Open the wardrobe of just about any woman, and you’ll spot white trainers. They join white tees, a good pair of jeans, and a simple blazer in the pantheon of wardrobe staples (each of which they look great styled with, incidentally). And that’s regardless of your particular style preferences. If, after stepping out in them countless times, your white trainers are starting to look a little battered, or you just want a switch-up, we spoke to 13 shoe experts, trainer obsessives, and stylish women about their favourites to find the 11 very best pairs.
Best overall | Best less-expensive | Best more-expensive | Best high-top | Best canvas | Best less-expensive canvas | Best classic | Best leather | Best comfortable | Best with a pop of colour | Best retro | Best sporty
What we’re looking for:
Material: The UK, more often than not, is damp and dreary — meaning materials like canvas don’t work as well all year. With that in mind, we’ve made sure to include plenty of water-resistant shoes that are a bit more practical for autumn and winter. We’ve also made a note of how each material feels and the comfort of each pair’s sole and heel.
Sizing: The shoes on this list either come in unisex sizes or women’s sizes. Unisex shoes often run a little larger, so we’ve flagged when you might want to size down, plus when half-sizes are available.
Cost: Trainers can be ridiculously expensive. We’ve found pairs ranging from as little as £20 to three times that, focusing on brands that are worth any price. Every trainer here is denoted as either £ (under £100), ££ (under £150), £££ (over £150).
Best white trainers overall
Leather | Unisex 5.5–17 with half-sizes | ££
In 2018, when the Fila Disruptors hung up their crown as the reigning white trainer, the Air Force 1 took their place — and kept it. This shoe is absolutely everywhere: You may have spotted it on a night out, in a co-working space, on a quick dash to Tesco, or in our teen poll where it was named coolest shoe. Navi Ahluwalia, assistant editor at Popsugar UK, told us that she’s been wearing a pair of white AF1s since she discovered them in school, adding that they’re “almost like a rite-of-passage trainer as a Londoner.”
I’ve had my pair for around three years. They do look a little worse for wear — which, after a certain point, is to be expected of any white trainer — but a thorough once-over with some Pink Stuff will freshen them up. For an everyday shoe, they’re really comfortable, fresh out the box. As someone whose shoe size hovers between a UK 4 and 5, I also appreciate the half-sizes (both Ahluwalia and I slightly size down, since AF1s are “a bit chunky”). And if you’re not convinced, here’s a tip: Those sized between a UK 3 and 6 can get the exact same AF1s from the Nike Older Kids range for £68, saving over £50. You’re welcome.
Best less-expensive white trainers
Water-repellent canvas | Unisex 4.5–9.5 with half-sizes | £
First off, I want to stress that these are made of a fabric that’s water-repellent, not waterproof. They can take a bit of drizzle, but don’t go splashing into any puddles hoping for the best. Influencer Brittany Bathgate told us: “There’s something nostalgic about these trainers; they remind me of the plain white plimsolls I’d wear during PE class in high school.” As a lover of minimalist style, she’s into “how pared back they are with zero branding” and highlights the comfort of their springy, built-in insoles. Bathgate recommends going down a full size, too.
Best more-expensive white trainers
Vegan leather | Women’s 2–8 | £££
These luxury trainers are beloved by writer and actor Naomi Sheldon and are versatile enough to dress up for a dinner depending on how you style them. Their 1.5-inch rubber soul also offers extra height, and they “aren’t too ostentatious, and are most importantly extremely comfortable.” Sheldon admits that they’re “on the heavy side” but is convinced “that it helps tone my legs.” A great choice for fashion-conscious gym rats, then. These fit true to size.
Best high-top white trainers
Leather | Unisex 3–13 with half-sizes | £
When it comes to Converse, designer Vicky Bird prefers the more “practical” leather options. Tshepo Mokoena, Strategist acting senior editor, agrees: “They’re the superior Chuck Taylor, IMO, because the leather makes them water-resistant — an essential in a country as damp as this one.” As well as the supple leather, Bird likes the “very slick” white-out logo, whilst Mokoena says their “cushioned insole is a treat.” The shoes are offered in half-sizes, and Converse itself recommends opting for a half-size down from your usual.
Best white canvas trainers
Canvas | Unisex 3–13 with half-sizes | £
Of course, we still had to mention the classic canvas Chuck Taylors, for warmer months. “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 specialising 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.” They can be styled with dresses, jeans, and suits — and I also recently discovered (via bodybuilders on TikTok) that they’re great for deadlifting, too.
Best less-expensive white canvas trainers
Canvas | Unisex 3–11, with half-sizes | £
These shoes made by Chinese brand Feiyue are popular with martial-arts practitioners, parkour enthusiasts, and cool girls on the Victoria line — where contributor Anna Fielding first spotted them. “They were the kind of shoes that would skip across a suburban lawn in a Sofia Coppola film” or appear kicked off poolside in a French influencer’s post. “The trainers originated in 1920s Shanghai, where they were adopted by martial-arts practitioners,” she says. “They have bounce. They have grip. And unlike other plimsolls, they’re actually supportive.” We like the shoes for their preppy red-and-white stripes, their durability, and their inexpensive price point.
Best classic white trainers
Leather | Unisex 3–13.5 with half-sizes | £
Back in 2011, when Phoebe Philo, then–creative director of Celine, took the first of many post-catwalk show bows in a pair of Stan Smiths, she cemented them as the “It” shoe of the early 2010s. And for many, they’ve never been usurped. These are “a classic trainer I have worn forever,” says interior designer Suzy Hoodless. “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.”
Personally, I’ve had my Stan Smiths since I bought them in year 10 — for reference, about the time Zayn left One Direction. At £80, you really can’t complain about the price, and much like with Nike’s AF1s, if you’re a UK size 3–5.5, you can get them for £50 cheaper in the kids’ range. I’d recommend ordering your usual size, as does the Adidas site.
Best white leather trainers
Leather | Unisex 2.5–12 with half-sizes | £
When it rains, Bird reaches for these grown-up cousins to the Vans slip-ons. Their wipe-clean synthetic leather keeps your feet dry. “They are perfectly in between smart and casual,” Bird adds. They have reinforced toe caps to withstand wear and tear, with the sort of monochromatic dazzle that brightens up an outfit with ease. And while Vans recommends sticking to your usual size, its size guide measures things out down to the centimetre too.
Best comfortable white trainers
Mesh | Women’s UK 3–9 with half-sizes | ££
Celebrity podiatrist Margaret Dabbs told us that she couldn’t live without these light trainers. “That’s why they’re called On Cloud.” she told us, a reference to the technology used to make them feel so plush. Dabbs finds them “so comfortable, and obviously, being a foot-care specialist, that’s very important to me.” They include an antimicrobial mesh designed to prevent odour buildup. If you do notice a pong, Dabbs said you can stick them in the wash to spruce them back up. They also fit true to size.
Best white trainers with a pop of colour
Leather | Women’s 3–9, with half-sizes | £££
Since nabbing a pair of these from Size? last year, illustrator Poppy Almond says her lucky green Dunks have become her go-to shoes. “As well as being super-comfortable, they go with everything,” she says. The only problem? “Trying to keep them clean.” They’re ideal if you’re not after an all-white trainer. While they retail at £130, Dunks prices vary wildly, often on resale — we’d say £180 is the average, but rarer styles can go for double this. Sadly, I have no kids-size hacks for you on these ones.
Best retro white trainers
Leather | Unisex 2.5–14, with half-sizes | £££
These casual, relaxed Reeboks are stepped in nostalgia. Yoga expert Sophie Whippy wears them when she’s hanging out with her kids, “as they’re super comfortable and wear well.” She also finds that due to their classic roots, “they don’t go out of style and can be worn with most things.” You’ll find a huge size range, and Reebok recommends staying true to your own size.
Best sporty white trainers
Mesh | Unisex 3.5–17, with half-sizes up to 13.5 | £
If you want some trainers to, well, train, these come recommended by former Olympic sprinter Abi Oyepitan, now co-founder of Liha Beauty. “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.
Designed to suit any terrain, a padded tongue and springy heel help make a pain-free running experience. The Supernovas have the largest size range of this roundup, from UK 3.5–17 — although sizes above a 13.5 are regularly out of stock, so we’d recommend signing up for email alerts.
Some other white trainers we’ve written about:
Navi Ahluwalia, assistant editor at Popsugar UK
Poppy Almond, illustrator
Brittany Bathgate, influencer
Vicky Bird, designer
Margaret Dabbs, celebrity podiatrist
Anna Fielding, writer and Strategist contributor
Suzy Hoodless, interior designer
Myriam Kone, founder of Mimi et Mina
Tshepo Mokoena, Strategist UK acting senior editor
Abi Oyepitan, co-founder of Liha Beauty
Priya Roy, London-based restaurant PR
Naomi Sheldon, writer and actor
Sophie Whippy, yoga expert
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.