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?
In my experience, they’re nearly as crucial as lace-up sneakers for the spring and summer months – and they’re even easier to wear. Plus, if versatility is the name of the game, slip-on shoes are often made with durable canvas or stylish leather, like lace-up sneakers.
I also find I’m able to wear mine with ease in casual style situations aplenty. Bear with me, because when I say slip-on shoes, I’m not talking sandals. I’m talking footwear that blends the comfort of a sneaker with the slide-on potential of breezy sandals.
Ideally, your slip-on sneakers should almost be as light and soft as a beach breeze. With both a distinctive mesh upper and a cushioned gel insert, the OluKai Lae’ahi hit the mark on both fronts, with the ability to go from the beach to the bar in one fell swoop.
With slip-ons. 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.
So, while the expected move might be to skimp on slip-on sneakers, plenty of admirable menswear 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 I dove into the best slip-on sneakers, I 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.
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 my personal experience, OluKai shoes offer plenty of bounce, support and comfort – sometimes a rarity in other slip-on shoes.
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.
Shopping for menswear 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.
I’ve been wearing VANS slip-ons for years, and they’re every bit as reliable and classically stylish now as they were then.
To be sure, VANS made its name producing skate shoes for cool kids out West. These days, 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.
The way of the future – and indeed, the way of the present – is sustainability blended with standout style, and if you can find a brand that goes well above and beyond in both areas, well, that’s all the better, and that’s what Thousand Fell proudly believes in.
Its streamlined slip-ons are impossibly eco-friendly, made from palm, coconut and sugarcane that’s then coated in quartz. The mesh liner is coated in aloe vera for softness, while the rubber insole is made from recycled rubber, and it all comes together in a sleek pair of shoes that save thousands of hours of energy consumption.
The best shoes these days frequently blur the line between casual and dressy. Take these handsome OluKai leather slip-ons, which use an office-ready tan leather upper and the 2-in-1 design of sandals and easygoing slip-ons (simply slide them on using the drop-in heel).
The brand’s Wet Grip Rubber pods add support in areas of high wear, while small touches of contrast stitching elevate these laidback slip-ons even further. Wear them with rolled tan chinos and a navy polo for perfectly executed business casual style.
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.
When dealing with a day on the water and a day back on dry land (perhaps at the beach bar), you don’t want to have to worry about whether your shoes can pass muster. These durable canvas slip-ons, featuring a textile upper and an easy-on, easy-off crush back heel, deliver grip on slick surfaces and style on dry ones, with a lightweight midsole and antimicrobial footbed treatment. All that’s missing are your chino shorts and a lightweight hoodie for sun coverage.
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.
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.
In fact, Light Grey is the very same pair I’ve got in my wardrobe, and I’ve paired them with everything from lounge shorts and a merino tee to cargo-pocket chino joggers and a navy polo. The comfort from that memory foam insole is also next-level (take it from me).
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. I’ve been a fan for years, ever since I visited the company’s first Brooklyn store, and this pair caught my eye immediately.
It’s the mix of refined leather and a sporty, comfortable outsole that really does the trick. This pair, named for fashion icon Nick Wooster, is notably made with full-grain Italian leather. It’s designer quality that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
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