The real key with rounding out a menswear wardrobe is to go where you might least expect, because that yields the best results in matters of style. Take the straightforward and oft-overlooked slip-on shoe. It’s actually unexpected to say that the best slip-on shoes shouldn’t be an afterthought in your footwear rotation, right? Bear with us, because when we say slip-on shoes, we’re not talking sandals. We’re talking footwear that blends the comfort of a sneaker with the slide-on potential of breezy sandals.
You get the polish of closed-toe shoes, the comfort of sneakers and the effortless cool you need when the mercury rises. In fact, during the summer months, they can quickly turn into a reliable go-to multiple times a week, in multiple situations (more on those momentarily). So, while the expected move might be to skimp on slip-on sneakers, plenty of admirable brands are delivering slip-on kicks made with modern tech and laidback comfort. Consider these pairs as summer speeds by. Better yet, consider getting more than one: The best slip-on shoes bring something to the table for everybody.
As we dove into the best slip-on sneakers, we looked at everything from durability to wearability – the crucial act of sliding your foot in and out of the slip-on – plus the nature of the fabric and the comfort of the outsole. Price is an important consideration, too.
Cariuma’s IBI Slip-Ons hit several key marks: The knit upper is super-lightweight and easy to wear to the pool, to the beach or around town. The Green EVA outsole is made from sugarcane for sustainability and springy comfort, while the lightweight memory foam insole also keeps you light on your feet. Get a color like Light Grey to wear with everything.
Shopping on a budget still requires a keen eye for both detail and quality. It’s not all about price: It’s about versatile, classic design, high-quality construction and “bang for your buck,” or how often you can actually wear an affordably priced pair of slip-on shoes.
VANS made its name producing skate shoes for cool kids out West, and they still do an admirable job balancing both trends and classic looks. The VANS Slip-On keeps skate-ready traction with a waffle rubber outsole, and the padded collar ensures a comfortable yet snug fit. Best of all is the sub-$60 price tag, which means you should certainly consider snagging more than one pair.
How much is “too much” to spend on slip-on sneakers? It’s up for debate, but since slip-on sneakers are naturally more easygoing to start, we tried to search for “splurge” quality on a fairly reasonable budget. Material was also important: Premium materials cost more, but – as with suede – can’t always be worn day in and day out.
All of that led us to these sleek, ever-so-slightly dressy suede slip-on sneakers from Allen Edmonds. The suede is more refined than canvas, meaning you can wear these with, say, tailored chinos and a navy polo on a casual office day. And because they’re made by Allen Edmonds, you get splurge-worthy details like a leather heel tab.
If you haven’t yet considered slip-on sneakers, start with a brand you can trust. SeaVees has made surf-inspired slip-ons for decades, and this linen canvas pair keeps your feet cool while still providing substantial protection against sandy beach breezes and boardwalk sun. Plus, they’re priced well under $100 in a range of colors to pair with anything.
OluKai’s proud Hawaiian heritage informs everything the company does, which results in a pair of slip-on sneakers so lightweight, it’s almost as if you’re barefoot. From rocky beach outcroppings to your favorite beach bar, consider these cool-as-can-be slip-ons with a drop heel that allows you to slide your feet right in. The washable insole allows for plenty of repeat wear, too.
You know Allbirds for its merino wool sneakers favored by, well, just about everyone, but when you want something even easier to wear, give the Tree Loungers a try. The machine-washable design helps minimize odor, and the use of eucalyptus tree fiber makes for an ultra-sustainable touch. A range of limited-edition and classic colors delivers variety for every style preference, too.
VINCE is normally known for its designer-minded takes on minimal black jeans and crisp Oxford shirting, but these sneakers add a touch of warm-weather-friendly style to your favorite rolled jeans or summer shorts. The suede is nicely textured in a few colorways, while the sturdy bumper sole provides plenty of rebound and a smooth ride all day long. They’re lined in leather, so be sure to wear no-show socks to avoid foot funk.
Want to channel a bit of old-school cool with your slip-on sneakers? Converse delivers a slip-on style that doesn’t even require you to remove the laces, although they do remind us of punk shows in sweaty basements all the same. You’re getting the ease of a slip-on with the edgy-yet-timeless cool of the Chuck Taylor All-Star, especially in black.
Florsheim’s legacy stands on an impressive 100-plus-years of designing handsome dress boots and shoes, but modern performance is the name of the game with the company’s sneakers. The OrthoLite footbed delivers responsive cushioning, the EVA midsole absorbs shocks with every step, and the knit upper on these low-key slip-ons keeps your feet cool from coast to coast.
GREATS has made a name for itself by blending Italian craftsmanship with new-school cool, all at prices that cut out the middleman by selling directly to the consumer. This means you can get some fresh slip-ons – named for fashion icon Nick Wooster – made with full-grain Italian leather. It’s designer quality that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
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