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Gone are the days when sneakers were worn solely for comfort while exercising, commuting, or running errands on the weekend—and our closets (and feet) are better for it. Much like designer heels, boots, and other footwear, investing in a pair of designer sneakers can upraise our wardrobe with unmatched style and quality.
Meet the Expert
Jeni Elizabeth is an E! News commerce style expert, lifestyle reporter, and a network & celebrity wardrobe stylist.
“There is something about walking in designer shoes that can make any human smile,” says Jeni Elizabeth, a seasoned celebrity wardrobe stylist and fashion expert. “Much like wearing a designer gown or eating that amazing piece of cheesecake that is worth every bite, designer shoes are worth every step,” she adds. According to Elizabeth, life is too short to not buy designer shoes and they are a good investment for your wardrobe and your wallet since “you can always resell” designer sneakers once they’ve served their purpose in your closet.
Whether you’re looking to make your first investment in designer sneakers or are a seasoned collector, we put together a collection of our favorite styles to help you find your sole-mate.
From the best designer sneakers to the most stylish high tops, peep our top picks, ahead.
Best Overall: Commes des Garçons x Spalwart Tempo Mararthon Hybrid Sneaker
Every shoe closet needs a pair of classic white sneakers. This collaboration between Commes des Garçons and Spalwart is our best overall pick because the runner-inspired design and elevated material can be paired with virtually any outfit from athleisure to business casual to your favorite sundress. Plus, it features a rugged sole with serrated tread which gives good traction and support.
Material: Leather and textile upper and lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 6-11 (whole sizes only) | Colors: White, Black | Fit: For half sizes, size up | Style: Lace-up
Best Value: Comme des Garçons Play x Converse Chuck Taylor Hidden Heart High Top Sneaker
If you’re on a budget, the best way to snag a cool pair of designer sneakers without breaking the bank is to find a good collaboration between designer and streetwear brands. Our favorite is the Comme des Garçons Play x Converse partnership. These Chuck Taylor sneaks feature the signature Hidden Heart logo from Comme des Garçons for an elevated take on a classic design. And, because these designer sneakers boast an everyday style, you’ll get a lot of wear out of them, too.
Material: Textile upper and lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 8-14 | Colors: White, Black, Blue, Grey | Fit: 'Women’s' run large, go down a half size | Style: Lace-up high tops
Best Chunky: Prada Cloudbust Thunder Lug Platform Sneaker
We can’t resist a good chunky platform sneaker. This one made our list because it’s chunky enough to make the statement we want without feeling too trendy or limiting in terms of what we can rock them with. The sawtooth rubber tread sole also adds a layer of subtle details to the soul and creates the illusion of walking on clouds (hence the name).
Material: Textile and synthetic upper, textile and leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-11 | Colors: White, Argento (metallic) | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best White: Chloé Women's Franckie Low Top Sneakers
If you’re going to invest in a pair of white designer sneakers, finding a pair that has some personality but is still timeless enough to last you from season to season is the way to go. We love this design from Chloé for its feminine finesse (those scalloped details!), pops of suede, and textured rubber soles. These white sneakers also make our best list because Chloé is the first luxury fashion brand to become a certified B Corp, giving their designs an added layer of sustainability.
Material: Leather and suede upper, leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-11 | Colors: White, White/Pink | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best Platform: Prada Double Wheel Nylon Gabardine Sneakers
We prefer our platforms to make a statement and these Prada sneakers do not disappoint. We love the contrast between the desert beige gabardine material and stark white rubber platform sole—and the added rubber Prada logo on the side gives them a chic retro feel, too. These platform sneakers made our best list because their design is universal enough to wear every day, whether we’re dressed up or down.
Material: Gabardine fabric upper, rubber sole | Size Range: 34.5-41.5 | Colors: Desert Beige, White, Cornflower Blue | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best High-Top: R13 Kurt High Top Sneaker
High-top sneakers are a fun way to add some spunk to your step. And, these high tops from R13 landed on the list of our top picks because they couple two trendy styles together: The '90s grunge high-top with the 2000s chunky platform sneaker. The design also boasts a zip-up closure on the back, making it easier to slip them on and off. The olive colorway is also to die for.
Material: Textile upper and lining, synthetic sole | Size Range: 5-11 (whole sizes) | Colors: Olive, Black, White | Fit: For half sizes, size up | Style: Lace-up high tops with a zip-up closure on the back
Best Sustainable: Veja Esplar Low Sneakers
How could these celebrity-favorite designer sneakers not make our best list? From Meghan Markle to Emma Watson, Veja sneakers have made their way into the closets of some of our favorite stars for their timeless design, comfort, and sustainability factor. Each sneaker is cultivated from sustainably sourced leather from the Rio Grande do Sul farms with lining made of organic cotton and rubber crafted from wild Amazonian rubber. On top of that, investing in a pair of Veja Espalar Sneakers helps the brand provide technical support to organic cotton farming families.
Material: Leather upper, organic cotton lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-10 (whole sizes) | Colors: Extra White, Extra White/Black, Extra White/Brittany +more | Fit: For half sizes, size down | Style: Lace-up
Best Black: The Row Marie H Lace-Up Sneaker
When shopping for a good black sneaker, we look for something we can wear when dressed down in a T-shirt and jeans or when dressed up in a maxi skirt or power suit. We love these lace-up sneakers from The Row for their versatile design and added comfort with a platform sole.
Material: Canvas upper, leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 | Colors: Black, White | Fit: Runs small, size up a half size | Style: Lace-up
Best Classic: Saint Laurent Andy Low Top Sneaker
When we close our eyes and picture a class sneaker, these are it—low-top, white, leather, and license plate branding on the heel. The designer's take on this classic design adds an elevated feel with high-quality material and a foil-stamped logo.
Material: Leather upper and lining, synthetic sole | Size Range: 6-11 | Colors: White | Fit: Runs small, order a half size up | Style: Lace-up
Most Comfortable: Alexander McQueen Sneaker
When shopping for comfort, you want a sneaker that has a lot of cushion, like this design from Alexander McQueen. Featuring a 2-inch heel and 1-inch platform with a removable padded insole for maximum cushion, these designer sneakers feel a lot like walking on clouds—or a warm hug for your feet.
Material: Calfskin and goatskin or textile upper, leather or faux fur lining, rubber sole (depends on color) | Size Range: 4-11 | Colors: White/Khaki, Black/White, Black/Black, White/Paris Blue, White/Lust Red, White/Black, White/Patchouli 161, White/Black Pearl | Fit: Narrow, size up a half size if between sizes | Style: Lace-up
Best Slip-On: Vince Warren Suede Slip On Platform Sneakers
Every wardrobe needs a pair of slip-ons and these from Vince offer an elevated take with their suede material, a 1.57-inch platform sole, and rich olive green hue. Also available in pearl, the slip-on design includes elastic on the sides for an easy, comfortable fit that feels secure without being too tight.
Material: Suede upper, leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 | Colors: Militare, Pearl | Fit: True to size | Style: Slip-on
Best Sock Sneakers: Balenciaga Speed LT Clear Sole Sock Sneaker
Sock sneakers offer a level of comfort and durability that is both flattering and trendy. If you’re on the hunt for the best sock sneakers, these from Balenciaga are our pick. We love the all-black look with a contrasting white chunky sole. And, the added clear rubber heel gives them a touch of uniqueness without taking things too over the top. On top of that, they are ultra-comfortable with an ergonomic sole designed with “No Memory” technology.
Material: Textile upper and lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-11 (whole sizes) | Colors: Black | Fit: For half sizes, order next size up | Style: Pull-on
Best Colorful: Dolce & Gabbana Daymaster Sneaker
Make your sneakers your statement piece with an eye-catching design and color. These are on our best list because, while they do incorporate an array of fun colors, they boast a sophisticated color palette with hues that are bold enough to make a statement or tie a look together. On top of that, we love the added detail of laces with an adjustable toggle closure.
Material: Leather and textile upper and lining, synthetic sole | Size Range: 4-10.6 | Colors: Multicolor, pink multicolor | Fit: Runs small, size up a half size | Style: Lace-up with a toggle closure
Best Retro: Rag & Bone Retro Runner Sneaker
Retro sneakers add a vintage feel to any outfit. These Rag & Bone sneakers take it to the next level with a designer take on the throwback runner-style sneaker. But, that’s not the only reason it made our list. On top of being très chic and making us want to go for a jog (no easy feat!), they are made from suede and 100% post-consumer plastic bottles, giving them (at least, in our eyes) a gold medal in eco-friendly fashion.
Material: Suede and recycled-polyester uppers, textile and leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 | Colors: Mustard, Off White, Oyster Grey, Black, Moonstone | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best Metallic: Paul Green Women's Bixby Low Top Platform Sneakers
Metallic sneakers put the finishing touches on any outfit without going too far on the sparkle spectrum. We chose these Paul Green sneakers for our best list because the metallic is just subtle enough to wear every day with the ability to add some pizazz to an evening ensemble.
Material: Leather, snake-embossed leather, or nubuck leather upper (depending on color), leather and fabric lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5.5-10.5 | Colors: Mineral Metallic, White Leather | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best Graphic: Gucci Rhyton Low Top Sneakers
If you’re on the hunt for a designer sneaker that combines color with comfort and a chunky design, look no further. This cult-favorite design from Gucci is a great investment piece for any designer shoe wardrobe. We love the colorful and star-studded Gucci logo design but, if that’s not your style, it also comes in a classic logo style.
Material: Faux leather upper, leather and fabric lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-11 | Colors: Ivory | Fit: True to size | Style: Lace-up
Best Velcro: Kenzo Kourt Low Top Sneakers
No laces, no problem! We love these stylish velcro leather sneakers from Kenzo because they boast a unique spin on the classic sneaker style. With a V-shape velcro design, these designer sneakers feature a more modern way to lace up. Not to mention: They are oh-so-comfortable with a padded tongue and collar.
Material: Leather upper, fabric and leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-11 (whole sizes) | Colors: White | Fit: True to size | Style: Velcro
Best Everyday: Chloé Lauren Low Top Sneaker
For a funky designer shoe that pairs well with an everyday ensemble, look no further. The Lauren Low Tops from Chloé have that classic Chloé feel with a scalloped trimmed pink cupsole, textured brown leather heel, and a logo embellished grosgrain trim.
Material: Leather upper, textile lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 (whole sizes) | Colors: White/Beige | Fit: For half sizes, size up | Style: Lace-up
Best Lined: Alexandre Birman Clarita Bow Genuine Shearling Lined Sneaker
For a cozy take on the sneaker trend, we love these shearling-lined slip-ons from Alexandre Birman. The leather designer sneakers are made with genuine shearling and feature a knotted bow, giving us cozy winter vibes.
Material: Leather upper, genuine shearling lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-12 (whole sizes) | Colors: White/Cognac, White/Black | Fit: True to size; size up if half size | Style: Slip-on
Best Logo-Print: Burberry Regis Vintage Check Lace-Up Sneaker
With the early 2000s back on trend, logo print sneakers are making a comeback. We love these Burberry chunky sneakers for a modern take on the logo print. With the plaid textile upper and logo-embossed hook and loop strap on top, these designer sneakers boast a retro yet timeless appeal.
Material: Textile upper, textile and leather lining, rubber sole | Size Range: 5-10 | Colors: Archive Beige | Fit: Runs small, size up a half size | Style: Lace-up
What to Look for in a Designer Sneaker
Because designer sneakers come with a steeper price tag, you’ll want to consider style before purchasing. If you have the means and can splurge on a trendier item, great. If not, consider investing in a design that is a little more timeless, like a classic lace-up white sneaker.
Similar to style, color is also something you’ll want to consider. If you’re shopping for an everyday pair of designer sneakers, choosing a color that is more versatile and will go well with multiple looks is always a good idea. And, if you want something bold, makes a statement, and is saved for special occasions, have fun with the hues available and indulge in something eye-catching. Designer shoes are like a work of art, after all.
Before investing in a pair of designer sneakers, think about the environment you’ll wear them in. If it rains a lot where you live, purchasing a pair of leather or suede sneakers is probably not the best choice since they aren’t waterproof (more on that below!). Also, consider what is important to you as a consumer. For example, if you don’t consume animal products, choosing a vegan leather sneaker is a great option. Or, if you have the environment in mind, a design made with recycled materials might be a better choice.
Are Designer Sneakers Worth It?
Without hesitation, Elizabeth says yes, buy the designer sneakers. “I believe very strongly in two things: If you have the ability, shoes, and sheets are always critical,” she explains. “Shoes can live for a lifetime and not only have the ability to give you the self-confidence you need in every aspect of life, but they also finish an outfit with one easy tie,” she adds, noting that you could wear anything—including leggings and a tee—and designer sneakers will “give you the wow factor and complete the look with a pop that makes any clothing choice amazing.”
Do Designer Shoes Run Small?
Regarding shoe sizing, designer shoes are no different than other brands as the fit depends on the designer. That said, Elizabeth notes that, because many designer shoes come from Europe and their sizes are different from the United States, designer shoes “tend to run small.” In addition to small sizing, Elizabeth notes that many designer brands are slim in width as well.
Can You Put Sneakers in the Dryer?
“Absolutely not, no,” says Elizabeth, adding that it is best to air dry sneakers. “Designer or not, shoes will shrink, fabrics will stretch, and the stitching will come apart,” notes Elizabeth. To clean sneakers, she recommends using a toothbrush and some water with light dish soap and, if the shoe is white, she uses a small drop of Soft Scrub as well. Then, she lets them air dry.
How Do You Clean Leather Sneakers?
You can clean leather sneakers, but Elizabeth warns it is a tad tricky. “A dry horse brush always works well on leather,” says Elizabeth. “After brushing, use a soft damp cloth to wipe gently—do not spray or soak as you risk leaving watermarks,” she adds. When it comes to keeping leather sneakers clean, prevention is always the best game plan. Elizabeth recommends leaving leather sneakers at home on rainy days and investing in a good leather spray “to protect from damage.” She recommends staying away from drugstore leather spray and, instead, investing in a high-quality brand, just like your sneakers.
Are Leather Sneakers Waterproof?
Unfortunately, leather sneakers are not waterproof. “Leather sneakers should never be worn on a wet day,” explains Elizabeth. “There are sprays that can help with being water-resistant, but never waterproof,” she adds. “Even with darker leather, you always run the risk of watermarks and damage.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journalism. From working in the fashion closet and interviewing designers at NYLON Magazine to now writing about the best style trends for various publications, Jessie researches and sources the best fashion finds. She considers shopping to be one of her hobbies and will find a way to wear a sneaker for any occasion. Her everyday staples are her platform white leather Soludos sneakers and her beloved (okay, very worn in) Vans checkered slip-ons. Her love of designer sneakers started with a pair of classic logo print low-tops from Coach when she was 14.