The white sneaker is as much a part of summer as backyard barbecues and having that mysterious air conditioning fluid drip on your head. A good pair of “white on whites” will keep you looking sharp whether you’re wearing a suit to a wedding or strolling around in shorts to pick up your fourth iced coffee of the day.
Sure, white shoes can be a bitch to keep clean making their longevity as fleeting as the summer itself. But if you strategically decide when to rock them (no music festivals, please) and avail yourself of the new crop of sneaker cleaners, you can keep your white sneakers blemish-free for a while. And the rush of stepping out in a pair of gleaming white kicks makes it all worth it.
Even though we are already into August, there is still plenty of time to wear your white kicks (don’t forget about those Indian Summer days). To help you find the pair that best suits your style, we pulled together the definitive list of white sneakers.
NIKE AIR FORCE 1
The white-on-white Air Force 1 is arguably the most important white sneaker ever made. It was the first basketball shoe with Nike’s Air technology, but it has become much more famous for its off-court appeal. A favorite among hip hop artists, especially Nelly, Kyjuan, Ali and Murphy Lee.
CONVERSE CHUCK II
It took almost a century, but Converse recently dropped the Chuck Taylor II and it is worth the wait. The redesigned Chuck II retains much of the original silhouette, but subtle updates truly refresh the iconic shoe. It also features comfy Lunarlon cushioning from Converse’s parent company Nike.
The Authentic is proof that an off-white white sneaker can be just as cool as a sneaker that’s pure as the driven snow. It’s the first sneaker that Vans made and its style still holds up today. The separation of the off-white upper from the white-white midsole with a single blue stripe is perfect.
ADIDAS x WHITE MOUNTAINEERING STAN SMITH
The Stan Smith has been getting a lot of love of late with notables like Pharrell putting out all manner of collaborations. This version from Japanese brand White Mountaineering is one of the simplest and also one of the best. The addition of patent leather on the upper and changing the heel tab from green to white elevates the sneaker.
ASICS GEL-KAYANO TRAINER EVO
Technically, these are lifestyle shoes, but you would have no trouble running a 5K in them either. Just don’t jump in any puddles. The GEL-Kayano Trainer EVO has a mesh upper that makes it extremely breathable and a compression sockliner to keep your feet feel secure with every step.
COMMON PROJECTS ACHILLES
We’ve extolled the virtues of the Common Projects Achilles before, but no discussion of white sneakers can be complete without them. The minimalist design has been imitated ad nausea but no one has done it quite like Common Projects. The leather sneakers even feature leather linings and the only branding is the gold foil numbers stamped on the heel which is the ultimate “if you know, you know” logo.
ADIDAS ULTRA BOOST
Blame it on Kanye West. That sentence could apply to any number of things, but in this case it’s sneakers. After ‘Ye wore the white version of the Ultra Boost, which is in contention for most comfortable sneaker ever created, they sold out quicker than Drake went from 0 to 100. Mind you, this wasn’t some limited edition collaboration, this was a mainstream, in-line release. As such, we’re hopeful they’ll be restocked soon.
NIKE AIR HUARACHE
Originally created by legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield in 1991, the Air Huarache made a major comeback this year. The neoprene upper makes it feel more like a sock than a shoe while the heel cage locks your foot down.