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How much should I pay for: Minimal trainers?

How much should I pay for: Minimal trainers?

Black, unfussy, stripped-back trainers are great because they embody two types of shoe in one. They'll easily be the pair you throw on when going to the shops, but because of their colour and style, they won't look out of place with more formal clothing at a party or nice lunch.

"This versatility makes minimal trainers a step up from sporty ones—and at times a nice alternative to your leather lace-ups," Thread stylist Luke McDonald explains. "Black's less eye-catching than white, so these can be a smarter, more wearable choice than white trainers. (Plus you won't have to clean them to keep them sharp.)"

But how much should you spend on a pair? Here's what to look for at each price point.

Begin by asking yourself three questions

1. Will I wear them at least once a week?

2. Do I want a pair that will still look good in five years (rather than just this year and next)?

3. Am I ready to shell out £150-plus?

If you answered no to two or three of these questions: Spend around £20

Photographed: Topman Black Trainers (£15)

"What you gain in cost savings you lose in quality—which is fine if you're just experimenting to see if this type of trainer is for you. At this price, you'll get plastic rather than leather, and the soles will be glued on (rather than sewed on). This means they're not lasting: plastic faux leather is prone to cracks, and the soles will detach more easily than if they were sewed.

"That said, the look is still good. And the lack of extraneous details keeps them from appearing too cheap. These are a viable option if you're searching for a disposable way to try out the style."

Look for: A simple shape and zero extra details help the shoes work casually or formally.

Nice to have: When the shoes are plastic, metal lace eyelets will last longer than just perforations; and a black sole can look more understated and smarter than a white one.

If you answered yes to two of the questions: Spend around £70

Photographed: Selected Black Trainers (£70)

"In this price range, you'll get real leather and sewn-on soles, so the shoes will last longer than a cheaper pair. And yet these aren't as thoughtfully constructed as more expensive trainers: they've got less padding, so they won't be as comfortable, and the leather won't be as soft or wear quite as well."

Look for: Leather is much more durable than plastic, a sewn-on sole won't easily detach, a simple shape and zero extra details help the shoes work casually or formally, and a leather lining will keep your feet from overheating.

Nice to have: A black sole can look more understated and smarter than a white one.

If you answered yes to all of these questions: Spend upwards of £200

Photographed: Common Projects black trainers (£289)

"Honestly, if you're paying this much for trainers you're probably quite style-conscious and/or a believer in our interpretation of minimalism. With this pair, you can tell the leather's supple from that not-quite-shiny look—which means they'll age well."

Look for: Premium leather looks even better with wear (adjectives like Italian, nappa or deerskin indicate quality); a sewn-on sole won't easily detach; a simple shape and zero extra details help the shoes work casually or formally; a leather lining will keep your feet from overheating; a black sole can appear more understated and smarter than a white one.

Nice to have: An extra pair of laces, which will do much to revive a particularly tired pair of trainers (though at this price they'll take ages to get to that stage).