Is it necessary to choose between style and function? Not according to Swedish trainer brand North-89. With cleverly designed, hi-tech collections inspired by Scandinavian weather and seasons, this brand is proof that trainers can (and should) be worn all year round.

It was while studying in London that Gustaf Secher had the idea to create function-first footwear. “I had always been active, competing in various sports as a kid. And so technical clothing was always close to my heart,” recounts Secher. “I also loved trainers but felt like there weren’t any around that were good enough to wear in rain and snow, so I set out to change that.”

North-89: Trainers inspired by the elements

Unsurprisingly, Secher wasn’t the only one with a healthy appetite for a functional yet stylish trainer. And today, North-89’s core collection – eponymously named North 89 – features a range of permanent styles that are recreated each year due to popular demand. These styles are either breathable, ideal for the warmer part of the year, or water-resistant – perfect for snow, slush and wet weather.

“All of our designs are technically-driven and fit for purpose, and we’re very specific with what materials we use, such as perforated suede and deconstructed mesh,” explains Secher. The shoes are all designed in Stockholm by me, then handmade in a family-owned factory in Porto, Portugal. Additionally, our materials are sourced from various European countries to ensure the best quality, including soles from Italy.

North-89: Trainers inspired by the elements

“We only make limited numbers of each shoe, so when we sell out, that’s it. Customers either have to wait for the next batch, or simply choose another available style,” says Secher. This is partly down to a sustainability ethos of never producing too much and thereby avoiding having to clear out extra stock through sales.

As North-89 is essentially a one-man band, the brand’s growth is slow but steady. Just as it should be, according to Secher. After all, great quality can’t be rushed. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not exciting news on the horizon – quite the opposite. New, seasonal colours have already launched in the brand’s online shop, and soon, a new functional loafer will drop too. Keep an eye on North-89’s Instagram to hear about it first.

North-89: Trainers inspired by the elements

Instagram: @north89official

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