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The Best White Sneakers for Men, According to Cool Men

Photo-Illustration: retailers

A simple white sneaker has always been an essential part of any man’s shoe collection. Yes, their timeless appeal comes in handy when you’re putting together an outfit for the office or a date, but even if you’re only “getting dressed” to get groceries or take a walk, white sneakers can be just as much a go-to. So having the right pair in your arsenal may even force most other shoes out of your rotation. “They will never not be in style,” says Cory Ohlendorf, an editor of men’s style site Valet. “When you think of all the eras of menswear, a basic white sneaker remains something you simply must own.”

Underlying white sneakers’ versatility is the fact that, like black sneakers, they look good with almost all clothes. But, unlike black sneakers, white ones can be worn year-round, according to our cool guys, because while sunny days scream for bright kicks, many white sneakers also look better when weathered (which is why they’re just as fall- and winter-appropriate). “That’s the beauty of a simple white sneaker,” says Nicolas Lazaro, a community specialist at menswear-resale platform Grailed. To find the best white sneakers for men, we talked to Ohlendorf, Lazaro, and seven more stylish guys (then went through our archives to make sure we didn’t miss any other pairs recommended by cool men). Read on for their favorites, including canvas styles, classic leather pairs, slip-ons, sneakers you can skate in, and more.

Best overall white sneakers for men

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Named for the tennis player who wore them, Adidas’s Stan Smiths aren’t the only tennis shoes we heard about that made this list. But as the sport is known for its often all-white uniform, it’s not too surprising that it has led to the creation of many white sneakers that now hold space in discerning men’s closets. Stan Smiths received the most endorsements of all white sneakers we heard about, with Strategist writer Jordan Bowman, hairdresser Mark Miguez, and Chris Black all telling us that these have been in their sneaker rotation for years. Bowman, who has been wearing Stan Smiths for eight years, says their appeal is simple: “If they’re good enough for legendary designers like Phoebe Philo and Raf Simons to wear,” they’re good enough for him. Black agrees, saying the “classic” leather sneakers “absolutely serve their purpose.” Bowman adds that he thinks Stan Smiths look “the best when they are a little lived-in,” which is why he likes to wear them all year long. Miguez seconds that, telling us he also likes his Stan Smiths to have “the worn look” when he wears them with denim or chinos.

Best less-expensive white sneakers for men

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While you can occasionally find Stan Smiths on sale (like we have above), these Vans slip-ons that two guys recommend are generally going to be a bit more affordable. Ohlendorf told us that he has “gone through many a white sneaker” in his time, but that Vans slip-ons are the pair he always returns to. “It’s a classic that always looks right — whether it’s crisp and new or all beat-up and dingy,” he explains. And not just for errands or a day in the park: “They’re simple enough to swap in for dress shoes and sturdy enough to lift weights in,” says Ohlendorf, who adds that “you can’t ask for much more from a $50 shoe.” Miguez is another fan, noting he keeps a pair of these in his closet alongside his Stan Smiths. “They go with everything and age great,” he promises of the canvas sneakers.

Best less-expensive (lace-up) white sneakers for men

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If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable white sneaker that isn’t a slip-on, these canvas Supergas are just as timeless and versatile as Stan Smiths or Vans, according to former Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen, who has cycled through “at least 10 pairs of Superga Cotus in my lifetime.” That’s partly because the Italian brand’s sneakers are “incredibly comfortable, with no breaking-in necessary or weird footbed to contend with.” But Chen also loves these because they’re a little less common than Vans or Converse, while still sworn by among a group of super fans. Whenever one sees another Superga-wearer, Chen says they “feel like they’re part of some secret tribe.”

Trendiest white sneaker for men

Tretorn Nylite Plus
$70
Photo: retailer

Lazaro recommends this pair of white sneakers from Tretorn, calling them a “Scandi staple.” He’s not the only fan: We’ve spotted these sneakers in a number of cool men’s fit pics this summer. Says Lazaro: “Tretorn first made waves on tennis courts and at prep schools in the 1970s, but a recent revival was spurred in the late ’00s when Ivy style saw a small resurgence in the cult-menswear community.” While the sneakers’ look didn’t change in the decades between their debut and renaissance, Lazaro notes the ones sold today have an “upgraded sock liner that provides superior comfort, and a robust canvas upper that provides an uncompromised balance of breathability and durability that can be hard to find with other tennis shoes.” According to Chen, the thought behind even the smallest details in these sneakers is a big part of their appeal. “The vertical hash lines near the front sole are so distinct, and even the way the canvas upper is put together (its lines running almost parallel rather than perpendicular to the shoe) is specific and charming: You always know a Tretorn when you see it.” If you’re considering buying a pair, Lazaro says they run narrow and recommends going up a half size to allow enough room for socks.

Best white sneakers for men with skinny legs

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Lazaro explains that, “with a narrower silhouette than other Nike sneakers,” the leather Cortez is one of the “most flattering styles if you have slim legs and small ankles, like I do.” He goes on to explain that the Cortez has always been popular on the West Coast, particularly in Los Angeles, where, “for decades, area locals from Farrah Fawcett to Shia LaBeouf have depended on its versatility and classic appeal.” Lazaro also notes that these come in different colors; he says that while the white-and-red combination may be the most recognized iteration, he now wears the all-white style and calls them one of his most favorite pairs of white sneakers that he’s ever owned.

Best less-ubiquitous white sneaker for men (that’s basically Stan Smith dupe)

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If you love the Stan Smith aesthetic but want to stand out from the crowd of other people who do, fashion consultant Daniel Bernardo says to head straight to Aprix, the lesser-known sister company of popular menswear brand Noah. He’s had his pair of white AP003 sneakers for a year and says that while there was a short break-in period, it only made the sneakers more comfortable. “The leather feels nice and wears well” he promises, noting that these are another pair to consider if you’re a shopper who cares about every last detail. “As founder Brendon Babzenian aims to make pieces of quality, he’s just as mindful as possible of production practices, material selection, and more,” explains Bernardo. “Their sneakers are a product of those ideologies.”

Best sustainably made white sneakers for men

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Cariuma’s all-vegan canvas sneakers, which the brand says are made via a fair-trade, carbon-neutral production process, come recommended to us by Peter Hunsinger, a former Condé Nast executive and the founder of sock brand Kane 11. But their eco-friendliness is just one reason to love them, according to Hunsinger, who says the sneakers have received lots of compliments and queries of “where did you get those?” since he bought them. “They’re lightweight and comfy, and great for hanging around and casual wear,” he says, noting the sneakers are extra unique thanks to the fact that they were designed in collaboration with Pantone. “The partnership gives them a special provenance,” says Hunsinger.

Best chunky white sneaker for men

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Up until now, the styles of sneakers on this list have what you could call minimal silhouettes. But if you’re looking for a white sneaker that makes a statement other than simple, Kiyoshi Martinez, the lead fit specialist at men’s tailor Hall Madden, has become an unlikely evangelist for Nike’s Huaraches after buying and falling in love with his own pair. “I wanted a sneaker that would go well with an obsession I was getting into with Hawaiian shirts and shorts, but it still needed to have a modern edge and be comfortable for walking and standing in,” Martinez told us of the criteria that led him to this style. “I like how they look a bit futuristic and structured,” he explains, noting that their structured look “is actually very comfortable and stretchy because of its design.”

Best white sneakers for men who keep their white sneakers pristine

Nike Air Force 1
From $113

Nike’s Air Force 1s are “certified classics,” according to Bowman — and cool teens, athletes like Kevin Love, and celebrities like Fab 5 Freddy. One reason Bowman gives for their timeless appeal: “It’s hard to look bad in them.” The only time you might not be able to pull them off, he continues, is when they look a bit ragged — which is why, unlike other white sneakers that look better with some wear, he thinks Air Force 1s are best for guys who not only like their sneakers to be white, but spotless. “The shoe is at its best when clean, pristine, and has no creases,” Bowman says. Having worn the style for 14 years, he jokes that he could “write a book longer than the Harry Potter series about how I attempt to keep them clean.” (But if you don’t want to wait for that book to come out, we suggest checking out our guide to cleaning white sneakers.)

Best white sneakers for men who want a low-top alternative to Air Force 1s

The Air Force 1 and Cortez aren’t the only classic all-white sneakers that Nike offers. As someone who has been wearing Nike’s Jordan 1s — which rise lower around the ankle than the Air Force 1s — for years, — fashion designer Reggie Colvin reminds us that they too “go with everything, from simple clothes to technical street looks.” Like many of the other sneakers on our list, these are also inspired by sport (specifically, as their name suggests, basketball legend Michael Jordan). While Colvin didn’t tell us about how they perform on a basketball court, he did say that he thinks they’re perfect for another activity: skateboarding. “Skating in these shoes is better than in any ‘skate brand’ shoe because of the low profile, great leather, and very good toe cap for flipping your board,” he says.

The Best White Sneakers for Men, According to Cool Men