If there’s one item that has bridged the divide between casual and formal in contemporary menswear, it’s the white sneaker. Shoes that were once strictly for athletic purposes have been transformed into a sartorial essential, providing a versatile and classic footing to almost any outfit.
Here are Ape’s favourite models on the market.
Luxury: Valentino Fly Crew
Sat firmly at the premium end of the white sneaker spectrum, these luxury Italian kicks feature premium leather uppers, a serrated leather tongue and contrast leather striped sidewalls. Valentino’s signature leather studs applied to the rubber outsole ensure they subtly stand out against their minimal contemporaries.
£445; End Clothing
Affordable: Superga 2750 Cotu Classic
For affordability and style, it’s difficult to beat the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic. Streamline, unassuming and comfortable, the canvas upper adds breathability for warmer climates. The self-described “people’s shoes of Italy” are an understated classic that offer a timeless silhouette, working well with both wide and slim-leg trousers.
The Icon: Adidas Stan Smith
A certified iconic sneaker that although predominantly white, offers a subtle flash of colour in its detailing. The Stan Smith is a fail-safe option that is chunkier than other plimsoll-inspired silhouettes but can still be dressed up with tailoring or down with jeans and chinos. Make sure they’re kept spotless.
Chunky: Balenciaga Triple S
Loved by the fashion crowd, detested by style purists but with a popularity (and aesthetic) that makes them unavoidable, The Triple S is perhaps the most divisive sneaker of the last decade. This “ugly sneaker” is not for the faint-hearted, granted, but chances are if you’re making the investment, you know what you’re doing.
Minimal: C.QP Racquet
A classic, refined low-top sneaker made with heritage shoemaking principles. Expect Italian leather uppers, a calf lined heel, Italian suede heel tab, removable inner sole and, interestingly, a metal shank – which provides a stable build.
£250; The Rake
Statement Maker: Off-White Distressed Leather
Statement sneakers courtesy of Mr Virgil Abloh, a man who is no stranger to hype-worthy footwear. Featuring canvas uppers trimmed with leather and set on sturdy rubber soles, the leather has been authentically distressed to create a broken in feel. Off-White’s trademark arrows and bright zip tie make for a pair of sneakers that are guaranteed to become the focal point of any outfit, all while garnering serious kudos from those in the know.
£425; MR PORTER
Environmentally Friendly: Veja Nova
The Veja mission statement is “one foot in design and the other in social responsibility”, which means quality footwear whilst using sustainable materials (including organic cotton), respecting fair trade principles and championing upcycling. Their Nova White is a stylish vegan shoe that proves style can be sustainable.
British: Grenson Sneaker 1
It was only a matter of time before the Northampton shoemaking mavericks dipped their toe into the sneaker world, especially with owner Tim Little’s background at Adidas. The result? The Sneaker 1. A white calf leather sneaker with a slightly higher upper and a robust rubber sole. A well-designed premium option that justifies its price point.
£170; MR PORTER
Designer: Gucci New Ace
The Gucci New Ace is arguably the second most famous three-striped sneaker, but with an exclusivity and prestige that is difficult to match. The low-top silhouette makes it the perfect accompaniment to sportswear looks or smarter, eye-catching tailoring.
Contemporary Icon: Common Projects Original Achilles
Understated, minimal and sought after – the cult New York sneaker company’s Original Achilles Low is a contemporary menswear icon. Made in Italy with a superior construction and trademark golden hot-stamped serial number, Common Projects have mastered the minimal white sneaker, creating a style that’s perfect for both smart and casual looks. Often imitated, never bettered.
£289; End Clothing
Time Tested: Converse Jack Purcell
The Converse All-Star Ox sits alongside the Adidas Stan Smith and Superga Cotu Classic as a durable and affordable white sneaker for everyday use. A design almost untouched for over 80 years, this is a sneaker you can rest assured will never go out of style.
Durability: Vans Old Skool
A low-profile silhouette that’s dripping with skate legacy, the Vans Old Skool Low Top is great value for money and designed to withstand a battering. Light and breathable, the sneaker’s robust shape makes it a surprisingly versatile option that you will be able to count on for many years to come.