I don't know about you, but ever since 2020, I've been prioritizing comfort when I get dressed each day—particularly in the shoe department. As someone who once favored a heeled ankle boot for everyday wear, I've now been reaching for black sneakers when running around the city, be it errands or a dinner date, or both. Comfortable and supportive yet still chic, black sneakers feel just a tad more elevated than their white or multicolored counterparts (and are arguably much easier to keep clean).
Byrdie Researched & Approved
We conducted hours of research on the best black sneakers, looking for the types of styles you can wear over and over. We considered dozens of different styles, from high-tops to low-tops, plus running, sock style, and platform. We also looked at a variety of brands, designers, and price points. After consulting with Amazon Live style host, Katie Sands for a few of her expert recommendations, we landed on the following expert style picks.
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit Sneakers in Black
Hands down, Nike makes some of the greatest sneakers in existence in terms of performance and design, and we’re giving top honors to the React Infinity Run Flyknit. An all-distance running shoe, they're functional and breathable enough for any type of workout. They're also stylish without being overly trendy, too, making them a great choice for both the gym and the office. The reasonable price tag is just the icing on the cake.
Price at time of publish: $90
Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber | Size Range: 5-11.5 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Veja Venturi Sneaker
Veja was one of the first brands to fuse sustainability, transparency, and style in the sneaker world, so it's no wonder it's risen in popularity since its 2005 inception. The Venturi checks all the boxes: It boasts a trendy chunky silhouette, it's super comfortable, and, like the rest of the B-Corp certified brand's offering, is ethical and sustainable across all aspects of the supply chain. And if all black isn't your thing, the Venturi is available in a range of pretty, muted color combinations.
Price at time of publish: $195
Materials: 100% recycled polyester, leather, rubber | Size Range 5-10 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Fila Ray Tracer Sneakers
Fila's Disruptor sneaker single-handedly sparked the chunky sneaker revolution a few years back, and truly, no one does clunky footwear better. We're pretty partial to the Ray Tracer Sneaker, which features blinding neon accents, not for the faint of heart.
Price at time of publish: $80
Materials: Leather, suede, rubber | Size Range: 5-11 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Best Dad Shoe
New Balance 574v2 Sneaker
"New Balance" and "dad shoe" are pretty much interchangeable, in our opinion. This beloved iconic style is durable, reliable, and comfortable, which are all things you'd want out of a sneaker. Plus, they're super cute—you know, in a dad kinda way.
Price at time of publish: $85
Materials: Leather upper, EVA foam | Size Range: 5-12 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Vagabond Shoemakers Zoe Platform Sneakers
Vagabond may be known for its boots, but don't sleep on its sneakers. These sleek low-tops are crafted from buttery-soft leather and feature a platform sole for a bit of height. For the price, you can't beat this pair that can be dressed up effortlessly.
Price at time of publish: $125
Materials: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 6-11 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Steve Madden Gametime Black
For a cool, minimalist look, look no further than this chunky sock sneaker from Steve Madden. "The sock sneak is still everything to me," says Sands. "Name a more comfortable shoe." It has a high-fashion feel without the high fashion price tag, which we're here for.
Price at time of publish: $90
Materials: Textile fabric upper and lining, synthetic sole | Size Range: 5-11 | Style: Hightop slip-on
Prada Double Wheel Nylon Gabardine Sneakers
Simply put, these Prada platforms are drool-inducing. An investment, yes, but these babies will be a conversation piece no matter where you wear them. They're made from regenerated nylon—a sustainable plus—and come in a variety of pastel hues, too.
Price at time of publish: $950
Materials: ECONYL regenerated nylon, rubber | Size Range: 4.5-11 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Everlane The Forever Slip-On Sneaker
When it comes to a truly no-fuss sneaker, slip-ons reign supreme. This pair from Everlane is great for every day—simple and comfy, yet still made from premium materials like organic cotton and natural rubber. Oh, and did we mention they're fully recyclable?
Price at time of publish: $51
Materials: 100% cotton upper, natural rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 | Style: Lowtop slip-on
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Leather Hi
Your classic Chucks, but better. Sleek all-black leather gives your goes-with-everything sneaker a luxe upgrade with a budget price tag. Need we say more?
Price at time of publish: $70
Materials: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 5-15 | Style: Hightop lace-up
Puma Training Disperse XT Sneakers
You can't go wrong with a pair of Pumas, which brings us to The Disperse XT—it's affordable, yet doesn't sacrifice performance. It provides all the support you need for a run or a workout, but the chunky sole makes it a stylish pick for every day.
Price at time of publish: $52
Materials: Synthetic textile upper, rubber | Size Range: 5.5-11
Cariuma OCA High in Black Contrast Stripe Canvas
When it comes to mindfully designed sneakers, it doesn't get much more sustainable than Cariuma. The brand only crafts its footwear from raw, low-footprint, and ethically-sourced materials (think: organic cotton and 100 percent vegan insoles made from organic mamona oil and cork). Even better, the brand has its own Reforestation Program, planting a pair of trees in the Brazilian rainforest for every pair of sneakers purchased. We're big fans of this high-top pair made from canvas and rubber (again, sustainably sourced), which makes for an effortless everyday shoe.
Price at time of publish: $98
Materials: Canvas, rubber, cork, mamona oil | Size Range: 5-13 | Style: Hightop lace-up
Best for Running
Hoka One One Bondi 7
Hoka One One has become a favorite amongst the fashion set, both for its functionality and stylish designs. The Bondi 7, one of the brand's most cushioned offerings, is an excellent option for running due to its plush foam collar, breathable mesh upper, rubber outer, and perfect mid-foot structure and support. "These have been my go-to," adds Sands. If all-black isn't your thing, there's a black and white version and several other fun color combinations.
Price at time of publish: $178
Materials: Mesh, memory foam, TPU, EVA, rubber | Size Range: 5-12 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
What Our Editors Say
"The Bondis in all-black were my NYC marathon shoes, and they did not disappoint. After more than 26 miles, my feet were as comfortable as they could be under the circumstances—they feel like you're running on clouds. Plus the all-black colorway keeps them looking fresher, longer." — Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Commerce Editor
Best for Walking
ON Cloud Low Top Running Sneakers
If your day consists of a lot of walking (we're looking at you, city folk), these best-selling sneakers from On are supremely comfortable. "These are my everyday walking around NYC sneakers," says Sands. "These are probably the most popular sneakers of 2021, and I doubt they're going anywhere in 2022." Plus, the minimalist, no-frills design makes them easy to style into an outfit—and they're available in all black, black and white, and a slew of other fun colors.
Price at time of publish: $130
Materials: 30% recycled polyester | Size Range: 5-11 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
APL Streamline Rubber-Trimmed Ripstop Sneakers
When shopping for a sneaker you'll wear every day—whether on a jog, to run errands, or to the office—quality is key. That's where this APL pair comes into play. Performance-driven without skimping on style, these shoes are just as appropriate for your morning commute as they are for a miles-long run.
Price at time of publish: $144
Materials: Ripstop, rubber, foam | Size Range: 5-11 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Best for Dressing Up
The Row Marie H Leather Sneakers
We'll admit, sneakers can be tough to dress up, but not these sleek, minimalist low-tops from The Row. Crafted in buttery leather, you can essentially treat them as a leather flat or oxford; they'll look just as chic with a maxi dress or tailored trousers as they would with your favorite pair of jeans. They may be on the pricier end of the sneaker scale, but true to the brand, they're timeless rather than super-trendy—meaning you'll get your money's worth in terms of wear.
Price at time of publish: $492
Materials: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 35-42 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Chloé Lauren Scalloped Leather Sneakers
These chic leather low-tops from Chloé will elevate any casual look. Detailed with the brand's signature scalloping, these are anything but basic.
Materials: Leather, rubber | Size Range: 35-42 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Trust us—LØCI is an emerging brand to watch. Handmade in Portugal, this low-top sneaker is not only 100 percent vegan, but it's also made from 100 percent recycled materials—including the water-resistant upper and custom-made cork insole.
Price at time of publish: $595
Materials: Recycled vegan upper, cork, rubber | Size Range: 36-47 | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Best for Wide Feet
Propét Tour Knit Sneaker
Cute, comfortable, and breathable, these sneakers are a great addition to your workout or everyday wardrobe. Plus, their size offering includes a range of widths, ideal for those with wider feet.
Price at time of publish: $170
Materials: Textile, rubber | Size Range: 5-13 (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, extra extra wide) | Style: Lowtop lace-up
Zara Fabric Knit High Top Sneakers
Leave it to Zara to bring us the chic footwear we crave at a price that won't break the bank. These affordable sneakers are made in a single-piece construction and make all our athleisure dreams come true in the prettiest neutral color palette.
Price at time of publish: $46
Materials: Knit fabric | Size Range: 6-14 | Style: Sock hightop slip-on
Our best overall pick is the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit Sneakers. They work equally well at the office and the gym, and they're supportive and comfy for all types of workouts. If you're on a budget, Zara's Fabric Knit High Top Sneakers are a solid choice as well that's trendy and affordable.
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in Black Sneakers
As with any color shoes, black sneakers will eventually be victim to some wear and tear over time—especially if you’re planning to use them for running or heavy walking. Sands says it’s important to know the quality of the sole and whether or not the material will wear well or if they’ll end up destroyed and unwearable. “I hate the look of perfectly new sneakers, so I love knowing when a sneaker will wear well with time without looking like it was caught in a crossfire,” she says. Keep in mind, white soles will show scuffs and dirt more easily than black soles. It can be helpful to read through customer reviews, especially ones with photos, before making a purchase.
Level of support
Sands also recommends looking into the level of support the sneaker provides and making a decision based on when and how often you plan to wear them. “Is this a sneaker I can walk around NYC in, or is it a pair I can only wear to dinner and back home? Comfort is key when it comes to sneaker ratings, in my book,” she says. Athletic sneakers will need to have higher levels of support and comfort, but this isn’t as important for a fashion shoe you’ll only be wearing for a few hours at a time.
Finally, Sands recommends ensuring you have the appropriate socks to pair with them—especially if you’re looking into low-tops. “Maybe it’s a personal preference, but I only like to wear black sneakers with black socks because I think it looks much sharper than mixing and matching,” she says. “You can instantly elevate a black sneaker with the sleek look of a matching black sock.” Of course, if statement-making socks are more your thing, a solid black sneaker will act as the perfect canvas to make them pop, like the Veja Venturi Sneaker.
How do you style black sneakers?
The great thing about black sneakers? According to Sands, they can be worn with almost anything from jeans to elevated sundresses. “Similarly to white sneakers, black leather sneakers give you excellent mileage,” she says. “They’re a versatile, neutral tone, so you can wear them with almost any weekend outfit, especially if they have white soles and aren’t scuffed up too much. I wear my black sneakers to the gym, to run errands around the city, and styled out for dinner.”
Are black sneakers a good investment?
According to Sands, yes. “Black sneakers are a great investment because they have been on-trend for years now and are effortlessly cool,” she says. “Unlike white sneakers, black sneakers do not wear as easily, which gives them a much longer lifespan. Whatever the weather, all-black sneakers are a very worthy investment for your wardrobe and a solid sub to your everyday white kicks.”
Do black sneakers go with anything?
Think of black sneakers as a more casual version of your go-to black ankle boot—they're a reliable staple that can be worn with literally anything. "Black sneakers can be paired with almost all neutrals (black, beige, and gray) as well as brighter colored looks—but it doesn't stop there. Black sneaks go with everything; whether your outfit is warm or cool-toned, it's an elegant and tried color that you cannot go wrong with."
Why Trust Byrdie?
Jenna Igneri has been working in fashion for the last decade, from running Allure’s fashion closet as an assistant to now writing about shopping and trends for various publications. She’s always been a bit of a shoe fanatic, and her massive collection can usually be found spilling out of her closet. However, since 2020, she's favored sneakers over any other style. From the above list, she’s a big fan of sneakers from LØCI, APL, and Hoka One One, and she now has her heart set on the platform Pradas and the all-black leather pair from The Row (which she's already started saving for).