Summer is typically every guy's most dreaded season. Gone are the jackets, pants, and layers with which we get our fits off in the colder months. Men are stripped of their options in fashion during summer, left with meager combinations of shirts and shorts. Because of this, it's often up to what's on your feet to make a statement, and fortunately there is an abundance of shoes to wear during the summer. For this list, we've split up our favorites into categories and picked some of the heaviest hitters in each. If you feel like you've seen some of these just one too many times, don't worry. I've provided alternatives like collaborations or analogous shoes for you to spice things up. Without further ado, some of the best men's summer shoes to explore for the upcoming season.
The Best Men's Summer Shoes for 2023: Sneakers, Sandals, Mules and More
Our favorites from New Balance, Salomon, and more for the coming months
Our Favorite Men's Summer Shoes, at a Glance:
Our Favorite Sneaker
The adidas Samba has taken the world by storm the last year. It has always been a classic best seller from the German footwear giant, but lately they have entered a new stratosphere of popularity and become a closet staple. Both all black and white are iconic colorways, but the white upper accented by a suede gray toe and gum sole makes for the perfect summer shoe, especially if you're going for the blokecore look. Be a chad and grab the long tongue, or opt for one of the many amazing collaborations adidas has done with Wales Bonner for a more unique twist on the silhouette.
The Club C 85 is arguably Reebok's most famous silhouette, and deservedly so. It's clean panel lines and slimmer profile make it a more unique option than your usual Air Force 1, and provide the perfect canvas for any number of colorways. Cop a pair from Reebok themselves, or hunt down one of our favorite collaborations for Tyrrell Winston or JJJJound.
Converse are simply a must have at this point. They're an all American classic, and go with pretty much anything else you put on. The Chuck 70 is the premium option, offering an extra cushioned sole and better construction than the regular pairs. If these simply don't excite you enough, try Converse's latest collaboration with Kendrick Lamar's pgLang. If even those aren't enough, Japanese Americana brand Visvim has an ultra-premium take on the Chuck for sale, known as the Skagway.
Let's just put this out there. Teddy Santis is an absolute genius for reviving New Balance's 550, which was a little known basketball sneaker from the 80's until now. Since it's been brought back from New Balance's archive, the 550 has become one of the most common shoes seen on the streets of New York, and sells out nearly instantly any time a pair is released. New Balance has several takes of their own, but the best ones out there are still from Aimé Leon Dore.
Salomon has solidly grounded itself as the premier footwear choice for gorpcore enthusiasts, and the brand's flagship model, the XT-6, has effectively become the poster child for the fashion aesthetic. Comfortable, breathable, and available in more colors than you can probably name, the XT-6 is a go-to shoe for those summer days when you know you're going to be on your feet for a while.
Our Favorite Running Sneaker
Nike's really been pushing the Air Max 1 with collaborations lately, and we're not mad about it. Releases like the Patta Waves series and the soon to be released Travis Scott Air Max 1 have only left us wanting more and wondering what else Nike has in store in the coming years. Air Maxes have always been great, but faded in and out of popularity in recent years. It's about time they came back.
What Kiko Kostadinov has done at Asics is honestly nothing short of a miracle. In contrast to the approach taken by New Balance, Nike, and adidas, who embrace the vintage appeal of today, Asics and Kiko have gone completely the other direction and designed shoe after shoe that looks like it could be out of a sci-fi film. It seems as though people are starting to catch on, as older releases are only appreciating in value now.
New Balance 99X's, in all of their variations, have become synonymous with modern streetwear. As the dad shoe craze came and went, New Balance never really changed anything, society just had to catch up. All of their designs are modern classics now, and years of history given way to some of the most hyped sneaker collaborations of the past several years. Cop a pair from the Made in American line, or look for your favorite collaboration from a secondhand seller.
Our Favorite Sandal
Most of us probably thought that Crocs would never be outdone as the comfiest water shoe, but the Hydro Moc really looks like a contemporary evolution of the same idea. The flowing lines and ovals seamlessly transition from holes to the sole grip, and have a delightfully organic feel that reminds me of octopus feet. Some of the best men's summer shoes for adventures.
Salehe Bembury pretty much always knocks collaborations out of the park, and his work with Crocs has arguably been his most anticipated. The Pollex Crocs see the designer employing his signature fingerprint motif, perfectly merging his visual language with Crocs' own in an entirely refreshing way. Definitely look out for more releases of these, but they're bound to go quick as all of the shoes available now are from resellers.
The Arizona was Birkenstock's most popular shoe before the Boston became what it is now. Early Birkenstock adopters will remember being ridiculed for wearing these sandals, but we're the ones laughing now as everyone can't seem to get enough. We get it though, they're some of the most comfortable shoes on the market and are built to last. If you like to let your toes kiss the air grab these, otherwise hold off until we get to the Boston.
Suicoke KAW-Cabs are supremely comfortable. I mean, just look at all that foam in the sole. On top of that, the shoes feature an adjustable padded upper to keep your feet snugly secured at all times. You'll never get tired of these, but if you're looking for maximum luxury maybe consider a pair of Visvim Christo's.
If you are into golfing or just simply looking for a comfortable shoe to walk around in this summer, consider trying the G/Fore Unisex Slide Street Shoe which is made with an anti-slip cloud EVA that provides the ultimate all-day comfort for your feet. The slides come in eight different colors, and are a perfect throw-on-and-go style to get you from point a to point b.
The Boston. The mule of all mules. It started the mule trend, and it will likely be the sole remnant when it dies. This shoe embodies everything that Birkenstock gets right. Its minimal design slopes perfectly over the foot, the cork foot bed molds perfectly to your foot, and the dark sole contrasts perfectly with the rest of the shoe to create a package that's too good to pass up. It's even led to some collaborations, like Stüssy's pink pair, or the Jil Sander spin off, the Berlin.
Vintage sportswear is back, and we're loving the 2000's aesthetics that brands are putting out. Merrell chopped the trunk on one of their popular moccasins, the Jungle, and made it the perfect slip on for a walk across the city. The treads from the outsole reaching up the side of the shoe add a subtle hint of grit, and make for a cool profile that you're not likely to come across too often.
Our Favorite Mule
Reebok’s answer to the massive success of the Boston, and mules at large, was the Beatnik. Made with entirely different styling in mind, these appeal perfectly to the gorpcore fan on their day off, with a bit more in the way of visual excitement with the jagged outsole and velcro strap. Check out Reebok's amazing collaboration with Story Mfg. when you get the chance.
Uggs are kind of making a comeback, and as respected designers like Telfar and Denimtears add their spins to the Australian icon the shoes only continue to legitimize themselves in the context of menswear. It's unthinkable for me to have said this just a few years ago, but I kind of really want a pair of Uggs. Since it's summer, maybe settle for something like these slippers.
Nah these are sick, but so is everything Fear of God puts out for that matter. Produced in Italy and made of innovative foam rubber, The California is a backless slip-on shoe with sculptural design that strictly emphasizes functionality while allowing for greater flexibility, comfort, and durability due to being composed of material that is 3x lighter than common foam.
Doc Martens derbies are the perfect shoe when you're in need of something dressier, and the classic boot sole adds a bit of chunk not seen on a regular derby. opt for the regular colorways if you want the iconic yellow stitching, but I prefer the lowkey vibe of the all black.
I've talked about Weejuns countless times at this point, but it's simply because they're the perfect first pair of loafers to get your feet wet. Like it or not, loafers are core to the nu prep look, which lends itself well to the summer months. Throw these on with a tank top, camp collar, and some shorts and call it a day.
Clarks Wallabees originated across the pond in the U.K., but lately they have found a much stronger foothold stateside. It hasn't been talked about much, but I see Wallabees almost every day, and everyone from Kith to hidden.ny is offering up a collaborative pair. The materials are always a standout, as the suede and crepe sole give a nice handmade feel when used in conjunction.
You'll never go wrong with classic penny loafers. And when it comes to classic penny loafers, Peter Millar is one of the best in the game. These shoes in particular are summer stunners with its sheep skin lining and rich matte finish. You're welcome.
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