Top Summer Picks: Men's Casual Shoes

Mens casual shoes

You gotta wear shoes. It’s summer and it’s like 1,000 degrees outside. You’re hot and miserable so you protest, “But shoes and socks make my feet hot and my toes need to breathe...” 

Don’t worry. I’ve searched high and low to find a few pairs of kicks that will keep you looking cool even when the temps are soaring. Maybe it’s just because it’s mid-2022 and brands are still recovering from supply chain troubles, but I can’t find a darn thing I like at my local brick-and-mortar stores. No worries though. There’s so many great brands you can buy online from places like Zappos

For me I like my shoes to be simple, slim-profiled, classic, with a dash of fun. I've been able to narrow this down to understand what works for me by looking at pics of myself and critiquing what I like or dislike.

Another helpful thing for me was to build a Pinterest board for inspiration. I am not a style-ninja by any means, so I leverage what I find to get a feel for the looks and vibe of people who are to help me refine my ideal look. 

And finally for me, I have to work with the fact that I have shorter than average legs. I’m 5’6” on a good day, and when I wear shorts, the shoes I wear can either help me towards looking good or make me look like a strange kid in oversized kicks. 

Cool, now back to summer shoes. I have three basic summer styles I like:

  1. Flip flops
  2. Slip-ons
  3. Classic sneaker/casual lace-ups

Let’s break down each of these and peek at some examples.

The Flip Flops

Since it is hot, we gravitate to more casual and easy styles, and nothing says “Take it easy, everything’s cool” more than flip flops. Maybe not the right choice for everything, but man, they are great.

Here’s what I look for to make sure my flip flops don’t become a detractor, but instead work seamlessly with what I’m wearing. 

  • The damn things can’t be too noisy. I really dislike the loud flop that some materials make. I look for soft foot beds. This really helps minimize the obnoxious noise. For that reason, I stay away from leather insoles, even though I really do like the way they look, they are just too noisy for me. 
  • I look for simple designs—usually solid colors or a basic pattern. You'll see this come up as a recurring theme. I think my shoes should compliment and not totally overpower my clothes. 
  • I also like to find thinner profile material. For me, fabric is better than foam. 
  • Lastly, I look for materials that will be easy to maintain and will have good durability like these flip-flops from Teva - the Reflip.
Mens Teva Flip-flops

The Slip-ons

I love slip-ons and the variety you can find is awesome. You can rock these with or without socks. And they work with shorts or pants. Here are two of my top picks:

  • I’ve been in love with canvas slip-ons since I found the Comfy Cush line of Vans. They have a ton of patterns, solid colors and custom options. To me this really is a go-to summer shoe.

Vans palm tree slips ons

  • I also like shoes that offer a vintage look and vibe, as they give you a lot of flexibility to wear them with a wide variety of things. They balance perfectly on the line of intentionally chosen and casual cool. A good example of this is the Classic Laceless Low shoe from John Varvatos.
John Varvatos laceless low

Both of these shoes check the boxes for me of easy to wear, play nice with many things in my closet, and look casual and cool without trying too hard.

Classic Casual Sneakers

These aren’t meant to join you at the gym, so skip the heavy-duty athletic types. What I’m talking about is more in line with the classic or throw back styles like the Asics Tiger Runners, or if you want a more modern look, try the Adidas Running Ultraboost 5.0

Adidias Ultraboost 5.0 mensOnitsuka Tiger running shoe mens

 Things to look for in a casual sneaker:

  • The theme of simple, clean, light and casual looking apply here too. I want shoes that lighten my look since I tend to wear lighter colors in the summer. 
  • Easy to wear and maintain. As much as I love white sneakers, I just stay away from them as they last all of about 3 minutes. It doesn’t matter if it’s leather, cotton or space-age foils. I want my shoes to look good over the long run. 
  • They need to be comfortable enough. What I mean by that is, looks matter, and even though my Hoka Bondi 7s feel like I’m walking on clouds, they look super clunky. And being a short guy, bulky and clunky makes me look like a little kid. 

Crown Northampton lace up sneakers

The Wrap Up

Let’s wrap this bad boy up. Here are the high level takeaways:

  1. Create yourself an inspiration board, like on Pinterest, and start searching for sharp dressed folks and save them to a board. 

  2. Don’t be a cheapskate. Save up if you have to, but don’t settle for crap and buy it just because it’s on sale. It’s not like you put that money aside and realize any actual gain from compromising.

  3. Take the shoes you have and match them up with your summer duds, then snap some pics of yourself and then ask, “Is this the look I want to present to the world?” Let your answers guide you to what you personally need in order to highlight your best features and minimize the others. 

  4. After you have built yourself some general guidelines, hit the internet, and start looking for your next pair of shoes. Sites like Zappos have great filters and tons of options that give you choices for days and easy returns if it doesn’t work. 

  5. Lastly, remember this is a process. Try this and that and don’t be afraid to experiment until you’re able to really nail the look you want with great options that make you smile and that you really enjoy wearing. 

Hope this was helpful. Share your favorite summer shoes below. I’d love to hear about the gems you all have found. 

Thanks and that’s all for now.


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