Sneakers, trainers, runners, plimsolls, tennis shoes, sports shoes… Whatever you call them, I doubt there are many people reading this who have never worn a pair of white [description of choice] in their life.
As part of my capsule wardrobe series I’m covering classic white sneakers – 16 pairs guaranteed to last you well past this year’s trends (and if my Adidas Originals are anything to go by, almost 20 years and still going strong)!
For most of us, school was the first time we were introduced to the white sports shoe. For me, they were totally plain white plimsolls (or “plimp-soles” as my young self called them) that probably had zero support or any kind of cushioning for my growing feet. Today, of course, the technology used in sports shoes is second to none and they’re one of the most comfortable shoes for just about any activity.
However, judging by some of the emails I receive I know a lot of older women fear looking plain or frumpy in sports shoes… Get them wrong and yes, you could end up with an unimaginative choice of footwear that makes you look either like a tourist or like you’re ready to walk the dog. However it is very, very easy to always get it right…
How to get your sneakers/trainers right every time
My best advice? Go for white, and go for a classic style. My aforementioned Adidas Originals Superstars with navy stripes have lasted me years, and although they look a little worn-out they’re still my go-to pair and just as stylish – the ULTIMATE classic.
If you look at street style looks at any fashion week (especially London Fashion Week), you’ll see many fashionistas wearing classic white sneakers with their outfits. Depending on your style, they work with jeans, smart trousers, skirts, dresses, jumpsuits, tailored suits or distressed denim.
And no, before anyone says – it’s not an age thing. White sneakers are NOT just for younger girls. A 70-year-old woman with a Breton top, black wide leg trousers and Converse All Stars can look just as achingly stylish as a 20 year old in ripped denim and the same shoes.
It’s not your age, it’s all about how you wear them (but then I believe in that for everything we wear)!
Here are just a few of the outfits I’ve worn over the years with my white sneakers: Adidas Stan Smiths, Adidas Originals, and plain white tennis shoes. I have worn them with midi skirts but I just couldn’t find the photos (sorry!) – however you can see that they work with smart looks and casual looks and just about every trouser style.
Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you that classic white sneakers are an absolute vital addition to your wardrobe, here are 16 of the MOST classic. You may notice that all my links lead to them on sale at ASOS – I make no apologies for that. ASOS do free international delivery and free returns, with no minimum order. The returns period is 30 days and they send the return label in the parcel. Plus if you time it right you will eventually get a voucher code (often 20, sometimes 30%) – as these sneakers are not one-off fashion styles they should stay in stock for a while so you’ll get your chance to get a classic brand at a reduced price.
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Simply choose your favourite brand and go with it – you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these…!
ARE YOU A CLASSIC WHITE SNEAKER FAN, OR HAVE I PERHAPS CONVERTED YOU? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
Converse All Star
Converse always look good, and haven’t changed style in basically forever. (That’s the case with many of the styles here.) You can get them in all sorts of colours, but pure all-white is a no-brainer. They look SO good with plain, wide leg trousers for that “I’m so effortlessly chic it’s unreal” vibe.
As above in terms of classic, but with that high top you’ve got a sportier look going on. A classic unisex choice, great with cropped trousers or jeans (as pictured) to show off a little ankle.
I know some people who will always, and only, wear Nike. Because they do serious sports shoes they make so many styles, but the Thea is a classic boxy, sporty shape and will really look after your feet.
If you want more structure to your sneakers and less of the serious sports shoe vibe, go for a leather pair. These have more than a touch of the 70s about them with that round toe.
The same style as above, but with totally different styling: Perforated textile upper instead of leather, and a bright red swoosh and blue trim. I thought the last ones were very 70s – these are totally retro.
The Lacoste has one of the most simple styling of all the sneakers here: Very little detail except for the thicker flatform sole and the crocodile logo. Good if you like tennis shoes and a solid leather shoe.
These just scream Back to the Future to me – not so much Marty McFly (I know he wore Nikes…) but more what his girlfriend wore. (They’re probably not at all like the ones she actually wore but that’s just how they “speak” to me.) I love them for their old-school look, but instead of wearing them with leg warmers(!) and leggings go for cropped flares or skinnies with a deep hem – counteract the 80s look with styles from another decade.
Adidas are my favourite brand – the original and best. All-white Stan Smiths are probably my number one choice of all of these styles: Classic styling, incredibly comfortable, go with anything.
As above, but with the classic green trim and picture of Stan himself on the tongue. Extra style points from the fash pack if you choose green and white. If the flash of green works with the rest of your wardrobe then go for these.
With the sporty stripes and signature shell toe cap, the Adidas Superstar is my other favourite style and the pair I’ve owned for nearly 20 years. I can’t ever imagine them going out of style, so a pair of these is a fantastic (and not really all that expensive) investment.
The Gazelle is the quieter cousin of the Stan Smiths – not so chunky with a sleeker toe and slim sole. These are a little more graceful than the other Adidas, so wear these with midi skirts or dresses if you want to keep the look less sporty and more neat and tidy.
I love the styling of these Golas – the stripes are in a contrasting (and subtly off-white) suede and the soles are very distinctive. The gold “Gola” logo is cute too.
Quite different from all the other styles, the Puma classics are very retro-looking and the soles are off-white to contrast with the uppers. I also like the fact that they look a little lived in, as if you’ve had them for years but taken good care of them.
Very plain styling, but if Fred Perry is your brand of choice then get a pair of these plain white leather trainers pronto. No fuss, just a simple, classy style of tennis (what else?) shoe.
With the bold silver eyelets and ribbed sole, these are once again a totally different style from the others. Perfect if you don’t want stark white and you like a preppy feel over a sporty look – wear them with cropped gingham pants in the summer.
Last but not least – Supergas. Another retro style, these are also on the more preppy side. I can imagine Jackie O wearing these on a day off with kick flares and a shirt knotted at the waist – if you love a 50s / 60s look these are for you.