5 Best Casual Sneakers for Men: Stride Comfortably in Style

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by  Savarone Ammann | Last Updated:  Jan 14, 2021

Unless you wear a full suit while working, eating, relaxing, and sleeping (that sounds restrictive), then you need casual footwear options in your wardrobe.

Yet, finding casual footwear is a daunting search with a dizzying number of options. But save the 38 tab pileup. We uncovered the best casual sneakers on your behalf, all you need to do is gently caress your mouse and move on down the list.

Best Timeless
  • Timeless, versatile plimsoll lace up style
  • Rugged oiled leather in neutral colors
  • Pairs well with nearly any wardrobe
Best Minimalist
  • Smooth full-grain leather topper
  • Handsewn crafted highlights
  • Elegant two-tone design for dressier outfits
Best Under $100
  • Low-top canvas and suede lace up
  • Iconic side stripe and minimal design
  • Ideal for walking or skating
Best High-Top
  • Cushy, casual high-top cut
  • Relaxed but durable natural materials
  • Single color palette makes pairing easy
Best Sports
  • Snug, sock-like knit upper
  • Responsive Boost midsole
  • Sporty, distance-worthy comfort

You have different daily needs than me, him, and the next guy. But one or more of the kicks on this list will work for all of us, and I’d argue, every guy out there.

We’ve chiseled down casual footwear into five of the most essential sub-categories and given you our top pick in each one. 

Whether cleaning up for the lunch date of your life or walking down the street to a local market, we’ve got styles that will keep you looking sharp, feeling comfortable, and moving forward. It’s easier than ever to keep it cool and keep it casual, without sacrificing style.

5 Best Casual Sneakers for Men

Best Timeless Style: SeaVees Hermosa Sneaker

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SeaVees is the self-proclaimed “original way to go casual.” Founded in 1964, SeaVees aimed to capture the breezy, sun-kissed California lifestyle in a line of casual footwear.

After suddenly vanishing, the brand lay dormant for nearly 40 years. Until, in a second-hand shop in Tokyo of all places, Steven Tiller, uncovered a vintage pair of SeaVees and set off to rediscover the brand in its birthplace: Santa Barbara, California.

The Hermosa, in both vintage washed linen and rugged oiled leather, is the pinnacle walkaround shoe. It pairs with pants and shorts alike and has the cushion, comfort, and durability to take you anywhere.

It’s versatility and understated style is what makes it the quintessential timeless sneaker.

What I Like

  • Comes in two variations: linen or leather.

  • Neutral color tones pair with anything.

  • Topper, sole, and laces all feel well-built and lasting.

  • Complements any guy’s wardrobe.

What I Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have wide color range.

  • Little to no arch support.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers mostly vibe with the timeless style SeaVees offers.

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There isn’t much arch support in the Hermosa Sneaker. But this can be common in casual sneakers and using your own insoles is worth it if you like the styles. SeaVees insoles were still quite cushy for a casual sneaker.

The Verdict

SeaVees should be taken seriously as a competitive force in men’s casual footwear. The brand has steered it’s ship with intention and purpose since its founding in 1964 and re-founding in 2008. This is all apparent in their website, branding, messaging, and sneakers that work together to reflect consistent values.

Be sure to scour their catalogue to find the model that suits you best. For example, The Hermosa Sneaker in rugged oiled leather was more rigid and less breathable than other linen or canvas-topped models. This means trading in lighter weight and breathability for sturdiness and durability.

There are hundreds of features that can make a casual shoe worth purchasing or worth grazing right over. Timelessness is a simple, but powerful feature you should always get behind.

SeaVees Hermosa

Made with rugged oiled leather, the Hermosa blends durability with laid back style. The Kona colorway is versatile and looks just as good with jeans as it does chinos and shorts.

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Best Minimalist: Cole Haan Avalon Sneaker

Cole Haan has been around since 1928 and has since cemented itself as a worthy footwear brand for guys. 

Today, Cole Haan does an exceptional job of releasing top-tier minimal options in the casual and slightly dressier categories.

The Avalon sneaker feels like it has inspired other sneakers on the market today. And it likely has. 

The smooth leather topper, narrow laces, elegant stitching, and rubber soles all come together to create an iconic, dappered down sneaker. One that fares well on date-night, at the ballpark, and even with dress pants or a suit.

What I Like

  • Sleek, two-tone colors.

  • Can be worn with a suit.

  • Quality leather creates snug fit.

What I Don’t Like

  • Bright white soles are prone to stains and scuffs.

  • Show doesn’t breathe well.

What Other Reviewers Say

Most guys really loved the Avalon both for its stylishness and ability to be paired with lots of looks. 

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A few guys commented on how dirty these shoes can get. I’d agree with John R., occasional cleaning will do wonders and extend their lifespan.

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The Verdict

The Avalon Sneaker is a timeless, dressed-up sneaker in its own right. Its minimalist, two-tone appearance is what gives it the “Best Minimalist Sneaker” spot in our ranking.

For 90 years, Cole Haan has set out to mesh comfort with style, and they seem to be pulling it off effortlessly.

Few sneakers can claim to be worn successfully with shorts or a full suit. The Avalon can proudly make that claim. When you have a shoe as minimal as this, you can take it anywhere you need to go to enjoy consistent, understated style.

Cole Haan Avalon Sneaker

Simple, sleek, minimalist: it doesn't get much more versatile than this. Even better, this bad boy will leave some cash left over for your big date.

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Best Under $100: Vans Old Skool Sneaker

In the echelons of sneaker stardom, Vans has gained lasting notoriety. And that’s due to releasing shoes like the Old Skool Sneaker

Back in 1966, in Anaheim, California, brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren opened up shop. 

In the 1970’s, Vans caught on as the preferred footwear among edgy, skateboarding youths who were drawn to the style and grippy rubber sole that kept them on their board. 

Since then, Vans has gone on to become a dominant force in the casual sneaker world,  appearing in magazines, pop culture, and film. Anyone remember Sean Penn’s surfer-bro character “Jeff Spicoli” in the hit film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”? Yep, he wore checkered slip on Vans.

What I Like

  • Stellar value for price.

  • Comfortable for walking and skating.

  • Pairs with shorts or jeans.

  • Iconic look recognized globally.

What I Don’t Like

  • Rubber can begin to peel at outsole over time.

  • Canvas and suede topper gets dirty easily.

What Other Reviewers Say

This shoe has over 11,000 reviews on Google. So yeah, people are talking about it.

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This review is pretty spot on. Vans does well to deliver exactly what you think you are going to get. I personally wouldn’t pair the Old Skool Sneaker with nicer outfits, though. To me, it’s a purely casual option.

Screen Shot 2020 12 20 at 10.32.57 AM

Even with laces, these can slide on and off easily which is a huge bonus for guys in a rush—or if you’re just walking down the street to retrieve the paper. 

And while I still see guys in almost every city donning these, it doesn’t defer me. A quality shoe is a quality shoe regardless of how many guys are wearing them with you.

The Verdict

For sub-$100, you likely won’t find a more tried-and-true option than Vans Old Skool Sneaker. This shoe is so firmly ingrained in pop culture, it’s recognizable by nearly everyone, and hugely praised in the skating community.

If you need to pop out for an errand, go for a medium-length walk, or meet a friend for coffee, this shoe will exceed your expectations.

Sure, over time you might see excessive scuffs on the white sole, and if you really beat them up, the outsole might slightly peel from the upper. But all things considered, this is a fabulous value for the price and a shoe that won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

Vans Old Skool Classics

You remember these. Vans Old Skool Classics are oldies but they're goodies. For under $100, these puppies are a clear winner.

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Best High-Top: Cariuma OCA High

oca

Cariuma has been turning heads, and they’re the new kids on the block. The brand was founded in 2018 by a couple of relatable guys who bonded over a shared love of surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and their beloved home country of Brazil.

They ditched the corporate world and set out to make casual shoes with an emphasis on sustainable materials, ethical factory operations, and a strict code of conduct. We love that!

The result? A line of sneakers that look good that you can feel good about purchasing. 
We aren’t out of the loop, so we’ve already written about Cariuma’s OCA Lows…duh. But this go-round we are presenting you with their new OCA High. And more than that, we’ve given it the top spot as the “Best High-Top Sneaker” in the game.

What I Like

  • Soft, supportive cotton canvas inside and out.

  • Classic high-top look pairs with most pants.

  • Comfortable for walks.

  • Made with a 100% vegan insole.

What I Don’t Like

  • Soft Canvas absorbs water and reflects stains.

  • Limited color selection.

What Other Reviewers Say

Cariuma’s website claims an impressive 4.87-star average review. Let’s see what guys had to say about a high-top that hasn’t been around that long.

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Chris touched on the key elements of a worthy high-top. You want something that fits comfortably, and acts as an all-around shoe for multiple outings.

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Because high-tops are going part-way up your ankle, you need to be sure they fit snug, but aren’t restrictive while you walk. Be sure to read the sizing chart to pick the size that will serve you best.

For a newer shoe on the market, Cariuma is landing consistently strong reviews. I like that they put an emphasis on sustainable materials, without making shoes that feel cheap or flimsy.

The Verdict

Cariuma broke into the low-top canvas shoe game. That’s a tough ring to step into with heavy-hitters like Vans, Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Allbirds claiming large portions of the market.

Cariuma set themselves apart by creating shoes that shatter the big-brand mold and put sustainability first. In a world as polluted as ours is becoming, this matters much more than it used to. 

I admire Cariuma’s men’s lines, but I’m totally sold on their use of bamboo, cork, organic cotton, and other recycled materials.

The OCA High earned the spot for “Best High-top Sneaker” on our list for it’s stylishly simple design and thoughtfully curated materials.

Cariuma OCA High Top

Cariuma blends sustainability and style. The OCA High Top's distinctive toe cap adds some unique flair to this casual sneaker, but make sure you check out all the bright colors the brand offers before making your decision.

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Best Sports: Adidas UltraBoost 20

Like walking on spongey, supportive clouds. I probably don’t have to tell you what Adidas is. In fact, there’s a good chance you have a pair of Adidas in your closet right now. 

Adidas was founded in 1949 and has since supplied innovative, functional shoes to anyone from olympic-level athletes to ordinary guys.

Adidas is not only notorious on a global stage, but continues to release shoes in varying styles for varying functionalities.

Yet, there is one shoe in their line that somehow transcends the boundaries between sports performance and everyday leisure wear. That is the UltraBoost 20.

What I Like

  • Maybe the most comfortable sneaker out there.

  • Stretchweb outsole adds bouncy cushion.

  • Sleek and stylish for a running sneaker.

  • Breathable with a sock-like fit.

What I Don’t Like

  • Too sporty to pair with chinos and some pants.

  • Thick sole collects dirt and dust easily.

What Other Reviewers Say

Of over 8,000 reviews on their website, Adidas pulled in a 4.8-star on average. What’s interesting is the mix of reviews from actual runners and guys who just dig extreme comfort in a sporty casual shoe like me.

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One guy who wears them as runners still notes “they look pretty cool as well.” I’d agree with that tenfold. 

Someone complained about waterproofing. I never considered UltraBoosts to be waterproof. With a breathable, perforated mesh on the upper, I think it’s safe to say the benefit is breathability, not waterproofing.

Most online reviews skewed toward a 5-star rating.

The Verdict

Most running shoes can only be worn for one thing: running. The rest of the time, they look downright awkward when worn with pants, sweats, or non-athletic fabric shorts.

The Adidas UltraBoost 20s are a rare breed. They deliver marathon-levels of performance and still look crisp in a daily setting.

If you are waiting tables, going for a distance walk, lounging around on a Sunday, or attempting to crack your personal marathon record, these are going to serve you wonderfully. 

While these might be a tad pricey, when you consider everything you can do in them, the value matches the price. Have fun floating on clouds, friends.

Adidas Mens Ultraboost 20

It's a running shoe that still looks good if you want to wear it around town. And the Ultraboost 20 is one of the most comfortable sneakers you'll find anywhere.

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Why You Need a Pair of Sneakers

I’ve never met a guy who exclusively wears flip flops and dress shoes. Chances are you need a whole lot in between.

How to Choose the Right Type of Casual Sneaker

Okay, so we’ve done the dirty work of scouring the market to give you five killer options for casual kicks. But you still have five potential decisions staring you down, along with others that you’ve heard of or read about.

Think about your personal day-to-day activities. Do you tend to favor one pair of shoes for many activities and beat up that one pair of shoes a lot? Consider SeaVees’ Hermosa Sneaker for a durable, timeless style that’s going to hold up with use. 

SeaVees 800x 16

Are you a workaholic? Cole Haan’s Avalon Sneaker might be suitable for your office, while providing a boatload more comfort than a stiff dress shoe does.

Is your wardrobe more casual than dressed up? Vans Old Skool Sneaker will look good with just about any casual outfit and allow you to move along swiftly in style.

Benefits to Look for in a Casual Sneaker

There are countless features and benefits for casual sneakers from every brand. It might sound cliche, but consider jotting down a quick list of the most important things to you in a casual sneaker.

My list might look something like this: comfort, breathability, minimal design, one to two-tone colors, lasting materials, pairable with pants and shorts. 

Yours might be completely different. One benefit I’d recommend considering is value for the price. No matter which benefits you are interested in, make sure the price reflects the offering and is something you feel confident spending your hard earned dough on.

Ready to Lace Up?

Our favorite casual sneaker is the SeaVees’ Hermosa. It’s timeless, stylish, durable, understated design is what makes it the ultimate walkaround shoe.

SeaVees Hermosa

Made with rugged oiled leather, the Hermosa blends durability with laid back style. The Kona colorway is versatile and looks just as good with jeans as it does chinos and shorts.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

It’s a pair of kicks that will complement every guy’s wardrobe in one way or another. And there’s something to be said for that. Timelessness and versatility will never be a bad investment.I love all the shoes on this list. Runner ups would have to include Cole Haan’s Avalon Sneaker for a dressier choice and Adidas UltraBoost 20 for a cushy, performance pick.

FAQs

What men’s shoes are in style in 2021?

2021 will favor both men’s styles from the past and newcomers. Canvas, linen, and leather with rubber or other performance soles will continue to be popular choices for guys. It’s always safe to pick a plimsoll or low-top lace up for a stylish casual sneaker.

What shoes should every man have?

Every man should have a favorite pair of stylish but casual walkaround shoes. We love what SeaVees, Cariuma, Oliver Cabell, Adidas, Cole Haan, and Vans are putting out.

Are dad sneakers still popular in 2021?

Dad sneakers will forever occupy a place in pop culture and probably in 2021, too. Although, we think there are countless casual sneaker options that rival dad sneakers. Try looking for a style that has comfort but also a minimal, timeless look.