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Best minimalist sneakers for men 1

16 Best Minimalist Sneakers for Men

As the majority of athletic brands strive for wild patterns and chunky designs (dad shoes) the best minimalist sneakers take things in the opposite direction. These shoes emphasise superb quality by way of subdued designs, plain colourways, and handmade materials. As a result, the best men’s minimalist sneakers deliver an unparalleled tier of stylish versatility, duly blending with a broad spectrum of outfits, engagements, and environments.

Minimalist sneakers have been taking the world by storm over the last decade and it’s no wonder that brands like Common Projects stay popular to this day. While they might be the go-to minimalist sneaker, there is a slew of Common Projects alternatives just as worthy of your attention and we’re checking these out in our list below. Without further ado, we present the best minimalist sneakers for men.

RELATED: Our guide on the best sneakers for men will help you find your favourite style.

Common projects achilles low in white
Image: Common Projects

1. Common Projects Original Achilles

The Common Projects Original Achilles is – and will continue to be – THE minimalist sneaker to get your hands on at any price point. Since their auspicious debut in 2004, the low profile leather sneaker has come to redefine this footwear category, paving the way for an entire industry of luxury shoes. You won’t find a Man of Many staffer who hasn’t rocked a pair, and the overall consensus is to pick a solid colour that reflects your own personal style. We love the all-white look front to back (gold-embossed serial number notwithstanding), but every pair of Achilles delivers top-shelf quality with Zen-like precision. They stay on the sartorial for good reason, you’ll love them, assuming you can afford them that is.

Lining: Leather 100% 
Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from $400 AUD

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Adidas stan smith in classic white and green
Image: Adidas

2. Adidas Stan Smith

While the Common Projects Achilles low set the benchmark for the minimalist sneaker trend we have today, Adidas might have very well started the minimalist sneaker trend back in 1963 when it unleashed the Stan Smith, i.e. the world’s first leather tennis shoe. In the time since the brand has explored a full spectrum of styles and materials on this famous tennis shoe, inspiring sneakers such as the Rod Laver in the process. The Stan Smith continues to be a favourite amongst the style-conscious today, simultaneously blending retro style and modern allure that comes at a price simply too good to refuse. We absolutely love the Adidas Stan Smith in the Man of Many officers and have a clean pair on deck ready for all occasions – they’ve even incorporated some sustainable materials.

Lining: Synthetic
: Made from rubber waste
: from $140 AUD

Buy it here (Adidas) Buy it here (JD Sports) Buy it here (Platypus)

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Oliver cabell low 1 in white
Image: Oliver Cabell

3. Oliver Cabell Low 1

The Oliver Cabell Low 1 has made a name for itself as a quality Common Projects alternative. The Minneapolis-based sneaker brand launched in 2017 and wasted no time in exploding all over the world stage. The Low 1 remains one of the minimalist brand’s finest statements; every pair is hand-stitched using an array of quality leathers, a durable Italian outsole, and sealing the deal are waxed cotton Italian laces. We found the comfort to sit just below the Adidas Stan Smith thanks to their rather thin outsole, however, it improves as the leather moulds to your foot over time.

Lining: Italian calfskin leather
3oz full-grain calfskin leather from Marche, Italy
Sole: Margom Italian outsoles
Price: from $200 USD

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Monochrome low nubuck in glacier
Image: Monochrome

4. MONOCHROME Low Glacier Nubuck

Made from top-grain leather, this sneaker from upcoming Australian shoe brand MONOCHROME` is the brand’s first take on the minimalist sneaker trend. We’ve been wearing a mixture of Low’s over the last 12-months and have been impressed by the design (that’s suitable for formal occasions) thanks to the combination of lace-up, nubuck leather, water resistance and construction that is built to last. A minimalist sneaker should also be comfortable and this one features a lightweight EVA outsole by Wear light, which is non-toxic, fully sustainable and partially recyclable. All of the brand’s raw materials are sourced from within Italy and are made in the famous Le Marche region, known for its time-honoured traditions in shoemaking.

Lining: Leather 100% 
: Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from $435 AUD

Buy it here (MONOCHROME) Buy it here (Man of Many)

Veja campo in off white
Image: Veja

5. Veja Campo

Veja has not so quietly been adding to its impressive lineup of sneakers to take the minimalist footwear trend over. Our favourite of the brand lineup has to be the Veja Campo, this minimalist sneaker comes in a variety of neutral colourways complimented by hits of bright contrasting colours. The bovine free leather is comfortable, light and smooth. If you’re looking for the best minimalist sneaker for men that are also sustainable we highly recommend Veja Campo for its simplified tanning process that limits the use of chemicals, and energy, and thus reduces water consumption by about 40% and the use of salt by 80%.

Lining: Fabric 100% 
Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from €130

Buy it here (VEJA) Buy it here (Hype DC) Buy it here (Farfetch)

Axel arigato clean 90 in white
Image: Axel Arigato

6. Axel Arigato Clean 90

Minimalism and Scandinavian design are practically interchangeable concepts, so it’s no surprise that Swedish sneaker brand Axel Arigato crafts impeccable minimalist footwear. The Clean 90 is no exception, though it takes things a step further by incorporating a classic aesthetic. We love the brand’s use of prime leather construction for the upper, it’s comfortable, durable, and looks great with age. While it mightn’t be the cheapest minimalist sneaker money can buy, it’s one of the most well-rounded shoes on this list.

Outer: Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from $250 USD

Buy it here (Axel Arigato) Buy it here (END.) Buy it here (Harrods)

New balance bb480 in white
Image: New Balance

7. New Balance BB480

We’ve been going New Balance crazy at Man of Many as of late, and for good reason. The brand is dropping hit after hit, and following the success of the NB550, the latest NB480 was almost guaranteed to make a lasting impression. Taking inspiration from the BB680 – a sneaker that was worn for decades on the blacktop – the BB480 arrives with a low-top silhouette and clean upper. Above all, we love the use of materials (a common theme with the brand) with soft, full-grain leather on the upper that combines with a flextended saddle for all-day comfort.

For more information about the New Balance BB480, check out our feature article here.

Upper: Full-grain leather
Insole: Ortholite
Price: from $140 AUD

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Saint laurent andy in white
Image: Saint Laurent

8. Saint Laurent Andy

The Saint Laurent Andy needs no introduction, it’s well known to be one of the best minimalist sneakers at any price point thanks to its simple design. This extraordinary low-top is crafted in Italy from the finest calf leather. Just how much leather, you ask? Try 100% leather inside and out, barring the rubber sole. Our favourite models include the gold-tone embossed logo stamp on the heel since the last thing you want is to drop nearly $1000 on a shoe and have nobody recognise it. Luxury minimalist sneakers don’t get more luxurious than this, folks.

Outer: Calf Leather 100%
Lining: Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from $835 AUD

Buy it here (YSL) Buy it here (Farfetch)

Camper courb in cream
Image: Camper

9. Camper Courb

Camper has a name for quality sneakers and the Courb might be the best minimalist sneaker they make. This sneaker for men features a logo patch on the tongue, front lace-up detail, and a round toe with a flat rubber outsole. We love this brand for its strong consideration for the environment and the leather on the Courb is produced in an audited and certified Leather Working Group tannery at which it scored Gold.

Lining: Polyester 100% 
Leather 100%
Sole: Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate (PEVA) 100%
Price: from $260 AUD

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Von routte munich in white
Image: Von Routte

10. Von Routte Munich

Sydney locals, Von Routte show how to get a minimalist sneaker for men right with the Munich Sneaker. The timeless athletic low-top silhouette features a leather upper with suede trimmings and a contrasting logo pull tab at the heel. We love this sneaker for its attention to detail, from a cushioned footbed with arch support for ultimate comfort, stitched and glued sole for durability, cotton laces, leather lining and embossed logo – rest assured there’s no substitute for quality.

Country of Origin: Portugal
Price: from $320 AUD

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Lanvin toe capped sneaker

11. Lanvin Toe-capped Sneakers

Even after all these years, France’s oldest couture house, Lanvin, deftly keeps up with the times. For proof, look no further than the minimalist sneaker brands toe-capped sneaker. This is a masterstroke of material and design, with an army-green matte leather upper, leather lining, and rubber sole. The sneaker emanates style, so much so that it can easily elevate your smart casual or semi-formal outfit.

Lining: Leather 100%
Suede 100%, Leather 100%
Sole: Rubber 100%
Price: from $480 AUD

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Fear of god low

12. Fear of God Low-top

Jerry Lorenzo utilises his minimalist style on the Fear of God low. We love this minimalist sneaker for men predominantly for its trademark 30-degree sloping outsole that gives the sneaker a futuristic look. The black/ grey colourway is the best for pairing with a monochromatic outfit and the lace-up look is truly timeless. If you’re looking for an instantly recognisable minimalist sneaker for men, you might have found your best option.

Lining: Leather 100%
Calf Leather 100%
Rubber 100%
from $900 AUD

Buy it here (MR PORTER) Buy it here (Stockx) Buy it here (Farfetch)

Fear of god low in black
Image: Superga

13. Superga W-14 Moleskin

With so many luxury labels having their sneakers made in Italy, it’s only natural that the beloved country would already host some of the best minimalist brands. One of those Italian sneaker brands is Superga, which has been in business since 1911. For proof of Superga’s brilliance, scope its respective ranges of low-top and lace-up sneakers, which deliver plush colourways and blatant quality at a relatively low cost. If you like eye-catching footwear, prepare to fall in love with the Superga W-14 Moleskin.

Lining: Fabric 100%
Fabric 100%
Rubber 100%
from $100 AUD

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Vans authentic in black
Image: Vans

14. Vans Authentic

Vans is a classic skate brand and here they deliver classic slip-on skate shoes. Each low profile pair combines a canvas upper with a rubber sole and offers the kind of low profile that the brand has banked its reputation on. Opt for the sleek black colourway, or say good riddance to all this minimalist philosophy and get chequered out instead. Either way, you’re rocking some timeless street style.

Lining: Canvas 100%
Canvas 100%
Rubber 100%
from $120 AUD

Buy it here (Vans) Buy it here (Platypus) Buy it here (Surf Stitch)

Converse jack purcell
Image: Nike

15. Converse Jack Purcell

Speaking of timeless street style, meet the Converse Jack Purcell. Well known to be a favourite of the Eames design family, the vintage aesthetic and monochromatic colour scheme is smart, savvy and basically a minimalist by default.

Lining: Canvas 100%
Canvas 100%
Rubber 100%
from $140 AUD

Buy it here (Converse) Buy it here (Platypus) Buy it here (The Iconic)

Golden goose pure star
Image: Golden Goose

16. Golden Goose Pure Star

It’s hard to put together a list of the best minimalist sneakers for men and not include Golden Goose Deluxe Brand by default. The brand has an all-inclusive lineup of sneakers to suit just about any lifestyle. The traditional ‘Superstar’ sneaker isn’t minimal at all, but if you look hard enough you’ll find the Pure Star that forgets about the brand’s usual distressed look. This minimalist sneaker for men employs a clean black and white colour scheme that adds a touch of gold to the logo.

Lining: Leather 100% Canvas 100%
Leather 100%
Rubber 100%
from $790 AUD

Buy it here (Golden Goose) Buy it here (Farfetch) Buy it here (Selfridges)

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General FAQ

What is minimalist fashion?

Minimalist fashion is simple, all you have to do is keep it simple. Streamline your clothes shapes and limit yourself to a small selection of colours. These are the main principles to keep in mind.

What are the best minimalist sneakers?

There are a number of good minimalist sneakers. At the value end of the spectrum, you have the adidas Stan Smith and Converse Jack Purcell. If you're looking to drop the bag on some minimalist sneakers you can't go past the Common Projects Low and Saint Laurent Andy.

What are good Common Projects alternatives?

While Common Projects are without a doubt the end all be all minimalist sneaker, there are still a few quality alternatives on the market. You should have a look at the range from Oliver Cabell, Von Routte, and Camper.

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Jacob Osborn
Staff Writer

Jacob Osborn

Jacob Osborn is an accomplished author and journalist with over 10 years of experience in the media industry. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin--Madison and co-authored a Young Adult novel through Simon & Schuster. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Jacob specialises in entertainment, technology and alcohol reporting. You might find him crate-digging at the nearest record store or sampling whisky at the nearest bar. He daydreams of travelling around the world, but for now, the world will have to come to him by way of lifestyle products, gear, gadgetry, and entertainment. Let's call it a happy compromise while he saves up for the next big trip.