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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?

Axel Arigato Clean 90

Photographed: Axel Arigato Clean 90 Sneaker ($223)

When it comes to pure minimal white trainers with a premium edge, Axel Arigato is monopolising the game. And with good reason: these truly are the best quality footwear for your money. Made with premium leather and featuring subtle details that give them that all-important brand recognition, like a rippled rubber sole and gold foil logo, plain white trainers don’t get better than these. 

Axel Aritagos are the shoes you can throw on with anything. They come in a range of colours, but white is by far the most timeless and classic, especially if you’re looking for the sleekest cut you can get. But you’ll want to keep them clean – once a great-quality pair of trainers starts to look scruffy, they can be harder to pair with smarter pieces.

Shoes Like Pottery high sneakers

If you like the look of hi-top trainers, but prefer independent brands that don’t just create carbon copies of other shoes out there, look no further than Shoes Like Pottery’s 01JP high sneaker. What sets them apart from more ubiquitous styles isn’t just their sleeker shape and elevated off-white tone. They’re hand-sewn by skilled Japanese craftsmen, and although they’re even more pared-back than cheaper canvas hi-tops – the only ‘stand-out’ feature is a small brand logo on the rubber sole – they still have a noticeably luxury look and feel to them. 

Where other, similar, pairs would fit into smart outfits worn for more relaxed occasions, these have a refined edge that means they’ll work for even stricter dress codes without looking like you’re trying to make a statement – unless you want to, of course.

Nike Air Force 1

Photographed: Nike Air Force 1 07 Craft ($114)

The thing about Air Force 1’s is that, though they’re not what you think of when you think of white trainers, they are also very much what you think of when you think of white trainers. They’re definitely casual, but their steady rise in popularity over the years means you could probably pull them off with smarter outfits in the right setting – just look to Jay Z for inspiration. And despite endless colourways to choose from, they don’t get more classic than the plain white version. 

Since launching in 1982 as a basketball shoe, the Air Force 1 has become so decisively timeless that pretty much all style cultures have staked a claim, from classic streetwear to “Sons of Anarchy”. And that’s not just because they still look cool even 40 years later and have brand recognition by the bucket load – it’s also because they’re made using high-quality leather with a thick rubber sole that means they’ll last.

Maison Kitsune canvas sneakers

Indie favourite Maison Kitsune launched as a French-Japanese electronic record label in 2002, and the clothing brand that came three years later is just as cool and chic as you’d expect. These Maison Kitsune sneakers combine boating plimsolls with Vans-style low canvas sneakers for an effortless look that’s reminiscent of summers on the Italian Riviera (you don’t need to have been to get what we’re talking about). 

They’re super simple, but feel elevated thanks to features that are so subtle, you almost miss them: the gold eyelets; the flawlessly clean stitching; the chic logo. It all fits perfectly without distracting from the true minimalism of these shoes. This, plus the slightly higher rubber sole that will protect the canvas from dirt and won’t pull away at the toe as easily as a lower sole, makes them worth the investment. You know it’s not easy to make such a simple shoe look this expensive. It’s that same simplicity that makes them easy to wear with a range of looks, from your beach shorts to chinos and a shirt, and even a linen or seersucker suit.

Veja Campo

Photographed: Veja Campo Sneaker ($138)

You probably already know Veja, and if you’ve not heard of them, you’ve almost certainly seen their signature white trainers stamped with a colourful V logo. Yeah, that’s them. They’re the sustainable French footwear brand that’s been championed by everyone from fashion leaders to young Royals, and not for nothing. Not only are Veja’s trainers some of the most sustainable in the game – they’re made from recycled plastic bottles among other environmentally friendly materials – but they’re one of the most versatile, too.

You could go for an all-white version if you want to keep them as minimal as possible, but even with a flash of colour they still feel sleek and subtle enough so as not to lose any of their wearability. Vejas are like the Stan Smith upgraded with a sustainable edge. They quickly secured their spot as the sneaker to be seen in, and while many have tried and failed to keep this crown, Veja has succeeded. So you can update your wardrobe knowing that you’re investing in footwear that’s timeless, versatile, top-quality, and good for the planet. How many other shoes can claim all that?

Not quite your budget? Let us know.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing