A pair of minimalist white sneakers is one of the first items every man should own as a part of his wardrobe. If you haven't read my article detailing how to build a wardrobe from scratch, do so after wrapping up this one.
White sneakers provide such robust versatility. Whether for streetwear or a more preppy/business casual look, a pair of white sneakers is a men's wardrobe staple.
But when attempting to dive into the world of white sneaker brands, it can quickly become apparent that many options are available from brands you may not have even heard of. So, how do you go about choosing?
Well, I have covered everything in this article that you need to know. There are brands of white sneakers that cost as much as $500, and to the average guy (like you and me), that kind of cash for one wardrobe item isn't always an option.
This article aims to show and describe my recommendations for white sneaker options based on price, personal taste, and construction. I will conclude with my pick and why I recommend it.
So, let's get into it (in no particular order).
1. ADIDAS STAN SMITHS ($100)
The Stan Smiths have remained iconic for decades. Currently retailing at $100 (before taxes), these shoes are timeless. If historical popularity is something that you care about, then you can take comfort in knowing that these shoes have been stylish since 1965 and they aren't going out of style anytime soon.
As far as materials are concerned, you get what you pay for here. No genuine leather or margom sole. Suppose you are the environmentally-friendly sort, or perhaps vegan. In that case, these shoes might appeal to you as they are made with primegreen, a series of high-performance recycled materials, including a vegan upper and an outsole made from rubber waste, not virgin polyester.
As far as personal styles are concerned, the Stan Smiths come in many color combinations (well over thirty). Remember that the more white or off-white you opt for, the more versatile the sneakers will be; however, depending on your particular taste, a little bit of color won't do much to diminish the options you can enjoy with these shoes. So know that these are excellent picks, and you can often find them on sale for as low as $80.
2. VANS OLD SKOOL ($70 & $75)
Vans are also quite iconic, and these canvas low-top sneakers were first made famous in 1977 by founder Paul Van Doren. Originally released as the Vans #36, these sneakers also come in various colorways and offer a clean-looking silhouette. However, much like the Stan Smiths and at an even lower price point, you get what you pay for with a canvas material for the upper and a standard rubber sole.
If you want something that resembles leather, the Classic Tumble sneakers are made of synthetic leather uppers and give a slightly cleaner look. An added benefit of this material change is that it makes cleaning the sneakers easier for the owner.
These will work just fine for those of you on a strict budget, whether out of necessity or simply due to preference. Like Stan Smiths, I recommend the cleanest and whitest look possible. No highlighting the flagship jazz stripe doodle, which is commensurate with the Vans brand (unless you want to).
3. CONVERSE ALL-STAR CHUCK TAYLORS ($65)
Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor's are perhaps this list's most recognizable sneaker type. I'll admit that these are not my first choice for various reasons; however, that doesn't change the fact that these are some of the best-selling shoes every year, and they're reliable as well as timeless.
A stylish shoe since 1917, the Chuck Taylors are often referred to as THE original basketball shoe and can be used for various activities, even weight-lifting, as they usually are. Much like the Vans Old Skools, you're getting a canvas upper and a vulcanized rubber sole, but for the most classic-looking silhouette, the high-top is, in my opinion, the best way to go if you're set on a pair of Converse. There is just so much history over the past 100 years with this shoe, and so many athletes and artists have popularized it since its inception that its influence cannot be denied.
While it is certainly not my first (even second or third choice), I cannot go without recommending it, especially at the relatively modest price point of $65.
4. NEW REPUBLIC KURT ($98)
A relatively new addition to the minimalist sneaker brand, these are, in my opinion, one of the best deals around. While the Kurt sneaker from New Republic traditionally retails at shy of $100, you can often find them on a sale for as little as $60! This is important because, from afar, little separates this sneaker from a pair of $450 Common Projects Achilles Low.
As you can probably guess, the primary difference between this lower-tier sneaker option and the Common Projects luxury-tier sneakers is in the materials. The Kurt sneakers are not hand-made in Italy from calfskin leather and don't have a margom outsole. Instead, you're getting a reasonably low-quality (albeit genuine) leather with a rubber outsole.
However, I believe the silhouette and lower profile of the Kurt sneakers are undeniably elegant, and therefore, the versatility they provide for the price is excellent. Aside from physically touching or closely inspecting the shoes themselves, to the untrained eye, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between these and the luxury alternatives. And the fact that you can catch these sneakers on sale so often is just the icing on the cake.
5. THURSDAY PREMIER LOW TOP ($129)
I know what some of you are probably thinking...
For those unaware, Thursday is traditionally a boot company that has managed to branch out into the sneaker market.
I will be the first to admit that I am a megafan of Thursday Boot Company, but this is only because they have, without a doubt, the best quality boots for the most honest prices. I am continuously impressed by this brand's craftsmanship compared to competitors of other boot brands, priced double, sometimes triple.
For Thursday's sneakers, the quality most definitely holds up. Yes, these are the most expensive options on this list; however, not by much, and the divide in overall quality is, in my opinion, night and day.
Priced at $129, you are getting a nappa leather upper that is quite soft and supple and a natural vachetta leather insole that is very comfortable right out of the box. These sneakers also sport rubber outsoles; what's pretty neat is that they are unlike any of the above sneakers in that you're getting a mix of natural virgin rubber and recycled rubber.
Additionally, Vibram was involved with crafting this shoe (as well as other Thursday products). This company is well known for its reliable and pliable soles for footwear and had a hand in constructing Thursday's cupped rubber sole for this low-top sneaker.
As much as I just talked up the Thursday sneakers, you may be surprised that I recommend the New Republic Kurt sneakers out of all these options. In short, it is because of the price point, and with frequent sales for as low as $60, it makes my recommendation all the easier.
In truth, a part of this decision to recommend the Kurt sneaker stems from my belief that you don't necessarily need to invest in quality to dress well.