Footwear is everywhere – from dress shoes to boots to running shoes to sandals to, well, you get the picture. Casual shoes comprise a category of their own and have a lot to offer, not the least of which is that they combine comfort and style in a way few other shoe types can match.
Your biggest challenge in finding a casual shoe that fits your feet and fashion sense is sifting through the multitude of available products.
Besides our reviews of the best casual shoes, we’ll also offer some buying tips, take a look at the different types of casual shoes, and more.
BEFORE YOU BUY: 9 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING CASUAL SHOES
Casual shoes come in many styles and designs and, technically, encompass everything from boat shoes to saddle shoes to sneakers. We’ll discuss casual shoe types later in the article, but the bottom line is that your criteria for buying them may vary depending on which style you choose.
Nonetheless, there are some common casual shoe features that you should keep in mind when deciding the best style and fit for you.
Casual shoes consist of a wide range of materials, but the most preferred types – at least for your money – are leather, suede, and canvas.
Casual implies “comfort” and among the many reasons that men choose casual shoes is their comfortability. Besides, no casual shoe manufacturer wants to be known as the company that sells uncomfortable shoes.
A shoe’s breathability means, in part, the ventilation inside the shoe and how well it keeps your foot cool and dry. There are a variety of materials used in a casual shoe’s construction, including microfibers that help wick sweat away from your feet while providing plenty of moisture evaporation. Mesh uppers rank high on the breathability scale, while a shoe’s perforations allow air to get into the shoe to help keep your foot dry.
4. FOOT SUPPORT
While comfort is king when it comes to casual shoes, foot support isn’t far behind. The quality of a shoe’s foot derives from elements such as its heel cup (the deeper the cup, the more stable), the roominess of its toe box, and an anatomical footbed that’s a feature of many casual shoes. “Anatomical” means the footbed conforms to the natural shape of your foot to provide better support.
5. STABILITY & GRIP
A shoe’s stability prevents twisted ankles and other issues that may arise when walking on different types of terrain. Its grip comes from the outsole, which ideally should consist of non-marking rubber. The more slip-proof a shoe’s grip the better, especially if you work in an occupation (such as nursing) in which spills and wet floors are common.
6. HEEL & MIDSOLE
A well-cushioned heel also contributes to a casual shoe’s level of comfort and shoes with air-cushioning are worth serious consideration. The midsole provides an additional layer of cushioning between your insole and outsole for enhanced comfort.
Casual shoes come in every color imaginable – colors that aren’t necessarily appropriate for dress shoes. Bright colors help express a flair for color, but you should take care to wear them in an environment (especially work) in which they don’t look too out of place. White is a great color for warm-weather wear and provides a classic casual look even when worn in a more dressy manner. Tan is another acceptable casual shoe color, as is brown.
You need to find the right fit before spending your money on a pair of casual shoes, which isn’t saying anything new. But too many men buy a pair of shoes without first having their feet measured, or online while hoping that the size they order isn’t too snug, too loose, too whatever. Size may, and often does, also vary from brand to brand.
A shoe’s price isn’t always an indication of its overall quality. For example, a high-priced shoe doesn’t guarantee a better shoe than, say, one in a middle price range. Value is what matters most, but don’t be afraid of spending extra money for a shoe made of the best materials that feel like magic on your feet.
Next, here’s a look at our choices for the best casual shoes for men.
THE 3 BEST CASUAL SHOES FOR MEN 2019
From hiking boots to cowboy boots to casual shoes, the Merrell brand name has a reputation for producing highly-rated footwear. There’s also something to be said for the versatility of Merrell’s boots and shoes, including their Jungle Moc Slip-On shoe.
While the Jungle Moc represents the quintessential casual shoe look and feel, it can stand up to most kinds of terrain – concrete, hiking trails, you name it – while keeping your feet comfortable, dry, and from becoming overly tired.
Skechers’ designs fall into two categories – lifestyle and performance. The Palen Gadon Oxford fits under the “lifestyle” subheading and is worthy of the much-respected Skechers name because of everything it has to offer.
Made from 100% canvas, the Palen Gadon fits the smart-yet-casual style that typifies Skechers’ lifestyle shoes. It features oxford-style lacing that adds to its dapper appeal and can help spruce up any outfit – even for more formal settings in which you wear slacks and a button-down shirt.
The canvas upper is lightweight and breathable, which makes it ideal for the warmer seasons of spring and summer. It also has the typical Skechers “relaxed” fit that feels as good as it looks. And that’s the thing, you can wear the Palen Gadon for casual business gatherings and not look like you’re dressing “down.”
But while the Palen Gadon looks good with more formal attire, most men pair it with shoes or jeans for an enhanced casual look that’s laid-back but appealing.
Its overall comfort is a definite plus – some users say it helps reduce knee pain and the effects of plantar fasciitis. It also includes gel-infused memory sole that adapts to your stride for increased stability and comfort. Finally, the toe box is wider than on many other casual shoes.
Skechers is no minor player in the footwear industry, especially in the world of casual and performance (running, walking) shoes and their products always rank among the most cool men’s casual shoes. The Palen Godon is no exception.
The Sperry Top-Sider is something that’s stood the test of time. It’s the quintessential summer shoe – one that’s been around since 1935 – and remains a top-seller. Simply put, it’s an extremely popular casual shoe.
The Top-Sider’s original use was to help protect sailboat decks from scuffing thanks to their non-marking outsole. But they also provide slip-resistant traction that’s necessary when maneuvering around a potentially slippery boat deck.
The original design remains much the same as it was over 80 years ago but includes various innovations that have helped keep it relevant (and among the best-selling casual shoes). Plus, many, many men who never set foot on a boat – or rarely set foot on one – choose the Sperry Top-Sider as their go-to casual shoe.
And what’s not to like?
The Top-Sider’s versatility is among other reasons why we like this shoe and include it on our list of the best casual shoes for men. They look good in most business casual situations, including when worn with polo shirts, khakis and chinos, but also pair beautifully with jeans and a T-shirt.
The original Top-Sider color (brown) remains a popular choice among men but you have plenty of colors from which to choose, including navy blue. You can also wear it with or without socks.
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