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A new season offers the chance to take your style to the next level and your shoes are a big part of it.
We want to help you prepare with this post on the best summer shoes for men.
We’ll review our picks for the best shoes for 2020 – including the Cole Haan Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford – talk about how to wear your summer footwear with style, and look at some different types of summer shoes.
Let’s kick things off, no pun intended, with some buying tips.
|Cole Haan Men's Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford||Check on Amazon →|
|Vans Men's Low-Top Sneakers||Check on Amazon →|
|Marino Suede Oxford Dress Shoes for Men||Check on Amazon →|
|PUMA Men's Ignite Flash Evoknit Sneaker||Check on Amazon →|
|Sperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe||Check on Amazon →|
|TOMS Men's Deconstructed Alpargata Rope Espadrille||Check on Amazon →|
|Under Armour Men's Ignite V Slide Sandal||Check on Amazon →|
|Adidas Originals Men's Stan Smith Leather Sneaker||Check on Amazon →|
|Cole Haan Men's Howland Penny Loafer||Check on Amazon →|
|Skechers Men's Expected Avillo Relaxed-Fit Slip-On Loafer||Check on Amazon →|
|Johnston & Murphy Men's Conard Cap Toe Shoe||Check on Amazon →|
Before you buy: 10 Things to consider when purchasing summer shoes
What classifies as a summer shoe encompasses a variety of styles – from oxfords to boat shoes to sandals. They can be casual or formal. But, regardless, there are certain criteria you should follow when picking shoes of any kind.
1. The fit
You’ll never be satisfied with a pair of shoes if they don’t fit. Have your feet measured by a professional whenever possible to help ensure an exact fit.
Another fit tip is to try on shoes in the late afternoon/early evening. Our feet naturally swell during the day, so a shoe that fits perfectly first thing in the morning may fit tighter later in the day. Also, wear the socks you’d normally wear with a style of shoes when you try them on.
Another thing to consider is how the shoe feels (not just the fit) when you first try them on. It’s not always accurate to say shoes need a break-in period; you shouldn’t need a lot of time, if any, to break shoes in.
Summer shoes come in a variety of materials, with the most common – and preferable – being leather, suede, and canvas.
Leather is appealing visually, durable, and porous enough to offer adequate breathability.
Suede, which consists of the underside of a cow’s skin, is considered more of an autumn or cooler weather material but is still appropriate to wear in the summer for most occasions.
A suede shoe’s nap, which gives it texture and appearance, sets it apart from other shoes. The more prominent the nap, the more casual the shoe.
Canvas is a popular material for spring and summer shoes, and many sneakers, espadrilles, and other shoes consist of canvas – which is lightweight and pliable.
A shoe’s breathability refers to its ventilation and how well it keeps your foot cool and dry. Shoes with mesh uppers always rank near or at the top regarding breathability. Perforations in the upper also help increase air circulation.
Well-known brands don’t always produce the best shoes in a certain style. Then again, they didn’t become well-known brands by producing inferior products.
And many of those companies have built a reputation for good customer service and may have generous warranties.
Finding the right fit is vital for choosing summer shoes that best fit your needs, but sufficient foot support isn’t far behind. Support comes from a variety of elements – from the heel cup to the roominess of the toe box to a footbed that fits your foot’s natural shape.
6. Traction and stability
A shoe’s traction comes from its outsole, which typically consists of rubber. No matter what type of terrain you normally walk on, you need a shoe that provides plenty of grip and is slip-proof.
The more stable the shoe, the less likely you are to twist your ankle or have other mishaps.
Business settings often require shoes of conservative color, i.e., black or brown, but the summer lends itself to brighter shoe colors for most other occasions.
White is a great color for warm-weather casual wear, while tan also looks good on casual summer shoes. But don’t be afraid to try bolder colors.
8. The midsole
A shoe’s midsole has a lot to do with its overall comfort. It provides a layer of cushioning between the insole and outsole that helps keep your feet comfortable throughout the day.
Not all summer shoes are appropriate for every occasion. You wouldn’t wear sandals to work while your oxfords or brogues aren’t your best choice for the beach.
Sneakers may work for a variety of settings – casual and semi-casual – but you wouldn’t, in most cases, wear them to the office.
The shoe you choose should fit the place and setting where you plan to wear it most.
While a shoe’s price isn’t always an indication of its overall quality, some shoes cost more for a reason: they’re of higher quality. Value is a more important consideration. An expensive shoe is worth the price if it delivers in all the categories we’ve just listed.
Let’s move on to our reviews of the best summer shoes.
The 11 best summer shoes for men in 2020
- Good for office wear
- Excellent cushioning
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for a more casual office shoe
Finding comfortable footwear for the 9 to 5 grind in the summer may be a challenge. Or, maybe you want a more casual look that’s still suitable for the office.
In either case, Cole Haan offers a great choice with its Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford. It’s a comfortable shoe with a performance workwear look that doesn’t look too casual.
It’s also the lightest shoe in the Cole Haan line and offers superior, sneaker-like comfort that’s hard to beat. Combine that with a professional look and you have a shoe that you can rock throughout the summer with confidence.
Cole Haan redesigned the sole of the Stitchlite to give it a more anatomical shape, while also adding traction pods and a larger carved-out section for the arch.
The leather and textile upper features a look that’s like a sneaker, but also leans closer to a more dress-shoe like design.
It features functional brogue detailing, and it’s lightweight and very breathable – both important factors for choosing summer shoes. Further comfort comes from a knit oxford upper, a fully padded sock liner, and an EVA midsole.
It’s difficult to find a formal dress shoe that matches the comfort of the Cole Haan Stitchlite Oxford. True, it costs more than many popular summer shoes, but we think it’s worth the investment.
- It features a casual look that you can wear to the office.
- A padded sock liner and EVA midsole contribute to its exceptional overall comfort.
- It makes dressing comfortably for the office much easier.
- It’s not as comfortable for men with high arches.
The Cole Haan Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford offers the best of both worlds – a shoe that’s suitable for office wear but sporty and comfortable enough for the summer.
- Cool design
- Re-engineered for comfort
- Breathable textile lining
The best summer shoes for:
Men shopping for the best summer sneakers
The sheer number of reviews – the vast majority of them positive – about the Vans Low-Top Sneakers offer a solid testament to their popularity.
Then again, they’ve been popular for years now, but that hasn’t stopped Vans from continuing to tweak their design in response to their customers’ feedback while helping them to remain among the cooler men’s casual summer shoes.
The latest version of the Vans Low-Top Sneaker is more comfortable than ever thanks to additional arch support, foam insoles, and a one-piece interior that doesn’t have seams that rub against the foot.
There’s plenty to like about the interior of these sneakers, including the cushioned insoles and lack of seams. A canvas ankle collar helps enhance comfort, while a textile lining is breathable and helps to maintain a pleasant in-shoe climate.
There’s also a lightly padded collar and tongue, while the durable canvas upper with tonal stitching adds to the shoe’s overall design, which many people love. They still have Vans’ signature rubber sole with a waffle pattern that provides excellent traction and stability.
The Vans classic low-top design gets its inspiration from the Old Skool Core line – which is a take on the company’s very popular skate shoe.
Whether you do a lot of walking or spend a lot of time at your desk, the Vans Low-Top sneaker offers all-day comfort at a reasonable price.
- The updated Vans design makes them more comfortable than ever.
- You can purchase a classic shoe and cool design at an affordable price.
- A cushioned insole offers exceptional comfort and support.
- Check sizing carefully; they may run large
Cool summer shoes abound, and the Vans Low-Top Sneaker is among them. They feature a memorable design while providing all-day comfort.
- Modern styling
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for suede summer shoes
While conventional wisdom suggests that wearing suede shoes in the summer may make your feet hot, many men do wear them and love their dapper look and color options.
The Marino Suede Oxford is a dress shoe with a casual look that doesn’t make your feet feel too warm in the summer. They feature a breathable textile lining, a synthetic insole and don’t sacrifice comfort for looks (and they look very nice).
They’re also well-suited for a variety of occasions, including the office, seasonal events, or for taking the kids to their various events. They also come in 11 colors to make it easier for you to match them to your clothing.
The Marino Oxford also features a strong TPR (thermoplastic rubber) outsole that provides plenty of traction while preventing slips on tricky surfaces. The sole is very durable, as well.
Marina also offers a generous return policy. If you aren’t fully satisfied with your purchase, you have 45 days for free exchange and return. They also come with a 180-day warranty.
- Second-to-none cutting technology makes it easy to cut clean, precise lines with every pass of the trimmer.
- Solid, sturdy design throughout; you should get years of use out of this trimmer before needing to replace it.
- Multiple length attachments that suit whatever part of your face, head, and body that you’re trimming.
- Few, if any, but some reviewers on Amazon say the unit is a bit heavy.
Rocking the suede-shoe look in the summer is easy with Marino’s Oxford Dress Shoes. They look good, feel good, and suit a variety of occasions.
- Bold, youthful look
- Responsive cushioning
- Flexible outsole
The best summer shoe for:
Anyone who prefers knit sneakers
There’s a lot to love about knit sneakers, including that many of them come in kick-ass designs that look very cool.
Puma has just such a sneaker with its Ignite Flash EvoKnit, which looks good, feels good, and delivers all the performance you need from a shoe that combines casual fashion in a shoe with sports capability.
It features Puma’s EvoKnit technology – as its name suggests – that consists of an intricate knitted upper with an array of pattern possibilities.
You’ll also appreciate its lightweight, comfortable feel under the foot. It has a flexible rubber outsole with deep grooves placed throughout, which helps balance out the thick midsole foam that provides a lot of cushioning.
There’s also a molded rubber heel clip that secures the heel.
The knit upper wraps nicely around the foot and features Puma’s classic detailing.
While you can use the Puma Ignite Flash for running, it’s more a casual everyday shoe than anything else, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
- Excellent styling and comes and there are 20 color options from which to choose.
- Versatile enough to wear for working out and everyday activities.
- The rubber outsole provides excellent flexibility.
- Check the width carefully
You’ll love the versatility and styling of the Puma Ignite Flash Evoknit Sneaker. You’ll also like how it feels on your foot no matter how you use it.
- Iconic design
- Genuine leather
- Excellent traction.
The best summer shoes for:
Men who love the classic boat shoe design
Boat shoes are the summer shoe of choice for many men. If you’re in the market for a boat shoe, we suggest that you strongly consider the “original.”
Why? Well, the Sperry topsider is the original – Paul Sperry’s first boat shoe of many moons ago broke new ground – and its (high) quality never wavers. Sure, there’s been a few modifications along the way, but Sperry is to boat shoes what Brazil is to soccer.
The Sperry Authentic Original retains the original boat shoe look created by Mr. Sperry, as well as its functional design. It has a non-marking rubber outsole, it consists of genuine leather, and razor-cut siping on the soles for superior traction on wet or dry surfaces.
They’re also as comfortable as ever thanks to Ortholite underfoot cushioning that absorbs shock nicely and an EVA heel cup. The beveled heel provides all the stability you need, whether you’re on dry ground, a boat deck, or uneven and unpredictable terrain.
A moccasin-stitched toe adds some nice flair to the shoe’s design. You can wear it with a variety of clothing, including casual and a bit dressier than casual.
- The Sperry boat shoe is a classic that remains a popular summer shoe for many men.
- The non-marking soles provide plenty of traction and stability.
- There’s enough cushioning and support to keep you comfortable throughout the day.
- Perhaps a bit narrower than previous versions.
The Sperry topsider is the king of boat shoes in many ways – and there’s no sign of it giving up its throne anytime soon. They remain among the most popular summer shoes.
- Removable insole
- Solid construction
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for a quality espadrille
Don’t forget about espadrilles as you consider your summer shoe options this year. The espadrille, which has surged in popularity in recent years, is a great warm-weather option and an excellent alternative to sandals and the like.
Toms offers a great option with its Deconstructed Alpargata Rope Espadrille. It’s well-made and versatile to pair with many different types of casual clothing. Plus, they’re lightweight enough to wear on even the hottest days of summer.
The Alpargate Rope Espadrille comes in a suede or washed canvas upper that features raw edges and exposed seams. Like any espadrille, it comes in a slip-on design (and has a heel loop that makes it easy to take them on and off).
A dual-density textile insole delivers exceptional underfoot support and comfort. The Alpargata also features a rope-wrapped midsole of additional styling.
Something else to consider: for every Toms shoe you buy, the company will provide a new pair to a child in need. Since 2006, Tom has given over 60 million shoes to children worldwide.
- They’re very lightweight and comfortable, even in the warmest weather.
- The rope wrapped midsole helps to give it a distinctive look.
- The rubber sole provides plenty of grip and traction.
- Sizing runs narrow
Espadrilles continue to trend upward, and Toms hasn’t missed the wave. Their Deconstructed Alpargata Rope Espadrille is a quality option for summer footwear.
- 4D foam footbed
- Adjustable synthetic strap
- Anatomical contours
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for a comfortable, all-day sandal
Sandals represent classic summer footwear and with good reason: they allow your feet to breathe in warm weather, they have a relaxed look and casual styling, and you can wear them for about every laid-back activity there is.
We think the Under Armour Ignite V Slide Sandal is the best of the best among sandals and ideal footwear for when the weather gets nice and toasty.
There’s a lot to like about the V Slide Sandal, including:
- An adjustable synthetic strap that fits over the foot easily without causing irritation or another discomfort.
- The V Slide Sandal’s footbed features two layers of performance 4D foam. As our friends at UA put it, that’s “unprecedented comfort.”
- It features anatomical contours – which makes it one of the best orthopedic sandals around – that enable you to walk any distance without experiencing foot fatigue or pain.
- The re-engineered outsole features durable traction pods that offer stability and lightweight cushioning and comfort.
A word about Under Armour’s HeatGear technology: as counterintuitive as it may sound, HeatGear is made for the summer because it uses performance fabric designed to keep the wearer cool, dry, and light in warm or hot conditions.
As mentioned, UA utilizes HeatGear technology in the synthetic strap of the Ignite V Slide Sandal.
As an aside, UnderArmour also has ColdGear technology which helps keep the wearer warm and dry when temperatures plummet. Then again, UA is known for its innovative technology and, not to mention, its quality products such as the V-Slide Sandal.
- The adjustable strap features technology that keeps your feet cool and dry in the summer.
- Many reviewers mention the good overall durability of these sandals.
- It features solid traction that suits many different types of terrain.
- Sizing may run small
If you’re looking to combine style and comfort in a casual sandal, look no further than Under Armour’s V-Slide.
- Comfortable leather upper
- Classic design
- Good fit for feet of any size
The summer shoes for:
Men looking for a classic summer sneaker design
Some things seem to have a shelf life all their own. Like the Adidas Stan Smith Original Men’s Leather Sneaker, for instance.
First made popular by tennis great Stan Smith 50 years ago, these leather sneakers have achieved almost cult-like status ever since. And while they retain the look and many of the features of originals, they’re more comfortable and functional than ever.
While no one wears the Stan Smiths for competitive tennis these days, at least not in the professional ranks, many people rock them as the ideal casual footwear for summer. They pair well with a wide variety of wardrobe choices but exemplify the relaxed summer look.
They still feature the simple, classic Stan Smith design with minimal branding, although you can buy them in black or yellow instead of the typical variations of white with a green stripe.
The Stan Smith insole features a terry-cloth sock liner that’s very soft, while the outsole consists of rubber that delivers plenty of grip and traction. They’re suitable for light activities but you shouldn’t use them for more strenuous activities such as running.
Whether you’re just jumping into the sneaker game for the first time or a sneaker aficionado, the Stan Smith low-top will serve you well.
- They feature a simple, clean design that pairs well many types of clothing.
- The rubber outsole provides the grip you need, even on wet surfaces.
- The full-grain leather upper is perforated for enhanced breathability.
- The arch support isn’t as good as on some other sneakers.
Finding the right sneaker for casual summer wear is often tricky because of the many brands and styles available, but the Stan Smith Leather Sneaker remains a valid, classic option.
- Vintage design with a modern appeal
- A good driving shoe
- Quality construction
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for the best penny loafers for summer
A review of cool summer shoes wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic penny loafer. The latter is a favorite summer style, and has been for decades, and it pairs well with all types of clothing.
The Cole Haan Howland Penny Loafer earns the No. 1 spot in our reviews of the best loafers and it belongs on this list, too.
The Howland offers a modern take on the perennially preppy penny loafer. It includes a rubber sole inspired by driving shoes and provides a premium grip, whether you’re working the brake, accelerator and clutch, or walking about the city.
The Howland comes in a vintage-leather finish and features moccasin stitching, as well as perforated arch support. There’s a split-pod sole with beefier support in the front of the shoe, while the front part of the sole is separate from the heel.
The quality design and craftsmanship are nothing new for Cole Haan, a brand known for its “upscale” footwear, and the Howland penny loafer does nothing to tarnish that reputation.
It’s has a timeless style that looks great with casual to semi-casual clothing, and even for more formal-yet-relaxed occasions.
And, in fact, some reviewers even refer to it as a “dress” shoe.
- Timeless, classic penny loafer design.
- It’s a great fit for almost every occasion, including casual and semi-casual.
- The split-pod sole delivers a firm grip and traction.
- May take some time to break in.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better penny loafer than the Cole Haan Howland. It has a classic look that’s suitable for a wide range of work and casual outings.
- Relaxed fit and feel
- Comfortable insole
- Flexible rubber outsole
The best summer shoes for:
Fans of the slip-on design
Skechers has a strong reputation for its diverse line of lifestyle footwear and they rate near the top in several shoe types and categories.
We saved space for their Avillo Relaxed-Fit Slip-On Loafer in our reviews of the best summer shoes – although it’s not strictly a summer shoe.
But it’s lightweight, casual, and breathable, which makes it ideal for warm-weather wear and, like all Skechers products, it has a cool, appealing design.
Among the many things we like about this loafer is its canvas fabric and suede upper that features attractive stitching and overlay accents that add to its overall visual appeal.
You’ll appreciate its comfortability thanks to a soft fabric shoe lining, but also because of a Memory foam cushioned insole. As some reviewers put it, the Avillo Slip-On is so comfortable that you may forget that you’re wearing it.
The midsole does a nice job of absorbing shock, while a flexible rubber outsole provides excellent traction. The midsole also features contrast color stripes for a nice accent.
They also come in seven colors, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that suits your taste or clothing.
- It’s versatile to wear for a lot of casual occasions, and some wearers say it even serves as a boat shoe.
- It features a relaxed fit that provides plenty of comfort.
- A cushioned memory foam footbed contributes to its overall comfort and feel.
- The toe doesn’t feel comfortable to some wearers.
Skechers combines comfort and style in a slip-on that’s ideal for summer casual wear.
- Formal styling
- Italian leather
- Nice cushioning
The best summer shoes for:
Men looking for a more formal summer shoe
With a history that dates to 1850, Johnston & Murphy knows a thing or two about making shoes. They’ve also adapted to the times and their shoes today – such as the Conard Cap Toe Shoe – walk the line between modern and classic.
The Conard Cap shoe is an ideal summer (and year-round, for that matter) shoe for professional men who dress to impress, but also like looking stylish for a night on the town.
Made from 100% hand-burnished Italian leather, the Conard is lightweight and won’t weigh you down like heavier winter shoes.
It features Johnston & Murphy’s classic craftsmanship and design and commitment to quality. There’s a cushioned insole that provides long-lasting comfort, a rubber sole and heel for excellent traction, and a leather lining.
It also comes with two sets of laces: one that matches the shoe’s color and one that’s of a contrasting color. The shoe comes in tan or black.
- It’s ideal for the office and other professional settings.
- Hand-burnished Italian leather construction.
- Combines classic and modern styling.
- It may take a little extra time to break in the upper.
Johnston & Murphy’s Conard Cap Toe shoe is classy, stylish, and made for the modern professional man.
10 Tips for wearing shoes during the summer
Summer lends itself to a casual vibe and a more relaxed feel for most men. That doesn’t mean you should ditch your dress clothes and expensive oxfords for t-shirts and sandals, but you can lighten up a bit in most scenarios.
Rocking your footwear in the summer means following a few tips and suggestions – from fashion experts – to get it right.
1. Barefoot or not?
Many classy, elegant men ditch their socks in the summer and wear their shoes in barefoot fashion. Or, so it seems.
While many men do wear summer shoes without socks, especially boat shoes, others give the appearance of no-socks by wearing invisible socks that don’t show above the top of the shoe.
Doing so helps to protect the feet and prevent foot odor. They feel like socks but don’t stick to the leather lining of most shoes.
You can get away with the barefoot look on many casual, semi-casual, and even dressier outings. When formal wear is required, however, you may have to think twice about the look.
2. Wear colorful socks
Speaking of socks, you can add a bit of boldness and dash to your summer wardrobe by wearing brighter socks that don’t necessarily match the color of your pants. Or, you can even opt for more colorful shoelaces to pep up your black or brown Oxfords.
Shoelaces can help change the look of a shoe and are replaceable for when the occasion demands it.
3. Add colorful leathers
Traditional black oxfords and other “dress” shoes can look a little out of place with summer clothing fabrics and styles. Instead, consider buying summer shoes in different colors – such as dark blue, olive green, or beige suede.
You’ll stand apart from the crowd, but in a sophisticated way.
4. Loafers and boat shoes
Loafers and boat shoes both lend themselves to smart casual and even some business occasions. Loafers look and feel relaxed (which helps make them ideal for summer) but also presents a dressy vibe.
Boat shoes, being nautically inspired, are awesome for days on and around the water, but you can wear them practically anywhere in the summer. They look great with jeans, chinos, and shorts.
Don’t wear boat shoes with formal attire and, if you wear them in the office, make sure they’re leather.
5. Shoes to wear with shorts
You’ll want to rock some nice-looking shorts when the weather warms up but be careful what you wear with them. Moccasins, boat shoes, and casual penny loafers look best with shorts – and don’t forget to wear hidden socks or no socks at all.
6. White leather sneakers
The white leather look is back with a vengeance and you can dress them up for nights out, but make sure the occasion doesn’t require more formal footwear.
The espadrille combines comfort and style for footwear that’s strictly for summer use. You’ll have plenty of colors from which to choose, including beige, black, or grey that is versatile to wear with many types of clothing.
They pair well with jeans (cuffed) and shorts and are decidedly casual.
Use common sense and logic when wearing sandals. Flip-flops belong on the beach, sports sandals are best for walking and sightseeing, while traditional leather sandals pair best with shorts. If you do wear your sandals with pants, make you cuff your pants.
And make sure that jeans have a snug fit.
Socks and sandals used to be a definite no-no, although it’s a look that – when done right – isn’t as bad as you would think.
9. Brogue oxfords
The brogue oxford is a great choice for summer dress shoes. Stick with black or brown brogues for business dress, while navy and gray suit more casual office environments. Your brogues should match your blazer and jacket, as well.
10. Brown suede oxfords
You can wear suede shoes in summer, contrary to some long-held beliefs, especially when attending outdoor events, such as concerts, when you want to maintain a casual vibe without looking sloppy.
Brown is the best choice for suede oxfords because it pairs well with so many types of menswear.
10 Various types of summer shoes for men
Most men understand that dressing for summer is different than dressing for other seasons, even if they work in a business setting. The summer has a more casual, relaxed vibe, and men’s clothing should reflect that to some degree.
Footwear is no different.
Many choices abound regarding summer shoes and we’ve covered a variety of styles in our reviews above. Here’s an even closer look:
Loafers come in many styles – from penny loafers to tassel loafers to Gucci loafers – and represent a quintessential summer style.
Loosely defined, loafers are shoes that don’t have a lacing or fastening system. Instead you slip them on your foot.
Penny loafers have a leather strap across the forefoot with a diamond-shaped slot that can hold a penny. The penny loafer style has been around since the 1950s.
Tassel loafers have a decorative lace with tassels on the top, while moc loafers have stitching that resembles traditional moccasins.
2. Boat shoes
Boat shoes typically consist of leather, suede, or sometimes canvas, and have a slip-on design with water-resistant uppers. Their soles, usually made of rubber, have re-enforced traction that makes them safe to wear on often-slippery boat decks.
Most men wear boat shoes without socks and sometimes wear them with their usual business attire – especially if they own the business. Whether you’re the business owner or not, don’t hesitate to wear them when bumming around summer resort towns.
Sneakers are popular, which is a little like saying water is wet.
Sneakers are riding a wave of popularity and the type you wear can even define your style and personality. Fortunately, there are a plethora of sneakers from which to choose, including:
- Sports sneakers – Think “Air Jordans” and the evolution of sneakers from when Air Jordans were first introduced.
- Basic sneakers – Converse and Vans represent basic sneaker designs, which may consist of leather, canvas, or other synthetic materials.
- High-top sneakers – Basketball shoes tend to be high-top sneakers and provide superior ankle support. But a shoe such as the Converse Chuck Taylor, while not used much for basketball these days, is a popular sneaker choice and also comes in a cool low top style.
- Low-top sneakers – Just as their name suggests, these are sneakers without an upper that extends above the ankle.
- Knit sneakers – As you’d expect from knit sneakers, they’re breathable, lightweight and comfortable, especially when compared to the traditional uppers found on other types of sneakers.
- Slip-on sneakers – Slip-on sneakers, like Velcro sneakers, are experiencing something of a resurgence. They’re ideal for easy, casual wear and often come in an interesting variety of colors and patterns.
- Designer sneakers – Companies such as Gucci, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs make designer sneakers that you can even wear to more formal occasions.
Flat and flexible, and typically made of canvas or cotton, the espadrille has come a long way since their humble beginnings as a shoe common to general laborers in Spain a few centuries ago. They represent a very casual design but often vary in style.
5. Driving shoes
While driving shoes aren’t necessarily a summer-only type of footwear, they do have a casual look and vibe that befit the season.
Driving shoes feature rubber nubs on the toe and heel that help make for an easier flow of movement between the shoes and the pedals of a car. Their upper may include tassels, a lace-up design, or other adornments.
If you’re like many men, there are times when you must set aside the summer vibe and feel and wear something more formal.
Oxfords are excellent for dressier occasions; when you must wear them in the summer (or even if you prefer to wear them) choose those with breathable leather uppers that help keep your feet cool and dry.
7. Derby shoes
The Derby, like the Oxford, is excellent for formal wear but has a couple of key features that set it apart. For one, it has an open lacing system and there’s no seam between the tongue and the front of the shoe. For another, it’s often a better fit for men who have a high instep.
The Derby, most agree, has a more casual look than an Oxford but it’s at the same level footwear formality.
8. Desert boots
Desert boots were introduced by the British Military during World War II for their soldier to wear during fighting on the hot sands of North Africa. As you’d expect, they’re suitable for warm-weather wear.
Desert boots feature lighter soles than other types of boots (they often consist of softer material such as crepe rubber), and they’re lightweight. They represent a minimal aesthetic to some degree, but you can wear them to the office in many cases.
Nothing quite defines summer footwear like sandals.
After all, you shouldn’t wear sandals except in warm weather – hats off and a curious look to you gents who wear your sandals to the mailbox in the winter.
You can wear them to the beach, around the pool, bumming around your favorite town, or even when on your favorite trail.
Sandals and flip-flops represent the same basic genre with a few differences. Sandals usually consist of sturdier material and have more of a strap or foot securing device than flip-flops. Sandals are also more likely to have a heel or an elevated footbed.
There are dressier versions of sandals that are acceptable for many social and professional occasions, although you should make sure you’re not the only one wearing sandals.
Flip-flops have a Y-shaped thong that goes over your feet and between your toes. If you need something to wear to the beach or a BBQ, there’s nothing wrong with donning flip-flops.
10. Knit sneakers
Don’t overlook knit sneakers in your search for breathable, lightweight shoes made for the summer. Knit sneakers (and knit running shoes) provide a nice variation to shoes with traditional uppers and help to keep the feet properly ventilated.
More good news: You can wear knits sneakers without socks if you choose. And they lend themselves to most casual clothing styles.
How we chose these shoes for our review
The category of “summer” shoes covers a lot of styles. Oxfords, sneakers, sandals, boat shoes – the list goes on.
In choosing the best shoes for our review, we wanted to include as many types as possible to, in part, provide a broader overview while also informing potential buyers.
We also considered criteria such as comfort, cushioning, support, fit, and how the shoe looks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the overall design and attractiveness of a shoe is worth considering.
And we considered brand and price. While neither wholly determines the overall quality of a shoe, certain brands do make higher quality shoes and have a solid reputation because of it.
As always, we studied the reviews of others, especially the reviews of customers and potential customers like you. A product with a long list of positive reviews always gets our attention.
Summer is not that far around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about your footwear for the season. You have plenty of styles and brands from which to choose and finding one that best suits your needs and lifestyle shouldn’t be a problem.
We hope this review of men’s summer shoes helps you to look ahead and prepare for the summer months. Have no fear, the sun is on its way.
What are your thoughts? What type of summer shoes do you prefer? What’s your favorite brand? We’d love to hear from you.