White sneakers have graduated from trendy to essential. A few years ago, crispy all-white kicks were a style swerve, but now they’re an endlessly versatile base for just about any outfit. The right pair can go with everything from shorts, tees and jeans to a full suit and tie. Plus, in many cases, beat-up white kicks are just as cool as their brand new selves.
Because white sneakers are such an important piece of your wardrobe in 2019 (probably the most important piece), some research and consideration is necessary before picking up your next pair. Before starting your search, decide if you need an affordable pair that you can beat up, or a splurge-worthy pair of designer kicks to invest in. Also, consider your personal style: if you wear a lot of athletic clothing, go for a slimmer look like Clae. If you rock baggier clothes, maybe grab some chunky sneakers like Nike Air Force 1s.
To help find those perfect white sneakers, we’ve rounded up several pairs for different needs, budgets and personal styles. Check them out below.
1. Nike Air Force 1 Sneakers
White sneaker have become so ubiquitous that there are trends within the white sneaker mega-trend. Right now, Nike’s beloved Air Force 1 holds the white sneaker championship belt. 90s nostalgia? Check. Hip-hop approval? Check. Friendly with baggy pants and shorts? Check. Check. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re some of the more affordable shoes on this list and in general.
2. Adidas Originals Stan Smith
BEST VINTAGE INSPIRED
They’re simple, they have streetwear cred., they have high-fashion cred., but also they have a tinge of vintage-inspired aesthetic. They pretty much have it all and come in at a very reasonable price. Worn with some straight-legged navy pants, you’ll have mastered a very neat smart-casual look. The Adidas Stan Smith were, and still are, a popular choice with stylists who are by their very nature at the forefront of trends, so it’s not an awful idea to look to them when deciding what you wear. What is there not to love about these shoes?
3. Clae Bradley Sneaker
BEST MINIMALIST PICK
These minimalist sneakers by fine Los Angeles brand Clae will give a sprinkling of style to any casual outfit. The blue heel detail, the off-white laces and sole, against the sleek white of the full grain leather, makes for a smooth shoe indeed. They’re elegant enough to dress up for work, but they’re still cool enough to wear traveling, clubbing or when running errands.
4. CDG PLAY x Converse Heart Sneaker
BEST DESIGNER OPTION
Who knew a little heart logo would make Converse’s timeless Chuck Taylor even cooler? Well, Comme des Garçons did. The French designer’s upgraded Chuck Taylor is our pick for best designer sneaker because it’s affordable at under $200, recognizable, and extremely versatile with any wardrobe. They look best with slimmer pants that don’t cover the now-iconic heart.
5. M.GEMI The Lucente
BEST OFFICE SNEAKER
Ideal office-ready sneakers should be sleek, high-quality, and free of branding. These kicks from Italian brand M.GEMI tick all those boxes. They are constructed of supple calf leather, the rubber sole has been stitched by hand and they come with waxed laces, a small but significant touch that proves their attention-to-detail and ambition for the highest quality.
6. Lacoste Carnaby Evo 319 7
BEST FOR THE WEEKEND
For those who want to elevate the ‘Stan Smith’ style, these Lacoste sneaks are a great choice. They come in a suede instead of a smooth leather, giving them a slightly softer, warmer approach. They come in a sleek, streamlined shape and have an extra, ribbed fabric stripe on the side. Perhaps these are the shoes to take care of and the Stan Smith’s are the ones to use everyday and run into the ground.
7. Cole Haan Men’s Grand Crosscourt li Sneaker
BEST FOR SIMPLICITY
If it’s simplicity you are looking after, this is the one for you. Cole Haan’s Crosscourt’s are a fine blend of a classic office-style white leather sneaker, but they come with an injection-molded outsole with rubber pods for extra comfort. If you’re on your feet all day, but need the smart-casual business aesthetic, they will suit you well.
8. Alexander McQueen Cotton-Canvas Derby Shoes
BEST CREATIVE-BUSINESS TYPE
A white canvas derby shoe with a chunky white sole might not, based on description alone, make all too much sense. But revered British brand Alexander McQueen turns this idea into a work of art. They are thick, aggressive and don’t shy away from making a statement. Add them to a pair of quality suit pants and you’ll get at the look of someone who is a creative type with business mind.
9. Acne Studios Bolzter Two-Tone Leather Sneakers
BEST FASHIONABLE CHOICE
This shoe by Acne epitomizes the chunky sole, dad-trainer movement that’s swept through the runway and now finds itself on the high streets. If you think that they look ugly, well, that is basically the point. Much like the brutalist movement of clunky, ugly grey, fifties architecture, these trainers have a unique and much loved beauty and intensity about them.
10. Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
BEST LEATHER SNEAKER
If any of the white sneakers in this list deserve the title ‘original’, it’s this one. Common Projects might be the very reason that white leather sneakers have become more acceptable in the modern workwear dress code. They bring an elevated formality to the once casual sneaker and compare more closely to a traditional leather work shoe than most sneakers. These imbue the chic, scandi-style minimalism that is being seen more and more in office wear these days. Though they are on the pricier side, these are shoes built to last.