The omnipresence of white sneakers in popular culture made me ponder whether black ones are as universally appreciated. Often, they're relegated to being worn as part of a uniform — see waiters and retail workers — but, in my opinion, they aren't bad at all. Internet search queries confirm, though, that they give men trouble. "What to wear with black sneakers?" and "How to wear black sneakers?" are two of the most popular questions posed to Google's crystal ball.
How to Wear Black Sneakers
My advice? Don't overdo it. All-black sneakers are fine if you dress monochromatically or gravitate toward all-black outfits, but few of us, if any, keep that up. Seek out black sneakers that incorporate other colors — even if it's simply white, off-white or gray.
It's important to play with shape, too. There are really three ways you can go: with a well-known silhouette, something super chunky and or something streamlined. Each offers something completely different, and which works best for you depends how you dress. If you skew conservative, pick something streamlined. If you're super athletic-looking, or really into fashion, go big. And if you're a black sneaker expert, try something well-known; you'll look like a veteran of the aesthetic.
Black Sneakers for Men
Nike's Waffle Trainer 2 was truly born in a waffle maker, when co-founder Bill Bowerman put a tread into one to see what it'd look like. It worked well, and formed the foundation for the brand's original Waffle Trainer. The Waffle Trainer 2 is an obvious upgrade, but it's decidedly retro still. Pops of white and pearly off-white make this a non-monochrome sneaker, but it's pretty close to all-black.
One master craftsman is responsible for assembling each of Feit's shoes — which range in style from gardening boots to latex runners. An upper comprising of one piece of breathable and biodegradable long-hair suede is stitched to a midsole and then both are cemented to the latex bottom. If they wear out, they can be resoled, too.
No sneaker looks better beat to absolute shit than Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star. Seriously. Look around and you'll rarely find a pair in pristine condition. That's because people wear them, and wear them hard. They'll stand up to everyday wear, and age with grace, even when they're all-black.
If you need a cheap sneaker, Everlane's The Forever Sneaker is a smart choice. It takes cues from Vans' Authentic sneaker, and Seavees' classic, lace-up low-top, but it's uniquely its own at the same time. The sole is chunky, the pull tab is looped and the upper is made from 50 percent recycled cotton canvas.
The Gazelle is an iconic Adidas sneaker. It's been released in a million different colorways, but sometimes the simplest is best. Case in point? This black and white pair with a gold foil Gazelle on the side.
Koio launched its classic Capri sneaker in new, regenerative leather recently. What does that mean? Well, regular leather isn't sustainable. Cattle are corralled into a small space and kept their until slaughter. Regenerative farming, on the other hand, encourages a natural grazing pattern, which increases the amount of carbon the soil sequesters, makes for healthier, more diverse ecosystems and better leather.
Another retro Nike sneaker, the Blazer Mid '77 Vintage does a very good job of retaining its history while becoming a sneaker people want to wear today. It's comfortable, cut at the right height and easy to wear whether you have pants or shorts on.
probably definitely the most comfortable sneaker on this list. Hoka specializes in performance running sneakers, and the Bondi 7 is no exception. It makes it here, because, well, it works in everyday settings, too — and it's all-black, of course.
New Balance sneakers are everywhere and that means you can get away with wearing a pair that's more widely available — no one will know the difference between your general release and the newest ultra-rare collab.
Lined and accented with white leather, the Vans UA OG SK8-Hi LX sneakers were the first to feature the brand's signature side stripe, initially a doodle done by late founder Paul Van Doren.
Independent footwear manufacturer Oliver Cabell's Low 1 sneakers are all black with two subtle exceptions: gold text logos on the heel and tongue. Otherwise, these are simply full grain calfskin leather atop a Margom Italian outsole.
Stepney Workers Club's leather sneakers look a bit like bowling shoes but minus the clown-like look. They're cut from semi-gloss black leather and contrasted with ecru accents (laces, logo and the vulcanized rubber outsole).
Veja's V-1o is the brand's most popular canvas. Like Nike's Air Force 1, it has several parts that can be made almost any color, creating a wide array of colorways to choose from. But this pair, with a basic black base and white accents, is an easy-wearing alternative to the colorful iterations.