Size and fit

The sock knitted upper of the Balenciaga Speed Trainer works magic in fitting as it wraps around the feet securely. It also comes relaxed to put on and off as the feet slip on effortlessly. 

Balenciaga Speed Trainer Style

An iconic silhouette like the Balenciaga Speed Trainer will always stamp its class and elegance the first moment you see it. The same impression is what the Balenciaga Speed Trainer leaves its awestruck fans that are quickly hooked by its knit sock effect on the upper that extends all the way above the ankle.

The Italian made design is a trendsetter as it ushered the immense popularity of sock-like models in the world of high fashion that other brands based in the world’s fashion capitals also followed suit and released similar sneaker designs. The concept of the speed trainer is aimed at those who want a no-fuss sneaker with premium materials and details to keep.

The Balenciaga Speed Trainer wasn’t an instant hit as loyal fans of the world’s top footwear manufacturers aren’t convinced of the brand’s reputation to churn out some quality kicks. But a right mix of marketing, some fashion editorials in print and online magazines, and high fashion buzz helped it rise as the most wanted sneaker in the world helped place the Balenciaga brand into the pedestal by creating a need to don the precious pair. Its steep price did not deter style-conscious sneaker lovers to cop the shoe when it finally dropped with several retailers jacking up prices when the design got sold out.

As some of the world’s top stylists and wardrobe experts start to push the unique design to consumers, styling options for the sock-like sneakers were rolled out in magazine centerfolds, online campaigns, and on social media. Styling the Balenciaga Speed Trainer in its black and white variants is easy.

Pair them with some track pants, jeans, or pull them off in shorts and they stand out on their own. Others, however, opted for a flashier display of the Speed Trainer complete with a drop crotch, cropped wool pants or cut-off black jeans, black hype socks, and leggings in draping shirts or oversized tops that all worked as a brazen display of chic and sophistication in some fashion editorials.

Notable Features

Taking the limelight in the minimalist design of the Balenciaga Speed Trainer is the stretchy knit upper that is an excellent fitting as well as protective of the foot despite its thin appearance. Also sharing the same spotlight is the white responsive sole that is brilliantly equipped with memory foam for the ultimate comfort experience and a shock-absorbing feature that cushions the feet from impact.

Balenciaga Speed Trainer History

The moment Paris-based couture brand Balenciaga dropped the Speed Trainer in November 2016, it was welcomed with raised eyebrows and heavy scrutiny. After all, the high fashion brand Balenciaga, which had its early roots as a favored luxury brand by Spanish aristocrats, was not known to venture into the world of footwear.

Except for a few design releases of chunky sneakers in the same year as the Race Runners and Triple S, some footwear critics would claim the Speed Trainer looked like a scuba shoe. Others say it’s just a sock with a rubber sole. Others with a keen eye for iconic kicks, meanwhile, welcomed it as a high fashion sneaker alternative as opposed to the regular sporty sneakers of top footwear brands.

With the initial word-of-mouth buzz and a few clicks of snaps posted on Instagram, the Balenciaga Speed Trainers were on fire with thousands of sneakerheads wanting to buy a pair. The fashion editorials and digital marketing strategies also helped a lot.

With the likes of the Kardashians and Jenners helping create hype of wearing the luxury trainers, it is like a status symbol must-have for those who follow the reality stars. Adding to the hype are the swag squad of rappers like Future, Gucci Mane, and Bryson Tiller showing off their newly copped Balenciaga kicks. The popularity of the Balenciaga Speed Trainers soared to new heights that by the early months of 2017, the haute couture sneaker was already sold out with only a few retailers selling the limited edition pair in immensely steep pricing.

Aside from the hype, what helped convinced many fans to invest in a pair of the luxurious Balenciaga Speed Trainer is that it is insanely comfortable. With a pillow-like terry lining, knit jersey sock feel, cushy memory foam and a shock-absorbing wavy rubber sole that feels like a marshmallow on foot, these Balenciagas are truly capable of pampering the feet in a high fashion style.

  New colorways, new looks

When the Balenciaga Speed Trainer came out in November 2016, it only featured in an all-black upper with a white shock-absorbing sole. While the unique design created hype and buzz in the sneaker world, many people became hesitant to buy it since it has crept into the consciousness of the fashion-forward crowd, the silhouette sparked the sock-like sneaker game with several luxury brands releasing their versions too.

To satiate the need of its new audience, Balenciaga came up with two tonal colorways for the bestselling Speed Trainer in January 2017. The massive demand for the laceless high-top sneaker and its minimalist design has placed the luxury brand into becoming an emerging player in the sneaker world. The Made in Italy sneaker design was also built lighter with a weight of around 240 grams with more comfortable looking tonal hues like white and black.

In mid-2017, Balenciaga also released a $595 iteration of the Speed Trainer with the Balenciaga Speed Ribbed Low Trainer. The design has subtle branding on the lower side with an exaggerated knit sock upper that is quite longer than the OG Balenciaga Speed Trainer.

Another iteration of the sneaker is the Balenciaga Speed Trainer Triple Black which sells for $545 at retail when it was released in October 2017.  Parisian luxury retailer Colette also released its store-exclusive version of the Balenciaga Speed Trainer in June 2017. The Colette x Balenciaga Speed Trainer shoe was also offered in a tonal red upper color. The all-red knit sock collar and classic structure come with the Balenciaga logos embossed all over the shoe. The white midsole and black outsole also allow shock absorption and memory sole technology for cushion and comfort.

The high-end French fashion brand also came up with a woven upper for the Balenciaga Speed sneakers. The French fashion house chose to swap out the knit sock upper in favor of a woven fabric texture pieced together with thicker strands of thread in comparison to some other woven sneaker. The exclusive colorway was released in black and red with a steep $905 price tag.

Flexing summer colorways, the Balenciaga Speed Trainer was also launched in exciting and bright new colorways. The summer-ready design comes in black with midnight blue accents, white with a tonal black outsole, light blue, and golden yellow colors.

In 2018, the most significant development of the now bestselling Balenciaga Speed Trainer silhouette is the release of the trainers with a lace-up system. Selling more than $700 each, the updated shoe is made in a white upper with a contrasting black outsole and striped fluorescent yellow laces. In December 2017, another iteration of the design also came out with the Balenciaga Triple S Speed Trainer which fuses the soles of the other bestselling sneaker the Balenciaga Triple S and the Balenciaga Speed Trainer.

For the first quarter of 2018, a limited edition colorway of the Balenciaga Speed Trainer was released with a logo-covered version. Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia unveiled the design with a black upper and a white midsole for a balanced look. The shoe retained the best qualities of the Balenciaga Speed Trainer that include ribbed knit sock construction, sole memory sockliner, and rubber outsoles for better shock absorption.

For April 2018, the Balenciaga Speed Trainer was given a lace-up debut for its spring/summer release but retained its black and red casual sneaker look.

Nice to know

  • Balenciaga embossed logo placed conspicuously on the side panel of the sock maintains the minimalist style.
  • The lightweight sneaker approximately weighs just 240 grams.
  • Fake or replica Balenciaga Speed Trainers are sold everywhere. To get your money’s worth; one thing to take note of when buying a pair is that all Balenciaga Speed Trainer sneakers are made in Italy.
  • A 10-millimeter arch helps keep the feet supported for all-day wearing.
  • The sneaker is composed of 80 percent Polyamide material in the form of a stretch-knit upper and 20 percent Elasthanne in the way of the white rubber sole.

Facts / Specs

Style: Sporty, Minimalist, Sock
Top: High
Inspired from: Running
Collection: Balenciaga Speed
Closure: Slip-on
Material: Knit, Rubber Sole, EVA, Memory Foam / Fabric
Season: Spring, Summer

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Balenciaga Speed Trainer unboxing and on-feet videos

Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.