When it comes to footwear, every fashion-conscious man should own a pair of trainers. No longer reserved for gym and running enthusiasts, these wardrobe staples exist to elevate just about any look you can think of. With the rebirth of classic styles by brands such as Alexander McQueen and Valentino in recent times, knowing which style to go for and how to style them is essential for the sartorial man. Whether you’re more of a classic trainer kind of guy or a fan of trend-lead bold styles, our guide will show you how to wear trainers to complement any look and occasion.
MEN'S SLIP-ON TRAINERS
If you prefer dressing smart casual, and favour an alternative edge to your outfits, a pair of slip-on trainers deserve a space in your wardrobe. Marrying both practicality and comfort, this easy-to-throw-on style is perfect for days where you’re on the go and could do without the hassle of laces and buckles. For fans of skate wear and men’s skate trainers, the slip-on trainer offers an updated take on classic styles without losing the traditional charm of their predecessors.
HOW TO STYLE SLIP-ON TRAINERS
The way you style slip-on trainers depends on the occasion. Are you heading out for something casual or do you need your ensemble to have a slightly more polished finish? Here, it’s all about the materials used. A laidback style made with cool canvas in either white or other neutral shades will work well for low-key days. Looking to nail the 90s revival? Pair your skate trainers with chinos, an oversized t-shirt and a beanie. For a smarter edge, opt for smart-casual trainers made from a high-quality leather or suede in either black or another hue that complements your getup.
WHEN TO WEAR THEM
Slip-on trainers can be worn practically all year round. However, if you’re buying a canvas pair, it’s worth considering if they can withstand wet weather, particularly during the autumn and winter months. On the other hand, leather will work, regardless of the elements – just avoid getting your suede pair wet as the two definitely do not mix.
MEN'S WHITE TRAINERS
If you’re looking for a pair of men’s trainers that go with virtually every outfit, then look no further. A pair of designer white trainers will see you through most events and occasions with minimal effort – all you need to do is keep them looking fresh. A number of brands have attempted to reboot white trainers in recent times, but we suggest investing in a more minimal pair that won’t get old as trends come and go.
HOW TO STYLE WHITE TRAINERS
The beauty of a pair of a white trainers is that they can be styled with pretty much any outfit going. Sleek, simplistic styles from the likes of Axel Arigato and Saint Laurent elevate a tailored suit by adding a modern element to your look. On the other hand, designs that hark back to the 80s and 90s such as those by Off-White and Balenciaga are great for bringing a playful touch to an ensemble. If you’re a serial monochrome dresser, why not venture into the realm of colour and combine with a pair of bold socks?.
WHEN TO WEAR THEM
As we’ve already mentioned, a pair of white trainers can see you through just about any occasion. Seasons-wise, opting for a leather pair will carry your wardrobe come rain or shine.
MEN'S BLACK TRAINERS
Whilst you can’t go wrong with a pair of white trainers, investing in a pair of designer men’s black trainers is also a style-savvy move. Lending themselves to outfits that incorporate darker hues – think leather jackets and black jeans – these shoes will be your best friend with the right styling. Lovers of luxe streetwear will also rejoice as these trainers allow eye-grabbing, colourful elements of your outfit to stand out, without necessarily taking the back seat.
HOW TO STYLE BLACK TRAINERS
The most important thing to keep in mind when styling these trainers is to keep the rest of your outfit dark. It’s rare that black trainers look good when paired with light-wash denim or chinos in a lighter hue, so we advise keeping your bottom half on the darker side. When it comes to socks, sticking with black is a foolproof move, however, a bright pair can also complement an otherwise monochromatic look. If you’re heading somewhere formal, you can try styling a sleek pair with your suit for a more contemporary take – just be sure to check the venue’s dress code beforehand.
WHEN TO WEAR THEM
Considering that the rest of your look will most likely be dark, black trainers work best in the autumn and winter. To carry you through tougher conditions, make sure you’re investing in a pair made from high-quality leather with a durable sole and finish. If you do choose to wear them during the warmer months, stick to dark chinos and shorts, where possible.
MEN'S HIGH-TOP TRAINERS
In 1917, Marquis Mills Converse conceived the original high-top trainer. Originally created for basketball players, the style has since evolved into one of the most popular style of trainers seen in the fashion world. Now, this iconic silhouette has been reinvented using a variety of fabrics and colourways, with standout designs from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Amiri. For fans of retro-inspired looks, a pair of high-top trainers will have you stepping out in style.
HOW TO STYLE HIGH-TOP TRAINERS
One of the great things about high-tops is their versatility. If you’re seeking something laidback and on the more casual side, you can’t go wrong with a classic pair of black Chuck Taylors, designer denim jeans and a plain tee. In the summertime, pairing your favourite pair of high-top trainers with baggy shorts and an oversized t-shirt can bring a cool, 90s-inspired aesthetic to your get-up. If you’re dressing for a more formal occasion, don’t be afraid to pair cropped trousers and a fitted blazer with designs from the likes of Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo. Selecting a slick pair made from sumptuous leather in a darker hue will avoid you looking too dressed down.
WHEN TO WEAR THEM
High-top trainers are pretty much all-year-round kind of shoe. With the ability to be paired with shorts and shirts in the summer and jeans and parkas in the winter, you’re never restricted to a particular season. Breathable canvas styles lend themselves to warmer climes, but can easily be styled during the cooler months if you layer up on top.
MEN'S LOW-TOP TRAINERS
Recognised as the most common style when it comes to men’s trainers, being armed with a pair of low-top trainers will add the perfect finishing touch to your outfit. From chunky designs by Balenciaga to classic, more minimal takes from Adidas, these low-key designs will complement virtually any look. Without added ankle support, these low-riding styles allow you to chop and change with a number of outfits, making them slightly more versatile than their high-top counterparts.
HOW TO STYLE LOW-TOP TRAINERS
With this particular style of trainer, the look you go for is entirely up to you. Keep it cool with jeans, a motif tee and a casual jacket or lean towards something smarter by pairing with classic chinos – cropped lengths look best here. With more of your ankle on show, get creative with printed or bold coloured socks or, alternatively, keep things clean and simple with hidden socks that will add a modern twist to your ensemble.
WHEN TO WEAR THEM
When stepping out in a pair of low-top trainers, keep in mind how much protection you want from the elements throughout your day. The summer is when low-tops really take centre stage and provide an effortless end to a breezy, laidback outfit. In the winter, they can be paired with a thicker sock for added warmth – just be mindful of not-so-rain-resistant materials such as suede and canvas.
For more inspiration on how to update and style your designer wardrobe, be sure to visit our men's fashion guides.