Expanding your closet’s color palette is fun, but there’s something to be said (aesthetically and financially) about investing in pieces that match all of your garb. (Bright pink platform Crocs can only pair well with so much, with or without Croc-adjacent truck nuts.) It’s no secret that the bedrock of even the wildest wardrobes is ultimately a suite of sensible, neutral colorways—think white, beige, tan, gray, black, brown, and navy. If you’re a regular around these parts, you know that we’re up for just about anything when it comes to building our wardrobes, but even we can appreciate a good neutral, and that goes double when we’re shopping for sneakers.
Match-everything sneakers are a wardrobe essential, which is why we compiled a list of the best neutral sneakers to buy, so you can pick up any of these kicks and know you’ll be able to pair them with your bolo tie,corn shirt, and sweater for cozy bois. Whether you need a versatile athletic shoe or something a bit more pared-down for brunch with the folks, we found all the options you need to build your look from the bottom up—literally.
Converse Chuck 70 Vintage Canvas
You may not see Chucks on the court anymore, but you can spot them pretty much everywhere else. Converse’s iconic canvas shoe adds a smidge of vintage character to any and all fits—whether you’re wearing gorpcore streetwear or business casual slacks—while its OrthoLite interior provides much-needed modern comfort.
Reebok Club C 85 Vintage Shoes
If you’ve stomped around any hip cities lately, chances are you’ve seen the Reebok Club C 85 Vintage one too many times. We’re also certifying this 80s shoe as a classic for its sleek, premium white leather and retro silhouette. Plus, the little British flag detailing along the side provides a tiny dose of European style.
Hoka Clifton 9
If you don’t already know how we feel about Hoka, you’ve been living under a rock. Besides being a slappin’ running shoe ever since its first model was introduced in 2014, this newer iteration comes in an array of muted colors that pair well with trousers or add a touch of athleisure to what would otherwise be a fairly basic business casual fit. We love them in classic white and creamy eggnog, which only drives home the fact that most Hoka models look (and feel) like marshmallows for your feet. The Clifton has neutral stability, balanced cushioning, breathable mesh, and the option to choose various widths, in case you need a wider toe-box.
New Balance 990v4 Core
New Balance may be the go-to shoe brand for dad-style disciples, but we think that a demographic that consistently suffers from sore feet and stubborn back issues knows where to find sneakers that hit the sweet spot between comfort and utility. This updated “v4” iteration of the New Balance signature silhouette from 1982 will impress your friends with its firm and supportive midsole without sacrificing style.
Nike Air Force 1
This retro basketball sneaker-turned-street style staple is one you don’t need to be Nelly to appreciate. Originally launched in 1982, the Air Force 1 remains one of Nike’s best sellers thanks in no small part to its simple (but still sporty) silhouette and suite of colorway options. That said, there’s no topping monochromatic options in either all-white or all-black. While a pair of Air Force 1s is sure to receive plenty of play since either one of the aforementioned colorways will integrate with any ‘fit, it’s equally important to know when to retire your pair and move on to the next; no matter how universally appealing the Air Force 1 is, no one likes a flambéd pair of Forces. Keep ‘em fresh.
Asics GEL-Lyte III
Retro sneaker styles are in, and this Asics model designed in the early 90s fills that throwback style void for us, all while being comfy and matchy-matchy with everything you already own. Tech men may have mastered the trainers-with-jeans getup, but it’s not the Mark Zuckerberg vibe we’re after—it’s the swaggier side of normcore. This sneaker has the looks that will match everything from your F/W2022 chore coat to your bootleg Cocteau Twins long sleeve, and its gel-heel technology cushions the heel to help improve shock absorption for lasting comfort while walking all day long.
These are classics for a reason. Built with skateboarding roots and simple style, this Vans silhouette and canvas material has remained timeless ever since it first hit the streets in 1966. Incorporating Vans’ signature rubber waffle outsole, the Authentic (originally known as the #44 Deck Shoe) manages to sit comfortably across a variety of different vibes; whether you’re someone with a Connecticut summer house or a skater prone to hopping fences and skating in pools, this sneaker fits the bill. Our favorite neutral shade in these suckers? Gray.
You’ve got to admire the eternal appeal of the Adidas Samba. (We love it so much that we wrote an entire article on its well-deserved renaissance.) The timeless silhouette has a classic leather upper body, lightweight gum rubber outsole, oblong tongue, and low profile. You don’t need to keep up with the English Premier League or justify their spot in your sneaker rotation with stories about your “glory days” playing club soccer back in college—the Samba is a bona fide style icon.
Like many luxury-leaning sneaker companies, Veja has its own bougie version of Adidas’ iconic Stan Smiths. In other words, you’ll be adding the minimalist appeal of the OG tennis shoe, with the smug feeling of superiority of knowing that your kicks cost significantly more than the run-of-the-mill Stan Smith. Hey, Veja is a French footwear brand, so you can at least look like you automatically know fashion.
Oh my god, shoes.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.