White sneakers are back with a vengeance

If you're clumsy with canapés or have two left feet, perhaps it's best to have your dry-cleaner on speed dial, because unless you're all right wearing all white, the warmer months are not going to be easy.

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White jeans, suits, jumpers, dresses and swimwear are going to be the look du jour for spring and summer for men – thanks to Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren – and women, courtesy of Toni Maticevski and Chanel.

However, it is the white sneaker which will be the dark horse of summer dressing. Yes, Jerry Seinfeld – man of the dad jean and white sneaker combo – is officially a fashion icon. Seinfeld sported a vast collection of white Nikes during Seinfeld's nine-year run, mainly Air Tech Challenge IIs (first made famous by Andre Agassi) and rare Air Jordan VIs.

Hero worship

During his Ask Me Anything session on Reddit earlier this year, Seinfeld explained the look's origin.

"It started with wanting to be Joe Namath of the 1969 New York Jets, who at the time was one of the only football players to wear white shoes. And I wanted to be like him, so I always wore white sneakers. Also, Bill Cosby on I Spy always wore white sneakers. And they were my fashion icons."

Barack Obama is also a fan, regularly spotted in white trainers during more casual appearances like baseball games - as are David Beckham, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake.

But now, after seasons of high-tech sneakers, the humble tennis shoe should be added to your investment portfolio post-haste.

"A number of designers have turned back to the simple timelessness of a classic tennis sneaker, the most obvious point of reference being the adidas Stan Smith, the ultimate in classic tennis cool," US editor of Mr Porter.com Dan Rookwood told the Australian Financial Review's Luxury magazine.


"Raf Simons included these in his spring-summer 2015 runway show. The way Seinfeld wore white sneakers was in a 'normcore' way, which is becoming an ironic hipster trend in itself. Today's white sneaker trend is based on a more streamlined, minimalist silhouette, worn as part of a more contemporary ensemble – perhaps with fitted chinos or indigo jeans, or worn without socks along with tailored shorts."

Keep it casual

Rookwood encourages gents to embrace white kicks in the same way that women have worked the enduring sport-luxe trend into their daily wardrobes. "It should be more casual and relaxed than a structured business suit and stiff collar and tie," he says. "Go for lightweight, unlined, soft-shouldered summer tailoring, perhaps worn with a T-shirt or buttoned-up white shirt rather than a tie."

A general rule of thumb is to always choose leather over canvas, and add freshness to your white trainers by replacing the laces regularly. Converse Jack Purcell leather sneakers are a safe bet at $75, or, if you're interested in upping the style stakes, something by Saint Laurent or Common Projects will set you back $500.

This story originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review's Luxury magazine.