When you’re building a lean wardrobe, you want shoes that work across multiple seasons and look great with a variety of colors. The simple, minimal white sneaker is an absolute must if you’re building a stylish lean wardrobe. They look great with jeans, chinos, shorts… heck, they even look great with a suit.
Summer, spring, fall… you can wear white sneakers year-round. You can even get away with wearing them in the winter, too, if you’re in a relatively warm climate.
Below, we’ll cover what to look for, what to avoid, and our top choices for the best minimal white sneakers.
Buy The Best You Can AFford
When you’re building your perfect minimalist wardrobe, every item should be an investment.
That doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune. There are plenty of companies that make great products at a wallet-friendly cost.
But don’t think you’re doing yourself favors by picking up the cheapest pair of sneakers you can find. Yeah, they may look great for a month or two, but soon enough they’ll fall apart and you’ll be out looking for a new pair.
Best Budget Minimal White Sneakers
Our top choice for a minimalist white sneaker under $100 is the New Republic Kurt.
Small details like the padded tongue, micro-suede lining, and the all-leather upper make this shoe an excellent choice. If you’re on a tight budget, you can’t beat the New Republic’s Kurt sneaker.
Best Mid-Range Minimal White Sneakers
Common Projects put the minimalist white sneaker on the style map. The only issue is that they’re over $400.
Since they’ve come out, a few companies have (nearly) matched the quality but at a fraction of the price.
Beckett Simonon Reid
Beckett Simonon isn’t reinventing the wheel with the Reid sneakers. They’re simple, sophisticated white leather sneakers in a classic silhouette made from high quality, full-grain Italian calfskin leather.
BS produces products in small batches and sells direct on their site, so while you may not get your Reids at Amazon Prime-level speeds, you can rest assured you’re receiving a beautiful, quality shoe at a fraction of what you’d pay retail. (Same goes for all their other shoes, too.)
Italian leather made in an Italian factory… these sneakers pack tremendous value and are recommended by just about anyone who’s ever tried them.
I put together a video illustrating the differences between a more expensive pair of minimal white sneakers like the Greats Royale, and a cheaper pair. You can check it out below.
Full-grain calf leather upper, Margom rubber soles, and hand-painted edges. The Koio Capri sneakers are a bit of an investment, but they’re worth every penny.
The leather is so buttery smooth and develops a beautiful crease pattern over time. These look fantastic straight out of the box and five years down the road.
Ace Marks Duke
The Dukes are another solid contender; I’ve worn these quite regularly over the years. Leather’s luxuriously soft and the shoe forms comfortably to your foot the more you wear it. The padded collar is comfortable around the ankle, which makes a big difference when you’re walking a lot.
Made by the hands of fourth-generation Italian artisans from high quality Italian leather, the Duke sneakers are hand-dyed and hand-burnished. They feature a full-grain calfskin leather upper and lining. The tongue and collar are padded and cushioned for a soft and luxurious feel, with durable, stitched rubber outsoles and waxed shoelaces.
One thing I noticed is the leather has started to tear a bit at a high stress point on the collar, halfway between the heel and the tongue. I do beat these up a lot, slip my foot in them without retying, and I wear them quite frequently in general.
They’re also from the first batch ever released by Ace Marks, so it’s possible the tears have occurred because of a combination of those things. Still, I continue to wear them because they’re so damn comfortable.
Oliver Cabell Low 1
My one gripe is that they’re a bit too narrow in the toe box. I haven’t experienced the same tightness or discomfort in any of the other minimal white sneakers I’ve tried on this list (I own them all except the Common Projects Achilles Low).
Still, everyone I’ve heard from loves their pair of Oliver Cabell Low 1s. The reviews are also glowing, so it’s possible I’m the only one who finds them too tight 🤷
From a quality perspective, they’re awesome, and at that price point, they can’t be beat.
This is a relative newcomer to my stable of minimalist white leather sneakers, but I’d consider them a sleeper. I own the Lucente from M.Gemi, though in recent years they’ve been updated and replaced by the Palestra.
I feel like M.Gemi’s Lucente sneaker is rarely discussed when talking about minimal white sneakers, but they’re awesome. And if the Palestra is anything like the Lucente (which I’m confident they are, if not better), they’d be worth your consideration.
Super buttery leather, so comfortable right out the box (no break-in period) and their styling is very similar to the Common Projects Achilles low.
If you want a minimal white sneaker like the Achilles, but are looking for a model that isn’t as common, go with the Palestra.
Best Investment-Worthy Minimal White Sneaker
Common Projects Achilles Low
Can’t help yourself? Want the original?
“Which minimalist white sneaker do I buy?”
Depends on who you ask.
Ten years ago, a clean, minimalist white sneaker for men was hard to come by. The only pair available was the CP Achilles Lows. Nowadays, you have a plethora of options, all great quality, and are virtually indistinguishable from one another.
So the determining factor in what you buy is mostly just preference.
- What details do you care about? Stitching, silhouette, chunkiness?
- Is brand and status an important thing? (Then you’d probably be drawn to the CPs.)
- Do you just need shoes that are white? (The Kurts would work just fine.)
If you want EG’s opinion, you’d do just fine with any of these options. The Ace Marks Duke have been my go-to for everyday wear—hitting up the grocery store, weekend bagel run, walk through Central Park. I also wear the GREATS a ton.
I’ve owned all of these at some point (for testing purposes, of course), and the Koio Capris are my overall favorite, in terms of looks, quality, and silhouette. Who knows though, preferences change 😉
One thing remains true, no matter which pair you choose: If you take care of your shoes—have a solid rotation so you’re not wearing them every day, put shoe trees in them immediately after wearing, brush and clean them regularly—they’ll last a very long time.
Looking to build a minimalist wardrobe?
If you want to build a lean, versatile wardrobe that makes it easy to put together great outfits every day, check out our Minimalist Wardrobe Guide.
|Updated M. Gemi Lucente to Palestra, added Ace Marks Duke, added summary
|Updated links, added Beckett Simonon Reid
|Original publish date