Over the years, as our dress codes have relaxed, trainers have slowly made their way from the sports stadiums and running tracks to our everyday attire. That's why keeping a few pairs of kicks handy (or feety perhaps?) is an absolute essential for every guy's wardrobe.
There is undoubtedly a lot of choice out there, ranging from classy leather slip-ons that can be worn seamlessly alongside a tailored jacket, to more technical trainers that are great for sports. In this article, we've sifted through the highly competitive online market to find the best pairs on Amazon, ASOS and John Lewis. Moreover, we have partnered with fashion designer Neelam Lalwani for reviewing and fact-checking the article to deliver you the best information.
Neelam is an ambitious, motivated, fashion and business-oriented graduate. She has 2+ years of experience in the fashion industry working as a fashion designer and social media marketer. Neelam has a keen eye for detail and extensive training in understanding current consumer demands, industry dynamics and new fashion trends.
A recommendation service that carefully researches each product and consults with experts across many disciplines. We are constantly creating new content to provide the best shopping experience from choosing ‘cosmetics’ to ‘food and drink’, ‘home appliances’ to ‘kids and baby’ products, reaching users all across the United Kingdom.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Neelam is an ambitious, motivated, fashion and business-oriented graduate. She has 2+ years of experience in the fashion industry, working as a fashion designer and social media marketer.
Neelam has a keen eye for detail and extensive training in understanding current consumer demands, industry dynamics and new fashion trends.
The most common style of trainers you're likely to come across is the low top. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, these trainers cover the foot, cutting off around or below the wearer’s ankles.
Low tops allow for better mobility, which is its primary selling point. They are also considerably lighter on your feet. These shoes enable you to run faster and jump higher with less effort. These are by far the most versatile of all the different styles, as they can be worn with pretty much everything. From summer shorts, to formal attire, they're going to look great providing you’ve got the right pair.
Moving on from the low to the high top, these iconic shoes have humble beginnings. Originally designed to be worn as part of a sports kit, it was believed that having an upper part which covered the ankle would give more protection to those playing games such as basketball.
In the future, if your activities or profession may demand a little extra ankle support, high top shoes may be the best choice. Whereas a low top shoe may be preferred if freedom of movement is essential.
As with most sportswear, they’ve gradually become adopted into streetwear trends. For this reason, high tops are often better suited to more casual attire. Although, recently designer brands have been producing them, so you might be able to snag some more classy, albeit slightly extravagant options to wear with your suit.
As you’ve probably guessed, the slip-on trainer is one that does just that. This style generally uses a flexible upper and an elasticated ankle which allows the wearer to easily slide them on and off. Which means there will be no unpleasant laces ruining the clean silhouette of the shoe.
These trainers come in a wide variety of designs and materials, whether you're after sophisticated leather uppers for more smart-casual events, or canvas espadrilles for relaxing summer days at the beach. Just make sure to match them to your outfit, otherwise they can quickly look out of place.
Active trainers are suitable for everyday wear because their upper structures, like their rubber outsole, are frequently designed to give high levels of durability and breathability. These characteristics are ideal for a variety of environments and for prolonging a shoe's lifespan in the gym and on an everyday basis.
If you’re looking for trainers for your workout, a kick about at the park, or you simply like the active look, then finding some versatile running trainers could well be on the top of your list.
Whether or not you're the active type, you may want to consider this style if you're constantly on your feet for work. These trainers will be a practical and extremely comfortable choice, with cushioned soles for those long hours spent standing up.
Of course, you’ll want them to look good too! Luckily, sportswear chic is back on trend, and brands have been producing a wide variety of both practical and stylish sports trainers over the last couple of years.
Leather is one of the most common materials used in footwear. It has the advantage of being naturally waterproof, while bringing an added touch of class helping you achieve a smarter look. If looked after properly, this material can last ages, so you won’t be forking out for a new pair every year.
Leather shoes have a substantially longer lifespan than other types of shoes. One reason people believe leather shoes are superior is because of their durability. They endure a long time if proper care is taken and re-soled.
However, the downside to leather is that if you want to keep it in good condition, they’re going to need some care. Leather trainers can also require breaking in time if you’re not used to wearing such a robust shoe.
If your trainers aren't made from leather, the next most common type of textile used is cotton canvas. This is often used to create a variety of different sneakers, high tops and plimsoles. The big plus is that these trainers are low cost and low maintenance, so you won't have to worry about the upkeep.
Unfortunately, canvas trainers aren’t very warm or weatherproof, so you may be left with some wet socks if the weather turns. They’re also not very durable, unlike leather trainers.
This fabric is generally reserved for active and sports-style trainers. The synthetic material can be made from nylon, polyester or even faux leathers (think PVC), all of which are breathable and lightweight, making them ideal for fitness and longer periods of wear.
The only issue is that these materials tend to be significantly weaker than leather or canvas, and can wear down rather quickly. So you might be required to repurchase a pair sooner than you’d want to.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the sole. The majority of the time trainers will use a rubber tread. This is because rubber soles are long-lasting, slip-resistant, and most importantly for those of us living in the UK, it’s waterproof.
Also, this allows you to operate safely in rainy, muddy and slippery conditions without needing to pack a change of socks. However, rubber soles have a longer lifespan as well as better grip than synthetic soles.
Some active trainers will possibly use a synthetic sole as they are more lightweight, making them a solid choice for running and working out. The only problem is that they aren’t as water-resistant or slip-proof. So, on a wet day you could end up with damp socks, or on your bum, neither outcome being optimal.
Click to purchase
Chuck Taylor All Star Hi
Iconic Lace-up Canvas High Top From Converse
Classy Leather Slip-Ons for Smart-Casual Looks
Lightweight Trainers for Sports and Casual Wear
Outdoors Terrex Free Hiker
Practical and Stylish adidas Hiking Trainers
Zero Leather Trainers
White Low Top Trainers That Will Go With Practically Anything
Quite possibly the most famous trainer ever created, Converse's Chuck Taylor All Star high-tops are loved by people from all walks of life. We've seen them worn by everyone from punk rockers to rap stars, as well as being teamed with suits!
Made from 100% cotton canvas with a rubber sole, they're lightweight and practical enough to stomp about in. We've gone for the classic black and white, but if you want to spice it up a little there are more colour and pattern combinations than you could ever wish for.
One of the defining shoes of modern times, the Vans checkerboard slip-ons are appreciated all over the world. The design originated from the son of one of the company's founders who noticed many of the skaters wearing the shoes had begun to colour the sole, creating a checkered pattern. The rest, as they say, is history.
These trainers are known for their casual vibes, and come with extra padding around the ankle cuffs to give that touch more comfort. Plus, the materials and glues used to make these shoes are all cruelty-free!
Salomon is right up there with the best when you think of active footwear, and these trainers are no exception! Made from lightweight, breathable synthetic materials, these shoes will keep your feet cool, whether you're walking to work, or out on a jog.
They may not have quite the same cushioning as other running shoes, but some people like to feel the ground beneath their feet - it's all a matter of preference.
Certainly not your everyday trainer, well not yet anyway, these hiking shoes from adidas perfectly balance comfort, practicality and style. The grey flyknit upper gives the shoes a sock-like construction, while the rubber sole provides extraordinary grip, even in wet conditions.
We're also big fans of the muted colourway, with a pop of yellow on the pull tabs. Perhaps not as versatile as some of the others, but if you're looking for comfort and practicality above all else, these will certainly serve you well.
It can be somewhat of a minefield deciding what to wear whenever you receive an invitation to an event where the dress code is smart-casual. Too smart and you'll look like you've just arrived from church, too casual and you'll look like you've just come from P.E.
That's why these trainers are golden! They're simple and chic, without being overbearing, and they'll go with practically anything. The block white working well with smart pants, chinos, jeans or even shorts. However, they are going to set you back a few quid, so you'll want to look after them.
We partner with specialists across various fields to proof-read our buying guides to deliver accurate and reliable information. Our specialists do not endorse any products that we recommend.
- mybest UK
Our ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
No. 1: Converse｜Chuck Taylor All Star Hi
No. 2: Vans｜Slip-On Checkerboard
No. 3: Salomon｜Sonic Competition
No. 4: adidas｜Outdoors Terrex Free Hiker
No. 5: HUGO BOSS ｜Zero Leather Trainers
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
PC and cameras
Home appliances and electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones