It’s amazing the amount of stressing questions that accompany a bit of generally tolerable weekend weather. Where to make brunch reservations? Which pair of shades to bring? Which wine(s) will pair best with the ceviche board?
With so many mull-worthy worries, it’ll take some rock-solid mental fortitude to make it through this increasingly pleasant time of year. But one question you needn’t worry too much about is in the footwear department. While wet weather may have had you wearing your wellies recently, spring undeniably marks the start of sneaker SZN, and stepping out into the sunshine with a pair of fresh-out-the-box white kicks is an annual rite of passage. Follow our recommendations below for optimum gleam. Happy brunching!
Tiger of Sweden White Salas Sneakers
White sneakers are like a tabula rasa for the rest of your outfit. Keep them stylish and simple and they’ll be the perfect frame to highlight whatever you choose to pair them with – which is essentially everything else you already have in your wardrobe. Tiger of Sweden have created that perfect blank canvas here, and with details like the slightly thicker tonal treaded sole and buffed calfskin leather upper, these low-top Salas sneaks are a surefire footwear success story.
$330, Buy now at SSENSE
Givenchy Urban Street Leather Sneakers
White and plain as it gets, these shoes are almost too qualified for this list. The minimalist philosophy is utilized to the maximum by Givenchy here – and to stunning effect. These are so simple they really could’ve been made by anyone, which is a testament to the French brand’s confidence in their product. With the trademark Givenchy knot details on the shoe’s heel cup, though, these will still stand out to those in-the-know about your subtle-flex abilities.
$495, Buy now at MR PORTER
Brunello Cucinelli Suede-Trimmed Leather Sneakers
While technically not fully white (or plain), you never really have to put up much of a fight getting me into practically anything Brunello Cucinelli. So, when the tailoring-minded Italian designer came out with this pair of sneakers, it made me sit up and take note. With details like a supple white leather upper and rubber crepe soles, Brunello’s streetwear venture displays all the same telling trademarks of quality his menswear lines do.
$1,125, Buy now at MR PORTER
Frank And Oak The Park Leather Low-Top Sneakers
One aspect I love about plain white sneakers is the emphasis they put on details other than colour. Interesting fabrics, construction, and design are of much higher importance with a monochromatic sneaker like these from Frank And Oak. The elegantly elongated tongue on this pair are one of those subtler details that may have been lost had competing colours distracted attention elsewhere – instead, this all-white colourway recognizes and displays it as an architectural focal point.
$149, Buy now at Frank And Oak
Novesta Star Master 10 White
Falling somewhere between a Chuck Taylor and a Jack Purcell, these classically-inspired Slovakian-made sneakers are the little-known secret that will have your friends asking you where on Earth you discovered this eastern European sneaker brand. Aesthetics aside, they’re also made of fully vegan materials – if that makes any difference to you.
59 €, Buy now at Novesta
Converse White Jack Purcell Sneakers
The mere mention of JPs above just ain’t enough, is it? Would a plain white sneaks list ever truly be complete without including the immortal Jack Purcell? Channel some Steve McQueen this spring with these classic, cap-toed kicks by Converse. McQueen’s Persol shades and revolver probably not included.
$75, Buy now at SSENSE
Moncler White Adon Slip-On Sneakers
The fun thing about white sneaks is they’re one of the few areas where you don’t have to feel bad experimenting with current trends. A full season of fun-filled weekends will inevitably wear down soles and scuff up sides enough to warrant a new pair this time next year. So why not let loose and explore some more avant-garde trends? Like these technical knit, slip-on, posh socks by Moncler (if that trademark red, white, and blue strap didn’t already give that away).
$540, Buy now at SSENSE
Sperry Captain’s CVO Sneaker
The Brits may be historically accredited with the invention of the very first plimsoll shoe, designed to not only resemble a ship’s hull but traverse efficiently across one, but American sneaker brand Sperry Top-Sider may just have to take the acclaim for being the first brand to perfect the sailing shoe. While we do hope you’ll be spending plenty of time on boats over the upcoming warmer months, these will still look great even on the ‘stern’est of land-lubbers.
$80, Buy now at Sperry
Oliver Cabell Low 1 White
Even with a full grain calfskin leather upper from Veneto, Italy, a Spanish cowhide leather lining, and a hand-stitched-in-Spain construction, the Low 1 from breakthrough brand Oliver Cabell somehow exceeds the sum of its parts. And at $178, their value certainly outweighs their price. Check out what the hype is about first-hand this season.
$178, Buy now at Oliver Cabell
Vans Old Skool in True White
Compensating variety of colour with a high-street brand name (and hefty price tag attached) would be as crucial an oversight as would be ignoring the perennial sneaker staple, the Vans Old Skool. There’s a reason these iconic skater-inspired sneaks have been around so long, and it’s the same reason they’ll never look off-trend on feet. When in doubt, keep it simple and go with the classics.
Gucci Major Appliquéd Full-Grain Leather High-Top Sneakers
Speaking of simple – brightly embroidered, varsity-style tiger heads aren’t necessarily a design feature you’d say characterizes ‘plain,’ per se, but you definitely would say they do Gucci. Boring isn’t really something Gucci does, and the same should go for you. Let your hidden dragon out with these full-grain crouching tigers and kick some ass this spring.
$695, Buy now at MR PORTER
Nike Air Force 1 ’07 Leather Sneakers
Between their various sub-brands, products lines, guest collaborations, and just general all-round production of innovative new sneaker designs, it’s easy to forget just how Nike got to be the mega-marketable, globally-recognized footwear superpower they are today. If one shoe was to symbolize the grass-roots-to-global-phenomenon’s success story, it would arguably have to be the Air Force 1. No matter how many sneaks Nike puts out a year, this classic shoe is going nowhere.