If there’s one wardrobe staple that’ll never let you down, it’s the white sneaker
We have to call it the #1 shoe silhouette. Winter or summer, smart or casual, rain or shine; white sneakers are willing to work with you no matter what. They have the ability to be teamed with everything from shorts to suiting and will brighten and balance any look, so they’re an essential style staple for the everyday gent.
To get more wear out of your favourite sneakers, browse our edit on every-which-way you can wear white trainers, and wear them well.
Clean up your act
Start off by scrubbing up. Winter is not kind to white kicks and puddle-stained trainers will turn that effortless look you’ve been going for into something scruffy, so make sure each time you take off your trainers you give them a wipe down. If you do find a stain, don’t panic, they’re (probably) not ruined, unless they’re suede, in which case the only advice we have is: pray.
For non-suede sneakers, we’d suggest taking a rag dipped in vinegar or a small amount of toothpaste applied to a wet wipe – or nick one of your girlfriend’s make up wipes – and wiping off the mark as soon as possible to avoid serious staining.
With classic chinos
Chinos have got a bad rep thanks to our frat boy friends across the pond, but when styled right they’re a fool-proof formula for a successful look – especially with a white t-shirt and tube socks in the summer. For the winter months wear with a white knit and an overcoat that matches the colour of your chinos – we’re thinking camel on camel here.
Simply pull out a loose-fitting or straight cut pair of chinos and your favourite pair of white Chuck Taylors or low sneakers – low and streamlined sneakers are the key here. Chunkier silhouettes don’t work with chinos; don’t ask us why, they just don’t – and make sure that the hem of your chino rest slightly higher up on the ankle. Chinos in navy blue, black or camel look best with white trainers – do chinos actually exist in any other colours? If they do please let us know, this we’ve got to see.
It’s surprising that even though the white-sneakers-denim combo is the easiest casual outfit ever, somehow, somewhere, someone still manages to get it wrong. For the love of God, please stop letting the hems of your jeans sag down over your trainers, unless you’re going for an early 2000’s ska8er-boi vibe. The hems of your jeans should rest just above the tongue of your trainers; slight overhang is acceptable if you’re wearing high-tops, but no bunching please.
Rolling the hems of your denim over once or twice is an option with straight-cut jeans, but leave it out if you’re wearing skinnies – it’ll just give you a stuffed-sausage look. If you’re ankle baring, remember throw on some invisible socks or tube socks to make your trainers the focal point of your look.
Against all odds, suiting and trainers make up a very clean and comfortable look which works especially well with white trainers. Not everyone has the confidence to roll up to the office in a suit and sneakers; you can already feel your boss’s disapproval, can’t you? But if your workplace partakes in Casual Friday’s, or you know when your boss is going away, or if you just feel like sticking it to the Man, then slip on a pair of bright white (clean!) minimal trainers with your suit or tailored separates and boss it.
With wide-leg trousers
Yes, skinny jeans really are over. So it’s time to give your legs some breathing room and find yourself a pair of wide-leg trousers. Style with chunky all-white trainers to balance out the silhouette of the wide-leg: we’d suggest a pair of Nike Air Max 1 Ultra’s.
Styling sneakers with shorts is really all about the length, of the shorts that is. While the short-shorts trend of 2016 didn’t quite take off – thank God – we’ve got a nebulous year ahead and you never know, mirco-shorts might become 2017’s menswear must-have (shudder). To keep you prepared for every outcome, when wearing shorts follow this rule: the shorter your shorts, the sleeker your sneakers should be. So if you’re wearing tiny shorts, wear a pair of white plimsoll-style shoes on your feet – summer-ready and stylish.
We suggest picking up a pair of laceless trainers for spring/summer this year and wearing them with a pair of shorts cut just above the knee – pictured above. Update the laceless look in winter with a pair of neat grey trousers.
Looking for a new pair of white kicks? Find yours below:
Published in Men's Style by Kimberley B on January 6, 2017