4 Unexpected Ways to Style Classic Sneakers


Gone are the days when sneakers meant a single type of outfit—sporty, practical, and intended for working out. The current style’s massive popularity in all parts of our wardrobe has meant that there are literally a hundred different ways to style them; as soon as we’ve mastered one look, we’re off hunting for fresh inspiration.

That’s exactly why it’s so appealing to see how a crop of tastemakers put their own spin on the iconic Onitsuka Tiger sneaker. Its classic silhouette is almost the textbook definition of “sneaker”—rounded toe, practical rubber sole, and tricolor design that features a pop of color on a clean white palette. It’s that tabula rasa-ness that makes it so enticing for the style set to experiment and toy with, mixing and matching it with every silhouette or garment type imaginable.

Here, four ways to think about lacing up a pair.

With the mix-and-match trend

federica labanca onitsuka tiger sneakers

Federica Labanca

Think toggle-cinched, cargo pants and an oversized check blazer wouldn’t normally sit side by side? Add in a pair of Onitsuka Tigers, and your mind is liable to be blown—in the best way possible. The unusual mix somehow makes it all feel right and gives each piece a fresh new on-trend feeling.

We loved spotting the unusual combination on London-based creative Federica Labanca and would happily copy it right now and then again in the fall. The key to making it work is playing mostly in the same color palette. Riotous shape pairings look best when color isn’t another competitive factor.

With the all-indigo trend

martina de pretto onitsuka tiger sneakers

Martina De Pretto

Use the tricolor design of these chic sneakers to inject life into a monochrome blue-jean look. There’s forever something retro about pairing multiple pieces of indigo, and that old-school feeling works particularly well with the vintage vibe for which Onitsuka Tiger is known.

The above is a casual way of wearing sneakers that still feels stylish—this is not your grabbing-a-workout-later look but something that clearly denotes thought and a stylish POV.

With the minimalist everything trend

raquel gerlani onitsuka tiger sneakers

Raquel Gerlani

The streamlined, this-goes-great-with-anything look does not require footwear that’s boring. Instead, it’s the most modern way to play with that side of your closet by shaking things up. Case in point: Combine a crisp white button-up that’s just long enough to count as a dress, knit gilet, sheer socks—and classic kicks.

This layered look is beyond easy to replicate—there’s a high probability you own a variation of everything spotted on New York City content creator Raquel Gerlani and is a fun variation on whatever you typically pull on for after-hour adventures.

With the one-and-done dress trend

ellery lee onitsuka tiger sneakers

Ellery Lee

You know those dresses you have in your closet that are crazy soft and comfortable and basically require zero thought when wearing? Yeah, grab one of those. If your MO is to typically pair it with flats or sandals or boots—whatever—see it in a new light by lacing up a sporty pair of sneakers instead.

The lightweight button-front dress spotted on influencer Ellery Lee wouldn’t normally scream for kicks, but don’t you see it in a whole new light when it’s punctuated as such? Suddenly, a closet basic you may not have really thought much about feels 10x cooler.

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