Casual Shoes For Men: Top 10 Casual Men’s Shoes For An Informal Yet Stylish Look

Casual Shoes For Men: Top 10 Casual Men’s Shoes For An Informal Yet Stylish Look2018-09-25T07:24:18+00:00

Even the most laid-back looks can be the subject of public scrutiny and meticulous preparation. Therefore, it’s important to get it right and not be sloppy even when you’re chilling with the boys at a backyard barbecue.

In this guide, we’ve assorted the best casual shoes for men that you can buy online. You’ll notice that we’ve broken down the selection with 6 pairs of shoes, 2 boots as well as 2 sandals:

  1. Boat Shoes: Sperry Topsider Authenetic Originals
  2. Driving Shoes: Allen Edmonds Daytonas
  3. Espadrilles: TOMS University Classics
  4. Saddle Shoes: G.H. Bass & Co. Parkers
  5. Spectators: Samuel Windsor Prestige Whitworth
  6. Sneakers: Adidas Original Stan Smiths
  7. Chelsea Boots: Allen Edmonds Tates
  8. Chukka Boots: Clark’s Atticus Limits
  9. Slides: Rockport Darwyn Cross Bands
  10. Flip Flops: Olukai Pikois

Interested in a particular pair? Just click on the link above to jump right to it! We’ll also be taking a look at all the styling options available at the end of the guide.

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Quick Buyer’s Guide

Don’t want to waste your time messing around? Shop our top recommendations using the Quick Buy Guide below! If you’d like to learn more about each of the shoes we’ve featured simply continue reading below.

Boat Shoes

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Driving Shoes

Allen Edmonds Daytona Summer Driving Shoe

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Espadrilles

TOMS Blue Striped Espadrilles

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Saddle Shoes

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Spectators

Samuel-Windsor-Prestige-Whitworth-Spectator

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Sneakers

White Adidas Stan Smith Originals Sneaker

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Chelsea Boot

Allen-Edmonds-Tate-Chelsea-Boot

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Desert Boot

Clark's Blue Nubuck Chukka Boot

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Slides

Rockport Brown Leather Mens Sandals

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Flip Flops

Brown Leather Olukai Men's Flip Flops

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See Bespoke Unit’s Shoe Reviews

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What Are The Best Casual Shoes & Boots For Men?

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1. Sperry Topsider Authentic Original Boat Shoe

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Overview

The quintessential casual footwear, boat shoes are a multi-generational American classic. Originally worn to protect sailboat decks from scuffing, they’re now equally popular on dry land. This particular offering from Sperry Topsiders embodies the original design whilst offering a timelessly stylish look.

How To Wear

Given their association with the debonair jet-setter lifestyle, they’re an ideal casual shoe that can be incorporated across a number of styles. Boat shoes look great with business casual polo shirts and chinos but can also be worn with regular jeans and a t-shirt.

Best Colors

Although brown is considered the more traditional hue, boat shoes are available in a wide variety of styles. For instance, navy blue with a splash of white in the soles is a very stylish alternative.

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2. Allen Edmonds Daytona Driving Shoes

Allen Edmonds Daytona Summer Driving Shoe
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Overview

Initially made for time spent frolicking behind the wheel, driving shoes are a type of loafer designed with both comfort and style in mind. Beyond the durable Astri outsole, we love Allen Edmonds’ approach with a sleek, low-profile design for a sportier finish.

How To Wear

The driving loafer is the terra firma cousin of the boat shoe. Likewise, it can be worn with a typically business casual garb or even dressed down to mere jeans and t-shirt. With socks or even without, the Daytonas are like slippers for the road.

Best Colors

Although brown is an excellent choice, there’s also the option for a monochrome black leather with white stitching. This eye-catching design is a sportier alternative for petrol heads.

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3. TOMS University Classic Espadrilles

TOMS Blue Striped Espadrilles
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Overview

Perfect for lounging around the house or in the backyard, Espadrilles are mostly known for summer but are great all year as an alternative to slippers. Those made by Toms feature the same traditional rope soles but with a sturdier canvas construction and rubber outersole.

How To Wear

Being as close to sandals as possible without actually wearing sandals, Espadrilles are decidedly casual. They pair well with shorts and jeans but you could even wear chinos for a relaxed bohemian look.

Best Colors

Espadrilles are unisex shoes which comes in a rainbow of colours. However, we’re particularly fond of the University canvas from TOMS with the navy and off-white stripes across the heel.

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4. G.H. Bass & Co. Parker Saddle Shoes

GH-Bass-Parker-Tan-Saddle-Shoes
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Overview

Essentially Oxfords with a touch of broguing around the throat, saddle shoes are a great compromise between casual and formal. We love how GH Bass have blended canvas with tan leather to create a very stylish yet laid-back shoe for casual wear.

How To Wear

Saddles shoes are inherently dressier than most casual shoes. However, they’re by no means formal. These are great in the spring and early summer before it gets too hot and can be easily introduced into your business casual wardrobe.

Best Colors

With many two-tone options, you can seek out unique mixes that will pair with your existing wardrobe. The cream and tan option is the easiest to wear but you can also consider blue and white or navy and brown if you’re feeling daring.

5. Samuel Windsor Prestige Whitworth Spectators

Samuel-Windsor-Prestige-Whitworth-Spectator
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Overview

For the eccentric gentleman, we heartily recommend some stylish two-tone brogues known as spectators. Blending rustic style with urban tastes, those created by Samuel Windsor are an elegant choice with a contemporary yet elegant finish.

How To Wear

Dressier than saddle shoes, you can incorporate Spectators into a casual wardrobe seamlessly if you retain a slight touch of flair. Fitted jeans with a matching belt would be perfect as would chinos or even wool trousers.

Best Colors

Things can get pretty crazy as far as spectators are concerned. From black and white monochrome to tans, burgundies and other leathers against rich colours, the sky’s the limit! However, we’re very fond of the tan and navy offering from Samuel Windsor as it retains a sense of elegance.

6. Adidas Original Stan Smith Sneakers

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Overview

Sneakers need no introduction and are the most popular choice of footwear in production. We’re particular fans of Adidas’ classic Stan Smith tennis shoes as they’re much easier to wear casually than traditionally athletic footwear.

How To Wear

As one of the most casual default options that you can opt for, Stan Smiths tend to go best with jeans and a t-shirt. However, don’t feel that you can’t step it up with chinos and a shirt. A white shirt will complement the classic design nicely with khaki in between for a splash of colour.

Best Colors

Generally, Stan Smith sneakers tend to come in white with a small colour accent, which can be red, blue or green. We’re quite fond of the latter as it adds a sense of fresh contrast. This makes it easier to pair and wear with a variety of styles.

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7. Allen Edmonds Tate Chelsea Boots

Allen-Edmonds-Tate-Chelsea-Boot
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Overview

If you’re looking for a dressy boot that you can just slip on when leaving the house, Chelseas may be just right for you. The Tate model from Allen Edmonds offers premium comfort without skimping on style for a modernised variation on the 1960s classic.

How To Wear

Although Chelsea boots can be worn more formally, they’re a very versatile choice and can be paired with just about anything. From jeans to chinos, you’ll be free to wear them with whatever works according to their leather.

Best Colors

Whilst Suede is the most casual option, it’s also one of the most expensive. Therefore, unless you’re feeling particularly wealthy, we highly recommend a versatile brown that can be worn both casually and even incorporated into some business wear.

8. Clarks Atticus Limit Chukka Boots

Clark's Blue Nubuck Chukka Boot
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Overview

A type of Chukka boot first pioneered by Clarks back in the late 1940s, desert boots are an ideal everyday choice. Today, our favourite desert boot still comes from the original manufacturer but with an updated style.

How To Wear

Great with jeans and chinos, any type of Chukka boot is best worn casually. Although at a push you could make it work for business casual attire, it’s not the best choice. Instead, wear these in a relaxed and laid-back fashion when out running errands or meeting up with friends.

Best Colors

A light tan is the classic color option for desert boots. However, we’re very fond of the navy blue Atticus Limits from Clarks. A strip of tan welt and grey soles make these very eye-catching and easy to pair with many casual outfits.

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9. Rockport Darwyn Cross Band Slides

Rockport Brown Leather Mens Sandals
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Overview

For the bohemians in the room that don’t like material between their toes, slides are a solid option. Ideal particularly during the summer, these quality-made and durable slides feature two leather bands that cross over the sole for a firm but comfortable fit.

How To Wear

Decidedly casual even if they feature leather for a touch of class, slides are best worn with shorts or jeans. At a push, you could try chinos but only in the most laid-back scenarios such as a barbecue or pool party.

Best Colors

Slides can come in various hues of brown when made from leather or any colour when plastic. What we like about brown leather is that they add a bit of flair, which makes them easier to wear with something dressy. However, they can be worn just as well as casually as you’d like.

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10. Olukai Pikoi Flip Flops

Brown Leather Olukai Men's Flip Flops
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Overview

What do you call a Frenchman on the beach? Philippe Flop! Although some shoe snobs may cry out in anguish for including a pair in this list, we love OluKai’s so-called Pikoi slippers. Very comfortable to wear, they’ve also achieved the impossible by manufacturing a stylish flip-flop.

How To Wear

Best reserved for days on the beach or at a barbecue, these flip flops could even be passable with cotton trousers whilst strolling along the coastline. However, do try to refrain from wearing these with a dinner jacket no matter how stylish they are!

Best Colors

Available in black, dark brown and “ray”, which is a dark tan, there’s a fair choice available. We prefer the mid-brown ray colour as not only are they easier to wear, they’ll age better when dragged through the sand on the beach.

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What Do We Mean By Casual Shoes?

red white and blue saddle shoeFor our purposes, “casual” shoes refer to any shoe that you wouldn’t wear to work unless your office was so casual that it had no dress code, or a shoe that’s highly ornamented or has multiple colors.

Shoes made of materials like canvas, suede, and nubuck are also typical of casual shoes, as are ones with rubber as a significant part of the construction.

For instance, you could consider Boat Shoes are listed above. Quintessential New England American style, boat shoes are simple two-eyelet shoes with siped rubber soles. Also known as “deck shoes,” these were worn by the likes of JFK and other members of the New England elite.

Alternatively, driving shoes are exceptionally comfortable, slipper-like casual loafers with rubber nubs acting as the sole. Another style that’s excellent sockless, it pairs well with casual trousers, shorts, and denim. It can also be worn in more casual business casual offices.

White STan Smith Sneakers With JeansHowever you may be more tempted by dressier options such as saddle shoes and spectators. These maintain their casual air by virtue of their color scheme. Whilst saddle shoes have contrasting leather on the throat, spectators will use two-tone broguing for a similar effect.

Nevertheless, you may consider boots instead such as the Chelsea or Chukka. Both are great with jeans or khakis and add some extra robustness whilst retaining a desired dramatic flair

When in doubt, there are always sneakers. The ones we’re talking about are not for athletics, but rather ones you’d wear to a casual brunch, out shopping, or something of that nature.

Finally, when things get warm, you can always choose between flip flops, slides or even Espadrilles, which are becoming quite common in the USA.

Best Materials For Men’s Casual Shoes

To maintain a casual air about your footwear, it’s best to avoid materials that are overly shiny. And though we are huge proponents of proper shoe care, a couple of scuff here and there on a casual shoe can add a bit of character.

Below, we go over our preferred (and not preferred) materials for casual men’s shoes.

Preferred

Pebbled Leather: This is regular leather that looks like it’s covered in small pebbles of various sizes. It’s an excellent material for casual shoes. Its texture lends it visual interest while removing any stuffiness that a full dress shoe may have.

Furthermore, while still technically porous, pebbled leather tends to hold up better than other eathers if you get caught in the rain.

J Fitz Tan Boot Leather Pebbled

Suede: Suede, or reverse calf, is the underside of a cow’s skin and is known for its characteristic nap. A staple of casual men’s shoes, suede footwear looks fantastic when dressed down with jeans or casual trousers. A good rule of thumb is this: the more pronounced the suede’s nap, the more casual the shoe.

canvas on shoeCanvas: Canvas shoes, while generally limited to spring and summer shoes, are the epitome of casual footwear. Typically seen on sneakers and espadrilles, canvas shoes are lightweight and pliable. Throw them on with shorts, jeans, or casual pants.

Not Preferred

Calfskin: Calfskin is your standard smooth leather. While there are plenty of good-looking casual calfskin shoes on the market, we list it as “not preferred.” This isn’t a knock against calfskin, but rather to say that if you’re looking for a truly casual shoe, there are materials that do the job better than calfskin.

Patent Leather: Smooth, extremely shiny, and stiff, patent leather shoes are typically worn with tuxedos. As this is the antithesis of casual wear, it makes no sense to own a casual patent leather shoe.

Best Colors For Casual Shoes

There are a multitude of colors in which shoes are made (and you can check out our shoe & trouser coordination guide for a comprehensive list of what they are and how to best pair them), but not all of them truly work for “dress” shoes.

Below, we’ve organized them by Ideal, Acceptable, and Avoid:

Ideal

Red Boat Shoes With White LacesBright Colors: If you have a flair for color (and we have an entire color guide for you if you’d like to develop one), casual shoes are a great way to express that. Red, orange, yellow, purple, green, you name it – these colors all fly for casual shoes. Just be sure that you’re wearing them in an environment where it’s appropriate to do so!

If you’re curious about how to pair these colors and others with whatever trousers you own, check out our shoe & trouser coordination guide.

White: Though only for summer wear (or year-round wear if you live in a warm climate), white shoes are quintessentially casual, even when made in a dressy style. White bucks -nubuck bluchers with red EVA rubber soles- are a very popular American style.

Tan: Another typical spring and summer color, tan’s lightness of tone makes it a very casual shoe. Try a pair of tan boat shoes with shorts or tan drivers with jeans, and make sure to omit your socks when doing so.

Acceptable

Brown: Brown shoes are incredibly versatile and make a great choice for a casual shoe, and there are a million different shades to choose from.

Avoid

Black: Yes, casual black shoes are indeed for sale on the market. You might even own a pair of black sneakers or casual boots. That said, it’s still our feeling that black is best reserved for a dressy shoe, as its formality is more in sync with such styles.

What Next?

Building a collection of casual shoes is a fun project when you know what you’re looking for. Hopefully this guide is helpful to you in that regard.

Now that you know how to begin your casual shoe collection, check out our recommendations for other situations:

Bespoke Unit Casual Shoe Guide
Reviewed by Nick R., on .
"Just what I needed! I found just the type of shoes I was looking for in this list."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

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