bright suede upper prevents the sneakers from getting too hot so you can wear them all through the summer.
NIKE SB DUNK LOW
Nike’s old school basketball sneaker-slash-new school skate shoe looks excellent with the all blue treatment. Nicknamed the “Blue Moon,” these sneakers came out during the fall but they are well suited for spring.
CONVERSE X FRAGMENT ONE STAR ‘74
Hiroshi Fujiwara, the founder of Fragment Design, is one of those people who constantly has his finger on the pulse of cool. The Japanese polymath has made navy one of his staple colors in recent sneaker collaborations and he deployed it again on the famed Converse One Star skate shoe. The suede on these is nappy giving it a great texture and the subtle Fragment branding on the midsole is perfectly understated.
PUMA SUEDE CLASSIC ICE
You can’t talk about suede sneakers and not mention the Puma shoes with the material in their name. The classic Puma Suedes favored by early breakdancers and B-Boys look completely modern by carrying the blue theme through the side stripe, laces, and all through the sole of the shoe.
AIR JORDAN 12
Price unavailable, jordan.com
Each year, one or two retro Air Jordan models receive a lot of attention and 2016 is shaping up to be the year of the 12. This blue suede version stands out from the rest. There are no details about when these Jordans will drop, but when they do, act fast. You can be sure they won’t last long.
ADIDAS EQT SUPPORT '93 TOKYO
It’s hard to explain why blue suede works so well on classic running sneakers, but it just does. These are inspired by the track spikes that sprinter (and NFL player) “Bullet” Bob Hayes wore at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. A few different shades of blue suede are used on the upper which creates a nice contrast and there is a Japanese flag on the heel.
NIKE AIR CRUZ
Victor Cruz hasn’t been wearing the New York Giants’ blue on the field much in recent seasons because of injuries, but his first signature sneaker definitely takes the Big Blue concept to new heights. Inspired by Bo Jackson-era cross-training shoes, it has a carbon fiber-like material by the heel and suede around the toe and tongue. The sneakers say “Dance To Greatness” on the midfoot strap, which is what you’ll want to do when you put these on.