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‘Ugly’ trainers – very much a thing right now, from high-flying fashion houses like Balenciaga to sportswear king New Balance. But it’s a trend that’s splitting the style-conscious down the middle. And if you’re on the side of the fence that swerves these wacky kicks, then fear not – this set of simplistic, fuss-free and minimalistic heroes prove that shoes needn’t be lumpy and bumpy to be cool in 2018.

Reebok EX-O-Fit

Is that… is that spring creeping out from the wintery shadows? Sure looks like it! And that means it’s finally time to stir those crisp, icy-white vintage sneaks out of hibernation, safe in the knowledge they won’t be murdered by boggy puddle filth the moment they step out the front door. And they don’t come much better than these low-cut, understated fitness-come-fashion icons from Reebok. That ventilation detailing on the toe box is so tidy it makes us want to do theatrical Italian chef finger kisses.

Converse One Star OX

The stripped-back style may have been born in the 70s, but they hit it big in the 90s, thanks to Kurt Cobain making them a part of the unofficial uniform of the anti-establishment. Sure, they’ll never make it quite as big as their All-Star brethren, but they’re definitely enjoying a moment right now. A full spectrum of colourways and a thick sole make them the weekend shoe of choice for the slicker, more grown-up streetwear aficionado.

Nike Classic Cortez SE

An important shoe? Sure, if the first sneaker invented by Nike makes it important. The Cortez is a Hollywood superstar – it’s had cameos in everything from Forrest Gump to The Karate Kid, as well as a stint on the small screen by way of Seinfeld. But do away with the glitz and the glamour and you’re left with mighty simplicity: the old-school running design means you’re getting little more than that famous Swoosh, but a heavy emphasis on functionality and comfort. So much so, it was nicknamed ‘the most comfortable shoe ever’.

adidas Stan Smith

White soles, white laces, all white errything here. That famous Stan Smith branding – the sporting hero whose face pops out from the tongue of every pair – has been given the understated white-on-white treatment. Even with the new-age minimalist makeover these are repping, you’re still getting the same clean lines, low-top profile and perforated triple-stripe – a quiet nod to adidas history – as the 70s originals.

Pictures: ASOS

Vans Old School

Pretty tough to think of an element of 2018 life that hasn’t been slathered in laid-back Californian cool. The food you’re chowing, the music you’re listening to… and heck yeah, the trainers you’re rocking. We’re talking, above all, Vans Old Skool skate shoes, which exploded in popularity in 2016 – a nuclear-sized megaboom that we’re still feeling the aftershocks of now. Looking to upgrade your pair for spring? Go white with a gum sole to stand out in the sea of white-on-blacks.