24 Best Men’s Casual Shoes We’re Head Over Heels For
It’s been a long winter – a long year, really – and it’s only natural that we all want to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine. We’ve all felt physically and psychologically cooped up, and it’s no surprise that many of us are craving a little something to put the bounce back in our step. Picking up a pair of the best men’s casual shoes could be just the thing.
We all know the expression “if the shoe fits, wear it.” A great saying, but the opposite is just as valid — if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Finding a shoe that fits properly is the most crucial factor in buying your next pair of men’s casual shoes. Even if you find a shoe with your favorite design and it’s giving you all the right vibes, if it doesn’t fit properly, you’re going to regret buying it.
When searching for the your next pair of casual shoes, remember to take a good look at the design of the shoe — how a shoe is made and the materials used are just as important as how it looks. Here are a few key elements to keep in mind when shopping for your next pair of shoes to help you find the perfect fit
What To Look For in a Casual Shoe
Of all the different parts of the foot, the arch is the one that needs the most support, since this vital structure handles most of the pressure exerted during movement. Arch height varies greatly from one person to another, so what fits for your friend might not fit for you.
When shopping for shoes, you should be looking for high-quality footwear that provides excellent heel and arch support – these areas need to be firm, but still flexible enough for walking. Make sure the shoes you intend to buy are the proper length and width for your feet to provide adequate support: your feet and toes should never feel squished or cramped. Alternatively, too much room in a shoe can also result in reduced support: if your foot can slide back and forth in the shoe, it’s too big.
Inadequate foot support may cause discomfort or pain in the hips, knees, lower back, neck, and shoulders. To avoid these issues, add proper support to your checklist of must-haves before you hunt for your next perfect pair of shoes.
The firmer the sole, the more stable the shoe. Picking a rubber sole that is a minimum of half an inch in thickness will provide adequate padding between the foot and the surface you’re walking on. An ultra-flexible sole will often be too thin, not offering enough protection for your foot from impact with the ground.
The shock of walking on hard surfaces for extended periods with minimal protection from the sole can cause pain in the soles of your feet, and can also lead to soft-tissue or joint damage.
Finding shoes with the correct grip is essential. There are two types of grip to consider: macro-grip is the large grooves (or indentations) in the sole that act like the teeth of the shoe; micro-grip is the smaller grooves that create a pattern in the shoe and works similar to an adhesive.
While comfort and support should be at the top of your checklist when comparing shoes, getting the right grip is worth considering. Have you ever looked at the grip on a hiking shoe next to a basketball shoe? The soles of hiking shoes feature thick, deep lugs to absorb impact and reduce sliding, whereas, the soles of basketball shoes are moderately flat, and often made of thinner rubber to allow for lightweight and faster movement.
We know you won’t be wearing men’s casual shoes to play basketball or go hiking, but understanding the grip you need will help extend the life of your shoes.
All shoes, even those of the same size and brand, fit differently. Different shoes are made to accommodate different types of feet: a shoe can be curved, semi-curved, or straight, just like a person’s feet. Determining the shape of your foot can help you find a shoe that fits properly. Look for a shoe that matches the shape of your foot — a straight foot in a curved shoe is like putting a round peg in a square hole.
Now that we’ve discussed the architecture of the best men’s casual shoes, let’s get into the importance of the material. The right material depends on where you live, how hard you are on your shoes, how long you want your shoes to last, and what your day-to-day activities consist of.
Canvas: Canvas shoes have been a leader in the best men’s casual shoes for decades. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, these versatile shoes are also super-comfortable. Canvas shoes are lightweight, easy to clean, and can be paired with a wide range of outfits. Not all shoes look great with shorts, but canvas shoes are a top-shelf choice for pairing with your favorite summer shorts. Canvas shoes are also one of the best men’s casual shoes for jeans and look particularly polished with a pair of slim-fit jeans.
Leather: Leather is heralded as one of the toughest non-synthetic materials around and often tops the list as more durable than many other materials. Leather boots are a men’s style staple and perfect for maintaining your overall aesthetic during the colder months of the year. Many leather boots made for winter come insulated, providing extra warmth so you can look sharp while keeping your toes nice and toasty.
Synthetics: Polyurethane (PU) leather is a synthetic leather made from thermoplastic polymer. A good quality shoe made from PU leather looks similar to the real deal but has a few added benefits. For one, 100% PU leather is completely artificial and considered vegan. Another big plus is the price tag — it’s generally significantly cheaper because it’s easier to manufacture.
Men's Casual Shoes - Different Styles
With so many different styles, searching for the best men’s casual shoes can be difficult. Below is an explanation of some of the different styles you’re likely to encounter in your journey to find the perfect footwear. While you’re considering the options that might work for you, don’t forget to think about which socks to wear as well!
Sneakers are primarily designed for sports and other forms of physical exercise. Sneakers are also widely used for everyday casual wear — you may hear sneakers also referred to as trainers, athletic shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, running shoes, or runners.
Boat shoes, also known as deck shoes, are typically canvas or leather with non-marking rubber soles. Designed for use on a boat, a siping pattern is cut into the soles to provide grip on a wet deck — whereas, the leather construction and application of oil help them repel water. These shoes are designed for nautical use but also look great with a variety of outfits. Pro tip: Boat shoes are traditionally worn without socks – but a good pair of no-show socks will provide the same aesthetic while providing extra comfort and warmth.
Sandals are an open type of footwear consisting of a sole held to the wearer’s foot by straps going over the instep and (sometimes) around the ankle. You can come across fashion sandals, hiking sandals, high-heeled sandals, and casual sandals all around the world. With summer days ahead, a pair of sandals is a must for sipping coffee on your patio, hanging out with friends in the park, or taking a stroll on the beach.
Espadrilles are casual shoes usually made of canvas or cotton with a flexible sole made of esparto rope. They can be flat or high-heeled, but the esparto rope sole is the defining characteristic of an espadrille – however, the upper outer fabric can vary widely in style.
Originally, Oxfords were plain dress shoes made of leather and characterized by their distinctive shoelace eyelet tabs. Now, they have evolved into a range of styles suitable for formal, uniform, or casual wear. Based on function and fashion, Oxford shoes are made from a variety of materials: including calf leather, faux and genuine patent leather, suede, or canvas.
One of the best men’s business casual shoes, loafers or “slip-ons” are lace-free and can easily be slipped on to the foot. Usually, they have a low heel or no heel. Loafers typically have a low heel (or no heel) and are available in a vast range of designs – they vary from smart casual canvas loafers perfect for a stroll through the park, to dress penny loafers that should only be worn with dress pants. Pro-tip: loafers are a great travel option for their style, versatility, and ability to be slipped on and off when going through airport security.
This is an ongoing dispute in the footwear industry that has many divided – while some swear by memory foam shoes; others claim they almost immediately cause them pain. There is no question that memory foam is comfortable initially, but there are questions around the continued quality, support, and durability memory foam provides.
The best walking shoes for men are built for comfort before anything else. This means that they're designed to keep your feet and body happy, even if style is compromised. When looking for a new pair of walking shoes, take specific note of the amount of the cushion, stability, and arch support you get with the shoes.
Bonus: The Adidas Running Ultraboost 2.0is a great walking shoe that is also super stylish.
Casual shoes are made for everyday activities like walking to work, wearing to a restaurant, and going to visit a friend, or they can also be dressed up and worn to special events. Sneakers, on the other hand, are specifically designed for moderate to intense physical activity.