women's shoes

The 15 Very Best White Sneakers for Women

“As a native New Yorker, I would feel embarrassed not to own a pair.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

As the writer behind this guide to the best white sneakers, it’s fascinating to see what the sneakerheads are chasing — from Air Force 1s to Stan Smiths. There’s a style for everyone these days, from easy slip-ons to trainers made cool by Shaolin monks. To find the very best white sneakers for women, I turned to in-the-know shoe obsessives and sneaker collectors about what they’re wearing, from understated low-tops to can’t-miss high-tops. I’ve also been trying some of these sneakers for myself — including taking them out on walks and cleaning them up with daubs of Tide To-Go. If you’re looking for more of the Strategist’s shoe coverage, we have guides to the best walking shoes and best running shoes.

What we’re looking for

Sizes

In general, sneakers for women come in a size range of five to 11. Some brands will follow European sizing and not offer half-sizes (see French label Veja, which makes an appearance here). Others use unisex sizing, where the men’s size equivalent is listed alongside the women’s — this often means the shoes (a) come in a wider numerical range and (b) run slightly bigger. I listed all the sizing-related details I could for each pair, including wide and narrow options wherever available.

Material

Two of the most popular materials in sneaker-making are leather and canvas. Leather is usually going to be longer-lasting, though scuffs can happen. Canvas is not the best to wear in the rain, but spot-cleaning the fabric can be easier. As shoemaker Lauren Brinkers explains, natural materials like cotton and linen are better for their breathability while synthetics like polyester hold more moisture, making them less airy by comparison. “As a general rule, the less synthetic materials, the better,” Brinkers says.

From a practicality standpoint, white sneakers can be a bit of a chore. The material they are made will determine the proper maintenance process, whether that’s a sneaker solution or a waterproof wax — especially if you hope to keep them as close to the box-fresh state they came in. (Like Alexa Chung, I subscribe to the philosophy that you should dirty them up a bit before your first wear.)

Design

What counts as a well-designed sneaker will be different for anyone you ask. To judge the sneakers recommended to me, I searched for the standout details that might make you pick one over the other. Is there a large logo on a side that lets everyone know these are Nikes? Do they have a chunky, in-your-face sole or are they sleek and minimal, one step up from going barefoot? Whatever those special features are, I noted them.

Price

The sneaker market is fraught with high price tags — the more fashion-forward, the more expensive (usually). So in coming up with this list, I focused on worth-it brands and made sure to include many budget-friendly kicks throughout. Every sneaker here is denoted as either $ (under $100), $$ (under $150), or $$$ (over $150).

Best white sneakers overall

Sizes: 5–13 with half-sizes | Material: Leather | Design: High-foam midsole, toe perforations | Price: $$

The iconic Air Force 1 is instantly recognizable with its clean lines, swoosh logo, and low-cut collar. These have a slight platform, unlike shier Supergas or basic Keds. They’re super comfortable, with plenty of cushioning and a breathable toebox with a sunburst of perforated holes for extra airflow. I can stand in AF1s for hours and walk thousands of steps without a problem. There’s a lightness about them; they never cause me to drag my feet or trip over myself. Because AF1s are a real do-it-all sneaker — and do the doing for just over $100 — they are my top pick.

They also take the superlative of “most mentioned,” a true feat considering I heard about close to 50 pairs of sneakers while reporting for this guide. “You can’t go wrong with Air Force 1s, and as a native New Yorker, I would feel embarrassed not to own a pair,” says stylist Christel Langué. Michelle Silva, co-founder of content-creation agency Con.cept, and Leigh Plessner, creative director of fine jewelry label Catbird, are fans too.

Best white low-top sneakers

Sizes: 5–15 with unisex sizing and wide options | Material: Canvas | Design: Converse red outlining, All Star “license plate” in back | Price: $

Equally iconic are the Chuck Taylors from Converse, which date back to 1917. I wore the low-tops throughout junior high and high school (though mine were covered in marker-made doodles). Even now, “there’s something inherently cool, nostalgic, and rebellious about Converse,” says Vogue vintage shopping columnist Jenny Walton. She’s had her Chucks since middle school and likes their low-profile, as she feels she’s too short to pull off high-tops.

But the high-top version is just as noteworthy and a favorite of artist Shantell Martin and senior editor Simone Kitchens. Another low-top Converse sneaker you can’t go wrong with is the Jack Purcell. “If they’re cool enough for Steve McQueen, they’re cool enough for me,” declares Dominique Porter, founder of the Glad Hours.

Best minimalist white sneakers

Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Material: Made from recyclables | Design: Perforated sides in three-striped logo pattern |Price: $$

Named after the tennis star, Stan Smiths are an archetype in the category of minimalist sneakers. It’s their endearing simplicity that’s made them “eternally popular,” according to stylist Jessica Cadmus. From an almost inconspicuous Adidas logo to a low-to-the-ground sole, Stan Smiths are meant to be wear-anywhere sneakers. Though Cadmus thinks they look best when spotless: “This is where a Magic Eraser comes in very, very handy,” she says. Strategist columnist Chris Black is another on-the-record fan, and so is designer Jonathan Adler. “I have a closet groaning, groaning, with couture footwear,” Adler says, “all ignored in favor of my beloved Stan Smiths.”

Best canvas white sneakers

Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Material: Canvas | Design: Small logo tag on one side | Price: $

The 2750s from Superga are more minimal than the Stan Smiths from Adidas — made from plain canvas that’s unlined on the inside, with a branding tag as their lone adornment. (Superga did start out on the tennis shoe scene after all, with its sneakers best described as spartan.) They are a sneaker you can get a lot of use out of. Photographer Louise Parker often chooses her Supergas over her Converse when she knows she’ll be walking around a lot, as these offer a bit more support and a comfortable cushioned footbed. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo puts hers on when she doesn’t want to wear sandals or socks in the summertime. “They feel like slippers you can wear outside,” she says.

Best retro-style white sneakers

Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Material: Leather | Design: Shell toes, side stripes | Price: $$

To me, the Superstars from Adidas feels retro but not outdated — debuting in 1970, the low-tops were a hit on the basketball court and then the hip-hop scene. The sneakers are known for their distinctive shell-shaped toe and three-stripe trademark. There have been different versions of the Superstar over the decades, with this version close to the originals. “They are such a throwback,” says Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of the salon Tenoverten. While she’s found them to be true-to-size, she suggests those with narrower feet wear the sneakers with a thicker sock, as they’re a little generous width-wise. And unlike some of the other styles on this list, the sneakers are available in both a “cloud white” and off-white — Abramcyk likes the latter because it’s not as stark.

Best white trainer-style sneakers

Sizes: 4–12 | Material: Canvas | Design: Gum rubber sole, gripped sole for traction | Price: $

Strategist contributor Anna Fielding describes these canvas trainers from Chinese shoe brand Feiyue as “the kind of shoes that would skip across a suburban lawn in a Sofia Coppola film.” Joanna Fu, New York correspondent for Vogue Hong Kong (and former associate editor at Hypebeast) says the remarkably affordable $35 shoes are the most comfortable pair she owns. That’s a big reason why the trainers have a following that includes martial-arts practitioners, parkour enthusiasts, and Shaolin monks. These are also good for weight-lifting and light-cardio, according to Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa — who counts them among the lightest, most packable workout shoes.

Best white high-top sneakers

Sizes: 5–17.5 with unisex and wide sizing |Material: Canvas | Design: Triple-collar stitching, reinforced toe caps | Price: $

The SK8-His are everything a high-top should be — with a height that skims the hem of a cropped pant and a defined platform. If you’re wearing a high-top sneaker, you want to show them off — and these flaunt quilting-like stitching on the top. “These sneakers have been by my side since my freshman year of high school,” says artist Camille Lanham, noting that no matter how dirty they get, there’s “nothing a little bleach can’t do.” They are also much edgier than Converse high-tops, with a touch of “delinquent teenager who frequents the mall,” according to Strategist editor Maxine Builder. (Another Vans classic: checkered slip-ons, which come in tonal white-on-white or a plain white, too. Rony Vardi, founder of Catbird, wears hers until they have holes — and replaces them soon after every time. “They look effortlessly cool with just about everything you can think of,” she says. “Pretty much the perfect shoe.”)

Best white platform sneakers

Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Material: Canvas | Design: One-inch platform | Price: $

Washington, D.C.–based organizer Nina Sarhan turns to platform Keds for protests that involve walking for hours. She says they have the right amount of cushion and arch support, with the platform and foam footbed helping to absorb the shock of each step. “Keds also have sturdy construction, so they’re great for miles on the roads,” she says. The rubber soles have traction, so Sarhan doesn’t slip on slippery crosswalks when it rains.

Best white leather sneakers

Sizes: 35–42 (equivalent to US 5–11) | Material: Leather | Design: Chunky sole | Price: $$

Vejas have a storied history at the Strategist, but the V-10s are the most popular by far. For artist Maggie Meiners, their easy vibe makes them a staple, while Michelle Li, former fashion and beauty editor at Teen Vogue, calls them “supernova white shoes.” Langué says they “bring out my inner French gal.”

But the V-10s aren’t the only Vejas I heard about. Former Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Dobras goes for a velcro version. Stylist Erica Ball prefers the Esplars and pairs hers with dresses topped and moto jackets. “There’s something about the juxtaposition of the feminine mixed with the masculine,” she explains. I’m also currently trying another style from Veja, the newer V-90s, which are more retro-looking than the court-inspired V-10s, and will update accordingly once I’ve given them a true test.

Best (less-expensive) white leather sneakers

Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Material: Leather | Design: Removable footbed, green vintage logos all over | Price: $

Reebok’s Club C 85s are a more affordable and athletic-looking alternative to the Vejas. The Club C 85s have been a favorite with the Gen Z crowd; “maybe I’m biased because I’m so in love with them, but I feel like it’s such an essential in everyone’s closet,” says digital creator Jasmine Farinas. While they haven’t quite reached the see-them-everywhere level of the AF1s, they’re definitely getting there. Brittany Nims, associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media, bought her own Club C 85s after seeing them on this very site. She calls them the right combination of a dad-sneaker aesthetic and normcore, noting that “they’re perfectly average in the best way.” Nims admittedly considered looks above all else when choosing the shoes, but says her Club C 85s have molded to her feet and become more comfortable the more she has worn them — including on trips through California and Arkansas and around her neighborhood in Brooklyn. Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell also vouches for their comfort, saying they’re easy on her feet no matter how many miles she logs on her walks around New York City. And Vardi is another Reebok devotee, having come around to the brand as a “comfort-seeking mom.”

Best white slip-on sneakers

Sizes: 5–13 with half sizes | Material: Knitted from recycled plastic bottles | Design: Brand’s signature stripe in the back | Price: $$

These slip-ons from Rothy’s are comfortable from the get-go, with little to no breaking in required. Knitted from a thread that’s spun from recycled plastic bottles, the sneakers are breathable and never make my feet sweat, whether I wear them with or without socks. They fit my wider feet well, without rubbing at the sides. These have the same selling point as all Rothy’s-branded shoes: They’re machine washable. I followed the instructions to wash mine, popping out the insoles and putting the shoes through a cold cycle, then letting them air-dry, and they came out looking fresh and bright. Some reviewers say they’ve had the shoes shrink, and though I haven’t had that problem, I’ll be keeping an eye on the sizing through more washings. That said, I think spot cleaning does the trick most of the time — removing most marks, from odd dirt smudges to an unexplainable blue blot.

Best (less expensive) white slip-on sneakers

Sizes: 4–12 with half, wide, and narrow sizes | Material: Leather | Design: Perforated upper | Price: $

Naturalizer’s Mariannes, which have appeared twice in our archives, are a cheaper alternative to the Rothy’s above. New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff packed these slip-ons on a trip to Portugal when she wanted slip-ons that were Vans-like but “totally innocuous (in that you wouldn’t be able to tell what brand they were, and would kind of blend in with any outfit).” The Mariannes delivered, plus they were cushioned enough to wear on cobblestone streets while sightseeing. These sneakers were also name-checked in our guide to best shoes for hard-to-find sizes, as they come in narrow and wide widths.

Best white step-in sneakers

Sizes: 6–13 with half-sizes | Material: Made from a knitted fabric | Design: Hands-free with spring-back heel | Price: $$

Start-up Kizik specializes in hands-free shoes. I was impressed with how easy they are to put on: You really do just step right in. As author Diksha Basu explains, “There’s a little springy plastic part at the back that allows the shoe to fold and unfold as your foot enters.” They are well-suited for people who don’t have the physical ability to bend over to put on shoes, but they are also practical for just about anyone who’s always in a rush — the laces are already tied, and there’s no bunny-ears technique necessary. Plus the sneakers are comfortably cushioned with foam throughout the inside. Though ease is the big thing with these shoes, you’re getting a smart-looking pair as well. The cagelike frame in the back reminds me of the futuristic Nike Huaraches below.

Best chunky white sneakers

Sizes: 5–12 | Material: Leather and neoprene | Design: Low-cut collar, perforations, logo on tongue | Price: $$

For a little more fashion-forward twist on the traditional dad sneaker, try Nike Huaraches. Elizabeth Tamkin, content director at Kule, likes that these are unisex (you can find men’s sizes here), meaning she can pair them with girlier dresses and tracksuits alike. The cushioned, thicker sole especially works well with her shorter figure, giving her a little height (and making these look cooler, too). Fair warning: Strategist senior editor Crystal Martin, who’s an avid Huarache wearer, recommends going up half a size, since these can be tight — she has a high instep, for reference. If you want more of a mix between chunky and minimalist, Theta Gallery director Jordan Barse offers another recommendation: These “dance” shoes that she’s worn on her art-handling adventures across Manhattan, whose slim-fitting arched design resembles Louis Vuitton’s Archlight.

Best white dad sneakers

Sizes: 5–12 with half sizes |Material: Mesh and memory foam | Design: Foam collar and midsole | Price: $$$

Hokas look like sneakers your dad would wear — and that’s part of the appeal. It’s all about comfort nowadays, and gone are the days of orthopedic shoes being uncool (support and stability are big — even President Biden has been seen sporting Hokas lately). Cookbook author and recipe developer Molly Baz was an early adopter of the brand, embracing it before the dad-shoe trend even began on the recommendation of an orthopedist. Meanwhile, Dazed executive editorial director Lynette Nylander reaches for the Bondis because she’s a purist, preferring her sneakers to be all white — unlike some of the others on our list, the logo sort of disappears into the design. The Bondis’ chunkiness even gives her a little boost of height (and confidence) as well, Nylander says.

Some more women’s sneakers we’ve written about

Our experts

• Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of the salon Tenoverten
Erica Ball, stylist
Jordan Barse, Theta Gallery director
Diksha Basu, Strategist contributor
Molly Baz, cookbook author and recipe developer
Lauren Brinkers, shoemaker
Maxine Builder, Strategist editor
Jessica Cadmus, stylist
Caitlin Carlson, former deputy editor at Equinox’s Furthermore
• Liza Corsillo, Strategist senior writer
Cassadi Currier, hairstylist
• Dawn Dobras, former Credo Beauty CEO
Jasmine Farinas, fashion blogger
• Anna Fielding, Strategist UK contributor
Joanna Fu, New York correspondent for Vogue Hong Kong
Simone Kitchens, Strategist senior editor
Christel Langué, stylist
Camille Lanham, artist
Michelle Li, freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor at Teen Vogue
Bari Lieberman, personal trainer
Crystal Martin, Strategist senior editor
Shantell Martin, artist
Maggie Meiners, artist
Jenna Milliner-Waddell, Strategist associate editor
Adriene Mishler, yoga instructor
• Brittany Nims, former associate director of e-commerce partnerships and business development at Vox Media
Lynette Nylander, Dazed executive editorial director
• Louise Parker, model and photographer
• Leigh Plessner, creative director of Catbird
• Dominique Porter, founder of The Glad Hours
• Jody Quon, New York Magazine photo director
• Lauren Ro, Strategist writer
Nina Sarhan, Washington, D.C.–based organizer
Justina Sharp, digital creator
• Michelle Silva, co-founder of content creation agency Con.cept
• Alexis Swerdloff, New York Magazine deputy editor
• Elizabeth Tamkin, content director at Kule
• Rony Vardi, founder of Catbird
Jenny Walton, Vogue vintage shopping columnist

Additional reporting by Lori Keong, Hilary Reid, and Katherine Gillespie

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The 15 Very Best White Sneakers for Women