If there’s one item that has bridged the gap between casual and formal in modern menswear, it’s the white sneaker. A shoe that was once purely for athletic purposes has become a real shoe rack, giving almost any outfit a clean, modern look.
Simple, stylish and versatile, these drab kicks go with everything from tailoring to tracksuits, making them an absolute must-have for the modern man. But not all white sneakers are created equal.
Of the thousands of designs out there, only a handful shine as the real heroes, the classics, the best white sneakers ever made. These are the styles worth investing in as they will stand the test of time.
Below you’ll find our selection of the best white sneakers, along with key buying considerations and answers to some of the most common questions about white sneakers.
The best materials for white sneakers
Your choice of materials is one of the big decisions when buying a pair of white sneakers. What a shoe is made of affects how it feels, performs and looks, so think about how you will wear the shoe and where you will use it.
Affordable, low maintenance and breathable, canvas is a great option when it comes to summer footwear. Of course it gets dirty, but thanks to its robust construction you can throw it in the washing machine with pleasure. It should come out as good as new.
Few shoes are more versatile than a simple white leather sneaker. The material is durable and easy to maintain, and the classic look is probably outdated.
Synthetic materials have been popular in sneaker design for decades because of their durability, lightness, breathability and athletic performance benefits. You can often find technical artificial fabrics in sports shoes, but synthetic materials such as vegan leather are also worth checking out.
Buy shoes made of synthetic materials if you need high-quality white sneakers for running or going to the gym, for example.
Main white sneaker styles
There are many, many styles of white sneakers, and there is often some overlap between them. That said, for us, white sneakers can be divided into the following categories. Here’s what they are and why you might want to consider them.
Clean, simple and endlessly versatile, minimalist white leather sneakers are one of our favorite types of shoes. Understated leather styles like the Adidas Stan Smith, the Reebok Club C and the Nike Cortez always look great in white and don’t need to scream to be heard.
The rise of the Common Projects Achilles Low in 2004 paved the way for a new dawn of white sneaker craze. The silhouette of the classic tennis shoe was reinvented in fine Italian materials, resulting in a shoe with sporty DNA that can be worn legitimately with tailoring. If you’re looking for luxurious shoes that you can easily wear up or down, this is what you need.
Plimsoll is simply the name given in Britain to basic shoes with a canvas upper and a rubber sole. These sneakers are usually very affordable, timelessly stylish and excellent for the summer months. Look to brands like Novesta, Superga and Converse for inspiration.
Sneakers may be fashion items now, but in the beginning it was all about sport. Today, athletic sneakers are those styles that focus on some sort of athletic performance, be it running, basketball, tennis, or anything else. They usually have a lightweight construction and technical fabrics.
Many of the world’s most prestigious designer brands offer their own white sneakers. Labels like Gucci, Maison Margiela and Alexander McQueen all offer their own unique spin on classic white sneaker styles, and these designs have become iconic in their own right.
The best white sneakers for men
Axel Arigato Clean 90
A classic, sophisticated low top sneaker, handmade in Portugal using historic shoemaking principles. Expect a premium leather upper and lining, a removable cushioned footbed and, interestingly, a cemented construction that ensures that the original shape is preserved.
Uniform Standard Series 1
Tired of making the best sneakers for everyone after 15 years of designing for household names (some on this list), British shoe designers Uniform Standard decided to go it alone in 2018 – to create their handmade minimalist leathers. bringing sneaker expertise to the masses.
Now, with a range of sleek minimalist designs in a variety of colors and materials, the brand is a serious contender for your white sneaker needs. The Series 1 White Leather Vintage with its slightly off-white sole is a subtly refined take on a classic.
Adidas Stan Smith
A certified iconic sneaker that, while predominantly white, offers a subtle flash of color in the details. The Stan Smith is a fail-safe option that’s sturdier than other sneaker-inspired silhouettes, but can still be dressed up with tailoring or down with jeans and chinos. Make sure they stay spotless.
Oliver Cabell Low 1
For that premium minimalist sneaker style without the overwhelming price tag, the Oliver Cabell Low 1 is the ideal option. The direct-to-consumer brand uses the same materials and factories as high-end competitors, but the lack of bricks and mortar allows them to pass the savings on to the customer. For a minimalist, streamlined, white sneaker with an up or down look, the Low 1 is a timeless classic.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
The Converse Chuck Taylor sits alongside the Adidas Stan Smith and Superga Cotu Classic as a durable and affordable everyday white sneaker. A design that has been almost untouched for over 80 years, this is a sneaker that you can be sure will never go out of style.
Vans Old Skool
A low-profile silhouette dripping with skate heritage, the Vans Old Skool Low Top offers great value for money and is designed to withstand a knock. Light and breathable, the sneaker’s rugged shape makes it a surprisingly versatile option that you can count on for years to come.
Alexander McQueen Wedge Sole
Loved by the fashion crowd, loathed by style purists, but with a popularity (and aesthetic) that makes them inevitable, the ugly sneaker trend isn’t for the faint of heart — but chances are if you’re making the investment, you’ll know what you’re doing. . Alexander McQueen’s Wedge Sole sneaker has quickly become the choice of industry insiders, making a statement through shape and proportion rather than resorting to ostentatious design.
Reebok Club C
This retro tennis shoe has remained unchanged since its launch in 1985. We’re happy. It’s a simple shoe with just the right amount of detail, and its unassuming looks make it go well with almost anything. It’s also one of those rare shoes that seems to get better the more they get beat up.
Superga 2750 Cotu Classic
For affordability and style, it’s hard to beat the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic. Streamlined, unassuming and comfortable, the canvas upper adds breathability for warmer climates. The self-proclaimed “folk shoes of Italy” are an understated classic that offers a timeless silhouette and goes well with both wide and narrow trousers.
Veja’s mission is “one foot in design and the other in social responsibility”, meaning quality footwear using sustainable materials (including organic cotton), respecting the principles of fair trade and promoting upcycling. Their Nova White is a stylish vegan shoe that proves that style can be sustainable.
The Gucci Ace has been a regular part of the Italian label’s shoe line for years. It’s inspired by vintage shoes from the 70s and is instantly recognizable by the web stripes on the sides. Embroidery is also an important feature, with gold thread detailing on most models.
Community Projects Original Achilles
Understated, minimal and sought after – the Original Achilles Low from the cult New York sneaker company is a contemporary menswear icon. Made in Italy with superior construction and signature gold hot-stamped serial number, Common Projects has mastered the minimal white sneaker, creating a style perfect for both smart and casual looks. Often imitated, never surpassed.
Frequently asked questions about white sneakers
Do you have a question? We’ve covered some of the most common questions related to white sneakers below.
What should I wear with white sneakers?
In short, everything you want. The great thing about white sneakers is their versatility. You can combine them with almost anything and know it will work. Some of our favorites are mid-wash denim, gray flannel trousers or crisp navy blue chinos. As long as you don’t wear them with a tuxedo to a black-tie event, you should be fine.
How to clean white sneakers?
The best method for cleaning your white sneakers largely depends on what they are made of. Leather and suede need to be treated to protect it from the elements, while canvas and synthetic styles can be tossed in the wash. There are also handy whitening sticks you can buy to hide stains, scuffs, and scuffs.
Which brands make the best white sneakers?
There aren’t many sneaker brands that don’t make a white sneaker in one form or another. Some of the most prolific are Converse, Nike, Adidas, Common Projects, Veja, Vans and Reebok.
Should I wear socks with white sneakers?
It’s up to you, but we’d say yes. Wearing socks is always a good idea, but you can opt for discreet no-show socks if you want to give those ankles some air in the warmer months.