Footwear has always been my favorite part of dressing. When getting dressed, I work my way from the floor to the ceiling: Oftentimes, an outfit will be born out of what shoes I want to wear. Historically, I’ve been one to wear a five inch platform sandal on a walk or a velvet Mary Jane in the rain. As of late, though, I’ve found myself gravitating toward my sneakers, specifically my flat, low-top white ones. I have three pairs I rotate through… and, truthfully, they’re the only shoes left out in my apartment right now. Not only practical for walking, I love how clean and classic sneakers are. They’re a desirable double whammy:easy to wear with anything and fun to dress up.
White sneakers aren’t a revelation—wearing them is nothing new and definitely not trend-based, but I recently went through and rounded up some of my favorites out there if you too would like a go-to pair of crisp, classic shoes that won’t cause blisters, look great with anything, and are wearable year-round.
My original favorite all-white sneaker is the Adidas Superstar. I got my first pair in 9th grade and remember wearing them throughout that entire summer. Because they’re leather, they’re very easy to clean and durable (should you get caught in a rain storm as I have countless times). Recently, I’ve been eyeing this sleek pair from Adidas and actually own the Childish Gambino Continental pair that are a lot like these ones and love those, too.
This past summer, my everyday (and I mean every single day) shoe has been this $25 martial arts sneaker by Feiyue. The original version of the sneaker—made in Shanghai in the 1920s—is popular for martial arts because of their lightweight sole. While they’re not 100% white, I love the accents of red and blue on the sides.
Onitsuka Tiger originated as a youthful Japanese athletic footwear brand. They’re lightweight yet sturdy, and provide adequate support for days of long walking. The GSM style is a low-top, flat and all-white sneaker, which makes them versatile (thoughI also love their Lawnship style which is very similar to their more recognizable Serrano sneaker with the red and white logo, on sale here).
I got myself a pair of Keds specifically to wear with stirrup leggings because they are so low—I liked that you could catch a glimpse of the stirrups’ straps. They’re an easy canvas sneaker, which also come in leather if that’s more your speed. Keds have a fantastic ‘80s vibe, most likely because Jennifer Grey wore them in Dirty Dancing (1987).
I jokingly call these the “Black Tie” of white sneakers because they are so crisp and clean—I envision them with a pantsuit or wide leg trousers. They feel like a “mature fashion editor sneaker” to me. They’re on the more expensive side, but you truly can wear them with any outfit from track shorts to trousers.
Similar to M.Gemi’s pair, Mandeaux’s Marcus is another pair you can dress up with ease. There’s no branding, so they’re a veritable blank canvas for any outfit. Heads up: these are men’s, so if you’re lucky enough to find your corresponding size, I’d grab a pair of these.
Speaking of blank canvases! This J.Crew style clocks in at $34.50 (they’re on sale) and while more casual than M.Gemi or Mandeaux’s pairs because they’re canvas, they have no branding on them and are a great classic, flat sneaker option.
This pair is the most “trendy” of the bunch. They were super popular a few years ago but have remained on many an Instagrammed foot. I really like their newer style too, the Clubs Sneaker. It has a bit of a higher top to it, making it look more like the Adidas Superstar. And don’t forget the Cotu slip on if that’s your jam.
The Nike Air Force 1 is an iconic New York Streetwear staple. It has the most iconic and distinguishable silhouette with a thicker sole than most of the others in this roundup. That thick sole makes these shoes a rare winter sneaker. It’s probably why many customers own more than one pair.
These croc-embossed leather sneakers—which come in women’s and men’s sizing—are handmade in Italy. These are the kind of shoes you can wear with, and that can easily jazz up, leggings and a T-shirt (my personal quarantine uniform) while still looking incredibly cool. The brand suggests that you size down half a size.
I love Cariuma’s OCA Low because, like Superga’s Cotu sneaker, it’s an easy canvas sneaker with a lower rise on the top bridge, exposing some extra ankle. Plus, these are super easy to put on (you can even slide your foot in with the laces tied). The best part about the Rio-based brand is they maintain ethical factories and give back to their community and fellow eco-friendly organizations. This specific pair is 100% vegan.
I haven’t worn a velcro sneaker since the days before I learned how to tie laces, but this pair from Veja is very, very cool. Veja is a French brand that’s manufactured in Brazil with sustainable materials.
A classic tennis shoe from the ‘80s, the Reebok Club Classics resonate with their timelessness and downtown vibes. They have incredible arch support for such a flat sneaker, and while this round- up is technically all-white sneakers, I do love their shade of off-white and that subtle green Reebok logo. I’m also a big fan of this pair with the gum sole.
No sneaker round-up can leave out the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, and this monochrome white pair fits the criteria. A little less of a statement than the original with the red trim, this pair with the classic toe cap and to-the-ankle lacing is the epitome of cool footwear.
If you happen to desire a touch of color, African social-oriented shoe brand Keexs has a classic white vegan leather low-top with red lining and red laces. If you’re looking for a happy medium, you could also swap out the red laces for white ones and just flaunt that bit of red lining. So cool.
There are so many white low-top flat sneakers out there. Do you have a favorite one to add to this list? Do tell in the comments below!
Photos by Shana Trajanoska.