How to Style Trainers for Men: A Complete Guide

How to Style Trainers for Men: A Complete Guide

Dec 06 , 2021


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As seasons come and go, one thing that will remain in style are trainers.

Gone are the days when trainers were only worn for the gym.

Today, there are a whole plethora of different styles and options available that can be worn in various settings.

From dinner parties to more casual affairs, no matter what kind of trainers you decide to buy, there are a few basic principles for how they should be worn. You should always:

  • Buy trainers that match your current wardrobe

There’s no point in buying the latest “hype” if it doesn’t suit your personal style. So, choose shoes that complement what you already have, to save you from purchasing new clothing items too.

  • Wear them for the appropriate occasion

Yes, trainers are super versatile but they cannot replace dress shoes. There are some exceptions where they can be suitable, for instance unstructured suits, but that doesn’t mean they’re meant for every event, like weddings.

  • Keep them clean

Regardless of how “cool” your trainers are, they won’t have the same effect if they’re not squeaky clean. When it comes to maintenance, this includes washing the laces, brushing the outsoles and using shoe protector sprays. For more detail on how to clean trainers, check our previous blog here.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s take a look at the different types of trainers available for men.

Types of Trainers

From different shapes, structures, materials and sizes, it can be hard knowing what you should be wearing.

But one thing’s for sure, they look fantastic on everyone.

To make things a little clearer, here are 5 general categories trainers can fall under.

1. Basic Trainers 

These are essentially your low tops, such as a pair of tennis shoes, and are the most versatile type of trainers.

Often, they’ll come in leather but are usually found in canvas, and in basic colours too.

On the whole, basic trainers are generally affordable, very easy to wear and work well with just about any outfit, such as shorts, jeans or chinos.

Plus, you show off your ankles and remain super slick, or you can wear a pair of funky socks that show off your personality.

2. High Top Trainers

Unlike low top trainers, high tops feature an upper that covers the ankle, and are designed to be like a sports shoe.

And like most sportswear, these trainers have quickly become popular streetwear.

As such, it’s a good idea to keep your outfit quite casual and sporty, unless it’s winter and you want to stay warm but stylish.

3. Luxury Trainers

If you’re a bit on the flashy side (there’s nothing wrong with it!), then show off with a pair of luxury trainers.

Simply, these are the shoes where you want to flaunt the price tag with a distinctive logo, but they’re worth every penny; price reflects quality.

Sometimes, they may even resemble your basic trainers, but are made from higher quality materials like suede or leather, from brands such as Gucci, Tom Ford or Balenciaga.

Regardless of the brand, a pair of luxury trainers are designed to be noticed, so you will be turning heads, for sure.

4. Sports Trainers

Whether you enjoy running, playing a sport or going to the gym, you’ll need a good pair of sports trainers that will compliment your lifestyle.

As you know, it’s important to wear the kind of shoe suitable for the activity you’re going to do, so here, function takes priority.

However, that’s not to say they’re not stylish!

With lots of modern designs, basketball and tennis shoes can be worn with jeans or joggers for a laid back feel.

5. Slip-on Trainers

You guessed it, slip on trainers slip straight on to your feet with no hassle.

From sock shoe designs to low tops, you can wear these however you feel to match your personal style; they’re timeless and classic and look great with different outfits for many occasions.

How to Style Men’s Trainers

We briefly mentioned a few outfit choices for each of the categories above.

However, here’s a closer look at how you can actually pair them with your wardrobe in 3 different settings.


For casual settings, like going out for lunch, visiting your friends, heading to the beach and so on, your basic trainers will work best here.

From jeans and a t-shirt, tracksuits and a puffer jacket, or even a button down shirt and chinos, plain and simple trainers, particularly white, will always complete your outfit.

In regards to brands, it really doesn’t matter as long as they’re clean and sharp.

But, if you do want to make a statement, then designer trainers will keep all eyes on you.

The key thing here is you want to keep your basic trainers for the most casual situations, so stick with denim or shorts; avoid wearing these for more formal affairs.

Smart Casual 

For situations that are too formal to wear joggers, but too casual to wear a suit, it’s time to tackle the dreaded “smart casual” dress code.

Let’s say you have an upcoming office event or you’re getting ready to go to the bar, you’ll want to wear something that is higher up on the wow scale than plimsolls to complete your ensemble.

For instance, you could wear a slim fitted suit with a plain t-shirt and finish with a pair of leather or suede trainers; giving you laidback but well put together vibe.

However, if you want to go more formal, then you could wear a button down shirt and relaxed blazer with chinos, then finish with low top trainers in any colour you find suitable.

In other words, keep your top refined to match the shoe; basic t-shirts, smart shirts and polo shirts are all great options in regards to clothing.


Trainers with suits.

Once a fashion faux pas, now a strong statement.

In recent years, the trainers and suit combo has moved on from being associated with Forrest Gump to a more unworried expression of style.

But even though it has now become socially acceptable, not all trainers will pair well with a suit.

Here, you need to consider the silhouette of the trainers, the colour and materials, but when done correctly, you won’t receive weird looks of disapproval.

So, when pairing trainers with a suit, it’s best to choose those with slim cut, tapered trousers; the trouser leg should not sit over the top of your shoe. But NEVER wear trainers with a tux - that’s just a no-go!

Then, opt for white or black trainers, preferably in leather, and choose low tops over chunkier styles.

Lastly, avoid wearing bright coloured trainers, like red or blue, and never wear dirty trainers in these settings.

The Takeaway

Even though we speak about rules and principles, when it comes to style the choice is 100% yours.

Essentially, you should wear what you feel most confident in, so if that means wearing your tennis shoes for lunch, then do it!

Style is unique, but hopefully this guide has given you a few things to think about so you can out your best foot forward, no matter the occasion.

Please get in touch today for more information.

In the meantime, take a look at our full range of trainers for men here.

You may also like:

  1. 5 Party Shoes Every Man Should Own
  2. The Ultimate Smart Casual Dress Guide for Men
  3. 6 Different Types of Socks and How to Wear Them