White shoes are a welcome addition to any wardrobe, but like most things that may be outside your typical style, you need to know how and when you’ll be wearing them before making a purchase.
The biggest question to answer is still, “What’s the occasion?” since white shoes run the gamut from formal summerwear to all-season street-style. But beyond picking between the versatility of an everyday Converse or K-Swiss sneaker, a beach-ready espadrille, a soft driving loafer, or a classic boat shoe, is determining how white you really want to go.
You might be immediately inclined to go as brilliant with your color as a Beverly Hills dentist, but off colors have their place as well. Southern design legend Billy Reid says a smart man will be flexible with his shades of white: “For everyday wear, bone or off-white is a better look. Stark white is typically reserved for summer. The material makes a difference and also how clean versus well worn the shoe is. I have been wearing the same style of K-Swiss sneakers for years, which led to my collaboration with the brand. I love a white tennis shoe that’s been to hell and back.”
That said, it’s mostly about location. Reid explains that while it’s really a matter of personal taste, “If you see sand and palm trees, white shoes will work.” We’ve assembled a range of shoes for all occasions. Finding a favorite is your job.