3 Summer sneaker staples you MUST have in your wardrobe rotation

These three sneakers are absolute summer essentials that fit with any outfit, regardless of gender.
Tourists at the beach with low tide during a summer day at...
Tourists at the beach with low tide during a summer day at... / Marcos del Mazo/GettyImages

Summer is the perfect time to put together a crisp outfit. Whether you wanna go comfy casual with some linen or cotton pieces, sundresses for the ladies, or sports jerseys matched with shorts for the guys… the possibilities are endless!

Choosing the right pieces for the outfit itself is quite important, but selecting the appropriate sneakers to round out your look can make or break your overall appearance. Sometimes folks opt for flashier and eccentric sneakers that stand out for their vibrant colors. No knock on that sentiment, but if you want more bang for your buck, it’s a much smarter economical decision to have neutral sneaker options that go with everything.

The female demographic has the luxury of wearing flats, ballet slippers, heels, etc. More often than not, the colors most sold in these styles are black, brown, cream/off-white/beige, etc. Why is that? No matter what color dress or fancy top/bottom set you’re rocking, these colors are the quintessential complimentary touch. 

So ignoring gender-specific footwear, let’s look at three sneaker styles that go perfectly with any summer outfit! 

New Balance 990 MADE in USA

In all honesty, there are probably a couple of New Balance models that work well for a summer outfit. Some others that come to mind include the New Balance 574 Core, New Balance 1906, New Balance 2002R, New Balance 530, and New Balance 9060. While many praise the New Balance 9060 for its comfort and style, I remain unconvinced by its chunky, clunky design. Despite its popularity among endorsers and wearers, its aesthetic doesn't resonate with me. But it's probably still a close toss-up between the 9060 and 990, but as a strong devotee of New Balance's MADE in USA product line... The 990 clears by a mile in my book.

It doesn't get more basic and simple than a New Balance 990. They tend to stick to core colors, including their trademark grey, black (and perhaps some grey or white trim), and navy blue. Other exclusive or collaboration colorways are released here and there, but I'm a firm believer in less is more. I've seen anything from purple, funkier shades of blue, olive or military green, darker grey hues, and even Action Bronson's eccentric 990v6 collection, but as far as the summer goes, you cannot go wrong with a neutral grey pair or black pair.

I'd hedge a little more on the grey side of things, and if I had to call out a particular model for their style and comfort, it would have to be the 990v3 or 990v4. Stay away from the 990v1 and 990v2, as in my opinion, they're a little more on the narrow side both in fit and aesthetic. While the v3 and v4's successors, the 990v5 and 990v6 respectively, are the complete opposite as they're overly roomy and large in fit by default.

New Balance 'The Made In USA 990v6 Presentation' Photocall / Han Myung-Gu/GettyImages

They may look like dad shoes or nurse's shoes to some people, but you can't help but argue their vintage chic can work with any outfit.

Dr. Martens Adrian Tassel Loafers (or any black loafers for that matter)

Loafers - there's no debate about it. They're truly special. The best part? Their versatility. You can dress them up for a sophisticated look or dress them down for a more casual vibe, and either way, they'll always exude style. I think they suit both men and women quite well, and if I had to throw out a model and make for folks to choose in particular, it'd have to be Dr. Martens Adrian Tassel Loafers.

As a lover of all things vintage and retro, I've fallen for these sneakers, which seamlessly complement both dressy and streetwear styles. For my fellow gentlemen, they're the perfect match for 90s or Y2K-era jorts or dress pants, depending on your desired level of sophistication. Alternatively, experiment with a hybrid look by pairing them with a button-down shirt, white tee, or tank top, and your favorite pants for a stylish outfit that's sure to turn heads.

I can't speak for the ladies out there, but if these are up your alley, there are a multitude of different ways to style a set of loafers (exhibit A above with the skirt look). Now, the thing about Docs is they can be a bit expensive for the average person. Going with the real thing in Dr. Martens is obviously the upper-echelon, but if you're on a budget, head out to a cheaper dress shoe retailer (like an Aldo or Zara perhaps). Chances are you'll stumble upon a pretty passable dupe, that although it won't perform to Doc standards, you can pull off the desired summer look without breaking the bank!

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top

These kicks stand the test of time, some good ol' classic Chuck's. They work for all ages and for both men and women alike. I'm a huge fan of both the high and low top variants, and for the summer, you can work around the flexibility of a Chuck Taylor All Star depending on your desired look. Color-wise, I'd probably stick to just black or white, and considering they're relatively affordable, you could just go ahead and buy them both.

Shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts, you name it. Chances are, you can get away with rocking a set of Chuck's. They're not the most fancy-looking shoes, but I've seen them pulled off with various outfit motifs and styles. For the girls, they'd probably opt for the lower-cut model, as that is a little easier to pair with something of a dress or skirt-like nature. As for the gents, I say grab a pair of high-tops and work around the endless possibilities with their appropriate pairings. They look great with a set of shorts, I'm just saying.

Out of the three listed styles, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star doesn't ask for much from the consumer, given their iconic look that never phases out of fashion trends. They're cheap too and if black or white isn't up your alley, then spice things up a bit with what seems to be an extensive catalog of colorways. Case in point, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top is a quintessential style piece for your summer wardrobe.