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Style Advice

Five of the best white trainers for your budget

Five of the best white trainers for your budget

It takes a lot for styles as conclusively casual as trainers to work their way into smarter wardrobes. But these days, it’s hard to even remember a time when trainers were exclusively reserved for laid-back dressing – and it’s the plain white variety we have to thank for this seamless style transition. Go ahead and try to name another style so versatile that you can pair it with both your tailored suit and your gym kit. We’ll wait...

If you’re anything like us, you probably can’t wait to give your winter shoes the boot and step into spring in a fresh white pair of kicks. But there’s one small catch: there are a whole lot of options to choose from. 

To save you some time – and because we love nothing more than scouring the virtual shelves for the best affordable footwear out there – we set our stylists the task of picking the top five pairs of white trainers that will work best for the budget you gave us when you signed up. Because why should you be inside scrolling when you could be outside showing off your new kicks?

MVP faux-leather trainers

Photographed: MVP Faux Leather Trainer ($77)

When you think of minimal white trainers, you probably imagine a sleek, low-cut leather shoe with no frills or fussy functional details like this pair by MVP. It’s this classic style that’s become so popular over the years that they wouldn’t even look out of place at most weddings (as long as they’re clean, of course). So if you’ve not got a pair on permanent rotation already, you’ll want to ease in with a quality pair like these. 

And if you think investing in a refined-looking style means you’ll have to bend your budget, think again. These MVP trainers nail the sleek silhouette and minimal aesthetic at your price point. What makes them distinctive is just how indistinct they are – what more could you want from a minimal white trainer? And since MVP is one of our in-house brands at Thread, we can vouch for the care and craftsmanship that goes into both the design and production of this great quality, well-made shoe. 

Converse All Star hi-tops

Once again proving that a high-end budget isn’t necessary to nail classic looks (noticing a theme here?), you might be surprised to learn just how affordable Converse All Stars are. Why surprised? Well, they’re a proven classic that shot to popularity as a sports shoe in the 1970s and has remained a mainstream favourite in the half-decade since. And at a price this good, why go for anything less than the original?

They work with everything, are inimitable (you’ve probably seen high-street brands try), and they’re one of those rare gems that suit almost anyone: whatever your age, shape, or personal style, you can pull off a pair of Converse. The white hi-top is especially versatile as the slightly preppy vibe lends itself to a suit as easily as your warm-weather t-shirt and shorts. And if you can resist wearing them everywhere (and we don’t blame you if you can’t), these shoes could last you for decades to come. In fact, we think they look best when they’re worn in and slightly beaten up, so you don’t have to worry about keeping them pristine for too long. 

Ellesse Piacentino

If you embrace a colourful wardrobe, you might think white trainers aren’t for you – but you’d be mistaken. Not only do white trainers help to ground an otherwise bright and statement-making outfit, but also: who said they had to be plain white? The Ellesse Piacentino is a great example of how white trainers can still pass as ‘plain’ while featuring bolder flashes of colour. 

This chunky, sporty shoe has that hard-to-nail contemporary-retro feel about it that nods to ‘90s vibes, but with a shape and cut that feels perfectly modern. The colour is just discreet enough that it catches your eye but still feels very much in the realm of ‘plain white trainers’ – so we’re giving Ellesse top marks for attention to detail. Plus, it’s a well-known and loved brand that you can rely on to deliver both quality and style, without the luxury price tag. Just consider saving these sneakers for more casual dressing. Unless you really know the ropes, a sporty style can be harder to smarten up than a sleeker pair.

River Island faux-leather mid-tops

River Island needs no introduction: if you’re looking for one of the best-known and best-loved brands on the high street, you need look no further. And the same applies if you’re looking for good quality, affordable white trainers. What we love about River Island’s take on the minimal trainer is that it nods to the classic vintage style of the Nike Blazer – and maintains the same quality and versatility – just without the high price point. So if it’s a look that’s caught your eye but hasn’t seemed worth the investment, these might just be the perfect alternative.

The chunky sole and higher ankle lend a retro-sporty feel that is undoubtedly casual, but the sleek shape is still possible to dress up thanks to its lack of unnecessary features. These trainers could be worn just as easily with formal trousers and a shirt as with turn-up jeans and a hoodie. They look casual, but when your smart trouser leg covers the hi-top, they won’t feel as sporty. In short, this shoe is the perfect example of how the high street is capable of taking inspiration from higher-end brands, and creating great quality designs with all the features (or lack thereof, in this case) that you might expect from far more expensive footwear. 

Novesta Star Master

Photographed: Novesta Star Master ($77)

As you’ll have noticed, we’re not here to dispute the classics. But who says there’s no room for a new one? The great thing about the Novesta Star Master is that they tick all the boxes for white minimal trainers, but still manage to feel a little different. The canvas material instead of leather and the slightly chunkier sole makes them feel more like a vintage tennis shoe than your standard white trainer. So if you’re a casual dresser for whom smarter dress code requirements fall few and far between, these might suit your look better than the classic minimal style. 

Sans unnecessary frills, Novesta trainers feel more contemporary and stylish than the more versatile classics, but they still offer everything you might expect from a more expensive pair of trainers: quality fabrics, attention to detail, and timeless style. So if you’re into cool independent brands and classic looks with a modern twist, step this way.

Not quite your budget? Let us know.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing