Sandals, schmandals—there’s not just one summer shoe, ya know. Let’s talk summer sneakers. When your everyday flip-flops just can’t compete with the best shoes for walking all day or running to catch narrow connecting flights on your way to paradise, you need to diversify your warm weather footwear. The beloved summer sneaker is more than a wardrobe staple, it’s the insurance your hardworking feet need to feel happy and supported at their puffiest, leaving you fully able to concentrate on enjoying the best part of the year, sans blisters. These months are simply too precious to give any time to discomfort! From the best pair of white sneakers under $100 to reinvented twists on cult favorites, we’ve rounded up our top 12 kicks that will carry you from Memorial Day well into fall outfit planning before the changing of the leaves. These curated go-to’s specifically transcend trends, meaning we’ve taken the worry out of wondering if any of these are “still in” after you pull the trigger (RIP The Dad Sneaker). Who ever wants to feel buyer’s remorse from a sneaker? And if you still haven’t mastered the nuanced styling of sneakers and puff-sleeve dresses à la Copenhagen street style stars, don’t panic: These picks each blend well with basically everything you already have in your wardrobe, but are classic enough to experiment with unexpected pairings. Click through to get going on the easiest summer dressing of your life. You can thank us later!
Keds Champion Canvas
If you look up “summer sneaker” in the encyclopedia, there is a strong chance these Keds would be on the page. This shoe is ideal with denim shorts and a button-down knotted at the waist. Think Baby from Dirty Dancing–a strong look never dies!
KENNETH COLE NEW YORK Kamspadrille Flatform Suede Sneaker
With all the casual beachy vibes of an espadrille, but with the practicality of a rubber sole, this chic suede pair will be your grab-and-go travel sneaker for the summer. These would be fabulous somewhere in Spain with a monochromatic linen look that says “I never spill red wine on myself” (I wish that were true).
COACH Citysole Court Sneaker
If fashion and functionality had a baby and it was a sneaker, it would be these Coach Citysoles. Designed from traditional basketball shoes, these kicks are as comfortable as they are stylish, with an unexpected color block pairing for the individuality you’re craving in a sneaker.
Thousand Fell Women's Slip On Black
Made from super soft bio-leather with aloe vera lined insoles, these Thousand Fell slip-ons claim to be the blister and sweat-free sneaker that sockless summer feet have been praying for. They’re also super sustainable without sacrificing style: a win on all fronts.
Good News Bagger Lace Up Sneakers
These retro rubber-toed plimsolls are a fabulously versatile option. They are as appropriate for city strolls as they are for a boardwalk bike ride, so you’ll get plenty of mileage out of these classic treads.
Français (FR) NS1 Slip On Sneakers in Mixed Materials
If you’re looking for a sneaker, but not looking to twin with your boyfriend, these Dolce & Gabbana monochrome lace and leather NS1s are the super feminine sneakers that feel as thoughtfully designed as a pair of pumps. The white is a no-brainer, but the poppy red could be fabulous with a floral midi skirt and a tee for an al fresco brunch date.
onitsuka tiger Delegation Chunk
When basic canvas sneakers are just…too regular for you. No problem–Onitsuka Tiger iconic Delegation sneaker comes in a platform to make it more contemporary. Phew!
NIKE Daybreak Sneaker
These Daybreak Sneakers from Nike are an updated version of the sneakerhead cult-favorite Tailwind from 1979. This retro shape feels fresh in this soft pink that works just as well with a breezy white cotton maxi for day drinks in the city or with a classic gray sweatsuit to jump on a plane.
This pastel green python is the neutral you never knew you needed (yes–animal print is a neutral, get on board). The double sole flatform also gives a bit of a boost for a legs-for-days look to pair with your go-to mini dress.
Women's Gucci Tennis 1977 Sneakers
If you’ve always been a little more Richie Tennenbaum than Margo, these Gucci Tennis 1977 sneakers will be right up your alley. A nostalgic nod to old school tennis style, this pair is begging to be worn with a polo and a mini skirt, but can be just as cool with a ringer tee and straight-leg jeans.
Koio Capri Thyme
These monochromatic beauties in olive green are the neutral you didn't know you needed. They'll look as good with black or a pop of color and will easily carry you into fall.
Maison Margiela Tabi Sneakers
Basic canvas sneakers feel too boring for you? Not a problem – Margiela’s iconic Tabi split-toe styles comes one. Phew! Also recommended: ordering a pair of tabi (ie split-toe) socks to wear with them, as your regular socks won’t work.
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Julia Gall is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering all things fashion, as well as styling tips, wardrobe upkeep and sustainability. Check her out at @juliasgall.
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