The persistent uprise and historical significance of the white shoe trend


Photo by Joseph Barrientos via

A person shows off their all white sneakers in public.

Alex Hunter, Copy Editor

Beginning in the 1970s, the white sneaker took American consumers by storm, and its prevalence persists today. Many are eager to unfold the history behind white shoes and how they have gained so much traction. 

Historically, the white sneaker is to Olympic athletes as Jordan’s are to professional basketball players today. If one owned a pair of low-top, white sneakers in the early 1900s, they were seen as athletic – a trait many strived for. 

An article described the significance of the history of the white shoe trend. “Even though Tennis disappeared from the Olympic program in 1924, enough sneakers were in circulation to make them the footwear of choice amongst the entire athletic field,” it said. “This international notoriety (and omnipresent spotlight, from the playing field to the medal stand) made low-top white sneakers both a cultural symbol and sportswear signal.”

The resurgence of the all-white shoe has been inspired by Gen Z’s increasing passion for bringing back old trends. Mom jeans, oversized clothes and Converse are all examples of past trends that have been amplified yet again by this generation. 

Senior Owen Gannaway expressed his thoughts regarding the slick, all-white style of these shoes. “The biggest benefit to having white shoes is the fact they match with just about everything. They stand out because they are clean and the white color seems much brighter compared to what is around them,” he said. 

Due to celebrity and athlete influence, the white sneaker has surged into the spotlight and it does not appear to be going anywhere. 

A publication examined possible reasons for the popularity of these sneakers. “While white sneakers are a wardrobe must-have, they’re experiencing a resurgence thanks to our new-found love of casual trends,” it explained. “White sneakers stand out for their simplicity. While you can find styles that incorporate embroidery and colored detailing, most sneakers choose to retain the all-white look.”

As white footwear continues to boast a superfluity of attributes – simplicity, suitability with matching and affordability – the typical American consumer remains satisfied.  

So, thanks to Gen Z’s eagerness to revive old trends, celebrity advertising and the shoe’s slick and simplistic build, the all-white sneaker remains atop the long list of available shoe options on the market today.