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Our stylists’ favourite minimal trainers

Our stylists’ favourite minimal trainers

Remember a time when trainers were reserved for casual dressing only? Well not anymore. In the blink of an eye, the off-duty footwear choice has secured its place in smarter wardrobes, and that’s largely thanks to the minimal trainer. Defined by its sleek silhouette, fresh white colouring, and effortless versatility, minimal trainers have been pounding pavements for years, and you probably already own a pair. But if you’ve not yet embraced the trend, you’ll want to consider the details before investing in any old pair.. 

The goal is to find a minimal trainer that you can wear with lounge pieces, casual looks, and even suit trousers. And we never said you had to limit yourself to just one pair… We spoke with Thread stylist Toby Standing to help break down the best minimal trainers out there, from affordable favourites to the champions of the trend.

1. On the high street

The ubiquity of minimal trainers is certainly no bad thing – in fact it's an homage to their wearability and longevity in both smart and casual wardrobes. The good news: if you’re new to the look, you won’t have to search for long.

“The entry-level minimal trainer is pretty much any high street brand (many of which you can find on our site),” Toby says. “Almost all of them will have their own version of the plain white trainer, and sometimes simplicity makes the biggest impact.” The benefit of turning to high street brands for minimal shoes is that you can begin to build a range for different occasions. If you’re someone who wears trainers every day, you might not want to wear your favourite scuffed-up pair with smarter outfits or for occasions where you want to make a good impression.

2. Stan Smiths

“The next step up in the minimal trainer game is the Adidas Stan Smith,” Toby says. “Undefeated as a minimal sneaker, Stan Smiths are affordable and have been on the scene for long enough that you know they’re not going anywhere.” 

In case you’ve been living under a tennis shoe since the mid-80s, Grand Slam champ Stan Smith is now better known for the white Adidas trainer that bears his namesake. Characterised by their minimal flash of colour and perforated holes in place of Adidas's famous three stripes, they tick all the boxes when it comes to brand recognition, quality, and timelessness.


Photographed: Veja V-12 Leather ($150)

They’ve been around for a while, but Veja’s – that sneaker with the V logo you see everywhere – really exploded onto the minimal footwear scene around 2018. “The great thing about Veja trainers is you can add as much colour as you like and they’ll always feel grounded in simple style,” Toby says. The minimal shapes, from runners to sleek, pared-back styles work with almost any look and are easy to dress up or down, winning them popularity with the likes of Eddie Redmayne and the Royals.

And if you weren’t already sold, Veja are famous for their ethical and sustainable production methods. All their shoes are made with ecological leather, organic cotton, and plastic from recycled bottles – so you won’t feel bad about adding a few new pairs to your collection. 

Common Projects

But when it comes to picking a King of the minimal trainer scene, they don’t come more stylish and simple than Common Projects. The champion of the trend, these are the high-end versions worth investing in, especially if you’re into the trainers-and-a-suit look. They’re sleek in silhouette, so even the high-top styles feel more smart and refined than sporty. “The price point is high, but they’re going to last you for years to come because the leather is of such great quality.”

Words: Ella White
Styling: Toby Standing