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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?

Common Projects Achilles

The MVP of minimal trainers, Common Projects’ Achilles sneakers are the best of the best. They’re the most minimal, the most classic, the most timeless, and without doubt the best quality white trainers there are. What’s more, Common Projects is the brand to thank for bringing the minimal white trainer onto the scene in 2004, and it’s remained an undefeated champion of the style ever since. 

Where others will last you years, these shoes will last you decades thanks to the premium-quality leather and expert craftsmanship. And when we talk about wearability, it doesn’t get better than these. Style them with a suit and you’ll barely notice that they’re not bonafide smart shoes. Wear them with jeans and a sweater, shorts and a t-shirt, or even sweatpants and a hoodie, and they’ll elevate your outfit while still feeling minimal and modest. If Common Projects are within your footwear budget, we can’t think of a good reason not to own them.

The Grenson sneaker

Photographed: Grenson Sneaker 1 Men's ($260)

You can’t talk about the best quality shoes around without giving Grenson a mention. Known for its long history as a leather bootmaker, the brand has since brought its discerning eye to casual footwear. Grenson’s take on white trainers is a little different as they’re not entirely white. But the sleek shape and cut, and the brand’s renowned craftsmanship mean they can be just as wearable as an all-white shoe. 

If you weren’t convinced of the benefits of dropping your cash on a high-end trainer when there are so many options on the market, this pair really highlights the difference. A lower-quality shoe could easily look cheap and less versatile, but the expert design and excellent materials that have gone into making this trainer mean it feels elevated enough to fit into smarter wardrobes. You barely bat an eye at the casual sole, which could easily feel sporty and almost clunky rather than minimal if it wasn’t done just right: a true testament to the quality that’s worth investing in. 

Alexander McQueen sneakers

If you’re up for spending a little more on white trainers, this pair by Alexander McQueen has pretty much become the high-end equivalent of the Stan Smiths. They’re a great introduction to the chunky trainer trend, but easier to dress up and more accessible than Balenciaga’s. And despite their chunky sole, the rest of the shoe is as sleek as it gets. It’s this attention to detail that makes what is otherwise a contemporary chunky trainer so easy to wear with smart outfits, as well as your comfy casuals. 

You may have seen this shoe everywhere in the last few years – consider that the brand recognition box ticked – but don’t let that put you off. Alexander McQueen is up there among the best-respected British fashion houses. It’s famous for its timeless yet effortlessly stylish creations – the brand’s Creative Director was even appointed to design Kate Middleton’s royal wedding dress – so you know you’re only investing in the best quality with McQueen. So if you’re the kind of guy who likes to rely on tried-and-true styles that aren’t going anywhere, rather risk-taking with more contemporary designs, we can guarantee that these trainers have proven their place in the world of minimal footwear.

Golden Goose Purestar

For fans of the sporty-casual white trainer made classic by the likes of Converse All Courts and Nike Blazers: meet Golden Goose. It’s the go-to for those who prefer a high-end take on the style that shows you know how to take on a timeless look with a difference. The Purestar is made from premium leather and designed to blend traditional style with nods to more contemporary aesthetics. The chunky sole feels modern but still fairly subtle and adds a touch of personality without making a loud statement – something best avoided if you’re trying to go minimal. 

Purestars are the kind of shoes that look great box-fresh but will get better with wear, so don’t save them for special occasions – not that you’ll want to. Their styling possibilities are endless, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth. We know we don’t need to tell you how to wear sneakers with casual outfits, but if you’ve got a smart casual, or even a smart-but-laid-back engagement on the cards, you can pull these off with a pair of formal trousers and a blazer. Sure, you could stick to the high street favourites, but why? If you can afford to invest in something a little more special, we think you should. 

Maison Margiela 22 classic replica sneaker

If you’re wondering what the Maison Margiela 22 classic replica is replicating, this probably wasn’t what you were expecting: the shoe is based on an iconic style worn by the German army in the 1970s and ‘80s. The French fashion house bought up all the second-hand and deadstock pairs left lying around and recreated the look using more luxury fabrications. So while you could go sleuthing and try to source a German military original, there’s really no need. 

Like the Grenson trainer, this pair manages to nail the understated look of a minimal white shoe without being entirely white. It’s just as timeless, but features more intricate detailing which, along with its storied history and iconic brand name, make these uber-cool shoes well worth the investment.

Not quite your budget? Let us know.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing