The White Canvas Sneaker: Primer Approved

white canvas shoes

There’s no other casual shoe as versatile as the white canvas sneaker. Perfect for spring and summer, but a great look all year round, white canvas sneakers are stylish, comfortable, and appropriate for all casual venues. 


The white canvas sneaker is in the same family as the boat shoe. These shoes are both casual and refined, classic and contemporary, they look great with jeans, chinos, or corduroy.

My favorite look is to pair them with the darkest straight leg blue jeans I can find. Throw that together with a check or gingham button down, and you’ve got yourself a very clean look. Done right you can knock the socks off other guys wearing boots or dress shoes with their jeans.

There are hundreds of options to choose from. Almost every casual shoe maker has their version, and the low top Converse Chuck Taylor or Keds are a great place to start.

I picked mine up from Lands’ End Canvas (pictured here) a few months ago for $15 when they were having a big sale.

It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on a great looking pair of white canvas sneakers. Just keep your eyes out, you can easily find some for less than $30.

If you’re looking for a way to make your shoes look even better, consider swapping the athletic laces out for some leather laces.

Not a sandal or flip flop man? (We don’t blame you.) Just like the boat shoe, white canvas sneakers look great in the warmer months with pants or sockless with shorts.

»Update: Looks like the Lands' End pair that I got on sale aren't available online anymore. They've been replaced with a similar option.

canvas sneakers look great with jeans or chinos 

Sweater and Jeans by Gap | Thermal Henley by Old Navy, Vintage Khakis by Gap

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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply April 3, 2011


    Tough to argue with a classic, but don’t love them with cords.

  • Reply April 3, 2011


    All color cords or one specifically?

  • Reply April 4, 2011


    What about white leather sneakers, like Jack Purcell do — mixing metaphors too much?

  • Reply April 4, 2011



    White leather sneakers have their place, but it’s a different look. The canvas works better for the warmer months and is a “lighter” look.

  • Reply April 4, 2011


    Thanks! Might explain why I can’t find them anywhere at the moment… I’ll stick with canvas, then.

  • Reply April 4, 2011


    Also, got the LEC’s for the cheap during the big sale (I think I got mine for 15 with an extra 30% off too…). Any tips for keeping them clean?

  • Reply April 4, 2011



    Nice! That’s a steal. Soap and water on the canvas parts or laundry stain remover if you must. For the rubber part, if soap, water and scrubbing doesn’t do it, freshen it up with some white scuff remover similar to this:

  • Reply April 5, 2011

    Jonathan Nguyen

    I love my white on white Jack Purcells. I’m on a plane typing this and wearing them now. I do like the slim look of the closed-throat lacing on those Anchors by Keds.

  • […] classic styling. I picked up a bunch of things a few months ago during a similar sale (including my white canvas sneakers) and was impressed with the quality and customer […]

  • […] Many of us default to boots, and they look good. They’re comfortable and they’re rugged. But they’re not very dressy — and dressy isn’t really what were going for either, we don’t want to wear a leather wingtip or a cap toe, but we don’t want to look like we’re hiking in the woods with boots or like we just came in from a long day outside with sneakers. […]

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  • Reply April 16, 2012


    @Frank, I’ve started treating my shoes with a Scotch Guard-like spray – water just beads off. Fair warning: someone told me afterwards that my shoes might start yellowing. I haven’t noticed any such thing, but maybe I haven’t had them long enough (less than a year old).

  • Reply July 6, 2012

    Cheap canvas shoes

    Converse are the classic canvas shoes; why go with anyone else??

    • Reply August 19, 2013


      I prefer the black high-top Chucks myself. You can go from punk to prep and everywhere in between. The only problem is that high-tops pair poorly with shorts and black doesn’t have the same Spring/Summer connotations as the white.

      As an additional tip they also make an excellent dance shoe if you have a cobbler chrome the bottoms. You won’t want to wear them outside, but they’re great for swing.

  • Reply July 23, 2012


    Only like the white converse sneakers as well as vans. You could keep them clean by throwing them in the washing machine btw

  • Really great…collections are good createvity…

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