When it comes to sneakers, everyone has their own styles that they love. While some love bright colorways, others like their sneakers more stripped back. Minimalist sneakers not only look great but they also give incredible versatility with what you can wear with them.
Over the last few decades we’ve seen many great minimalist sneakers on the market from a wide range of brands. Logos are less obvious, colors are limited and designs are kept simple. Here we look at the perfect minimalist sneakers. Let’s get started!
Why minimalist sneakers?
There are a few great reasons to get minimalist sneakers. Perhaps the biggest reason is their versatility. You can wear them with a wide range of clothing and they’ll never be sitting in your cupboard for too long. Whatever pair you get, they are going to be a great investment.
An example of their versatility is in those jobs, such as in the service industry, where you have to look professional but you’re on your feet all day. Minimalist trainers are a great way to keep you comfortable while also looking sharp.
This is also an elegance to minimalist sneakers. They exude cool and class. Sneakers with bright colorways can look fantastic but they don’t give off the same vibe. Stripping those colors back gives them a classical look.
While these sneakers are, well, minimalist, it doesn’t mean they don’t look great. There are many great designs out there. Due to them not being quite as loud, those subtle design features stand out. Understated aspects of the sneaker that can get lost in bright models can pop with minimalist sneakers.
Tips to style them right
One of the best things about minimalist sneakers is that they are easy to style. Not many types of shoes can be used in multiple different settings but a subtle sneaker can. When it comes to styling them, it’s hard to go wrong.
Probably the classic way to style them is with a pair of dark jeans. This can be for strolling around town, heading out on a date or going to a family event. Match it up with a suitable shirt and jacket and you’re good to go. Blazers work great for a smarter look but an open jacket also looks brilliant for a more casual style.
In the last few years, we’ve also seen a move to minimalist sneakers being worn with more formal clothing, which we think looks great. You can’t do this with any other type of sneakers but minimalist sneakers can look great with a suit.
The clothes matching doesn’t end there. These sneakers can also look brilliant with the likes of chinos for a laid-back look or with a pair of lounge pants for those lazy days. When it comes to shoes, it’s easy to style minimalist sneakers and you’ll look great whatever you’re wearing.
The Best Minimalist Sneakers
1. Adidas Stan Smith
Minimalist doesn’t mean boring and nowhere is that more obvious than with the Adidas Stan Smith. The iconic shoe dates back to 1965 and is one of the most famous tennis shoes ever made. They were originally called “Robert Haillet” after the French tennis player but were changed to “Stan Smith” in ’78.
They have been popular ever since and notorious for their simple design, which includes not having those infamous stripes. Instead of the stripes, there are three lines of ventilation but they do have the trefoil logo on the heel.
Also on the heel is the only splash of color. This can most commonly be found in green but other colors are available. The Stan Smith is the epitome of what makes a minimalist sneaker so popular.
2. Chuck Taylor All Star Converse
If you want sneakers that are loud and bright then you can get a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse. If you wanted a minimalist pair of sneakers then, well, you can also get a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse. There have been almost countless design iterations from this all-time classic.
The minimalist version we’re talking about here is the classic low Chuck Taylor’s that come in mostly white & have the red and navy stripes around the midsole. They are perfect for casual wear and there is a reason for their seemingly never-ending popularity.
The silhouette is timeless and their lightweight comfort is well-known. While we love all the crazy designs and colors that you can get with Converse, there’s something special about the classic white original.
3. Nike Cortez
The Nike Cortez has quite a fascinating history and is one of the most important shoes in Nike’s rise to being the biggest sneaker brand of them all. It was their first sneaker made for the track and was designed by their co-founder Bill Bowerman, who gave it an understated style.
This could well be what you’re looking for if you wanted a more athletic-looking option. Its most famous colorways are a flash of blue across the side and a large red swoosh, along with red on the heel. It’s probably cheating to say that’s a minimalist colorway but there are other options.
They look incredible with a black stripe and swoosh which works surprisingly well. For the complete minimalist look, you can also grab a pair in all white. Whatever colors you choose, you’ll be getting a design classic and an icon of the sneaker world.
4. Slip on Vans
Like with the Chuck Taylor All Star Converse, you can get slip-on Vans in a wide variety of different designs from a checkerboard or leopard print to sunflowers or flames. They are a dynamic shoe which is easy to put on and comfortable to wear.
While multicolor options can be spectacular, you can also find many block colors to choose from. The most minimalist of those are white. You’ll get that classic silhouette with only the famous Vans tag varying from that all-white design.
If you wanted something different, then there are also minimalist options in the likes of black, charcoal and navy among others. As always with Vans, it makes it very tempting to pick up a few pairs.
5. Adidas Handball Special
There are a few sneakers in history where you take one look at them and instantly see a design classic, the Handball Spezial is such a shoe. It has gained cult status over the years and was made for indoor sports but is now used by many for casual wear.
They were originally released in 1979 and the design has been quite consistent ever since. The design is fairly simple with the three Adidas stripes and the logo on the heel. The sneakers can actually be quite loud as many different color options are available.
Where we think they really stand out is as a formal wear replacement for those in the likes of the service industry. They can wear a pair of black Handball Spezial’s and look stylish while remaining professional.
6. Nike Killshot 2
Nike isn’t known for their minimalist sneakers but we’ve already seen with the Cortez that they don’t always need to be loud and bright. The Killshot 2 does have quite a significant design feature with the large gum rubber outsole along with a large swoosh.
While significant, those features remain fairly understated, especially for Nike. Along with those, we also see patches on the toe, heel and upper which usually have a slightly different color from the rest of the shoe.
It makes them a great option for those looking for a minimalist sneaker which still has a fair bit of design going on. While other colorways are available, they always look their best with the white/grey coloring with a dark navy swoosh.
7. Common Projects: Achilles Low
In many ways, the Common Projects Original Achilles Low is the embodiment of exactly what you want from a minimalist sneaker. Their design is incredibly refined and they have that effortless cool that doesn’t demand attention, but still gets plenty of it.
Many brands have tried to copy the Achilles but none are quite as good as this. There are no fancy design features here and no logo either. In many ways, that can be seen as incredibly bold. It’s that dedication to minimalism that ironically makes them stand out.
They are also incredibly well made with high-class stitching and top-quality leather. You’ll get a lot of wear out of them which is great because you’ll probably want to wear them all the time. The perfect minimalist sneaker.
8. Uniform Standard: Series 1
Another fantastic option for those looking for a minimalist sneaker is the Series 1 from Uniform Standard. It’s a sneaker that has perfected clean lines which work perfectly with the smooth Italian leather used on the uppers.
They are a low-profile shoe that not only looks great but also provides exceptional comfort. While the triple white leather is the best option for those looking for the most minimalist option, there are plenty of other suitable colors available in the Series 1.
There are a few great tones of suede available that look great and you can even opt for a caramel or toffee leather. For those looking for formal shoes, they also have all-black options in both suede and leather.
9. Spring Court: G2
If you wanted ultimate versatility then look no further than the G2 from Spring Court. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with these sneakers as they will look equally good with a pair of jeans or your summer shorts.
Despite being a minimalist shoe, there are some great features here such as the ventilation holes on the sole of the shoe. You get the full range of choice of upper materials as you can opt for either suede, leather or canvas.
All three look great and you can get them in all-white or all-black. if you wanted a bit more color then you’ll also have the choice of slate or blue.
10. Nike SB Blazer Court
If you want to mix an old-school court shoe with a modern minimalist design then you’ll love a pair of these on your feet. The streamlined design is probably Nike’s most subtle shoe which is influenced by basketball culture while also being a skater favorite.
The design is unique as there is a nostalgia to them while also being perfect for modern settings. As with many classic Nike’s, their popularity has surged in recent years but that’s hardly a surprise. It’s a timeless silhouette that gives you plenty of comfort. The perfect combination.
It’s hard to decide which colorway we love the most. It has to be between the white uppers with a red swoosh or the black uppers with a white swoosh. Both are very versatile so you just have to decide which one you prefer.
11. Adidas 3mc
The Adidas Gazelle sneakers are one of their most famous models and these sneakers are a minimalist version of them. Instead of the bold three stipes of the Gazelle, here we get a much more subtle raised set of strips which are the same color as the rest of the upper.
That clean canvas sets them apart as the most laid-back Adidas shoe out there today. The skate-friendly design makes them highly versatile and comfortable for all-day wear. The all-white version is ideal for casual occasions but the all-black version is a perfect formal footwear replacement.
12. Reiss Sneakers
It’s impossible to talk about just one pair of Reiss’ when it comes to minimalist sneakers. The vast majority of their line is all about clean colors and a streamlined style. They are a great go-to brand for those looking for a few pairs of subtle sneakers.
Most of them have that tennis shoe style with plenty of all-white options along with an elegant use of blacks, teal, biscuit and grey along with a few other earthly colors. Their men’s collection is full of stylish sneakers but there is also a great range of women’s options.
We particularly love their all-white knitted trainers which are exactly the type of pair that can be matched with a wide range of different outfits.
13. Puma Smash V2 Trainers
The ‘Smash’ name for these sneakers is derived from the aggressive tennis stroke which is at odds with this laid-back sneaker. Aside from having a classic silhouette, there are few design features here aside from Puma’s iconic swooping formstrip.
They look great in black and are ideal for formal settings. You can also get them in white with a black formstrip but they look their minimalist best in all-white. They are well padded for all-day comfort and you’ll look great in whatever you’re wearing with them.
14. Nike Air Force 1 ’07 sneaker
The Air Force 1’s are one of the most iconic sneakers ever made and they are probably only behind Jordan’s in being the most famous sneakers ever. They were originally released in 1982 and even with those early releases, the colorways were fairly subdued.
They are a must-have item for any sneakerhead but the ’07 release also makes them a brilliant option for anyone wanting a pair of minimalist Nike’s. You can find many available in an all-white color, which we think is going to be your best option.
Their chunky sole and large swoosh means they aren’t quite as minimalist as some other sneakers on this list but for those wanting a versatile classic, the ’07 Air Force 1’s are a great choice.
15. Reebok Club C 85 sneaker
Reebok Classics are another iconic pair of sneakers that have been hugely popular for a long time now. They have been on the feet of many a young man and women, and have even been mentioned in indie songs such as A Certain Romance by Arctic Monkeys.
They keep design features to a minimum and often simply feature green Reebok writing on both the side and heel. It makes them ideal for those who want mostly minimalist sneakers but still want people to know what they’re wearing.
They have a great history and have been popular for decades and we see no sign of that stopping.
Check out even more sneakers with our best 80s sneakers editorial. The 80s contained both minimalist and loud sneakers so threes something for everybody!
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