Summer, more so than any other season, is a time in which your choice of footwear proves paramount to the success of your outfit. Of course, sneakers will suffice in most cases, and they do deserve a spot in your warm-weather rotation. However, wearing them day after day isn’t just a fashion faux pas; it also comes with a host of unwanted compromises. Because let’s face it: whether you’re hitting the beach or heading into the office, you’re going to want something a bit more appropriate for the environment. In the case of the former, those crusty old kicks will be spilling sand everywhere for weeks on end. And when it comes to the latter, chances are pretty good that your workplace doesn’t want “casual Fridays” becoming an everyday occurrence.
Thankfully, the market for summer shoes is always growing, meaning there’s bound to be something out there that jives with your signature style whilst providing you with an option fit for the occasion. And while it would be a daunting task to sort through everything for yourself, the good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. On the contrary, as we’ve put together this handy guide to give you a cross-section of what the industry has to offer. So, no matter if you’re looking for some slick adidas slides, a pair of suave Scarosso espadrilles, or even some classy Common Projects sneakers, rest assured that our guide has you covered. Having looked high and low for the best summer shoes you can buy, here are a handful that we believe to be the cream of the crop.
Adidas Adilette Slides
The Adilette is a slide that’s transcended style right from the very beginning, for even though it was originally intended for athletes, it’s since become a staple throughout mainstream menswear. And it’s for good reason; between the soft, quick-drying PU upper and the cushy, contoured footbed, it’s easily one of the most comfortable open-toed options on the market. It also comes in a grip of different colorways, making it super easy to find one that matches your particular tastes.
Vans Trek Slip On
If you’re after some adventure-ready kicks that can handle anything your day has in store, these Vans Trek Slip-Ons are the shoes for you. Equally at home on the beach or in and around town, they come fully rinse-able with a durable, single-piece injected rubber construction. Oh, and like all of Vans’ sneakers, the style is on-point, with a deconstructed checkerboard pattern upper for drainage and a reverse waffle outsole for extra grip.
Todd Snyder The Great Outdoors Jack Purcell
Though Todd Snyder has been working in men’s fashion for over a decade, the eponymous label only recently linked up with Converse for the first time. This polished pair of Jack Purcells is one of the footwear options to result from the collab, bringing with it a recycled poly-canvas upper and some nature-inspired striped webbing. The best part of the shoes, however, has to be their plush OrthoLite footbed, as it makes for a marked improvement over the classic sneaker silhouette.
Nike ACG Air Deschütz +
In case you’ve missed it, technical sandals are one of the hottest trends in menswear at the moment, and it’s easy to see why when you consider this ACG option. A truly versatile shoe that can handle some time in the city just as comfortably as a stint off the beaten path, the Air Deschütz + is a perfect pick for those who want to give their rotation a bit of utilitarian functionality. And here’s the thing — with their integrated Zoom Air unit and their drop-in footbed, these make for an option with foot support in spades.
Scarosso Pablo Blue Suede
Between their breezy fit and casual style, espadrilles are practically synonymous with the season. When it comes to this pair from Scarosso, you’re getting the brand’s classic Pablo cut, a beautiful blue suede construction, as well as a traditional rope sole and tread. We’d recommend them with a pair of short chino shorts or some loose linen pants, but there are really no wrong moves once you put these puppies on.
Embrace your inner nature hippie and treat your feet to some comfort with a pair of Birkenstocks. This classic two-strap Arizona silhouette is ideal for summer, since it provides all of the same orthopedic benefits of the clogs, albeit in a far cooler (not to mention more stylish) package for summer temps. For those who aren’t familiar with Birks — they’ll only get better as the leather straps and EVA bed mold to your feet.
Clarks Desert Boot
While we wouldn’t say that most boots are suitable for summer wear, this is one option that proves an exception to the rule. Based on Nathan Clark’s original 1950 Desert Boot design, they feature a premium suede upper, a sustainably sourced crepe sole, as well as a simple, four-eyelet lace fastening. With their minimalist aesthetic and signature style, this is one pair of boots that is sure to add some class to any outfit. Should you subscribe to a vegan lifestyle, Clarks even makes an option that’s completely animal-friendly.
Mohinders Woven Leather Shoe
Level up your summer wardrobe with this pair of woven sandals from Mohinders. Handmade in Athani, India by a cooperative of master shoemakers, their all-leather construction means that they’ll only get softer as they continue to break in. What’s more, because of their oil and beeswax finish, each pair comes with its own distinctive patina to you give a look that’s unique unto its own.
If you’re looking for a travel shoe that’s durable, comfortable, and as stylish as they come, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Sabah. Between their hard-wearing leather cowhide upper and their continuous stitching, they make for some of the longest-lasting slip-ons you can buy. Better still, though, is that once the rubber sole wears out, it’s incredibly simple to swap in a new pair. Put another way, these are shoes that you buy for life.
Though Salomon’s XT-6 was originally designed for ultra-distance athletes pounding out heavy mileage, it’s since become a staple within the world of streetwear on account of its technical proficiency. Secured by the brand’s trademark QuickLace system and riding on a layer of soft EVA foam, it makes for a perfect adventure-ready hiker because of its downhill lug pattern and abrasion-resistant upper. Rock ’em around town or hit the trail — the XT-6 is one shoe that can take it all in stride.
Rancourt And Co Beefroll Penny Loafers
In contrast to most loafers that are stiff, uncomfortable, and ill-fitting, Rancourt And Co.’s Beefroll is one option that’s actually kind to your feet. That’s because they’re cut from Horween Chromexcel leather, a hide that’s been tanned with a special blend of natural oils and waxes in order to make it extra soft and flexible. But that’s not all; the leather also features a unique self-polishing property in which a quick wipe with a cloth will have it looking good as new.
Yuketen Sal 1
These ultra-luxe clog sandals are handmade in Portugal using nothing but the most premium silky cow suede sourced from Tuscany. Because they come with a 3D-molded footbed through the toes, the arch, and the heel cup, they not only fit securely but also lessen foot fatigue over a long day. And since they ride on a dual-layer jute and crepe sole, they offer some pretty respectable shock-absorption along with some impressive slip-resistance to boot.
Tod’s Gommino Nubuck Driving Shoes
Although we’d all like to be speeding through the Italian countryside in an iconic open-topped classic, unfortunately, that’s an opportunity that only a few will have. With these driving shoes, you can at least look the part, as they come crafted from a supple nubuck with some grippy rubber studs. If you really want to dress for the dream, we’d recommend pairing them with some chinos, a linen shirt, and your favorite pair of Persols — you’ll be oozing with old-school cool. Unfortunately, though, we can’t help you source a 280SL.
Common Projects Retro Low Leather Sneakers
Last but not least are these sweet leather sneakers from Common Projects. At $465 per pair, they’re definitely on the spendier side; however, the brand practically owns this silhouette, and this is a style that’s gone on to become an instantly recognizable classic. Oh, and, as with any white sneaker, the best part about them is that they go with basically everything. Good thing too; between the upscale aesthetic and the comfy construction, you’ll never want to take ’em off.
The Best Men’s Sandals For The Summer Season
While we’ve presented you with plenty of worthwhile warm-weather footwear options here, they’re a mere fraction of what the market has to offer. If you’re looking for more open-toed essentials, be sure to check out our guide to the best men’s sandals for summer.