Don’t tell the sneakerheads, but you really need only one solid pair of kicks to make your closet sing—and the best white sneakers are the perfect place to start. The classic standbys (once known as tennis shoes) are wardrobe essentials for literally everyone, and their versatility cannot be understated; they’re essentially blank canvases for your feet.
Sporting a pair of white sneakers may not be as exciting as wearing ballet flats, knee-high boots, or chunky loafers, but their simplicity and nonchalance keep them reliable no matter the look (or trend cycle). Plus, they’re impossible to “mess up” in terms of styling. Here’s everything you need to know about finding the exact right pair, plus the exact pairs that stylists and Glamour editors own and love.
Our top picks
What we’re looking for
- Material: “I recommend clients choose quality materials like leather or canvas for durability and easy cleaning,” explains Alicia Lloyd, a stylist at Stitch Fix. Pay attention to the soles, too; if they’re worn down, it’s time to look for a new pair, says Chanel Perkins, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist.
- Design: “Make sure they have a cool shape and style, so when they eventually get scuffed up, they’re still wearable, says Caroline Maguire, Shopbop’s fashion director. (Don’t sweat the scuffs, though: “Sometimes, I think the more lived in the sneaker is, the better!” she continues.) Lloyd agrees, recommending “timeless and versatile designs” that can be worn with plenty of different outfits.
- Comfort: If you’re mostly walking, Dr. Perkins recommends shoes that offer stiff arch support and flexibility at the forefoot; if you’re running or jogging, look for the opposite. Cushioned soles, memory foam midsole, and thick outsoles are ideal shoe features for nurses shoes. Otherwise, kicks that are lightweight and made with breathable materials are great if you’re on your feet all day.
- Price: Since sneakers must be replaced semi-frequently, we love a relatively cheap pair. But that doesn’t mean a splurge is out of the question—as long as the design and the quality justify a higher price point. We split shoes into three categories: $ for pairs $100 or less; $$ for pairs $175 or less; $$$ for pairs over $175. (And don’t worry: We have plenty of sneaker promo codes to save you some money on your purchase.)
How to choose the best white sneakers for your personal style
Picking the right pair of white sneakers comes down to understanding how you want to wear them. They need to fit in with your existing capsule wardrobe, whether that includes elevated basics, statement-making pieces, or a whole lot of athleisure. For example, retro, sporty sneakers like Reebok Club C 85s look great with tailored trousers and button-downs. If you’re looking for a pair that looks good with dresses, pick something a little more minimalist, like Veja Campos. And anyone who wears gym-ready outfits most of the time should have a great pair of workout shoes on hand; we suggest the super-popular Lululemon Chargefeel 2 Low.
Need more guidance on styling? “I like to style classic white sneakers with unexpected pairings,” Maguire says. “For example, I’ll throw a pair on with a white T-shirt, a black Sandy Liang tulle skirt, or a midi slip dress. I love the contrast and comfort all in one”; call it wrong-shoe theory. (Of course, you can also just throw on some Amazon leggings and call it a day.)
The best white sneakers
Since there are endless options, from sporty high-tops to trendy picks cosigned by royalty, picking the exact right pair can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be. From ultra-comfortable classics to buzzy newcomers, these editor- and stylist-approved options are the absolute best white sneakers for women to wear now.
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