Truth: The best casual sneakers for men can take any look from drab to fab. And while “fabulous” may not be the descriptor you’re going for when getting dressed on an average day, you do want to look stylish and put together, right?
For a guide to the best casual sneaker for men, which takes into account various styles, preferences and situations in which you’d want to sport a pair, read on.
Once reserved only for sportswear, AdidasⓇ is also considered a streetwear brand—and a popular one at that. For years, it’s been branching further and further into the streetwear market, using partnerships with some of fashion’s finest creators, from Kanye West to Raf Simons to Stella McCartney, to achieve such ends. In terms of casual sneakers, the Stan Smith model is a classic. (The model is so popular that some collaborators, like Simons, sought to re-imagine it.) It also partakes in the chunky sneaker trend; its partnership with Yohji Yamamoto, called Y-3, has produced striking styles with thick soles, interesting lines and creative colorways.
Common ProjectsⓇ sneakers are so clean and simple that they can be worn with casual, business-casual and even semi-formal attire. The Achilles sneaker in white leather is a cult favorite, assumedly because of its versatile nature and relaxed-yet-luxe look and feel. But really, the same goes for all of the sneaker brand’s styles—it offers an assortment of neutral colorways, as well as platform and laceless models to accommodate many preferences.
Golden GooseⓇ offers low- and high-top sneakers unlike any other purveyor listed here. The main way the brand distinguishes itself is that it designs its products to look worn. Each pair is complete with scuff marks, stains and the like, which the makers achieve by using exclusive treatments. The label also encourages customers to “write a story” using a selected combination of charms, crystals, studs and handwritten messages.
KOIOⓇ sneakers are great options for people channeling luxe minimalism for roughly $150 to $200 less than Common Projects sneakers. According to its website, KOIO manufactures in similar high-end factories and uses premium Italian leather for its styles, and from a comfort perspective, the brand offers plenty of support. They’re also just as versatile as those from Common Projects; the brand’s Capri model is easy to dress up or down, while its Metro and Retro Runner styles are ideal to pair with truly casual garb.
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Once a punchline inspired by Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, New BalanceⓇ shoes are now the inherent leaders of the dad (a.ka. chunky) sneaker trend. Designers are absorbing this trend and putting their spin on it, with some of them getting pretty out-there, albeit pretty popular. Though, if you’re looking for a more down-to-earth take on it, New Balance could easily become your go-to casual sneaker brand. The brand’s 990V4 and 574 models are popular overall, and for those looking for a casual sneaker that doubles as a running shoe, reviewers say the 1080V11 model is a great option.
With a priority to be versatile and customer-focused, NikeⓇ has an array of sneaker offerings for all of your casual dress needs. Nike products and services (like the Nike By You program) are on par with many luxury brands because of the makers’ attention to detail.
While Nike first made its name in the sneaker market as a purveyor of athletic shoes, the brand has since expanded into everyday footwear. That expansion and the evolution of consumer preferences are how some sneaker designs made for athletics came to be repurposed. The brand’s Air Force 1Ⓡ and Air JordanⓇ sneakers, for example, became more than just basketball shoes when consumers began to style them with everyday wear.
Though he studied engineering and architecture, Virgil Abloh ultimately made his mark on the world by building a fashion brand backed by some of the most prominent A-listers, and guiding the trajectory of modern fashion with his take on high-fashion street style. Off-WhiteⓇ sneakers are beloved by fashion nerds and sneaker enthusiasts alike; they’re considered mostly casual because the designs usually have a chunky construction and writing with phrases like “For walking” on them.
SeaVeesⓇ purveys classic casual shoes. The brand’s value proposition is that its shoes are crafted in small batches to control quality, and it uses a process called vulcanization, which it says makes for more durable products. SeaVees also adds a memory foam footbed complete with perforations to create airflow for comfort rooted in cush and coolness.
With leather sneaker options perfect to dress up or down and earnest intentions to do good for the environment, VejaⓇ is among the top sneaker purveyors in today’s market. The brand has published a full report on its sustainability efforts website, but in short, what makes Veja a great sneaker brand (other than its sleek design and assortment of colorways and styles) is its extensive effort to create a “green” pair of sneakers—from its use of fair trade, organic materials to its endeavors to remove hazardous chemicals from the production process.
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It’s important to note that these are just guidelines for purchasing the best casual sneakers. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a high-quality resource for shoppers. To learn more about our men’s sneaker collection or any other products we offer, send us a message through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find the best sneakers for you.
George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.