A great pair of casual sneakers can pull together a look in a snap, making it a real wardrobe asset for women. That said, there’s a market full of sneaker options to consider, which begs the question: How do you choose?
Learning who makes the best casual sneaker for women takes time and research. As a footwear expert and newcomer in the sneaker market, I’ve taken the liberty of doing it for you by creating a guide to the best casual sneaker for women, which takes into account various styles, preferences and situations in which you’d want to sport a pair.
So, here it goes.
For years, sportswear brand AdidasⓇ has been branching further and further into the streetwear market, using partnerships with some of fashion’s finest creators, from Kanye West to Raf Simons to Stella McCartney, to achieve such ends. And I admire the brand for so gracefully toeing the line of approachable luxury, from both a wearability and an affordability standpoint.
The Stan Smith model is classic—so much so that some collaborators, like Simons, sought to re-imagine it—while its partnership with Yohji Yamamoto, called Y-3, produces striking styles with thick soles, interesting lines and creative colorways.
Since the company’s inception in 2004, Common ProjectsⓇ has been captivating minimalists with its versatile sneakers. The sneaker brand’s simple Achilles Low is a go-to style for white leather sneakers presumably because of its relaxed-yet-sumptuous look and feel. And the fact that they go with practically any outfit can’t hurt.
If you’re not much into white leather, Common Projects offers several other colors with an emphasis on monochromatism (e.g., all beige, grey or brown.) You can find the full range of options through stockists like Net-A-Porter, SSENSE and Nordstrom.
Golden GooseⓇ offers eye-catching sneakers that are subversively designed to look worn. Each pair is complete with scuff marks and stains made from exclusive treatments. Plus, customers can “write a story,” or customize their sneakers, using a selected combination of charms, crystals, studs and handwritten messages. Given their very unique aesthetic, they team well with virtually any look, from jeans and T-shirt combinations to printed dresses.
With designs comparable to fellow sneaker designer Common Projects, KOIOⓇ offers great options for those channeling luxurious minimalism for a lesser price. According to the brand’s website, KOIO manufactures in similar high-end factories and uses premium Italian leather for its styles; it also offers more support (e.g., extra heel padding) in its shoes than its main competitor, which makes it a better bang for your buck if you’re not so concerned with having casual shoes from the trendiest labels.
Once a punchline inspired by Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, New BalanceⓇ shoes are now the inherent leaders of the dad sneaker trend. The brand’s 990V4 and 574 models are popular overall, and for those looking for a casual sneaker that doubles as a running shoe, reviewers say the 1080V11 style is a great option.
Maison Margiela™ makes a classic sneaker with a certain je ne sais quoi. The brand produces its shoes with supreme-quality materials and great craftsmanship. Its iconic low- and high-top Replica sneakers, based on 20th-century German army trainers, come in a wide variety of colorways and effects to appeal to minimalists, maximalists and everyone in between.
From classic white low-tops to chunky sneakers in vibrant hues, Nike has an array of sneaker offerings and customization services that are on par with the best of the industry’s luxury brands. Craftsmanship is paramount to the company, and it’s widely understood that all of this comes from the brand’s value for versatility and meeting the needs of as many consumers as possible.
SeaVeesⓇ purveys classic casual shoes with a value proposition of small-batch shoe-making for quality control and great durability, thanks to a process called vulcanization, which it says makes for sturdier products. SeaVees also adds a memory foam footbed complete with perforations to create airflow for comfort rooted in cush and coolness (though this isn’t the most ideal for long-term wear, as the rebound of foam tends to slacken with wear.)
For under $200, VejaⓇ makes the ultimate sustainability sneaker that’s perfect for casual dress. You can find a full report on Veja’s “green” efforts by visiting the sneaker brand’s website, but in short, Veja strives to make the most eco-friendly pair of shoes through its use of recycled and recyclable materials and its endeavors to remove harmful emissions from the production process.
Ready to order a pair of casual sneakers?
It’s important to note that these are just guidelines for purchasing the best casual sneakers. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a high-quality resource for shoppers. To learn more about our women’s sneaker collection or any other products we offer, send us a message through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find the best pair of sneakers for you.
George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.