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Why Hike Is The New Hype

April 2019Words by Mr Alfred Tong

Photograph by Mr Andy Donohoe

In streetwear, sometimes the “hype” is in the detail. Take Balenciaga’s Track sneakers, the highly-anticipated successor to the brand’s era-defining Triple S shoe. It’s reassuringly chunky and fugly, right? But pay attention to the details, especially that bit of technical-looking mesh on the side, and an interesting style story begins to emerge.

The Track takes its design references from resolutely unfashionable trek and outdoors shoes by brands such as ROA and Salomon. If you’re looking for what’s hype in men’s fashion, increasingly, you will find it in clothes originally designed for wearing while clambering up mountains. Ponchos, cagoules, anoraks, multi-pocketed giletsbucket hats and the aforementioned trek shoes now grace both the catwalk and the sidewalk, as streetwear yet again collides with high fashion.

The origins of outdoor clothes as fashion are varied and disparate. It encompasses everyone from Japanese streetwear pioneers such as visvim’s Mr Hiroki Nakamura and his brand’s hiking boot, British football casuals in the 1980s and 1990s in cagoules and anoraks by Stone Island and The North Face, their Italian equivalents the Paninaro boys in Moncler gilets, London grime rappers in Arc’teryx, hip-hop hustlers in puffa jackets by Polo Ralph Lauren, dubbed the “Lo’ goose”. In fact, there are more twists and turns to trek and outdoors fashion than a Game Of Thrones episode.