Wearing sneakers every day (even to work) is normal for many guys by now. But not every guy is ready or willing to dip into the latest sneaker trends: fashionably ugly silhouettes, chunky soles and lots of color and pattern mixing. Monochrome sneakers, however (those with matching soles as well as those with classic white, black, or gum soles), go with everything you already own, making getting dressed everyday quick and easy.
But because they’re so minimal — like a simple white T-shirt or pair of chinos — the design has to be on point. That’s why we talked to a couple stylish experts about their favorite monochromatic shoes (and added a few of our own favorites).
The Best Monochrome Black Sneakers
Men’s Stylist Donnell Baldwin of Mr. Baldwin Style swears by classic Chuck Taylors for their versatility and for how they look better with wear. “I have all-black Chuck Taylors and they go with everything in my wardrobe. They’re one of the only sneakers that have remained relevant throughout the years, have never gone out of style, still go with everything and even when they get beat to hell, they’re even more amazing.”
For something a little sleeker these pale aqua leather low tops do the job of a traditional lace up derby shoe just much lighter and more comfortable.
The Best Monochrome Gray Sneakers
Jake Woolf, partner at Shop Seam (a new retail phone app) and former men’s style writer, prefers gray when it comes to buying monochrome sneakers. “Buy gray. Whether that’s light or dark gray, it’s a subtle difference that doesn’t put so much pressure on you to keep the shoes pristine.”
Woolf is also a longtime fan of all-gray Common Projects. “I own a gray pair of Common Projects Achilles sneakers that I’ve had for three years and will never get rid of. I wear them on every single first date. It’s only later I introduce weirder kicks into the mix.”
The Best Monochrome Brown Sneakers
Baldwin is pro neutral-tone sneakers for their talent at hiding dirt. “For guys looking to play it a little safer, a new pair of monochrome sneakers in taupe, tan, or even all brown. They’ll show less dirt and depending on the shoe, could look more elevated that an all white trainer.”
But if you’re looking for brown sneakers with matching brown gum soles — or not into worrying about scuffs on white soles — these caramel-colored suede low tops are great for fall and much more budget-friendly. Bonus: gum soles are Woolf’s preference “Gum, if it’s available, otherwise white.”
The Best Monochrome Navy Blue Sneakers
But if you tend to wear sneakers into the ground fast, give these inky blue New Republics a try.
The Best Monochrome Olive Green Sneakers
Swedish sneaker brand Axel Arigato is injecting some Scandinavian design sense into the sneaker world with their minimal leather silhouettes available in a whole host of perfect-for-wearing-with-a-suit menswear colors. These in olive drab will ensure you never show up to the party in the same kicks as your friends.
So much of fashion is inspired by military-issue designs and this collaboration shoe from Converse and Carhartt WIP is no exception.
The Best Monochrome White Sneakers
According to Woolf, you cannot go wrong with Stan Smiths. “Stan Smiths have a hint of green, but I still think they count. Plus they’re pretty unimpeachable style wise.” The classic version comes with a touch of green on the back, but we prefer these in all-white.
Vans Old Skool sneakers probably already grace the feet of every man and woman you know — for good reason. But the shoe that GQ declared the next Stan Smith is far from being overhyped, especially when you wear it in all white.