Ah, the white sneaker. It’s a timeless and versatile staple in men’s fashion. At the same time, a sporty white shoe can also be an afterthought, as in the shoe you reach for when you’re not even thinking about style.
Use this guide to learn how to wear your white sneakers intentionally, in a way that garners admiring glances from friends and family. I’ll also cover some classic white athletic shoe options to try and tips on caring for your shoes so they continue to look sharp.
Quick style guidelines
Let’s start with some general guidelines on styling white sneakers for men.
- Don’t ask your shoes to do double-duty. Keep your gym shoes for the gym and have a different shoe for fashion.
- Keep your shoes clean and free from wear. White shoes look best when they’re crisp and clean.
- Stick with low-profile socks. A thick, bulky sock that covers your ankle will detract from your shoes. Keep your style on point with low-profile socks.
- Simple white shoes are your friend. Opt for a simple white sneaker with one additional color, max. This will be your most versatile choice.
- Embrace light, neutral tones. If you’re not normally a fashion guy, the simplest starting point for styling white kicks is with light, neutral tones. Try beige chinos and a white shirt, for example.
- Opt for low-top. High-top sneakers are harder to pull off. If you’re feeling at all uncertain about your white sneaker game, stick with low tops.
- Upgrade with contrast. When you’re feeling bold, play with contrast in your white-shoe outfits. Use them to anchor a slim-fitting black or navy suit, for example.
- Confidence is your best accessory. Truly, you can pull off nearly any outfit combo as long as your shoes are clean and your confidence is high.
Best casual white sneakers outfits
White sneaks are the perfect footwear choice for your casual days. Influencers and trendsetters like Johannes Huebl, Adam Gallagher, and Mariano Di Vaio have been known to incorporate white sneakers into their signature looks. Worn right, this shoe style can elevate casual outfits with a sense of effortless cool and modern sophistication.
Try these ensembles for your best laid-back style.
1. Tidy jeans and t-shirt
For a clean and classic look, couple your best white kicks with a slim or straight-leg jean. Add an ironed t-shirt or polo shirt, a leather belt, and minimalist watch. If it’s cold, top the outfit with a soft knit sweater or leather jacket.
Cuff your jeans if they’re bulky at the ankle. And mind the details. This combo works when you don’t have random threads sticking out or a rumpled neckline on your shirt.
You can play with different washes on the jeans — a classic blue, white, or contemporary gray are all great options. I wouldn’t recommend going with relaxed fit, though. An oversized leg on the pant can easily give this outfit a dad vibe.
Get your prep look on with beige chinos, white button-down, and a sweater to tie over your shoulders. You can complete this outfit with a standard white tennis shoe or sporty boat shoes. Don’t forget the wayfarer sunglasses and a windblown hairdo.
Swap in shorts for chinos in the outfit above for a stylish warm-weather combo.
In this outfit, your sock choice is important. Low-profile socks are always on point. You could also go with an ankle sock as long as it doesn’t rise up too high. Whichever you choose, stick with white or a very light tone. A light blue sock that barely peeks out from the top of your shoe is a nice stylistic choice, but a black sock probably looks odd.
Joggers are practically made to be worn with white sneaks. The jogger’s tapered leg provides the perfect balance to emphasize the clean lines of your shoe.
Combine your joggers with a long-sleeved technical shirt in a coordinating color that fits you well. A hooded shirt looks ultra-sporty. Keep the shirt untucked as long as it’s not too bulky at the hemline.
Fun upgraded white sneakers ensembles
White sneaks have tons of versatility — you can wear them on your off-days or for dressier occasions. Leading men Ryan Reynolds, David Beckham, and Justin Theroux have worn white sneakers with tailored suits, effortlessly blending formal elegance with contemporary flair. What do those guys have that you don’t? Maybe a larger bank account, but mostly the confidence to take the high-low approach with their style.
Here are some ways you can unleash your inner A-lister.
1. Sneakers with a suit
Wear white leather sneakers with a tailored, well-fitted suit for a contemporary look that’s also comfortable. You may want to play around with the shirt you wear under the jacket. A button-down that’s not too stiff will work, but a nice t-shirt or soft, sleek sweater are also good options.
2. The black jeans outfit
Black jeans provide a nice contrast to crisp, white tennis shoes. Complete the outfit with a white button down, untucked, and a longer black jacket. Pop the collar on your jacket and add a cashmere scarf if it’s cold.
3. Tapered trousers
A tapered trouser has the same basic shape as a jogger, but it’s obviously more appropriate for fancier occasions. A patterned trouser will be set off nicely with a neutral cashmere sweater and, of course, your nice white footwear.
4. Dress shirt and blazer
If the occasion doesn’t demand a full matchy suit, you can wear separates instead. Try a navy blazer, light blue dress shirt, and beige trousers, anchored by a pair of white shoes. You could also add a pocket square for extra flair. Also experiment with rolling the pant legs a couple turns for a super preppy vibe.
6 best white sneakers for men
There’s no shortage of low-top white sneaker styles out there, so you’re sure to find an option that suits your lifestyle. The main categories are:
- Leather sneakers: Best for dressier occasions and lifestyles
- Canvas sneakers: Versatile, but very casual
- Platform sneakers: Edgier but also casual
Below are six no-fail white shoe styles you can easily find on Amazon.
1. Adidas Stan Smith
A classic and versatile choice that simply won’t fail.
2. Vans Seldan leather shoes
Simple styling and leather construction means you can wear these almost anywhere.
3. Tommy Hilfiger Brecon
Easy styling, clean lines, and a logo that stands out just enough.
4. Classic Adidas
For the sportier types, this classic Adidas shoe offers nice contrast with its eye-catching stripes.
5. Puma platforms
These Pumas deliver height without feeling like you’re wearing a women’s shoe.
6. Olukai leather sneakers
Leather details give this white sneaker an upgraded vibe.
Caring for your shoes
White shoes that are crisp and clean are more stylish. So use these tips to keep those shoes looking sharp:
- Treat the sneakers with a water and stain repellent (test a small patch first before treating the whole shoe)
- Use a gentle, non-abrasive brush or cloth regularly to remove excess dirt
- For tough stains, invest in a cleaner designed for the shoe’s material (leather, suede, canvas, etc).
- Store the shoes in a box
- If you plan on not wearing the shoes for, say, the winter, stuff them with acid-free tissue paper so they retain their shape
Rocking those white sneaks
When styling white sneakers, consider the occasion and the overall aesthetic you wish to convey. Whether aiming for a laid-back casual look, a sophisticated smart-casual ensemble, a sporty outfit, or a formal attire, white sneakers can adapt — as long as you keep them clean and free from visible wear.
So go ahead and lean on white sneakers as a symbol of effortless cool and contemporary style. They always step up to the game, whether you pair them with jeans or a swanky suit.