GreenMind has written extensively about style, especially shoes. This guide shows how men can stay stylish without going broke.
The Top Ten Casual Shoes: A Quick and Easy Guide
This guide draws together the top ten men's casual shoes based on a combination of personal experience, online reviews, style, and comfort. These shoes are designed for everyday wear and are, by definition, not meant for most work environments. They are also mostly warm-weather or indoor shoes. As a man who doesn't spend 24 hours a day at work, but still wants to look good and feel comfortable even when I'm rolling casual, these are the shoes that I would choose because they have the qualities and the style that I look for. I hope this guide leads you to that perfect pair of kick-back kicks.
Top Choice: Crocs Santa Cruz 2 Luxe Loafer
Croc's versatile, handsome loafers are reliably perfect for casual nights out or quiet nights in. I much prefer loafers to sandals for a number of reasons, including quality, full coverage, and a little more dressy look. This pair is always a great choice no matter where I'm headed.
- Soft footbed, with memory foam pillows on top of "Croslite" foam base
- Relaxed canvas uppers make the grade for casual cool
- Stretch gore panels for easy on / off
- Croslite traction outsole
- These shoes reportedly fit true to size.
Reviews have highlighted these shoes' excellent arch support, which is important for me since I'm on my feet a lot. I love Crocs when they're trying to be stylish, which isn't all the time—see some of the other pairs on this list, which are basically shower shoes but nonetheless score high on the metrics used here. Personally? I wouldn't leave the house in shower shoes. This pair of Crocs has great comfort and price and actually looks like a pair of shoes.
Runner Up: Skechers Performance Men's Go Walk 4—An Incredible Walking Shoe
Skechers began as a basic, no-frills line of boots and skate shoes; they were favored by skateboarders for their affordability, durability, and conscious lack of style; Skechers shoes were initially part of a skater's visible rejection of the trendy signifiers of fashion.
This pair of Sketchers shows you what the brand has accomplished in the modern era. In the modern era, Skechers like the Go Walk 4 have become much more of a fashion statement, with celebrity-driven advertising that has included Meghan Trainor, Howie Long, Sugar Ray Leonard, and the girl group Sistar; Skechers has even signed the legendary Ringo Starr as a celebrity representative. For most of us, though, the appeal of Skechers isn't so much about who wears them; it is about how they feel and how they look, which is, in both cases, excellent.
- Textile uppers
- Rubber sole
- Radically lightweight
- Innovative and highly responsive 5gen midsole cushioning
- Goga max high rebound insole energizes every step
- Breathable mesh upper
- Soft fabric lining
Users rave about Skechers' all-day comfort, and I would have to agree—as a teacher, I am on my feet nearly all day, and my Skechers were one of my favorite pairs. They're durable, washable, and they always look sharp.
Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.
— Bill Cunningham
Sanuk Men's Vagabond Slip On
I like the style of these slip-ons; they have a raw look that suits a relaxed, casual lifestyle. Although Vans and Skechers are better-known brands, Sanuk shoes get great reviews and are quite reasonably priced.
- Canvas uppers
- Genuine rubber sole
- Frayed edges with gored insets at entry and drainage ports at sides
- Soft canvas lining
- Molded EVA footbed featuring AEGIS antimicrobial additive
- Happy U sponge rubber outsole
User reviews have focused on comfort, although at least one reported that the inside of the Sanuk has relatively little padding, which puts it in a group with Chuck Taylor Converse and other manufacturers with little padding; some pairs of Crocs I have owned are also light on cushioning, yet very comfortable.
Nike Men's Benassi Jdi Athletic Sandal
It's hard escaping Nike "athletic sandals" when you're out and about—sometimes, it seems like every other young male is wearing them. I myself will not wear Nike athletic sandals, period, but their rampant popularity is enough to warrant them being included in this guide. Reviewers point out these sandals' comfort and durability—although they can break—and for the right person, a new pair of Nike athletic sandals would be the perfect start to the summer. And for what it's worth, these sandals are the only ones with which it's not only okay but practically necessary to wear socks.
- All-synthetic materials
- Rubber sole
- One-piece, synthetic leather strap with soft jersey lining
- Injected Phylon midsole doubles as an outsole for lightweight cushioning.
- Flex grooves help the slide move with your foot.
As would be expected, users have very few complaints with this shoe—after all, there are no moving parts, and what you see is what you get. They're durable and comfortable—just don't wear them to the supermarket!
Vans Classic Slip-On
Vans began in the 1960's in Anaheim California as a direct-to-public shoe manufacturer called The Van Doren Rubber Company. They initially took orders and manufactured the shoes as they were ordered, which was a wonderfully personal way to sell shoes, but not practical as a large business. When one of the family-owned businesses came up with a logo at the age of thirteen, his stencil-and-spray-paint design was immediately incorporated into the business. It's still on every Vans shoe on the racks today. By 1988, the business was worth over $70 million.
I own several pairs of Vans, because there's something about these shoes that just works. The thing I like the most is their appearance of casual flimsiness that's belied by their solid construction and durable comfort. I wear my Vans all of the time, and there's no question in my mind that they belong in this guide.
- Canvas uppers
- Synthetic sole
- Padded collar and footbed for added comfort, fit, and shock absorption
- Signature waffle outsole for enhanced board feel
- Vulcanized construction for comfort and durability
Vans get sparkling reviews from users, who love the comfort, toughness, and especially the style. I have to agree—I love my Vans.
KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal
Keen sandals are tough and comfortable; I find them comparable to Teva sandals, if a little less stiff/strong feeling. They're perfect for almost any outdoor casual situation, especially if it's raining.
I won't wear sandals with socks, although I see that look all the time. Although some men are willing to go out in sandals with socks, as I will say here and anywhere else, socks and sandals do not mix—I agree with Esquire Magazine's Max Berlinger, who has said that socks with sandals looks "ugly and dumb." However, some fashion people think that sandals with socks are some kind of new style vanguard. Go figure.
- Washable polyester webbing
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Platform measures approximately 1.5
- Metatomical EVA footbed
- PFC Free materials, Secure fit lace capture system, TPU stability shankCleansport NXT for natural odor control
- Breathable mesh lining
- Compression molded EVA midsole
Keen's are outdoor shoes, with what one user termed an "aggressive" sole. It's also noted that they tend to run a half-size smaller than marked, which is not uncommon for casual shoes.
How a Slippery Deck Inspired Sperry Top-Siders
Top-siders became a required part of the sailing style world in the early 20th century and have since become favorites of people who never set foot on a boat. These distinctive and adaptable shoes have been everywhere since the company founder Paul Sperry slipped on the deck of his boat and fell overboard. His solution was a shoe that would keep sailors out of the water no matter what the conditions; one way he accomplished this was with the help of Prince, his cocker spaniel. Sperry noticed that the dog was sure-footed on slick surfaces, and he adapted the grooved pattern on the dog's paws for the soles of his new shoe design. The groove pattern he used is called "siping," and Sperry top-siders still have this herring-bone pattern in the soles. The white outsole is also intentional since it won't leave dark scuff marks on the boat deck and railing. From these early, innovative days the Sperry top-sider brand grew impressively: it was recently acquired for over a billion dollars.
Sperry Top-Sider Men's A/O Boat Shoe
Top-siders like this sharp Sperry pair go with almost any look and in almost any situation. There are very few casual occasions that won't work with a pair of Sperry top-siders. They're durable, sharp, and very highly rated by the people who wear them.
- Leather construction
- Rubber sole with "siping" herringbone pattern
- Moccasin-stitched toe, rust-resistant eyelets, and slotted collar
- Shock-absorbing EVA heel cup
- Non-marking outsole with wet/dry traction
Reviews highlight these shoes' comfort, and their easy-on, easy-off style. They're impervious to getting wet, as you might imagine. They fit as expected.
Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top Sneakers
It's my assumption that everyone on the planet has owned at least one pair of Chuck Taylors. Back in the 60's and 70's they were simply "gym shoes," worn by everyone from sandlot baseball kids to professional basketball players. Outside of gym class, you wore your Chucks everywhere; I can clearly remember the white toes of my Converse stained green from mowing the grass. Now, of course, Chucks are especially favored by hipsters and other fashion-forward/backward people.
I have always found Converse sneakers relatively uncomfortable since there's almost no padding in the sole, but it's an easy fix with a quality insole inserted. You might want an insole in any event, since you no doubt remember the smell of a well-worn pair of Chucks.
- Classic Converse Style
- Canvas upper, rubber sole
- Gender: Unisex
- Runs a half-size larger than your normal shoe.
Crocs Classic Clogs
I'll admit that I was a little surprised when the metrics returned Crocs clogs as the number-one pair of men's casual shoe, but the numbers don't lie. It seems that everyone loves and wears this shoe. Crocs sometimes get a bad name due to the brand's aggressively unfashionable—did someone say ugly?—look. It's not too hard to see why, since the classic Croc design practically screams "I just got out of the shower." But in the right place and time, these shoes are exactly what the doctor ordered. These are durable, comfortable, easy to slip on and off, and your feet stay cool. Wear them around the house all you want, but if you're going out, you may want to invest in another pair of casual shoes from this list.
- Fully molded CrosliteTM material for signature Crocs comfort;
- Heel strap provides a secure fit;
- Ventilation ports for breathability and water drainage;
- Odor-resistant, easy to clean, and quick to dry;
- Water-friendly and buoyant...they float;
- Lightweight, non-marking soles;
- Roomy fit, generous in width and length.
Users point out that Crocs feel soft and rubbery, not stiff and plastic. There are plenty of knock-off brands that look a lot like these Crocs, but they're often made of cheap, stiff material that can rub your feet raw.
About This Top 10 Guide
This guide has drawn together the top ten men's casual shoes, with reference to several shoe review sites (see Resources section). Based on a combination of personal experience, on-line reviews, style, and comfort, the shoes on this list have been designated "top ten" and given a ranking. Casual shoes by definition are designed for every-day wear, and they are also mostly warm-weather or indoor shoes. I hope this guide leads you to that perfect pair of kick-back kicks.
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