You only need to picture yourself wearing a pair of black leather work boots with tailored shorts to appreciate why seasonally-appropriate footwear is important. Different seasons call for different shoes and sneakers are no exception.
Summer sneakers should be clean, light and comfortable. They should be sharp enough to pair with pants but not too uptight to slum it sockless with swim shorts at an impromptu poolside BBQ.
We’re talking classic white leather, casual airy canvas, pops of colour and low-top silhouettes. The sort of sneakers that beg to be worn on scorching weekends in the park, balmy beer-garden afternoons and don’t look out of place sitting on the sand next to a sun lounger as you soak up some rays.
To set you off in the right direction, we’ve handpicked a selection of summer sneakers that tick all the boxes. From the luxurious simplicity of Common Projects’ Achilles Low to the colourful contrast of New Balance’s 327, these are the sneakers to own this summer.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ’70
There are classic sneakers, then there’s the Chuck Taylor All Star. This design masterpiece has remained largely unchanged in over a century and that fact that it remains one of the world’s best-loved shoes speaks for itself.
This beefed-up version borrows from the All Stars of the 1970s. It features reinforced canvas uppers, a slightly higher rubber rand and a squishy insole for added comfort. Plus, it’s one of those rare sneakers that gets better with age, making it a perfect daily driver for dusty summer days. If you’re tired of classic black and white, look to versatile pastel shades of green or blue for a fresh feel.
Common Projects Achilles Low Suede
Since its launch in 2004, the Achilles Low has watched various footwear fads come and go. It’s done so quietly from the shelves of the world’s most respected retailers; from the shoe racks of the most discerning dressers; and, unlike most of the competition, never from the reduced-to-clear section.
The secret to the Achilles’ enduring success is its simplicity. This is not a shoe that has to shout to be heard. It commands respect quietly and with dignity. It’s also available in myriad colours and fabrics, making it suitable for all seasons. For summer, though, stick to suede versions in pastels or neutrals.
New Balance 327
How is it possible for a shoe to look like it comes from the past and the future simultaneously? We’re not sure to be honest, but New Balance’s 327 certainly manages it.
This new lifestyle sneaker from NB pulls inspiration from the brand’s vintage running shoes and filters it through a contemporary lens. Its sporty silhouette and bold yet simple styling make it perfectly suited to pairing with shorts and a slew of bright colour options leaves plenty of room for adding punch to summer outfits.
Novesta Star Master
For a wallet-friendly option, the Novesta Star Master is ideal. This rough-and-ready canvas sneaker is perfect for throwing on for daily summer duties and looks even better when worn in.
The beauty of this shoe is it really doesn’t require any thought to pull off. This makes it perfect as a go-to beater you can step into right at the last minute, whether your off to the beach or the pub.
Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage
Granted, its high-top design may result in some less than ideal tan lines. However, we’re willing to overlook that given how clean the Nike Blazer Mid ’77 vintage looks with white calf-length socks and a pair of shorts.
This throwback style from Nike will keep minimalists happy with its uncluttered upper while still allowing some room for colour via an oversized Swoosh to the side. If high tops aren’t your thing then fear not, it’s available in a low-cut version too.
Vans Vault Slip-On
It would be impossible to compile a list of the best summer sneakers without featuring canvas Vans. The legendary Californian skate brand has built its entire image around crafting shoes that are perfect for the warm weather. And none more so, perhaps, than the classic Vault Slip-On.
It doesn’t get much more simple than this: a plain canvas upper, rubber waffle sole and elasticated tongue. Just pull in on and you’re good to go. Plus, with a seemingly endless selection of colourways, prints and graphics to choose from, you can go as bold or as restrained as you like. That said, a subtle off-white design is our personal favourite.
Stepney Workers Club Dellow
A pair of canvas sneakers is an absolute must for summer. For most people that means a pair of Converse or Vans. But what if you’re looking for something a little different? UK brand Stepney Workers Club has you covered.
The brand takes its inspiration from “the inclusive nature of traditional worker’s sports clubs”, and produces simple footwear with a twist. The brand’s ‘Dellow’ plimsoll is its hero piece, featuring a canvas or suede upper, chunky rubber sole and subtle stitched detailing.
Reebok Club C Revenge
After launching as a tennis shoe back in 1985, the Reebok Club C has remained more or less unchanged. And why shouldn’t it? This classic style is just as relevant today as it was 35 years ago and several key features make it ideal for summer duties in particular.
Firstly, the low-top design. This is a shoe that lends itself well to shorts and pants alike and won’t hinder you lower leg tan. Secondly, while it’s available in a plethora of colours, the majority of them are bright, white and pastel. Coupled with retro styling and heaps of versatility, it all comes together to make a shoe that’s perfect for anything the summer can throw its way.
Adidas 4D Run 1.0
Woven sneakers were a novelty when they first began to crop up in the 2010s. Now, they’re simply a part of the sneaker landscape. You could even call them the new normal. But that’s not to say there isn’t still room for innovation, as Adidas has proved with its 4D line which features industry-leading sole technology and breathable Primeknit uppers.
The 4D Run 1.0 probably isn’t for you if you’re looking for something classic and versatile. But if you want a comfortable sneaker that’s brimming with futuristic tech then you’ll struggle to find better. The digitally printed lattice sole unit will put a spring in your step while the airy knitted upper will keep you cool whatever the weather.