9 best men’s trainers: Choose from designer, vegan or high-top designs

We’ve selected our favourite statement pairs that can be dressed up or down for any occasion  

Luke Todd
Wednesday 08 July 2020 16:15
From classic New Balance to sporty Reeboks, there's something for everyone in our round-up
From classic New Balance to sporty Reeboks, there's something for everyone in our round-up

Building a trainer collection is a lot like managing a stock portfolio. In other words, invest your money in the right assets, and they'll provide you with a serious return for years to come

Hypebeast economics aside, now that trainers have successfully sprinted off the running track and into our wardrobes having a few pairs to hand (or, foot) means you'll always be able to dress down smarter looks or elevate simple outfits at a moment’s notice.

“For years, people wore trainers almost exclusively for function, but this is not the case anymore,” says Gary Salter, a stylist who has worked with the likes of Reiss, Asos and Selfridges.

“As dress codes have relaxed trainers have become a staple part of our everyday looks, so it's wise to own a few pairs that complement your existing wardrobe and work for different occasions.

“As a minimum, I would suggest a smart leather pair that can be worn with tailoring, a retro classic from one of the big sports brands and something more technical for throwing on at the weekend.”

Taking that advice, we went in search of the best trainers for men; each rigorously tested with style, comfort, quality and originality in mind. These are the ten kicks that made the cut.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Nike tailwind '79

The brainchild of aerospace engineer Frank Rudy, the Tailwind was the first trainer to feature Nike's unique Air cushioning system when it debuted in 1978. Modelled on the original, this 2018 re-reissue features the same revolutionary levels of comfort the brand has become known for, housed inside a simple yet striking design.

We're pretty sure the combo of mixed material uppers, gripped rubber soles and recognisable Swoosh accents would look good in any colour, but our favourite is this easy-to-style black and white pair, which will work with pretty much everything on the casual side of your wardrobe.

Puma RS-X mix

Between 3D printing and electronic self-lacing, trainers have come a long way in recent years – but that hasn't stopped designers from revisiting the classics. With the launch of the RS-X Mix, Puma has one foot in the past and another firmly in the present, placing its high-quality “RS” cushioning system from the Eighties inside an on-trend multi-panelled upper.

As if the six colours we counted weren't enough, they also come with eye-catching patterned laces. The result is a shoe that's set to be a future classic in its own right.

Reebok club c

Initially designed for the clay courts, the Reebok Club C debuted in 1985, and its simple low-top design has kept it a classic ever since. Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, the much-loved shape has recently been redesigned with a two-colour tape detail inspired by international sports.

Made with soft leather, they are very comfortable to wear, with plenty of support thanks to the rubber tooling and EVA midsole.

Yatay irori

We're all looking for ways to lighten our footprint on the planet, so it makes sense to start with our trainers. The appropriately green Irori model by eco-friendly brand Yatay is made using exclusively sustainable and renewable materials, right the way down to the hemp laces (which you get in both a natural and white colour).

Cut slightly higher than your average low-top, each pair also features a unique code embossed on the heel to track the planting, growth and CO2 reduction of a tree following your purchase. Meaning you can look good and do good at the same time.

Adidas ultra boost

A staple in almost every sneakerhead's closet, the Adidas Ultra Boost is the most recognisable performance trainer of the past decade. The fourth iteration from good old three stripes is made with Primeknit uppers (a knitted fabric) giving the shoe a sock-like fit, along with rubber cages and the brand's Torsion System technology for added support.

However, the most impressive part for our tester remains the energy-returning sole, which helps propel you forward whether you're heading for a run or just popping to the shops for milk.

New Balance 327

Worn by supermodels in London, dads in Ohio, and now us – the New Balance 327 is Frankenstein footwear at its best. Inspired by multiple archive styles from the 1970s, the latest trainer from the Boston brand features mixed material uppers, finished with a super-sized “N” logo taken from the New Balance 320 and the outsole of the 355.

The angular sole unit and studded heel provide just enough interest without going overboard, making this a winner for those who like to make a statement with their shoes.

Chuck 70 canvas high-top sneakers

The Converse Chuck Taylor high-top has been a best-seller for so long they may as well be permanently welded to the general public's feet. This 1970s iteration pays homage to the All Star design of the era, with hard-wearing canvas uppers in a limited edition cream colourway, vulcanised rubber soles and signature “licence plate” branding on the heel.

Like most shoes from Converse, the sizes run slightly large, so to avoid any rubbing we suggest going a half size down.

Premium suede slip-on trainers

A pair of slip-on trainers is a smart thing to own when heading to the beach or even out to try on more shoes. This pair by H&M Premium does come with a price tag that's at the upper end for the high street, but for that you get supple suede that moulds to your feet over time and elasticated sides that make them easy to slip on and off.

Best of all, they come in a handsome shade of navy that will work with everything from tailored trousers to distressed jeans.

Grenson sneaker

Grenson made leather shoes for more than 150 years before launching sneakers, proving that good things really do come to those who wait. Minimalist by name and nature, the Sneaker 1 is inspired by the simple profile of Seventies tennis styles, updated with premium materials like hand-painted calfskin uppers.

The fit is slightly wider than standard, and the leather takes some breaking in, but once you do you'll have a pair of trainers that will last as long as your best Derbies.

The verdict: Men’s trainers

A retro runner that has bounced back onto the track in recent years, the Nike tailwind delivers on looks, comfort, performance, and comes with an impressive backstory – making it the ultimate entry model for wannabe sneakerheads.

For the green-toed, Yatay's ethical offering is an excellent fit, while Converse's #throwback Chuck 70 proves why the model is still a classic today.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.