What the heck is “athleisure”? In a nutshell, athleisure is the term given to shoes, apparel and accessories that are athletically inspired but really meant for more casual, lifestyle use. In other words, they’re high-tech sneakers that are comfortable and chill without looking overly sporty.
The main drivers of the trend, according to many sneakerheads, running retailers and shoe brands, were the original Nike Free in 2004 and Nike’s Roshe Run shoe in 2012.
The Nike Free line was originally developed based on performance aspects of barefoot or natural running. While the Swoosh created the Free line to be used as legitimate running shoes, it quickly found out that many people were wearing them in everyday pursuits.
Same goes for Roshe Run, which was designed by acclaimed designer Dylan Raasch as a lifestyle shoe first, without considering any performance aspects. The goal was to create a hip, comfortable street shoe with a hint of athletic style. The original Roshe Run ($75) and the Roshe Two ($100) have been a huge hit.
Fast forward to 2017 and you can find numerous athleisure-oriented sneakers available from traditional running brands like Nike, Hoka One One, ASICS, New Balance, Adidas and more.
In addition to the many iterations of Nike’s Free and Roshe Run and Roshe Two models, we also like the Hoka One One Hupana and ASICS fuzeX Rush. If there’s a common theme to those it’s that they’re meant to be comfortable and stylish, regardless of what you do when you wear them, and all are suitable for gym workouts or short-distance running.
No matter what kind of runner you are, stick to shoes meant for regular running. But if you are an active, fit person who wants to show a hint of style in casual settings, get yourself some athleisure kicks this spring.