As workplaces around the world move away from more conservative attire and the lines a greyed between officewear and casual wear, choosing a great pair of nice cool casual men’s shoes for business or pleasure is a must.
Of course, casual shoes are nothing new, we’ve worn them for years since we’ve learnt how to walk. The difference is now we’re all getting a little more daring with what we wear them with, meaning a whole new level of consideration. Get it right and they’ll effortlessly work alongside 50% of your wardrobe. Get it wrong and well, it’s not nice.
The importance of quality casual shoes
There are a couple of other factors you may want to consider, such as what you will be wearing them for (business or pleasure), how much time you’re actually going to be spending on your feet, and of course, what type of budget you’ve got to play with.
The selection below of casual shoes are most suitable for everyday wear and in some cases they would apply for ‘business casual‘.
Modern shoes are also made with a wide range of materials, from vegan glues and recycled plastics to leathers and synthetics, so choosing your moral standpoint against your love of designer labels needs to be addressed early on.
This is why we have the coolest shoes to buy right now for your consideration, helping you walk through 2021 on a nice-looking foot.
Men’s Casual Shoe FAQ
What are the best men's casual shoes?
Nike, Adidas and Puma are some of the most well-known brands, however, Allbirds, Oliver Cabell, Cariuma are fast making a name for themselves.
What men's casual shoes are in style?
White leather sneakers are the most popular style of a casual shoe. Made famous by Saint Laurent and Nike, the casual white sneaker has become a staple for business and pleasure.
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For the ethically conscious consumer, Cariuma is a shoe brand to turn to. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cariuma uses only sustainably-sourced materials (bamboo, organic cotton, rubber, sugarcane) to make every single pair of sneakers, which are all made in ethically-managed factories.
Their sneakers are good-looking too, with several silhouettes available to choose from in a variety of colours. Comfort is king also, with each pair being remarkably lightweight and cut perfectly to caress your feet.
Created to fill a gap of versatility present within the men's sneaker market, Tropicfeel are dedicated to creating travel gear that is lightweight and sustainable, and above all can be worn for almost any and every situation or adventure. All of Tropicfeel's sneakers are completely water friendly, lightweight, quick drying, stylish, and ever so comfortable.
Allbirds are the original start-up sneaker story which has seen this New Zealand born brand take over the world. So much so that Allbirds is now one of the most popular shoes in Silicon Valley. Their collection of no-fuss sustainable shoes mean they’re made for function but with a touch of style. Well worth checking out their range of well-priced styles and colours.
Casca is the new kid on the block making highly comfortable and technical shoes without the big price tag. They leverage technology to make better footwear, period – made responsibly, sold honestly, and designed to take you anywhere. Check out their Smartfit tech. It's a game changer.
Oliver Cabell isn't just in the business of low-cut minimalist sneakers. Taking inspiration from the German Army Trainer (GAT) from the 1970s (and later popularised by Margiela), Cabell's version serves up a faithful reproduction, including the gum rubber sole, suede detailing on the toe and a single leather stripe on the side.
Every single pair of shoes Fitflop creates is the product of extensive research into the human body and how the feet and shoes can affect alignment. What makes Fitflop so appealing is the fact they channel that 'nerdiness' into shoes that you'd happily be seen wearing, whether it's a pair of sneakers or some sandals. With the likes of leather and knitted models on the cards and in the essential colours to pair with any outfit, you're given plenty of choice when it comes to casual cool.
Everlane is all about sustainable and ethIcally made fashion. The company scours the globe looking for the best factories to produce its clothes, and ensures workers get paid a fair wage – you can even see a breakdown of the cost of production vs the price they charge. The Court sneaker is one of the most affordable ways to break into the white sneaker game (other colours are available) without scrimping on quality, thanks to a combination of full-grain leather and recycled materials.
With close to a hundred years of shoemaking experience, it’s safe to say your feet are in good hands with Cole Haan. There Zerogrand Wingtip Oxford Grey is the perfect marriage between smart and casual, taking the design elements of an oxford dress shoe and adding a bouncy rubber sole for that sneaker feel. It’s designed with flexibility and versatility in mind, along with a Pecan Suede upper to keep you looking dapper.
Johnston & Murphy
Usually a brand associated with more formal dress shoes, Johnston & Murphy is also in the game of sneakers and casual footwear choices too.
With well over one hundred years of experience, Johnston & Murphy understands feet well, and the Amherst Lace-up take advantage of the company's Flex technology, which helps to provide incredible levels of comfort by conforming to the natural bend of your feet when walking.
Von Routte may have been born in Sydney but its founders come from Brazil. Their designs are inspired by cities around the world, such as this Lyon Stripe sneaker, a beautiful yet minimalist shoe that could be worn as easily with a classy pair of slacks or chino shorts. Lyon is one of the most stylish and underrated cities in France, and it looks like Von Routte have made the perfect shoe to match.
Wanting to bring a true sense of European craftsmanship in an affordable package to the US, Koio aims to shake up the footwear market. Sourcing materials and manufacturing in the Italian region of Marche (the same area that many high-end shoemakers reside) Koio is able to put a strong focus on quality. Workers are fairly paid too, and their staff roster includes a lastmaker who understands various shapes of feet unlike anyone else. Having him onboard allows Koio to design shoes that fit more comfortably on your feet than some other brands.
So, while the Capri sneaker might look like another imitation pair of low-cut minimalist sneakers, they're made in a more involved way compared to some of the others you'll see on a regular basis...and without the price tag.
Clarks is fast approaching 200 years in the shoemaking business, and the brand is still leading the way, constantly redefining their designs to fit the needs of the modern market.
Their Hero Air Lace sneaker rocks a retro-inspired silhouette but teams it with wholly modern technology in the form of Active Air, which promotes air circulation around the foot for sweat-free toes.
It might seem strange to have a running shoe brand in a list of casual shoes, but On Running's 'The Roger' model in particular is a perfect example of a runner/casual shoe hybrid. Admittedly, the rest of the Swiss brand's range wouldn't make it on this list, but The Roger strikes the perfect balance between everyday sneaker and performance footwear, and its retro-esque styling has us salivating. No matter which colour you choose, they will be the icing on your casual cake.
The Beetle from Camper has long been heralded as one of their most recognisable creations. Their made using a blend of Nubuck leather along with some of the most lightweight materials on the market, patented by Camper themselves. The Beetle features elasticated laces that don’t need to be tied, forcing the shoe to stay comfy and snug against your foot when worn. A round toe with suede finish adds a nice alternative finish that makes the shoe a perfect casual smart cross over.
James Perse could well be the king of casual cool. Raised in LA and exposed to his father's boutique store, James has had a passion for fashion from a young age. Honing his keen fashion eye over the years, James' eponymous label now offers some of the most luxurious, comfortable and stylish clothing on the market. His footwear collection encompasses classic silhouettes and those that take a slight detour from the norm, but all use premium materials such as genuine leather to provide subtle stylish accents to any of your casual looks.
We won't hear any argument when we say espadrilles are cool, and Soludos makes some of the coolest around. (They also make sneakers too) The New York footwear and accessories label takes the traditional silhouette and makes them in a way that allows them to eventually mould to your feet for ultimate comfort. Designs range from classic to more contemporary through the likes of various pictures and patterns. To top it off, Soludos even has a great selection of minimalist sneakers that will keep your looks stylish and casual all day long.
Based on the original 1970s design, the Chuck 70 High Top from Converse is a certified classic. Even though it was initially associated with basketball players in lettermen jackets in the US, the design has stayed with us over the years and adopted by a variety of styles and sub cultures, from punks and hippies to goths and hipsters. Pretty much anyone of any age can seemingly get away with wearing a pair, and it’s never a faux pas to wear them with just about anything.
British shoe manufacturer Grenson has over a century of experience in producing some of the finest shoes on the planet. Still made in Northamptonshire, England (a shoemaking Mecca) Grenson uses incredibly high-quality materials and employs intricate construction methods, including the likes of the Goodyear welt. While it may be best known for its dress shoes and boots, Grenson's sneaker collection is well worth a look. Premium, luxurious and quintessentially minimal, they can be dressed up or down, making them a truly versatile sneaker option.
We couldn’t get away with a modern casual shoe list without mentioning Vans. There are not many laidback looks these days that can’t be finished off with a pair, and although the colours may change the tried and tested designs pretty much stay the same – like these Old Skool Pros. Although essentially a skate shoe, they add a touch of Californian style to your ensemble. They are made with a suede upper and Ultra HD sock liners (if you’re wearing them on your board!) and a reinforced sole for extra durability.
New Balance has always been known for their sheer comfort and practicality, perfect for those long days on your feet whether you’re at work or walking round the city. These 574s are made using super lightweight EVA foam cushioning that increases comfort no end. Although they will work with real casual wear such as jeans and tees, that’s as far as you could really go with these, but hey, that’s exactly what they’re made for. A real shoe for everyday use, especially when you’re out on your feet!
Few other brands have such global appeal as that enjoyed by Nike. The American sportswear giant is known by pretty much everybody on the planet, with each individual brand turning to it for various reasons, whether it be football, skateboarding, running or myriad other sports.
Of course, Nike shoe are as much a part of everyday life as night and day, and the Air Force 1 is one of the most recognisable models. Comfortable, durable and iconic, they're the quintessential everyday casual shoe.
Parisian brand Veja has been leading the way in sustainable footwear for over 15 years and have really taken off globally over the past five. Their Rio Branco sneaker is a testament to their ethos of using only natural and organic rubbers and cottons that are sourced ethically in South America. The design is classic sports casual that can works with a wealth of wardrobe combinations.
London’s Orlebar Brown are now synonymous with exemplary tailored clothing for the modern gent and have come some way since starting out as swim shorts specialists. These Larson trainers keep in line with their shorts in that you can actually swim in them, but they are far better suited to when worn with tailored shorts and chinos. They have a removable, perforated inner sole to help your feet stay dry, a neoprene tongue, and they weigh in at an incredibly light 201 grams.
The sportswear market is dominated by a handful of brands, Reebok included. The official sponsor of CrossFit and UFC, the now-American brand understands what it takes to perform at the highest level. That expertise has been channeled into its everyday footwear, with a comprehensive range of casual walking shoes that are lightweight, breathable and won't have your feet hurting after a full day of activity. Various structural technologies are applied across the range to keep your feet stable and aligned, making Reebok's men's casual shoes all style and all substance.
The humble boat shoe could be regarded as one off the greatest casual shoes for men ever. Functional, stylish, can be paired with almost anything, there's not a lot it can't do. And we have Sperry to thank for its invention. However, not only does the American brand continue to produce its ubiquitous shoe, it also has a range of casual sneakers that offer up effortless (and affordable) everyday wear. Available in a huge range of colours and in both leather and canvas options, we can guarantee you'll find a pair to suit your particular casual style.
Famed for its raw denim jeans, a symbol of casual cool if ever there was one, Dutch brand G-Star RAW understands what it takes to look laidback. You'll find that same ethos in its casual shoe collection, which takes classic silhouettes and gives them a decidedly G-Star twist. Think court sneakers, low-top canvas sneakers, complete with chunky rubber soles and even the classic tennis shoe silhouette. Robust , durable and premium, G-Star's casual shoe collection is a worthy alternative to some of the more 'common' footwear labels.
German sportswear brand Puma has always been one to incorporate a unique style into all of its footwear. Whereas some other brands go for simple aesthetics in 'safe' colours, Puma loves to push the boundaries, often striking a good balance between performance and streetwear. Puma's casual shoe collection is one we reckon you'll recognise, with the Puma Suede model being one of particular interest. The company's stripe logo is as iconic as they come, and the range of colours on offer allows you to perfectly show off your personality, whilst hugging your feet snugly and comfortably.
Simplicity should always be considered if you want real versatility from your casual footwear. If you can add stellar form and design construction that uses recycled materials then you’re on to a winner, as the team at London brand Uniform Standard are finding out to their benefit. Their White Leather Series 3 sneaker is probably what we would picture in a workplace casual shoe, with a design that stays smart and reserved yet unquestionably elegant.
For a simple and affordable range of men's casual shoes, you should check out Kenneth Cole. Founded in New York in 1982, initially as a women's brand, the company has since found a solid footing in men's footwear too. Some designs may not be to all tastes we'll admit, but the attention to detail and craftsmanship is up there with the very best and every effort is put into using high-quality materials to offer comfortable, all-day fits.
Wahts pride themselves on creating shoes and garments for today’s lifestyle, recognising that the market of luxury and sportswear is on the merge. Their Night Blue Farrell New Runners have been created using the best Italian Suede around with a calfskin leather interior for unbelievable comfort. And best of all, they offer a whole heap of combinations when you slide that wardrobe door open.
Think espadrilles and you'll likely think of Toms. The American footwear brand is one that is committed to sustainability, using recycled and organic materials across virtually all areas, which extends far beyond the summer slip-on. Toms has a complete range of casual sneakers and shoes that all benefit from the brand's own rubber outsole for improved comfort and durability. Both leather and canvas materials are used across the range, with canvas, naturally lending itself towards more casual situations, and the company's TRVL range being so incredibly lightweight you can easily pack a couple of pairs into a suitcase.
Any shoe that is designed in London and made in Italy should have anyone with a serious eye for design turning their head with a smile. This is exactly how Unseen Footwear does business, and the results are striking. Their Grey Suede Trinity has all the hallmarks of a sports trainer but is, in fact, a luxury casual shoe. It has a handcrafted Gommus sole, that sits under an Italian suede leather upper and tongue – offering a wonderfully understated aesthetic fit for the perfect modern office look.
Rag & Bone
Kings of urban cool Rag & Bone is a brand that quickly and confidently carved out a market of its own. Wanting to ensure customers genuinely love the clothes and shoes they buy, pieces are the result of time and dedication and not some unconsidered idea in a bid to make a quick buck.
Their Retro Hiker takes the iconic waffle stomper hiking boot as inspiration and pairs it with classic sneaker design for a stunning hybrid that brings a refreshing design change to the everyday shoe.