Clothing and Footwear

From trails to streets – how did Gorpcore take over?

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In recent years, fashion trends have been defined online by millennials as a variety of ‘-cores’. With online platforms like TikTok creating a super-fast-paced environment, trends move fast, and fashion moves especially fast. From blokecore bringing ‘yer da’s’ Sambas to younger consumers, to the likes of normcore’s – well – normal, American sitcom energy and craftcore’s sustainable garments – it seems that every style has a tag.

Now, one might find themselves questioning whether any of these trends exist; or is it just a panicky way to pigeonhole micro-trends that might only last for a brief instance? There is one core though, that has established itself as a very real and very influential trend – Gorpcore.


NOUN: a mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, bits of chocolate, etc. eaten as by hikers for quick energy.

If you walk around your nearest city, you are likely to spot a GORE-TEX jacket, a pair of technical trail slacks or a strapping pair of hikers. It’s also likely that you will see all of this together – in one outfit – and you subtly think to yourself, “that looks quite good, you know”. Well, you can relax. Long gone are the days of being laughed at because your mum made you wear hikers in town on icy days. You can now indulge in a trail-made item or two or represent the full mountaineering setup when nipping out for some milk.

So, what exactly is it though? gorpcore – down to its core – is essentially a trend that brings functional, outdoor pieces into realms that might not require their tech and functionality. Obviously, things like GORE-TEX help when there’s inner-city showers; and that Gramicci Cordura Bottle Holder delivers on-the-move hydration, while Salomon’s grippy soles come into use on icy pavements. Essentially, these items aren’t completely imperative like they are on 3-day exhibitions up a mountain – but why confine them to that?

Gorpcore isn’t the first to bring functionality to the streets though. One example is The North Face’s Steep Tech line; Scott Schmidt’s jacket was designed to endure the slopes, bringing striking style and technology to those colder climates. In the ‘90s, these items of clothing slalomed onto the streets of New York, becoming a cult item of clothing for NYC youth and the hip-hop scene. It may have been a ski item to begin with, but its ability to battle the cold bore well on NYC’s icy streets in winter.

One other iconic outdoor brand that has embraced the streets is the sub-label Nike ACG. Dubbed ‘All Conditions Gear’, ever since ’89 this range has delivered tried-and-tested functional pieces that transcended their outdoor origins to become a streetwear mainstay with Tinker Hatfield leading the OG designs.

While these items showed the early stages of something like gorpcore happening, today’s movement has more of a concrete definition, rather than items or specific labels having a streetwear influence. It also has the backing of social media around the globe, particularly with many UK Instagram accounts making the most of the consistent bad weather both in and out of the cities, showing that the trend isn’t just confined by concrete. It also has the backing of superstars around the globe too: Frank Ocean at the Paris Fashion Show in 2019, A$AP Rocky at NYFW in 2017 and Kendall Jenner wearing The North Face puffers.

Gorpcore has well and truly evolved into mainstream streetwear now. It’s everywhere. City streets, country lanes, trails. The longevity of this core has no limit, while the products will keep levelling up their innovation as technologies advance to conquer extreme climates. How long they will stay on the streets is unknown, but when those winter chills come in thick and fast, you know where to turn to.

Complete your look with Salomon, Merrell, Nike ACG, Hoka, Poler and more. Also, did you read What is a trail running shoe?

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