In an industry that can often feel dominated by the latest ‘must-have’ and flashy emerging trends it can be easy to overlook the simple things.

‘Minimal’ sneakers can mean a few different things to different people. To some it’ll give early 2010s flashbacks to the stranglehold that the low-top white sneaker styles (such as the Common Project Achilles) had on the footwear scene. To others it’ll mean the nondescript yet feverishly sought-after subtle styles of JJJJound x Insert Giant Sneaker Brand

If bold and daring is the style that resonates with you, and you feel confident in, then more power to you — but if you find yourself feeling increasingly uncomfortable in the brightest shoes you’ve been influenced into wearing, then let me put it to you why you might want to dial things back in the footwear department.

Minimal sneakers generally fall into three camps. Minimal in design,minimalist in colour and both. A pair of adidas triple white Stan Smiths is an example that sits in that middle section of the Venn diagram, whereas something like a grey pair of New Balance 992s sits more in that low-key colour palette but featuring tonal design and material details. No matter where a minimal sneaker sits on this spectrum, the benefits that you’ll get from them is the same — versatility, timelessness and a streamlined decision making process. 

Having a rotating collection of sneakers that you can pair with almost anything in your wardrobe means that you won’t be struggling to make an outfit work day after day, and instead have a more holistic approach to personal style. This streamlined approach plays into the basic idea of minimalism itself, the thinking is that the less clutter you have in your life (in this case visual clutter of statement footwear), the more simple your world will be and therefore gives you increased efficiency, functionality and a lifestyle that transcends fads. 

By carefully selecting and investing in classic silhouettes and purposefully pared back designs, you’re not only allowing your personal style to be dictated by your own tastes (not that of a trend cycle), but also creating a collection that will stick with you for longer. 

Taking this approach of less is more also allows you to follow the advice of the late great Vivienne Westwood — ‘Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.’ — having a collection that doesn’t require you to be buying into the latest trending style every season will mean you can be more selective about the quality of your footwear, and invest well into pairs that will see you through years to come. 

This more considered method can be as simple as opting for the best version of a sneaker you like, whether that’s an adidas Samba made of more premium leather (like that of the Sporty & Rich collaboration), or a pair of New Balance 990s in the version that you find most iconic, like the often sold out V3. Taking time and finding the version of a sneaker you want that fits into specific criteria of quality and versatility means you won’t have to settle for an option you’ll have to replace sooner. 

A minimal sneaker collection allows you to be strategic too, when it comes to what silhouettes you’re choosing to have in your rotation. By selecting certain categories you think fit well with your style you can nail down the best options for each easier. Balance is key to any good collection, striking the chord between simplicity and still being functional (i.e. not just owning 5 pairs of the same shoe), can be tricky, but by looking at the styles you’re keen on and taking the time to figure out why you like them can help distil your taste and mean that you have confidence that your footwear rotation reflects your personal style effectively.  

Do you like Nike Dunks for the silhouette? The comfort? Because x wore them in an outfit you thought was cool? By questioning the styles you like, you’re able to easier identify why you like something and begin to understand your personal tastes better through the answers you land on. 

Having a minimal sneaker collection doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of colour and personality. Sure, by having a monochrome rotation you’ll be able to pair them with any outfit, but this is about making sure your sneakers work with any outfit you’re going to wear. If that means most of your footwear has a splash of colour running through it that can also be conducive to an easier more minimal approach, so long as you’re still keeping the edit of your rotation tight, and making sure you’re not going outlandish on the statement side of things. 

Some of us get joy from having a huge collection of every sneaker we’ve ever wanted, and are early adopters of trends and the newest of the new footwear on the scene, but for those who struggle to feel comfortable with bolder styles, take a minute to look at what you’re wanting to get out of your collection, and whether taking a more minimalist approach might be the way to go.