White-trainers sales are booming, with the trainer industry now accounting for almost half of global footwear sales. So whether you like yours neat and discreet or chunky and fashion-forward, chances are you have a pair (or several pairs) of white trainers in your wardrobe. They are, after all, an integral component of so many outfits — adding edge to pretty dresses (especially from March to October, when tights aren’t needed), offsetting the formality of a sober suit, and complementing jeans and shorts just so. They are the shoes you reach for, again and again, because as well as looking good, they feel good — find yourself a comfortable, versatile pair of white trainers and you’re ready to go, almost anywhere. So we spoke to 12 stylish women from the worlds of beauty, interior design, and fashion to get their insight on their favourite white trainers. Read on for the best high-tops, the best leather trainers, and the best luxury options.
Best high-top white trainers
Sophie Whippy, who is a co-founder of Stretch London yoga studio as well as a doula and women’s-health advocate, loves her Nike Blazer Mid ’77 trainers. So much so that she is a repeat buyer, currently on her second pair. “They’re smart enough to wear to work and out for dinner,” she says, praising their slim-line vibe, in particular. She wears hers with midi dresses and trousers.
Liha Beauty co-founder Abi Oyepitan likes these all-leather high-tops. “I’m all about the throwbacks; they just remind me of growing up in the ’80s and ’90s,” she says. “Weirdly, I wasn’t really keen on them back then but love them now.” She wears them with “superthick socks over my skinny jeans for true ’80s style” and notes that they look good with shorts too.
It would be remiss to compile a list of the best white trainers and not include a pair of canvas Converse sneakers. “White Converse are the ultimate ‘’90s American TV dad meets PE class’ look — of which I’m a fan,” says London-based restaurant PR Priya Roy, who favours the high-top style. Myriam Kone, founder of Mimi et Mina, a luxury hair salon specializing in Black hair in Notting Hill, says the low-top Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic sneakers are her go-to weekend shoes: “They’re what I wear when I’m doing errands.” Wear with dresses, jeans, suits, and shorts. Actually, wear with anything — that’s the beauty of a pair of Converse All Star Classics.
“They are more practical than canvas,” says designer Vicky Bird, “and very slick with the white-out logo.” They are as versatile as their canvas counterparts, but Bird thinks they look particularly good with a pair of straight-leg jeans.
Best white leather trainers
“They are the perfect trainer — perfectly shaped,” says Bird, “and work well with smart trousers for the office, summer dresses, or even a suit. They take quite a few wears to mould them in, but persevere and they are dreamily comfortable.” She concedes that they are “very pricey” but “worth the blowout if you’re someone who centres your outfits around trainers.” Her top tips for keeping them pristine? “Avoid wearing them in the rain, clean regularly, and stuff with paper when they’re not on your feet.”
These are the trainers Vicky Bird wears when it’s raining. Made of synthetic leather, “they wipe clean and keep your feet dry — unlike canvas,” she says. “They are perfectly in between smart and casual, maybe slightly sportier than the Common Projects but a similar effect.”
Functional, comfortable, and understated, these are a stylish everyday white-sneaker option. “If you prioritise comfort over branding, these are plain and anonymous, but nod to various more expensive designer versions,” says Harriet Walker, the Times fashion editor and author of The New Girl. “They’re also flatteringly slim-line,” she says. But watch out: That means they might be too narrow for those with wide feet.
An iconic ’70s style, Stan Smiths became fashion’s go-to white trainers in 2011 when Phoebe Philo, the then–creative director of Celine, wore them as she took a bow on the catwalk. These are “a classic trainer I have worn forever,” says interior designer Suzy Hoodless. “I like how low-key they are and easy to wear. I always have a clean white pair and an old beaten-up pair that are great for roaming around the country or when I am in the garden.”
If you feel that you’d rather keep your plain Stan Smiths for mooching around country lanes and would prefer something a little snazzier for work or going out, these are the trainers for you. “Sleek, flat, and they feel like putting a pair of slippers on,” says Harriet Walker. The perforated R logo replaces the three stripes. [Editor’s note: These are currently out of stock, but we found an in-stock and similar pair at Yoox.]
A casual, relaxed trainer, with a nostalgic nod to the 1980s (just like those Freestyle Hi high-tops), these are the shoes Sophie Whippy wears when she’s hanging out with her kids, “as they’re super comfortable and wear well.” They are also super versatile. “They don’t go out of style and can be worn with most things,” she says. “They go well with shorter skirts and dresses, as well as full-length dresses and trousers.”
Emma Chadwick is a former ballerina who now works as a movement director on fashion shoots for publications and brands such as Vogue and Simone Rocha. Her work involves long days on her feet, and she says her Nike Daybreak trainers are incredibly comfortable — “like walking around in chic slippers.” “Size up for ultimate cloud effect,” she advises. Chadwick likes her Nike Daybreaks white with a red swoosh; but while that colourway is currently out of stock, there are plenty of others available.
An unassuming pair of leather trainers that “go with anything,” according to Priya Roy. White with an off-white sole, she likes to wear hers with an “outfit made up of the palest shades possible: oatmeal, clotted cream, and crisp white.” “Just watch out while eating pasta with tomato sauce,” Roy advises. Which is good advice when wearing any of the trainers on this list.
Best white canvas trainers
Brittany Bathgate, an influencer known for her minimalist style, is drawn to these pleasingly plain trainers. “There’s something nostalgic about these trainers; they remind me of the plain white plimsolls I’d wear during PE class in high school,” she says. “I love how pared back they are with zero branding, and they have a really cushioned insole for comfort.” Sizing is in centimetres, but there’s a conversion chart on the site — Bathgate recommends going down a size.
These vegan canvas trainers will not see you through winter or even a rainy day, but they are perfect for hot weather. Framer Emma Wilson wears hers with dresses and shorts. “They give off ‘Marianne from Normal People hanging in Italy’ summer vibes,” she says.
Looking for a pair of trainers that draw compliments on the street? Harriet Walker guarantees that Primury’s Wired trainers will do the job. “These are, without a doubt, the coolest white trainers around, she says. “Chunky and comfy — people stop to ask about these whenever I wear them.”
Best sporty white trainers
Ultralightweight and made without using any leather products, these running shoes are practical and ethical. Suzy Hoodless says they are “really supportive when I am flying around the tennis court.” Hers “have lasted an age” she notes, but her favourite thing about these trainers is that they are “more design-led than other brands.”
Before Abi Oyepitan co-founded Liha Beauty, she was a sprinter who competed at the Olympics. She says, “For most of my career as an athlete, Supernova was one of the only trainers I would wear. I was prone to injury, so I was really cautious about my footwear, but Supernova is protective but light — perfect for long track sessions.” Even though she received them for free — as she was sponsored by Adidas — she would “wear my trainers to death,” and she remains loyal to the brand today.
Another pair of everyday fashion-forward white trainers, these are favoured by Grazia creative director Carolyn Roberts, who pairs them with straight-legged trousers as well as sportswear. Because they are lightweight, they are “chunky but comfortable,” she says, which is a winning combination.
Best luxury white trainers
Beloved of writer and actor Naomi Sheldon, Stella McCartney’s Loop faux-leather trainers are stylish enough to wear to dinner. “You can dress them up with a lovely dress, and you don’t feel like a scruff bag,” she says. They also “provide extra height, aren’t too ostentatious, and are most importantly extremely comfortable.” She admits that they’re “on the heavy side” but rather than seeing that as a negative, she says, “I just convince myself that helps tone my legs.”
Like so many of us (including Taylor Swift and J.Lo), Myriam Kone is a big fan of Gucci Ace sneakers, particularly the style that includes the now iconic embroidered bumblebee. “They are very popular,” she concedes, “but I love them because you can wear them with anything.”
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