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10 Best Casual Sneakers for Men
Modern sneakers are ubiquitous all over the world today, worn by people of all ages and backgrounds. However, their origin was not what one might expect.
The earliest athletic shoes were rubber-soled with canvas uppers and there was no distinction between the right and left feet. They were far from the stylish fashion pieces they are today.
In the late 1890s, the U.S. Rubber Company changed sneakers’ trajectory when it designed much more stylish and functional shoes. Those were Keds, which are still considered some of the most successful casual sneakers of all time.
Fast forward 130-plus years, and sneakers are very much a part of modern fashion. Whether you prefer bold colors and patterns, sleek tech-focused trainers, or retro classics, there are sneakers to suit every possible taste and budget. Here our top 10 picks.
1. adidas Originals Stan Smith
There’s something to be said for a shoe that’s truly stood the test of time, remaining largely the same for several decades. That’s the case with the iconic adidas Originals Stan Smith sneakers, an immediately-recognizable pair of shoes.
Stan Smiths were some of the hottest shoes in the 1980s, universally popular because of their clean, understated design and extreme comfort. Today, 30-some odd years later, nothing has changed.
adidas brought the Stan Smiths back and instead of drastically changing them to fit the times, the company left the shoes’ best aspects unchanged. These minimalist smooth leather sneakers are just as comfortable as ever, though they do have a subtle modern twist. Instead of the traditional three stripes, the Stan Smith Originals have perforated striping detail.
There’s also a signature Stan Smith logo on the tongue and a “callout” on the heel cup.
2. Cole Haan ZERØGRAND All-Day Trainer
Sneakers are typically either perfect for the gym or suitable for wearing to the office or on a date – but rarely are they both. Cole Haan solved this problem with its aptly-named ZERØGRAND All-Day Trainers.
These sneakers are high performers at the gym and outrageously comfortable, but they also look sharp enough for both work and play.
The proprietary Stitchlite™ knit upper is exceptionally breathable, while the cushioned footbed and internal heel padding provide support and comfort for all-day wearability. TPU details with an authentic leather look tie it all together and give these sneakers a refined, elevated appearance.
The ZERØGRANDs are available in four colors (we especially love the denim blue and cognac combo, Marine Blue) and all come with two pairs of laces.
3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox
Another classic, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars are always appropriate. Chuck Taylors were introduced in 1917 – over a century ago – as basketball shoes and almost unbelievably, they’ve changed very little since then. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
100 years later, Chucks have managed to keep up with the times while remaining true to their original design. They’re also more popular than ever, available in a dizzying array of colors and patterns.
You can even make your own custom designs online! We love the look of the crisp, classic white since it goes with literally everything. Note that if you’ve never owned a pair of Chuck Taylors, sizing can be a bit tricky. They generally run about a half-size large, so order accordingly.
4. Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid
Air Jordans, or simply “Jordans,” are distinctly more casual and athletic than some other shoes on this list. They are basketball shoes, after all.
The Air Jordan 1 Mid is inspired by the original Air Jordans, which were created exclusively for the one and only Michael Jordan in 1985. Because of that, Jordans have always attracted an almost cult-like following. People clamor to buy the newest pairs as soon as they’re released and build collections of them, some never even being worn outside.
With the mid-level high-top, these Jordans have a retro look to them, but the crisp color options help make them modern and on-trend also. Choose from solid white or White/Black/Laser Blue, which has pops of clean color trim accents.
Wear yours with nice jeans and a button-down shirt for a modern casual-but-dressy look or pair them with joggers for running errands around town.
5. Vans SK8-Hi MTE
If you love the rugged yet refined look of modern chukka boots, these Vans are for you. Vans are typically associated with low-top “skater” shoes, but with the SK8-Hi MTE, the company is proving that it shouldn’t be put into a proverbial (shoe) box.
The high-top silhouette, aggressive soles, textile lining and trim, and genuine leather uppers treated with Scotchgard™ make these shoes perfect for all weather – especially cold and wet. Yet, they’re still lightweight and versatile enough for wearing year-round.
The SK8-Hi MTE keeps true to Vans’ signature minimalist style while also integrating a surprising amount of functionality, like a heat retention layer and padded tongue. There are 14 MTE color options to choose from, including croc styles with faux fur and suede with timeless plaid trim.
6. SKECHERS Classic Fit Delson Camben
These fresh sneakers may just make you rethink everything you thought you knew about Skechers. The Delson Camben shoes have all the benchmarks of classic Skechers, including having memory foam insoles and being comfortable enough to wear all day. However, they’re sharp-looking enough to pass for much more expensive sneakers.
The slip-on Delson Cambens look like they lace up and feature a marled knit mesh upper, high-quality faux leather panels at the heel and sides, reinforced toes, and perforations at the sides for optimal breathability and cooling.
Typical of many Skechers, the price point is unbeatable – these sneakers cost less than half than several other pairs on this list! Each of the neutral color combos is sharp and classy enough to wear with slacks to the office or out on a dinner date with your partner.
7. Nike Tanjun
Fun fact: “Tanjun” is the Japanese word for “simplicity.” Taking that to heart, the Nike Tanjun sneakers embody all the best aspects of simple, minimalist sneakers. Each of the five color options comes in a solid neutral with a large but simple iconic Nike swoosh.
The design is ultra-lightweight with a breathable mesh upper and a flexible sole, perfect for being on your feet several hours a day. In fact, many people in the medical profession choose the Nike Tanjun as their go-to work shoes.
Depending on how you prefer to exercise, they may not be the first choice for strenuous or long gym workouts, but we’d put the Nike Tanjun on for literally anything else. The simple design and extreme wearability make these sneakers especially perfect for weekend pursuits.
8. Vans Classic Slip-On
Ah, Vans slip-ons. You truly can’t go wrong with this classic shoe that was first introduced to the world in 1977. Originally meant as a skateboarding shoe, Vans Classic Slip-Ons are still widely loved today for their simple and straightforward functionality.
How can you go wrong with a pair of casual shoes that you can slide your feet into, that are lightweight yet somehow exceedingly durable, and that have a surprising amount of grip on the soles?
Choose from dozens and dozens of colors and patterns, including solid black, classic checkerboard, floral, sequins, and even pairs that you color in yourself. If you think Vans might be too casual for your taste, give them a try – you may be very pleasantly surprised.
9. Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro
For guys who have more vintage styles or tend to be drawn to the retro look, there’s the Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro. These incredibly comfortable sneakers are almost guaranteed to quickly become your favorites.
They’re definitely casual, so you’re not likely going to get away with wearing these to your office (unless you work for an impossibly cool tech startup, that is), but you can just about live in them everywhere else.
The classic gum rubber outsole is surprisingly rugged and durable, and the nylon and suede uppers hold up to all types of wear and tear, including weather. Saucony is known for making shoes that seem to fit everyone perfectly, and you’ll notice that difference right from the beginning.
10. Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81
Are you noticing the theme here? Classic, retro sneakers are in – still in – in a very big way. The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 sneakers have been around since the 1980s and while they never really went away per se, they’re back and more popular than ever.
Intended as a lightweight running shoe for track athletes, the Ultimate 81s are super lightweight, yet shockingly supportive and durable.
Ultra low-profile with light padding and a cushioned, flexible insole, you can easily wear the Ultimate 81 sneakers all day without a second thought. They’re also great on extended walks, runs, playing basketball, and light gym workouts – a stark contrast to many much bulkier tech running shoes on the market.
Casual Sneakers FAQs
Athleisure is more popular than ever before with so many people working from home. That means shoes lean decidedly casual these days – good news if you’re a sneakerhead. Minimalist, all-white sneakers and classics like Converse Chuck Taylors and Vans are perennial closet staples, but “tech runners” have become wildly popular as well.
Tech runners are sleek, technology-focused sneakers with features like knit uppers and waterproofing.
These days, men can (and should!) wear sneakers in almost every occasion. It’s not even uncommon anymore to see celebrities wearing sneakers with suits on the red carpet! Fortunately, there aren’t many rules – go retro, purely athletic, or technical. The main, and really only, “rule” is to keep your sneakers clean. You want to look stylish, not sloppy.
What one person finds comfortable in a walking shoe, another may not. The way your foot pronates, or extends when stepping, makes all the difference in what type of walking shoe will ultimately fit you well and be comfortable.
Look for plenty of support, cushion, and breathability. From this list, the Cole Haan ZERØGRAND All-Day Trainers, Skechers Classic Fit Delson Cambens, and Nike Tanjuns all make excellent choices.