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The 15 Very Best White Sneakers for Women

“You can’t go wrong with Air Force 1s, and as a native New Yorker, I would feel embarrassed not to own a pair.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

Hypebeast or not, it’s hard to ignore the white-sneaker boom in the latter half of the past decade — think of the Stan Smiths craze that unleashed many a copycat, the ubiquitous ugly trainers trend, and the orthopedic-esque Salomons out on the streets as we speak. These latest iterations (and the inevitable ones to follow) are further proof of the kicks’ power. Even if, from a practicality standpoint, white sneakers can be a bit of a chore (especially if you like to keep them as pristine as possible), there’s no denying their appeal. To find the very best of the best, we turned to sneakerheads and shoe obsessives for their favorite white sneakers, from minimalist low-tops to much chunkier and sportier affairs.

What we’re looking for

Material

Material affects comfort. As shoemaker Lauren Brinkers explains, cottons, linens, and leathers wear better because of their breathability, while synthetics like polyester tend to hold more moisture, making them feel less airy in comparison. “As a general rule, the less synthetic materials, the better,” Brinkers says.  What a shoe is made of will also determine the proper maintenance process, whether that’s a sneaker solution or a waterproof wax. This is important if you hope to keep them as close to the box-fresh state they came in.

Sizes

Generally, women’s sneakers come in a size range of 5 to 11. Occasionally, this range won’t include half-sizes, especially with brands that follow European sizing (like French label Veja). Then there’s unisex sizing, where the men’s size equivalent is listed alongside the women’s; this sometimes means the shoes a) come in a wider numerical range, and b) run slightly bigger. We’ve listed all the sizing-related details for each pair below, including wide and narrow options where available.

Design

What counts as a well-designed sneaker will be different for anyone you ask. To judge the pairs recommended to us as fairly as possible, we 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? Is there a chunky, almost-cleat-like sole that makes them look like something you picked up at a sports store? Whatever those special features are, we’ve made sure to note them.

Price

The sneaker market is fraught with high price tags — the more fashion-forward, the more expensive (usually). So in the making of this list, we focused on worth-it brands and their more affordable options. Every sneaker here is denoted as either $ (under $100), $$ (under $150), or $$$ (over $150).

Best overall white sneakers

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

Unsurprisingly, the sneakerheads we talked to had much to say about the cult-favorite–to–classic Air Force 1. These not only top our list but take the superlative of “most mentioned,” an astounding feat when you consider that we heard about more than 40 pairs when doing the reporting for this guide. There’s something undeniably timeless about them, from the white-sock–revealing low top to the Nike swoosh that complements the clean lines of the shoe. These are also on Nike’s more affordable side, coming in at just a little more than $100.

Their versatility is what makes them an essential for so many. Michelle Silva, co-founder of content creation agency Con.cept, calls AF1s her go-to. Leigh Plessner, creative director of fine jewelry label Catbird, brought hers when her daughter was born — and loved how cool the kicks looked with nightgowns when she started doing day care drop-off. They’re so good that stylist Christel Langué buys a new pair every year. “You can’t go wrong with Air Force 1s, and as a native New Yorker, I would feel embarrassed not to own a pair,” she says. “A staple for sure.” A self-described “die-hard buyer” of AF1s, Gia Kuan, who runs a namesake consulting company, has gone through at least five pairs in her lifetime.

Best white low-top sneakers

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

Equally iconic, Chuck Taylors are your best bet for low-tops. “There’s something inherently cool, nostalgic, and rebellious about Converse,” explains fashion illustrator Jenny Walton. Walton has worn Chuck Taylors since middle school to feel “a little punk-rockish,” always in the low-profile shape, as she feels she’s “too short to pull off high-tops.”

Converse was just shy of earning that “most mentioned” title, too, with a few other styles coming up in our reporting. The high-top version is a favorite of artist Shantell Martin — and among Strategist staffers. “It’s an off day when at least three of my co-workers aren’t also wearing Converse,” explains senior editor Simone Kitchens. If you want a slightly more unexpected Converse style, however, consider the pair Dominique Porter, founder of sleepwear label the Glad Hours, prefers: Jack Purcells. “If they’re cool enough for Steve McQueen, they’re cool enough for me,” she says.

Best minimalist white sneakers

From $35

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

Superga started out on the tennis shoe scene, a fact that becomes more apparent when you look at its spartan design. The 2750s are probably the Italian company’s most well-known offering. They’re also a favorite of model and photographer Louise Parker, whose shoe of choice is a simple sneaker — between her Converses and these, the latter frequently wins. “When I know I’m going to be walking a lot, I’ll wear my Supergas, because they have a bit more support,” she says. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo similarly points out that these wear well when she doesn’t want to put on “real shoes” in the summertime. “They feel like slippers you can wear outside,” she says.

Best retro-style white sneakers

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

Adidas introduced the now-familiar Superstar in 1970; the low-tops quickly became popular with professional basketball players and made their way onto the hip-hop scene soon afterward, becoming known for their distinctive shell-shaped toe. This take on the shoes is based on a version that debuted in 1982, featuring the German company’s famous side stripes. Nadine Abramcyk, co-founder of the salon Tenoverten, was inspired to get a pair for herself after seeing her husband, a “stealth sneakerhead,” sport his own. “They are such a throwback to the original ’80s design,” she says, adding that the toe feels especially reminiscent of the era. She also appreciates that the shoes are slightly off-white, “so not as stark as a true white sneaker.” Abramcyk adds that they are supercomfortable — though if you have a narrower foot, she suggests wearing them with a thicker sock since they’re a little generous width-wise.

Best white trainer-style sneakers

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

Feiyue trainers count martial-arts practitioners, parkour enthusiasts, and Shaolin monks as devotees, as Strategist contributor Anna Fielding recounted in her ode to them. Fielding first spotted them on the Tube, quickly realizing that “they were 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), favors them too: “These are OG Feiyue sneakers from China — have to represent my culture!” The very affordable sneakers are the most comfortable shoes Fu owns and still have the original 1920s look with a white canvas upper, yellow gum outsole, and signature vintage red-and-blue logo. These trainers also earned a spot in our workout-shoes guide as one of our top picks for everyday wear.

Best white high-top sneakers

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

Crowning the best high-top wasn’t easy. Although Converse was a top contender (see above), Vans ultimately won because they give off what Strategist editor Maxine Builder describes as a “delinquent teenager who frequents the mall” energy that’s edgier than the more minimal Converse. And they are everything a high-top should be, with a defined platform and a height that just skims the hem of a cropped pant. If you’re wearing a high-top sneaker, you do want to show off the upper — and the SK8-His have a quilting-reminiscent stitching that makes them superior. All these factors might explain why they’ve been popular for years. “These sneakers have been by my side since my freshman year of high school — I haven’t grown at all, ha,” artist Camille Lanham says. And even after years of wear, Lanham notes that no matter how dirty they get, there’s “nothing a little bleach can’t do.” (You also can’t go wrong with the classic checkered Vans, which Rony Vardi, founder of the Brooklyn-based jewelry studio Catbird, favors. She wears her until they have holes — and replaces them soon after. “They look effortlessly cool with just about everything you can think of, in any season. Pretty much the perfect shoe.”)

Best white platform sneakers

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

These slightly elevated (both literally and figuratively) platform Keds are what Washington, D.C.–based organizer Nina Sarhan wears during protests that involve walking for hours. The platform pulls double duty, not only adding some height but helping absorb the shock of each step. “Cushion and arch support are major keys,” she says. And these have the right amount of both. In one instance, Sarhan marched in these Keds for six hours straight (shutting down a highway with other protesters in the process). And the foam footbed makes them especially comfortable. “Keds also have sturdy construction, so they’re great for miles on the roads back and forth through D.C.,” says Sarhan.

Best white leather sneakers

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

Vejas have a storied history at the Strategist, but the V-10s are the most popular by far. New York Magazine photo director Jody Quon puts it best: “These are the first stylish sneakers that I’ve found that I can wear in ages,” adding that she first discovered them on a mother-daughter trip to London. “They are so comfortable; I wear them with everything.” Three other women we talked to shared the same sentiment. Artist Maggie Meiners echoes that their easy vibe makes them a staple, while Michelle Li, a freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor at Teen Vogue, calls them her “supernova white shoes.” Langué says they “bring out my inner French gal.”

The V-10s aren’t the only Vejas we heard about, however. Former Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Dobras prefers the (almost sold out) Velcro version, citing Veja’s sustainable ethos as a reason why she’s a fan. (Every leather sneaker from the brand is ethically sourced, and this pair is lined with organic cotton and recycled plastic.) Stylist Erica Ball prefers the Esplars, matching hers with dresses topped with moto jackets. “There’s something about the juxtaposition of the feminine mixed with the masculine that feels stylish,” she explains.

Best (less-expensive) white leather sneakers

Material: Leather | Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | 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, with Jasmine Farinas telling us that “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.” 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 coming around to the brand as a “comfort-seeking mom.”

Best white slip-on sneakers

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

The Naturalizer Mariannes have appeared twice in our archives. The first time was courtesy of New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff, who brought them on a trip to Portugal. 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 did that and more, helping her navigate the cobblestone streets. These were also recommended in our guide to the best shoes for hard-to-find sizes for their narrow and wide options.

Best white step-in sneakers

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

Start-up Kizik specializes in hands-free shoes — and the Athens have the Strategist seal of approval. As author Diksha Basu explains in her ode to the pair, “You can slip your feet into them without bending or using your hands, and they don’t lose their shape or fit. There’s a little springy plastic part at the back that allows the shoe to fold and unfold as your foot enters.” No bunny ears technique necessary. Basu points out that this feature is especially useful for those who don’t have the physical ability to use their hands to tie their laces. Though this part of their design is undoubtedly their biggest selling point, the sneakers are also smart-looking on their own, with a knitted upper, a slightly platformed sole, and a cool cagelike feature in the back that helps the shoes pop into place. “They look good — dare I say, they look cool,” Basu says. As a bonus, the Athens are supportive enough to traverse hard sidewalk surfaces that can be “pretty tiring on the back.”

Best chunky white sneakers

Material: Leather and neoprene | Sizes: 5–12 | 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 manager at Kule, owns the fully white version and wears them all the time. Tamkin 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 edgier, too). 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

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

Hokas look like sneakers your dad would wear until they fell apart — and that’s part of the appeal. Cookbook author and recipe developer Molly Baz had her (now sold-out) Hokas 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.

Best white sporty sneakers

Material: Knitted from recycled polyester | Sizes: 5–11 with half-sizes | Design: Adidas Boost midsole | Price: $

Ultraboosts earned rave reviews here and throughout our archives. Hair stylist Cassadi Currier describes Ultraboosts as ultra-comfortable — Adidas designed the shoes with softer cushioning and a narrower heel for a closer fit. Yoga instructor Adriene Mishler can’t live without her Ultraboosts either. “Yes, they look cool and are hip, but they feel good, too. It’s nice to have a shoe I can wear for everything.” The sneakers are a wise choice for working out as well. Caitlin Carlson, former deputy editor at Equinox’s Furthermore, says these “actually do feel like clouds on your feet, and I’ve never felt faster.” Personal trainer Bari Lieberman also relies on her Ultraboosts for running just a few miles to half-marathons.

Best white split-toe sneakers

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 5–12 | Design: Split-toe with embroidered logo, hook-and-loop strap | Price: $$

The original Nike Air Rifts debuted in 1996 and, as designer Yara Flinn recounts, were received as a monstrosity in part because of the separated toe, which resembles a cloven hoof. The Breathe is a take on that design, with its signature split-toe, made with what the company calls a breathable “Tech Hypermesh,” and a plush, cushioned midsole for comfort. I don’t doubt that the Tabi renaissance has something to do with the Air Rift resurgence. Plessner convinced me to get these. She describes them as perfect for “the sport of life,” pairing them with antique nightgowns and silk Simone Rocha numbers. I, for one, have never found a better pair of sneakers. The Mary Jane–esque Breathes truly feel like “next to nothing” on your feet — whenever I slip into the split-toes, it’s as if I’m standing on the most sumptuous pillows. I’m not the only Strategist staffer who’s a convert — writer Lauren Ro purchased hers as replacements for a beloved pair of Marni neoprene sneakers. Ro likes that she doesn’t have to be too precious about the Air Rift Breathes, too (a Tide To-Go pen works miracles even on the white-as-snow mesh) — they’re a fraction of the price of new Marnis after all.

[Editors’ note: The white version of Air Rifts regularly goes out of stock, but this bone shade will give you a similar look.]

Some more women's white 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
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
• Gia Kuan, who runs a namesake consulting company
Christel Langué, stylist
Camille Lanham, artist
Michelle Li, freelance writer and former fashion and beauty editor at Teen Vogue
Bari Lieberman, personal trainer
Shantell Martin, artist
Maggie Meiners, artist
• Jenna Milliner-Waddell, Strategist associate editor
Adriene Mishler, yoga instructor
• Brittany Nims, 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 fine jewelry label Catbird
• Dominique Porter, founder of sleepwear label 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 manager at Kule
• Rony Vardi, founder of jewelry studio Catbird
Jenny Walton, fashion illustrator

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The 15 Very Best White Sneakers for Women