The phrase “menswear essential” gets thrown around a lot these days.
Let’s be real: You don’t need a pair of dark denim pants and light denim pants. At least, you don’t need both if you can replace one with a pair of chinos instead.
I’m particularly passionate about this when it comes to footwear. As a New Yorker, I don’t have a lot of closet space for my shoes.
Still, white sneakers are an undeniable essential. They’re particularly important if you’re a minimalist like me.
We’ve already explored the rules of styling white sneakers. So here are 19 real-life examples of ways you can do this—all personal styles are represented, of course.
Table of Contents
How to Style White Sneakers for Men: 19 Outfit Ideas
Fun with Neutrals
This outfit proves that you can go for subtle neutrals without it looking drab. Notice how he uses non-distracting patterns on his shirt and his pants—not to mention that sizable sport watch.
And the fact he’s wearing high end white sneakers with this classic combo cinches its smart casual context. If he were wearing black dress shoes, it would completely transform the look into something more business.
Lively Yet Balanced
How on earth did this gent manage to make a bright green suit look so balanced? First off, he has only two tones on his person. Second, it’s beautifully tailored with a vibrant yet muted tone. And finally, the sneakers add a casualness that makes livelier colors more appropriate.
Clean but Relaxed Lines
Low-profile white sneakers have come to represent a balance of casual and dressy. It’s this very balance that makes this outfit work so well.
The shirt and pants are both relaxed, with lines that aren’t exactly close-to-body (which are currently trending). However, the lines are still tidy, and the pants are hemmed right around the ankle. It’s a grown-up, elegant take on the oversized clothing trend.
Everything about this combination screams classic, effortless, and handsome. It follows style rules to a tee, and that’s why it’ll look good on any body type. The black shirt and white shoes serve as excellent neutral anchors.
Meanwhile, the jacket and cuffed pants add some texture and layers, making it more exciting than a t-shirt and jeans combination without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Tempered Summer Patterns
Ever wanted to try wearing some bright, vibrant patterns, but are scared they might be too bold? This is a great example of how to pull it off. By creating a simple, white background via his shirt’s base, pants, and white sneakers, he’s able to have fun with blues, greens, and purples.
You can definitely pull off any mix of pattern colors as long as you create a solid base the way he does with the color white here.
Oversized Street Style
A nice big trench coat is a great way for everyday guys to pull off the oversized clothing aesthetic. You’ll notice that his pants are more relaxed than baggy, but contextualized with the coat and sweater, it gives the same visual effect as baggy pants but far cleaner looking.
White sneakers punctuate this outfit because it keeps it grounded and non-costumey. Big work boots would be a little too on-the-nose, while dress shoes would be too much of a contrast.
Classic Smart Casual
Low-profile leather sneakers go naturally with a simple, smart casual, or business casual combo. As elementary as this outfit is, he looks leveled up because of his smart color choice.
With its white and blue palette, the shirt is a middle ground between the white sneakers and navy pants. It creates a cohesion that ensures the outfit is classic but not boring.
A Touch of (Casual) Academia
This gent, who may have written this guide for you, leans into the youthful vibe of white sneakers. You get a traditional silhouette infused with some fun character by accenting a full suit with a school sweater and sneakers.
Still, the casual swaps here (sneakers instead of dress shoes, academic pull-over instead of a cardigan or vest) are on-theme with each other, achieving visual coherence.
Mixing Classics with Trends
You know what’s classic? Cargo pants and turtlenecks. You know what’s trendy? Oversized clothes and combining, unlike garments. This is exactly why this combination works beautifully with white sneakers. Again, it’s the balance of formal and casual.
And, of course, since the pieces are cut so well, it makes the baggy look appear elegant instead of sloppy.
I know it’s easy to think workwear, like flannel and denim, are best paired with nice leather boots. I don’t necessarily disagree. However, by topping this outfit off with white sneakers and a baseball cap, you have a handsome, everyday look that doesn’t have to stay on the ranch or in the factory.
If you’re a skinny jeans guy, I highly recommend wearing black ones with exposed ankles. The fit itself may go in and out of style, but going for slim and short aspects throughout makes it look more intentional.
Another thing that makes it look intentional? Premium-looking, low-profile white sneakers and an open utility shirt brings dynamism to the silhouette. Keep that utility shirt open to expose the white t-shirt, which is tonal with your shoes.
Casual Street Style
This outfit proves you can have fun with stylish layers without looking overdone or bulky. The mixed wash denim jacket cleverly exposes his white shirt past the sleeves, which makes his white shoes look at home in the combo. And, of course, the black pants are cuffed for that intentional-looking ankle exposed look.
Dapper and Fitted
Believe it or not, white sneakers are one of fashion’s best dress shoe swaps. In this context, they maintain the clean, mostly formal aesthetic of the outfit, but they ground them in effortlessness and practicality.
If you love a Northeastern style, white sneakers are definitely essentials. Besides, the New England set loves their tennis whites. The cable-knit vest pairs naturally with the shoes, while the burgundy blazer, cleverly tonal with the vest’s accents, adds a classy pop of color.
Whether or not you’re into this guy’s street style approach, which has tons of cool factor, pay attention to the dynamic silhouette. The top-heavy shape is stylish and flattering and can be done in several different ways.
If you prefer workwear, you might go for a utility shirt over a black T-shirt. If you love athleisure, cinched-hem joggers over cinched jeans are an option. Regardless, the white sneakers are the perfect choice to anchor the look.
There are few contexts more natural to the white sneaker than a polo-and-shorts situation. By going with white shorts, he creates vivid color blocks that take an otherwise standard outfit from normal to exceptional.
Simple with Subtle Statements
Another proper habitat for white sneakers is a youthful, casual outfit. This look is a typical t-shirt and jeans. However, the slim fit matches the sneakers’ low-profile and close fit.
The skater vibes are taken to the next level via the leather cap, which serves a cool statement piece—and in a way, as do the leather straps of his backpack.
A Touch of Color
This is another leveled-up t-shirt and jeans situation. By going for regular fits throughout, as well as a more urban-looking black shirt over a white one, he’s able to temper and have fun with the pink plaid on his shacket.
Athleisure Meets Street Style
White sneakers look great with athleisure. They also go perfectly with monochrome street styles. The joggers and hoodie are examples of the former, while the all-black palette, dynamic silhouette, and pockets on the joggers are examples of the latter.
By combining elements from both, this guy creates a familiar yet unique context for his white sneakers.
Style Rules for Wearing Outfits With White Sneakers for Men
Avoid Athletic Sneakers
When I say this, I’m really referring to the hardcore performance-forward models. The ones that are literally just for training. Of course, street style incorporates a lot of basketball sneakers, and preppy style loves their tennis whites.
However, extreme examples, like five-finger running shoes, shouldn’t be worn for unironic style purposes. Stick with minimalist, white leather sneaks
Consider the Occasion
In the age of casualization, dress codes can be a bit more confusing. For example, in a smart casual situation, you never know whether sneakers are appropriate or not. You’ll likely be able to pull off low-profile white leathers, but definitely not thick-soled runners.
Remember, when it comes to the occasion, it’s all about balance and context.
Keep them Clean
Keep your white shoes clean unless you’re going for a pre-distressed look. They’re white shoes, after all, not gray or brown ones. I know this can be difficult to do with such a stain-prone shade, but let’s be grown-ups here. Keep your shoes clean.
Dress for the Season
A lot of sneakers are year-rounders, but thick leather high-tops with boot-like silhouettes aren’t great for the middle of summer. Meanwhile, really low-profile, minimal sneakers are best in the summer.
White Hot Style
Whether you’re classic or trendy, urban or country, or even preppy or street, the white sneaker is a perfect grounding piece of footwear.
There are no strict rules regarding who can and can’t wear them. So, in a way, they’re like the complete opposite of a cowboy boot.
I hope you can take some of these guys’ approaches and incorporate them into your own combos.