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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?

Shoe the Bear leather trainers

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 Shoe the Bear. It’s the 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 a quality pair like these. 

And if you think investing in classic styles means you’ll have to bend your budget, think again. Shoe The Bear nails the sleek silhouette and minimal aesthetic at an enviable price point. What makes them distinctive is just how indistinct they are – what more could you want from a minimal white trainer? 

If you’ve not heard of Shoe the Bear, here’s a quick introduction: the Swedish brand prioritises Scandinavian minimalism, style, and functionality, and works with master Portuguese leather-makers to create top-quality shoes at a fair price point for all. Sure, there are high street brands churning out similar styles for less, but it’s the quality craftsmanship and sustainable manufacturing process – as well as the timeless style and versatility – that makes this a stand-out pair that’s worth a little more.  

Adidas Stan Smiths

Photographed: Adidas Stan Smith ($58)

Adidas Stan Smiths are the ubiquitous white trainer – and we definitely mean that in a good way. They’re tried and tested as a style that can be worn dressed up, dressed down, and dressed anywhere in between. The style brings a flash of colour (take your pick, but know green is the classic) to the minimal white trainer, and replace Adidas’ signature three stripes with perforated holes to maintain brand recognition while going as minimal as a sports shoe is wont to. 

Since you can rely on Adidas for quality, timelessness, and style, it’s surprising that the Stan Smith – one of their best-selling shoes of all time – will only cost you double figures. Having launched in the 1980s, Adidas Stan Smiths have been on the trainer scene long enough now that we feel confounded in anointing this style as an undefeated hero of the minimal trainer trend – even Obama owns a pair. We Stan.

New Balance MR520SG runners

Photographed: New Balance MR530SG ($79)

On the other end of the white trainer spectrum is the New Balance MR530SG. This cool, casual style is making a comeback, so if you thought they were permanently reserved for dads, think again. They’re certainly not the sleek, minimal style that might spring to mind when you think of white trainers – but they definitely are white trainers. So if you were after something that feels more contemporary (whilst also feeling kinda vintage) and that stands out from the sea of standard minimal trainers, why not break the mould in these? 

The great thing about New Balance is that they’re truly distinctive, super comfy, and always well-made, so you know they’ll last – there are plenty of guys still rocking the same pair they bought the first time around. With all this in mind, you might be expecting an expensive shoe – we’ve seen the price hike that vintage comebacks usually spring on us – but not this time. When it comes to timelessness and wearability, these could be one of the best investment pieces in your wardrobe. This isn’t the shoe to try and dress up, though. Instead, see it as a great way to ease into a chunkier silhouette whilst sticking to a known brand that’s within most guy’s comfort zones.

Nike Blazers

Photographed: Nike Blazer Mid '77 Vintage ($106)

Leave it to Nike to buck the expectations of a white trainer without sacrificing the minimal look. If you like hi-tops but want to go for something sturdier than Converse, the Nike Blazer should be your go-to. Of the many iconic, trendsetting trainers out there, it’s hard to find a pair as timeless and recognisable as the Nike Blazer. 

And it’s this recognisability that makes it feel easier to dress up than your average super-casual shoe – whether you spring for the hi-top or low-top version. All in all, the cost-per-wear you’ll get from a pair of Nike Blazers could make them one of the most affordable shoes in your rotation. You could look to more expensive iterations in a similar style, but when the classic is within your price range, why bother? 

Vans Classic slip-ons

Photographed: Vans OG Classic Slip On LX ($65)

Though Vans slip-on sneakers have been around for decades, they’ve become an especially pervasive trend over the past few years – and yet they still feel directional and contemporary. And this is a testament to Vans’ precision when it comes to nailing styles that can be worn by anyone, without ever eschewing their skater heritage. It’s another brand you might expect to find in a higher price range, but not all big trends require a steep splurge. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can jump on the Vans bandwagon without the guilt of splashing out.

Vans slip-ons are indisputably minimal – technically even more minimal than the classic lace-up style – but because they lack laces they end up feeling more interesting. If anything, this is the shoe that best proves fancy details and stand-out features don’t equate to an interesting piece – you don’t even need colour. So if you want to take the minimal trainer game to the next level in every way (we’re talking the most pared-back and also the most unexpected take on the trend) go for Vans. You can wear them however you want: nod to their skate-style roots, keep them sleek and clean with smarter looks, or throw them on with  your jeans and tee when the sun’s out.

Not quite your budget? Let us know.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing