In this men’s shoe guide, we break down the a selection of independently reviewed brands which we’ve known and loved for over 10 years. Our goal is to curate a collection of brands and style you’ve maybe overlooked or didn’t know about. Regardless, we believe our selection to be on trend and worthy of your feets.
It’s important to understand that some men’s shoes are absolutely timeless. A white sneaker, a black brogue or oxford, and certain brands like Vans, classic Converse, or Nike will always have cool casual shoes in their collection.
Having said that, shoes aren’t exempt from the endlessly cresting and crashing waves of fashion trends: loafers, derbies, apron-toed oxfords and suede chukka boots are all expected to sweep the streets. (As you can see we’ve written a lot of stories about men’s shoes.)
What’s on trend
Shoe trends can often last a number of years, for example, old-school sneakers came back and never really went out. Esperdrills became popular around for Summer and vacations. More recently penny loafers had a resurgence, especially the two-tone style that GH Bass and Duke & Dexter produce. Lastly, the athletic sneaker being worn as an everyday shoe is really on point right now. Asics and New Balance are leading the charge in this space. And yes, chunky is still in play.
How we’ve curated this list…
We have selected the brands we think are making the most on-trend footwear from around the world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re from America or Australia, there’s a pair of shoes here from a reputable brand you’ll love.
- Brand – Are they popular or trending right now? Are they always evolving? Not stale…
- Celebrities – Who’s wearing them?
- Quality – Did we enjoy wearing them? Did they last?
Why trust us? Becuase our editor, Luc Wiesman is a shoe fiend. At one point Luc owned over 60 pairs of shoes. Thankfully he’s beat that addiction and is here to tell you what’s hot and what’s not.
Co-founders David and Fernando started Cariuma after feeling that major sneaker companies were producing uncomfortable sneakers that weren’t created in a sustainable or socially responsible way. The guys set out to provide stylish, comfy, consciously made shoes, and let us tell you, Cariuma shoes certainly deliver as the reviews and ratings show. Nearly 10,000 5-star reviews can’t be wrong. The brand even has its own All-star skateboarding team, not that you need to be a skater to wear their shoes.
Cariuma’s sneakers come in a huge variety of styles and colours from canvas to leather so they cover all bases and tastes at the right price point.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? An affordable, emerging brand that’s loved by skaters and those who like traditional canvas sneakers. The OCA Low is the way to go if you’re looking for a simple pimsol-style sneaker. They come in over 15 colours too!
Price: From $79
Created to fill a gap of versatility present within the men’s sneaker market, Tropicfeel is dedicated to creating travel gear that is lightweight and sustainable, and above all can be worn for almost any and every situation or adventure.
Tropicfeel has a modest selection of sneakers but what they do, they do well. If you tend to travel or spend a lot of time in the great outdoors and you’re after a cool pair of sneakers that’ll meet your comfort needs as well as fashion needs, Tropicfeel is the brand for you.
Tropicfeel are super concious about their impact on the planet as a brand and are always looking for ways to improve their process and sustainability. This approach has become super important to consumers who want to give back when they buy.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? Tropicfeel has made possibly the most comfortable and lightweight shoe for travelling. Pack them in your suitcase, get them wet, go for a hike or wear them on a plane. It’s up to you but they’re a winner in our eyes. The Geyser Litli Island Sand is our favourite from the brand for it’s looks and comfort. Goes perfectly with jeans or shorts.
Price: From $159
Material: Recycled nylon, recycled elastane
New Zealand-American company, Allbirds is dedicated to creating eco-friendly footwear made from sustainable resources, but that doesn’t mean that Allbirds’ sneakers don’t deliver in the comfort or style department.
Allbirds have high and low top sneakers as well as slip-on style shoes all available in a variety of cool and fresh colours. If you’re after a pair of cool shoes for men that’ll keep your feet comfortable while also serving street-style looks, you can’t go wrong with Allbirds.
Price: From $105
Material: Merino wool, FSC-certified TENCEL™ Lyocell
Popular Products from Allbirds
In most cases, ‘cool’ and ‘comfortable’ don’t usually go together; especially in a fashionable sense. But Casca merges the two together easily. All of Casca’s footwear is designed with orthotic experts and are constructed with a triple-thick cushioning with Everest-grade rubber, to ensure premium comfort and long wearability.
But Casca’s range of shoes do NOT look like the kind of daggy orthopedic shoes you see on the elderly. Casca’s shoes are extremely modern and stylish, and will most definitely add a cool look to any outfit you pair them with.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? Casca is a DTC brand that prides itself on comfort. With so many shoes on the market that are horribly uncomfortable, it’s good to see someone combining style and fit. Their Men’s Onda sneaker is probably our favourite in the cool grey colour.
Price: From $168
Material: 100% Vegan materials
Golden Goose is a luxury Italian fashion brand known for its distinctive and often intentionally distressed sneakers. They went from being relatively unknown 10 years ago to being one of the most popular sneaker brands on the planet. They often feature bold colors, eye-catching patterns, and distressed or worn-in effects that give them a distinctive and edgy look.
I personally have 3 pairs of the Golden Goose Stardan model. I find it to be their best-looking siloutte for men. The original shape is a touch more feminine.
Golden Goose are really hot amongst celebrities and the brand even sponsors Olympic skateboarders. So their street or cool credential is high. The only thing that will put you off is the price. They’re expensive.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? No two pairs are ever the same thanks to their hand-finished approach to every pair of sneakers. Combine your sneakers with their $100 laces for an even cooler finish.
Price: From $105
Sizes: EU 39-47
Axel Arigato is a contemporary fashion brand based in Sweden. The brand has gained recognition for its unique blend of Scandinavian minimalism and putting little birds onto their sneakers. They dropped into the market at a better price point than luxury brands, yet offered great quality footwear.
Since its inception, the brand has expanded from sneakers to clothing and other accessories. They’ve successfully evolved and the market seems to love them. Worn by a number of celebrities, the brand really pushes the boat out and delivers some crazy sneaker designs.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? Always innovating and evolving the brand, not afraid to create their own styles and are not led by luxury brand copycat culture. Check out their Area Patchwork Sneaker and the Dice Lo Sneaker.
Sizes: 7 – 15
Price: From $250
Popular Products from Axel Arigato
Oliver Cabell is committed to fair pricing for top quality and design, and strongly advocates against unethical manufacturing and inflating prices. The result? Hand-crafted, European-made, and affordable premium shoes that are designed to last.
The best bit is that most of Oliver Cabell’s sneakers feature an extremely cool stitched circle design on the side; reminiscent of Golden Goose’s style but at a much more affordable price point.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? F*ck paying $400 for Common Projects when you can score these for half the price. I’ve purchased the Low 1’s in white and wore them for a good year. They’re probably the best-value white sneakers on the market today. They come in a lot of different styles and shapes so there should be something to suit everyone.
Price: From $219
Founded in 1928, in Chicago, Cole Haan is an American brand renowned for its footwear which is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Cole Haan employs various technologies when crafting its footwear, to ensure ultimate comfort, most notably the Zerogrand, and Original Grand collections.
Cole Haan’s aesthetic is extremely unique; they put their own subtle twist on popular and classic footwear styles. If it’s cool shoes you’re after, you have to check out Cole Haan’s range, as his shoes will most definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? The brand has done a really good job of wearing Nike’s technology into what are normally dress shoes. The whole Lunargrand / Originalgrand experience has been a big winner in our eyes. From golf shoes to work shoes with a twist, Cole Haan is where it’s at when it comes to cool footwear.
Price: From $150
A brand that really doesn’t need an introduction is Converse. Known for their Chuck Taylor All Stars, Converse has stood the test of time for a reason; their shoes are simply cool. You really can’t go wrong with the classic white featuring a blue and red stripe around the sole, but when Converse has every print, colour, and style available, go with what you think is cool; because isn’t confidence in your own tastes and styles really the coolest thing of all?
WHY WE LOVE THEM? Converse are a staple of every wardrobe and no matter your age, you should have a couple of pairs in the closet. I’ve picked up their recent Fear of God collabs as well as some high tops in Parchment and Baby Blue. Whilst the collabs sell out quickly, it’s worth trying to pick up a pair. Remember the Chuck 70s are probably the best range.
Price: From $60
Material: Cotton / Leather
what’s really great about is Vans is they have every colour and print of shoe available, meaning whatever you think will spice up your wardrobe, they’ll have it. Their high-tops (sk8-hi) and mid-cabs are super popular but a bit too ‘skater’ for us, we prefer their slip-ons or the plimsolls aka ‘old skool’. Their most recent addition, the UltraRange Neo is perfect for walking long distances.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? There’s something immensely fun about Vans sneakers. Maybe it just brings out the child in all of us.
Price: From $75
Material: Cotton / Leather
Duke & Dexter
Duke & Dexter is a British footwear brand that specialises in producing high-quality, handcrafted shoes with a touch of flair. Actually, a lot of flair. The company was started in 2014 by Archie Hewlett when he was 21 years old. The brand quickly gained popularity for its unique and contemporary take on traditional footwear styles.
Today they’re known for making a wide range of loafers, dress shoes and of course, sneakers. There’s a certain flamboyance about their shoes which we really like. It’s a bit of a f*ck you vibe. Case and point is the snake penny loafers. To be fair, all of their penny loafers are cool and penny loafers are very on-trend at the moment. Especially the two-tone ones.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? Just a straight-up good brand who’s making cool shoes that we would wear in a heartbeat. Surprisingly we’ve not worn them, however, the team at Duke & Dexter have offered to send us a pair plenty of times.
Price: From $300
Nike is another brand that doesn’t really need an introduction as it’s one of the best sportswear brands in the world. Deeply committed to creating groundbreaking sport innovations, Nike dares to design the future of sport with its highly functional (yet also aesthetically pleasing) products.
Chances are you’ve seen many people sporting Nike’s Air Force 1 sneakers but that’s because the shoe is ridiculously popular. The fashion staple features clean lines, a strong midsole, and is available in both classic and fun colourways in low, mid, and high-top styles.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? If you’ve totally run out of ideas, then a pair of Nike Air Max, Blazers or Air Force 1’s will be a great solution in your search for ‘cool’ shoes. They’re worn by ever pop star, wrapper and celebrity from Bieber or ASAP Rocky.
Price: From $65
Material: Synthetic leather
Popular Products from Nike
Founded in 2014, TAFT is a men’s footwear brand specialising in unique, bold shoe designs. TAFT shoes are produced in Spain and Portugal with premium textiles ranging from suiting wool, to woven upholstery fabric, to Charles F. Stead leather. Meticulous in their work, intentional in their designs, and obsessive over what makes the cut, TAFT has become renowned for their extremely well-made unique men’s shoes.
With boots, dress shoes, loafers, and sneakers on offer, what sets TAFT apart from other brands is their daring and bold fabric choices. Their shoes can be had in traditional colours, but also in playful prints that are nothing short of cool. If you want cool shoes for men, you have to take a look at TAFT’s awesome collection.
WHY WE LOVE THEM? They’re just really out there. You’ll get noticed wearing a pair of Taft shoes.
Price: From $225
Swiss brand, On Running was founded in 2010 to revolutionise running by producing shoes that are comfortable, well-made, and improve the running experience.
On Running doesn’t just cater to runners though; they have a huge range of lightweight all-day wear shoes engineered for high performance and complete comfort. Available in a few different styles and colours, On Running’s shoes have a rather unique look to them which make them seriously cool.
Price: From $160