foot week

What Are the Best White Trainers for Women?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

White-trainers sales are booming, with the trainer industry now accounting for almost half of global footwear sales. 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.

When deciding on a pair of trainers to invest in, it all comes down to personal preference. Do you lean toward a neat, unassuming style of shoe? Or is a chunky, bold option more to your taste? Either way, figuring out which pair will become your signature requires some serious sifting. So we spoke to 22 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.

Set and interior designer’s Victoria Spicer’s go-to pair of white trainers is from Converse’s beloved collaboration with Comme des Garçons – she even has a pair in black. “I’ve been through countless pairs over the past eight years or so,” she says. “In all honesty, I usually have a few pairs from dirty to new, so I can wear more box-fresh ones when I need to appear smart.” Spicer says the shoes can be styled up or down, and as a taller woman, she finds that the high-top design of the shoe can “help bridge the gap (literally) between a trouser hem and top of the ankle part of the shoe.” Finally, the shoes are comfortable enough to be worn all day and have a “substantial sole,” which makes them suitable for venturing out even during winter. “The one downside is they were never easy to kick off on set,” says Spicer. “So I would usually take an extra pair of sliders to wear when I needed to jump on and off the set of a set-design job.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

Illustrator and designer Poppy Almond’s go-to pair of white trainers is her Nike Dunks — she says she’s practically lived in them since snagging a pair from Size? late last year. “As well as being super-comfortable, they go with everything,” she says. The only problem? “Trying to keep them clean.”

For Navi Ahluwalia, assistant editor at Popsugar UK, a pair of Nike Air Force 1s is essential — she’s been wearing them ever since she discovered them at school. Ahluwalia says not only are they “a staple amongst streetwear lovers,” but “almost like a rite-of-passage trainer as a Londoner.” Finding them exceedingly easy to style, she pairs them according to season, with long dresses in summer and cosy tracksuits and trenches in winter. Ahluwalia does, however, advise those after a pair to size down. “They’re quite chunky,” she says. “So where I usually go for a UK 4, I would suggest a 3.5, and potentially even a 3.”

Photo: retailer

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.

Zoia Murzova, a creator behind TikTok account @everythingdesigner, is currently obsessed with these chunky trainers from Axel Arigato. She finds them reminiscent of the prolific New Balance 530 sneaker, “but the lace design from the front to the back of the heel makes it more unique.” Murzova also finds the shoes to play “into the sculptural styling notion we are seeing everywhere on social media.” [Editor’s note: this product is low in stock].

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. [Editor’s note: this product is currently sold out].

Photo: retailer

Brittany Bathgate also recommends a pair of Superga 2750 Cotu Classic sneakers, which have “a timeless tennis/sports shoe aesthetic.” “The slightly chunky galvanised sole adds a little height,” she says, “creating a flattering shape on the foot.”

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.

Contributor Anna Fielding wrote about these inexpensive white trainers she first spied on a Victoria line-riding cool girl. “They were the kind of shoes that would skip across a suburban lawn in a Sofia Coppola film, or kicked off sur la plage in a French influencer’s post,” she wrote. Researching the trainers when she got home, she learned they were by a Chinese brand called Feiyue. The trainers are popular among martial arts practitioners, Shaolin monks, and parkour enthusiasts. “The trainers originated in 1920s Shanghai, where they were adopted by martial arts practitioners. “They are lightweight plimsolls, with a canvas body and a cushioned sole. They have bounce. They have grip. And unlike other plimsolls, they’re actually supportive.”

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

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.

[Editor’s note: This product is currently out of stock.]

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.” [Editor’s note: this product is low in stock].

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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What Are the Best White Trainers for Women?