14 Best Men’s Sneakers

Our favorite casual shoes to keep you moving this season
August 18, 2019Words by Jon Gugala

When you’re wearing sneakers no matter the occasion, it’s easy to forget that they were born from the need to move. Whether they’re tennis shoes, running shoes, basketball shoes, or skate shoes, the many variants of these classic themes share a common thread as footwear designed to help men move better, faster, and with greater comfort than what was available before. The reason they’re so ubiquitous now is because we hate to leave that comfort behind when the game ends. By and large, the impetus for these shoes is still a good rule of thumb for today: When the occasion calls for you to move, it’s time for a pair of sneakers. Whether you’re headed to the lake, on the trail, or down the street, these are some of our favorite men’s sneakers for summer.
 



SeaVees Legend Sneaker Chambray


SeaVees Legend Sneaker Chambray


First introduced in 1964, the SeaVees Legend Sneaker has epitomized classic California style across centuries and on millions of feet. Its comfortable Chambray fabric upper is breathable and comfy whether they’re worn with or without socks, while the signature herringbone-patterned outsole keeps its grip wet or dry. We especially like its custom-contoured footbed, which helps knock down foot odor while keeping skin dry in the hottest conditions. The leather laces are a subtle touch that blurs the line between center court and boat deck. 


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On Running Cloudswift


On Running Cloudswift


On Running knows that, while we all wish we were running the soft trails of the Marin Headlands, we’re often hammering down the asphalt paths of a nearby park. For the demands of the urban athlete, its Cloudswift has been engineered to soften every footfall on even the most unforgiving surfaces. The proprietary Helion outsole structure is comprised of individual tubes that compress with each contact while remaining exceptionally light when compared to traditional trainers. A side band secures the foot and arch for reliable contact mile after mile, while its dual-density sock liner ensures these feel great right out of the box, no break-in required. 


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Topo Athletic Terraventure 2


Topo Athletic Terraventure 2


Drawing from 30 years in the shoe-making industry and more than 40 as a runner himself, Topo Athletic Founder Tony Post has put his deep knowledge and know-how into a new generation of on- and off-road running shoes. The trail-focused Terraventure 2 features the company’s wider forefoot for a natural toe spread and a three-millimeter offset for natural running mechanics. Underneath, multidirectional lugs are reliable whether you’re going up or downhill on slickrock, crushed gravel, or singletrack. This shoe is the latest and greatest in a noteworthy lineup of next-gen trainers. 


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YORK Athletics Mfg. The Henry Low Optic Mesh


YORK Athletics Mfg. The Henry Low Optic Mesh


Half performance trainer, half minimalist dream, the YORK Athletics Mfg. The Henry Low Optic Mesh samples the best of both worlds for this multiuse shoe. Thanks to few bulky overlays, the upper is slipper-like in feel, while the firm, responsive midsole and full-contact outsole allow for precise placement with every step. It’s no wonder it’s a favorite among high-mileage boxers putting in roadwork. But even if you’re just walking around, you’ll appreciate performance features like the moisture-wicking liner and “lace-bite”-proof microfiber tongue for all-day comfort, while others will notice its streamlined good looks. 


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SeaVees Legend Sneaker Standard


SeaVees Legend Sneaker Standard


Patterned off a true California original, SeaVees’ Legend Sneaker embodies the state’s relaxed cool in all conditions. The poplin twill upper of the Standard is a little more formal than its Chambray cousin, but it dulls the stodgy edge thanks to bright, washed-out colors. Inside, a soft cotton canvas lining feels great against the skin even without socks, while a perforated, custom-contoured footbed helps control odor and keep feet dry. The heritage herringbone-patterned outsole is great wet or dry. 


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Jack Erwin Laight


Jack Erwin Laight


Clean lines and careful construction distinguish the Jack Erwin Laight from its footwear peers. The full-grain calfskin or nubuck leather is joined into sharp angles that nevertheless seem to fit seamlessly together simply and without affectation. Devoid of logos, severe colors, or other knick-knacks, this is a shoe designed to fit in with the upscale, and as such, is confident (and fully appropriate) in situations that lesser sneakers would dare to tread. 


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PRO-Keds Royal Hi


PRO-Keds Royal Hi


Since 1949, PRO-Keds has been turning heads. It started on the basketball courts, but soon took on a life of its own, and its shoes have enjoyed a cult status among sneakerheads, musicians, artists, and others. The thick 12.5-ounce canvas upper can take a beating, while the molded footbed with open-cell foam is super comfortable on or off the court. Its gum rubber outsole is just as grippy as you’d expect from this classic material. In sum, this is a shoe with a rich American past, but it’s not so specific that you can’t make a little history yourself.


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Asics GEL-DS Trainer OG


Asics GEL-DS Trainer OG


For racers and runners who love going fast, the Asics GEL-DS Trainer has been a favorite for decades. This racing and high-speed workout shoe provided a lightweight, nimble feeling with just a touch of support for those who needed it. The Japanese company has re-released the original model, calling it the OG, with all of the original’s trademarks: a small amount of cushioned gel, a dual-density midsole for support, and the chunky overlays the epitomized that era’s running shoes. Whether you’re a running nerd or just like the aesthetic, there’s a lot to love.


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New Movements The Sneakers


New Movements Model NM


In these days of fast fashion, New Movements’ commitment to sustainability and green initiatives is refreshing. Its The Model NM incorporates a number of elements that are softer on the earth, including a sole made from 80% recycled rubber, laces made from recycled plastic bottles, and an insole made of repurposed natural fibers. One of the biggest areas of pollution, leather, is reduced thanks to its sourcing of gold-certified material. But all of these details fade when one examines the clean lines and timeless look of its sneakers. Dressed up or down, the only wrong way to wear them is to not wear them.


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SeaVees 08/63 Hermosa Plimsoll - Standard


SeaVees 08/63 Hermosa Plimsoll - Standard


Commemorating the first skateboard contest in history, the SeaVees 08/63 Hermosa Plimsoll – Standard incorporates many of the same features you’ll find in modern skate shoes. Lightweight (credit its textured linen upper) and flexible, it’s as easily worn with chinos and a button-down as it is your favorite shorts. Skip the socks and enjoy a comfortable day thanks to a brushed chambray lining and a perforated, custom-contoured footbed. We loved the grip of the herringbone-patterned outsole, which is as reliable on the board as it is on the boardwalk. 


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Onia Montrose Shoe


Onia Montrose Shoe


The Onia Montrose Shoe stands apart on this list—but it’s not just the looks, though those are certainly distinct. Made from a quick-dry swim fabric and featuring side ports for drainage, they’re tailor-made (pun intended) for those for whom the summer involves large bodies of water. Also helpful: a slip-proof rubber sole to ensure you’re on solid ground, wet or dry. For the waterman who also wants to look good, these are a solid option.


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Rancourt & Co. Court Classic 2.0 Low


Rancourt & Co. Court Classic 2.0


With its Court Classic 2.0, Rancourt & Co. proves that leather shoes can also be lightweight. Incorporating the company’s new Compass sole, the ultra-lightweight material is both softer and more durable than comparable options, while the new foam footbed is super comfy. The US-sourced leather is stitched in the company’s Maine factory and finished with braided waxed cotton laces for a shoe as light and airy as a summer breeze. 


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Merrell Range AC+


Merrell Range AC+


Merrell knows the most breathable materials in the warmer months aren’t coming from nature, and the laboratory-designed knit upper of Range AC+ pushes the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to a cool summer shoe. Few seams make this a great option for the sockless, while its lacing system over the bootie-like upper ensures you won’t be sliding around. Underneath, however, the base of a mountaineer is present, with a grippy, trail-specific outsole to provide reliability wherever your feet take you. 


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Lems Trailhead


Lems Trailhead


Stop the presses: The Lems Trailhead may just be the perfect mountain town shoe. Straddling the line between sneaker and hiker, the shoe does both with noteworthy performance. Up top, it’s all airy mesh reinforced by durable microfiber. Down below, a trail-centered outsole with protective rock plate provides great traction on uncertain surfaces. The two sides make for a shoe equally at home in the coffee shop as it is on the switchbacks. 


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>>Next: Best Men’s Slip-on Shoes for Summer
 


 

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