Sneaker freakers, rejoice. The common leather shoe has officially made its transition from the gym to the street to the club.
But, there is one style that remains the ‘be-all’ sneaker this season – the white sneaker. And if you haven’t already got a pair, now’s the time.
Breaking It Down
Sportsluxe is the white sneaker’s biggest advocate. The active-fashion style is dominating the runway – a quasi-relaxed approach to style this season – prompting fashion-lead lads and celebs on the red carpet to take up the street chic look.
While the white sneaker won’t come anything close to your average treadmill trudging trainer, it will resemble something sleek, clean and rather vintage (void of any sort of pre-loved aesthetic, that is). The best part? Its versatility.
The white sneaker – be it low or high cut – comes made in premium leather or cool canvas with minimal details, making them ready to work with any style mix; no sweating required. Let’s take a look at the key ways to rock the white sneaker with style.
Kicking things off where the white sneaker began, icon Steve McQueen gave men of the Fifties permission to wear Chuck Taylor’s with cotton chinos and a Ralph Lauren polo – no socks. And today, it lives on. The sporty accents of the white tennis shoe in canvas lends a country club aesthetic to the look, met with bone or khaki trousers (cropped these days for something super modern) and a pastel shirt (enhances the prep) or something more nautical like a Breton shirt in navy and white stripe.
Look to Converse or Lacoste for this look, or the Jack Purcell variety. Always lo-cut and mostly canvas, you’ll be channeling the style forefathers in no time.
Shorts are the most obvious choice for sneakers, but can also be the most difficult to pull off. Why? Shorts and sneakers can appear more gym-worthy, than a casual summer outfit that is perfectly stylish. For this reason, keep the white sneaker lean and slim looking, worn without socks and low cut in silhouette.
Canvas are a cooler option but look a lot less ‘expensive’, so if you’re wearing tailored chino shorts and a relaxed blazer, stick to leather to maintain the dressier vibes.
With shorts, treat the white sneaker like you would a pair of driving loafers or boat shoes, pairing the footwear with other Sunday-cruising items: a plain fitted tee, comfortable shorts and aviator shades. Now, go get lost on the open road.
Slipping straight into the minimal trend sweeping men’s wear this very minute, white sneakers are an easy choice for monochrome purists. They create a light escape from an all-back look, which can feel a bit heavy in the daylight hours. But, they don’t forsake the ambition of being supremely pared-back.
The option is yours – high or low – for this look, but – as the minimal name suggests – take away unnecessary items (like socks) and keep jackets, shirting and coats very symmetrical. Pants need to tapered or cropped and Ttuch up the outfit with a beanie or metallic jewellery. But the stark contrast between colour-blocked shade and light should be the focus here, not messy add-ons.
Look to APC and Want les Essentiels de la Vie for chic minimal varieties or Vans for something more affordable.
Mr Urban Cool
This look requires a penchant for slouchier silhouettes, inspired by American urban subcultures. For a look that will take you from day to night, base the outfit with jogger pants in quality jersey cotton – the essential style indicator being the cuffed ankle, refining the typical gym-y lounge pant.
Pair with a casual jacket – be it sophisticated hoodie or functional rain coat, and weave underneath an urban tee – slightly slouched – to play-off the relaxed urban mood.
The Nike Air Force One is a good choice or the Golden Goose Deluxe Brand for a hi-top variety with a skate appeal.
The Denim Dude
Another key look this season is quality denim, spurred on by Japanese selvedge varieties and man’s pursuit of individual-look jeans. And, the white sneaker looks brilliant with denim. Channelling American workwear, look to double denim (broken up with a leather belt, of course) before rolling the cuffs of some straight-fit jeans, rocking out like a modern Paul Newman.
If you’re searching a more chic denim look, ditch the denim jacket for a top coat and collared shirt, looking to chambray to align the indigos and keep the look tonal. Then, chuck on your white sneakers – again low-cut is best – and look to leather. Try ETQ and Filling Pieces for a different brand choice with your classic denim bottoms.
The Tailored Gent
While tailoring is a huge commodity for the fashionable gent in 2015, the tucked and shaped aesthetic has created some room to move for the white sneaker’s adoption. With a suit or blazer the sneaker adds informalities to a tailored outfit, especially for nights out.
Keep your socks on with a smarter suit, especially if you’re sporting other trimmings: tie, pocket square and waistcoat. The cleanness required for the look works best with Adidas Stan Smiths, or look to hi-tops for a boot sneaker look. For more luxury variety, seek Gucci, Acne Studios or John Lobb.
Whatever the brand, the sneakers need to remain sleek (like dress shoes) and absolutely white and bright; a dirty pair will kill any sartorial suaveness you’ve worked so hard to muster.