While high heels and smart work shoes have been the biggest shoe casualties of Covid, bare feet, socked feet, slippers and sneakers are having a heyday. Sneakers in particular have chaperoned us to the supermarket, on walks around our neighbourhood and on the occasional petrol station or fast-food run. In other words, a decent pair of white sneakers can withstand the throes of a pandemic and take you to the better times we are destined for in the future. Here are 20 styles worth adding to your cart.

The timeless-classic
Few labels say back-to-basics as loudly as Italian sneaker label Superga. The 2750 Cotu classic was created in 1925 by founder Walter Martiny, who designed the rubber-soled sneakers for his wife. Materials and colourways have changed over the years, but the sleek silhouette has kept up with the times. A brand with an almost equally longstanding history is RM Williams, best known for its durable, high-quality boots. In 2020, it added two leather sneaker styles to the fold: the Fitzroy and the Surry. Named after the Melbourne suburb, the Fitzroy is a cross between a dress shoe and a runner.

Aussie label ELK’s Vikran sneaker serves as a blank canvas. With minimal detailing, the crisp white kicks can be paired with any outfit. Similarly, Taeger’s Cupsole and Von Routte’s Lyon sneaker are both sophisticated takes on the classic tennis sneaker. They won’t look out of place paired with linen shorts or dress pants.

In the wise words of Spongebob Squarepants, “You do the loop-de-loop and pull, and your shoes are looking cool”. But there’s no need to recall this jingle when you’re donning Veja’s new Recife shoe. The velcro fastenings make for a fast-and-loose operation. It’s maximum comfort with minimum effort.

The sporty-chic
The Lady Diana-inspired varsity trend is infiltrating our social feeds, gaining momentum with the boom in leisurewear and our affinity for nostalgia in these cursed times. Pair Reebok’s Club C Legacy shoe with an oversized sweater and bike shorts. This look is a sucker punch back to the ’90s. And you’ll do a lap of the block at double speed with the thick tread on Django & Juliette’s Viggy sneaks. The local label was launched in 2001, with end-to-end manufacturing in Melbourne.

Chunky, dad-style runners were popular last season. And it seems as though the style is here to stay with this leather shoe by Selected Femme. Sandro Paris’s iconic Astro sneakers are now available in white, too.

Vegan
There are some great brands creating sneakers with eco-friendly leather alternatives. Saye’s Modelo ’89 is made with corn vegan leather and bamboo lining. Handmade in Portugal, Loci’s classic vegan sneakers are made with 100 per cent recycled materials. Womsh is an Italian sneaker label with a laser focus on looking out for the planet. Its vegan hyper white shoe is made by Appleskins, which makes a material from a combination of recycled polyester, cotton and apples. And Cariuma, a Brazil-based sustainable footwear label, is making these off-white runners from bamboo and recycled plastics. They’re low-impact and lightweight.

The weekender
Need an everyday runabout? Aussie labels lead the charge in this comfortable, classic style. Radical Yes’s low cut lace-ups are easy to slap on and get going. With a lofty cushioned base, Rollie’s kick-back sneaker is comfortable for all-day wear. And they come in eight different colourways. If you’re looking for a shoe with subtle colour accents, go for Bared’s white-mint sneakers. A special mention goes to New Zealand-American label Allbirds’s Tree Pipers. They’re breathable and light – the perfect summer sneaker.

Terrazzo
Terrazzo is having its moment. From custom furniture and homewares to faux-terrazzo blow-up pools, the coloured-concrete-with-speckled-marble-chips look is undoubtedly making its way into Aussie households. And now it’s been thrust into our wardrobes in the form of terrazzo-look sneakers. Two brands doing it best are Converse and Christian Kimber.