Best trainers 2020: the best sneakers for fashion and beyond
Updated: The best trainers for those who want shoes with style.
The process of picking out the best trainers for you can be surprisingly stressful. If you’re anything like us, you’ll make several ‘definite’ choices, only to renege on them the minute you’ve reached any level of certainty.
UPDATE: There has been some great trainer-related news this week. Not only did we get a first look at Ben & Jerry's trainer collaboration with Nike, but a pair of Apple trainers from 1986 have sold for $10,000. The Apple trainers were worn by employees throughout the 90s and the white trainers feature a multi-coloured Apple logo on the tongue, and another Apple logo on the upper. The used trainers were bought by a US bidder who paid a total of $9,687.
It’s really difficult to identify the blend of comfort and style that you need from an everyday pair of trainers.
It’s not the same as picking out a pair of running shoes, for which you need certain criteria – personal taste has more of a role to play here – after all, people are going to see them on your feet far more often than the shoes you’re only wearing down the gym or when jogging outside.
Here’s our top 10 – let us know if there are any others you think we need to include, and upvote your favourite pair.
- If you need something a bit more sporty, here are our best running shoes, tested by our marathon-running expert
- Is Adidas your brand of choice? Check out our shortlist of the best adidas shoes to see if your favourites made the cut
1. Converse Chuck 70 Classic High Top
The classics are classics for a reason. You’ve been able to get your hands on Converse’s Chuck Taylors since… well, since before you were born. The folks behind the design have recognised you can mess with a good thing as much as you want, as long as you keep the things that made it great to begin with. The All-Star 70 high-top trainer marked one of the early tweaks that modernised the original, while keeping the good bits very much intact.
2. Adidas Continental 80
The 1980s: best decade for trainers? It’s hard to say for sure, but these classy, understated 80s inspired adidas trainers make a solid case for it. The Continental 80 comes with the old trefoil logo, giving things a proper retro feel and evoking an entire era, while the wide range of colourways ensure simplicity is put front and centre while ensuring an extremely wide choice to suit your personal taste.
3. Veja V-10
Despite being fairly new to the UK trainer scene, this environmentally-conscious brand has quickly gained a significant following. It is easy to see why; the design is clean and classic. There are also over 10 different colour options for the ‘V’ logo, which allows you to customise a little without losing the simplicity of the design.
4. New Balance Made in UK Colour Circle
Variety is the spice of life, and these trainers – part of New Balance’s extensive Made in UK collection – blend simplicity with choice. Available in red, blue, purple, green or mustard yellow, they are modelled on the 576 design from the late 80s and carry that combination of simplicity and statement looks with the choice of a solid colourway with an unintrusive amount of white to bring it out.
5. Adidas PulseBoot HD Winterised
Adidas has unveiled its latest Pulseboot trainers: the Pulseboost HD Winterised. Designed specially for winter wear, these trainers have added stability and maximum grip (perfect for slippery pavements) as well as flexible material that keeps your feet warm too.
6. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 SD
Available in more than a dozen colours, allowing you to cater to your personal style, the Mexico 66 collection can be as expansive or as no-nonsense as you want it to be. Its classic 60s design should ensure it stands the test of time looking forwards as well as back, inspired by the shoes first unveiled in 1966 ahead of the Japanese team’s trip to the Mexico City Olympics two years later.
7. Common Projects Original Achilles
To call these minimalist would be an understatement. The Common Projects Original Achilles are the classic white trainer kicked up a notch to the point that they’re essentially whiter than white. The simplicity means they’ll fit with more or less any look, and it’s easy to see why these are credited with leading the revival of the clean white trainer trend. Clean is the operative word with the Original Achilles.
8. Reebok Club C 85
Reebok has always been a master of prioritising comfort in trainers that also look the part. If you want a shoe that you can wear day to day and look good doing so, a Reebok Club C 85 fits the bill. The intense white/green two-tone contrast gives you an 80s throwback feel, while it’s also on the market in various black and white variants, to give you a strong look whether wearing them to work or on your days off.
9. Puma Tsugi Kai Jun
The Tsugi Kai Jun sees Puma attempt to capture a trainer that can be worn daily when you’re out and about and at the gym. It’s one of a number of designs that slips on like a sock, making it feel like you’re walking around your living room even when you’re taking a stroll outside. It’s available in glacier grey or black, ensuring things don’t get overcomplicated.
10. Nike Air Max 720
You thought we were going to make it through this list without a single Air Max mention? How naïve of you. The Air Max 720 is up there with the best of the bunch, with even more air underfoot than you’re used to. Even if the ‘walking on air’ ideal might feel like a stretch, these have few equals when it comes to comfort in an everyday trainer. You have a choice of eight colours too.
11. Axel Arigato Clean 90
Swedish brand Axel Arigato has provided a strong take on the classic white trainer, so clean and unspoiled you almost don’t want to touch it. There’s also a black leather version if all-white isn’t your thing, but the all-white wins points for versatility. If you’re looking for trainers for a range of situations and looks, there’s plenty to be said for these. The company might have only been formed in 2014, but it’s quickly making its case.
12. Lacoste Carnaby Evo
A proper ‘goes with anything’ trainer, the Carnaby Evo has a neat pared-back look, and does skimp on comfort. It's the kind of trainer you can wear to work without compromising on smartness, but they’re also a safe bet in more or less any other situation. The premium leather trainers are available in white as well as black, if you’re after a crisp look that recalls older Lacoste models.