Style/ Beauty

20 Cool Shoes For Men – Casual and Formal Picks For 2023

When it comes to cool shoes for men, how do you hold up? Are you a certified sneakerhead? Or do you prefer to strut your stuff in classic black Oxfords? Whatever way you swing, if you’ve found yourself reading this, chances are you’re a big fan of footwear.

But just because your favorite Instagrammer owns thousands of pairs, there’s no need for you to be rocking these sorts of numbers. In fact, I’d highly recommend streamlining your collection to a much more manageable rotation (that you’ll actually get to wear).

To help make your shoe shopping easier, I’ll take you through the brands you should be looking out for. Plus, highlight the must-have styles that are worth the money.

Key Takeaways

Do you know your high-tops from your hiking boots? How about your loafers from your lace-ups? In this guide, I’ll be providing you with the names of the best brands in the shoemaking business (some you may have heard of, others perhaps not).

From Axel Arigato to Nike, you’ll get to know where to buy cool men’s shoes, plus what styles should be added to your wardrobe.

Our Top Picks

a tall man wearing a casual outfit
sesagyemang / Instagram

Oliver Cabell - Low 1

Using the finest materials and old-school techniques, Oliver Cabell has been offering fresh minimalist footwear since 2016. Better yet, they’ve done it without unnecessary markups and are totally transparent about how much it costs to make each pair. By doing this, the customer (that’s you) ends up with seriously cool shoes at a much fairer price.

From sneakers and slides to loafers and dress boots, the brand boasts a pretty impressive portfolio. Each style provides you with a bunch of outfit options—whether you’re dressing for work or the weekend. The Low 1 is perhaps the most popular design, and it doesn’t take a genius to see why. Sleek, versatile, and made from Italian leather, it can be worn with everything from shirts and polos to cargos and jeans.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 1 | Sizes: 5-15

Axel Arigato - Dice Lo

If you’re clued up on your sneakers, Axel Arigato needs no introduction. The forward-thinking label is one of the frontrunners in the footwear game and has been since its inception in 2014. Not one for following the norm, they use an innovative drop schedule to release one new style per week (so your next sneaker fix is never too far away).

The Dice Lo is an excellent everyday shoe, but with enough class to take you to evening dinners and trips to the bar. It’s crafted from leather and set on branded soles—made up of partly recycled rubber.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 10+ | Sizes: 7-14.5

Tropicfeel - Geyser Litli Bright White

In July 2016, Lucas de Gispert and Alberto Espinos were on a 25-day trip through Thailand. After endless hours of hiking, their shoes had fallen apart. Realizing there was a market for travel shoes that looked good but could withstand life on the road, they set up Tropicfeel. Determined to meet the needs of modern-day travelers, today they offer a large range of terrain sneakers with a strong focus on sustainability.

The Geyser is the label’s first travel shoe that blends thermoregulating recycled wool and a technical waterproof membrane. The ultimate hybrid, they offer the protection of rain boots, the comfort of sneakers, and the grip of hiking shoes. And while they’re designed for the great outdoors, they’ll look just as good in the city with your smart-casual outfits.

Material: 82% Recycled Nylon, 10.5% Recycled Elastane, 7.5% PU | Colors: 10 | Sizes: 6-12.5

Nike - Free Metcon 4 AMP

When reading through this list of the best cool shoes for men, you may be discovering a brand for the first time. Nike, however, needs no introduction. One of the biggest and most iconic labels in the world, the sportswear giant continuously comes up with some of the finest footwear in the game. And when it comes to must-have gym shoes, there’s no one better.

The Free Metcon 4 has been designed for guys who are big on functional fitness, whether you’re at the squat rack or carrying out some killer lunges. The chain-link mesh upper cools and flexes as you work up a sweat, while there’s support at the midfoot and heel to help you hit your personal best.

Material: Mesh Upper | Colors: 11 | Sizes: 6-15

Aurelien - Navy Beachside Loafer

Amsterdam-based brand Aurelien is out to prove that luxury doesn’t have to leave you broke. With a strong focus on timeless style and artisanal craftsmanship, they use natural raw materials to produce elegant essentials at an accessible price point. Alongside knitwear and leather goods, there’s Mediterranean-inspired footwear that brings the sun wherever you end up.

A must-have for your next city break or tropical vacation, the beachside loafer is actually a luxury espadrille that can pair with everything from slacks to shorts and khakis. Don’t worry if you’re not flying anywhere soon, they’ll look just as good as you head for lunch or a morning coffee.

Material: 100% Suede Upper | Colors: 10+ | Sizes: 7-12

Clae - Porter Knit Black Eggnog

Offering minimalism, quality, and comfort, Clae has been producing some super cool shoes for men since 2001. But they’re not just content with making fancy footwear that lasts. They proudly use upcycling, as well as organic, vegan, and innovative materials to reduce their environmental footprint.

From high-tops to water-repellent boots, their collection is full of versatile options. My favorite is the Porter—a perforated mesh slip-on style that’ll take you from beach parties to backyard barbeques. It’s breathable (so your feet won’t get hot), and the cork footbed and foam insole ensure the kind of comfort you require when on your feet for long periods.

Material: Recycled Mesh Upper | Colors: 3 | Sizes: 4-13

Crown Northampton - Woodford Desert Boot

First founded in 1908 as Earnest Woodford & Sons, Crown Northampton specializes in handmade footwear, including a collection of dress sneakers that could almost pass as your everyday dress shoes. All styles are made in the label’s UK factory, using traditional British construction methods and locally-sourced materials.

The Woodford desert boot would make a shrewd investment for any swanky dresser. A classic two-eyelet design, the tanned Kuda suede upper sits atop a durable crepe sole that is surprisingly lightweight and super comfy. It’ll lend a timeless feel to everyday ensembles but can also help give a relaxed vibe to casual tailoring.

Material: 100% Suede Upper | Colors: 4 | Sizes: 4-13

Morjas - The Penny Loafer Burgundy Calf

With one foot in Scandinavia and the other just outside the Mediterranean, Morjas is a Stockholm-based shoemaker that has been hand-making footwear in their family-owned Spanish factory since the 1920s. From boots to pumps and espadrilles, each pair takes around eight weeks to make and goes through over 60 dedicated working stations before ending up on your feet.

As tough as it is timeless, the penny loafer is one of the label’s finest works of art. Crafted from calf leather using the iconic Goodyear-welted construction, it’s the ultimate preppy staple that can be worn with everything from casualwear to your finest formal attire. You can choose from a variety of colors, but my favorite is burgundy.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 5 | Sizes: 5.5-13.5

Loci - LØCI NINE

As far as sustainable sneakers go, Loci is certainly leading the way. With an innovative approach to creating footwear, the label showcases a variety of eye-pleasing styles built on the promise of ethical practices and eco-friendly materials.

A bestseller season after season, the Loci Nine presents a water-resistant upper with a durable cork insole that feels like you’re walking on a cloud. Perfect for any smart-casual outfit, they’ll be your sartorial savior for garden parties, coffee dates, and everything in between.

Material: 95% Recycled Plastic, 5% Microfibre | Colors: 10+ | Sizes: 7-13

Birkenstock - Booss Soft Footbed

To say Birkenstock has a long history would be an understatement. The German brand has been around since 1774. However, until quite recently, they were more associated with the female demographic or dorky tourists teaming sandals with socks. Today, they’re as popular as ever—largely thanks to clogs.

Backless with soft soles and a rounded toe, clogs have gone from chefs’ kitchen to catwalk and can now be found on the feet of fashion influencers, sporting stars, and style icons. Essentially a smart slipper, they’re the very definition of functional footwear. But don’t go teaming them with your nightwear—wear these proudly with a cardigan, khakis, and a crew neck tee.

Material: 100% Suede Upper | Colors: 4 | Sizes: 6-13.5

Red Wing - Roughneck Heritage Style 8146

Named after the city in Minnesota where it was founded, Red Wing is the master of super tough, rugged boots that are built to last. Loved for their practicality, durability, and timeless style, they’re a hit with manual workers and style aficionados alike.

Part of the label’s Heritage collection, the Roughneck is a shin-grazing style with chunky soles and a 6-inch leather construction that offers unbeatable support and protection. True to its name, it’ll take all kinds of beating (from scuffs to heavy rain) and still be ready for action in years to come.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 1 | Sizes: 4-14

Converse - Chuck 70 Vintage Canvas

Whether you’re a sneaker fan or not, chances are you will have rocked a pair of Converse. Established in 1908, the OG of cool shoes for men has found its styles on the feet of pretty much every guy and gal in the land (and is widely regarded as the label that put high-tops on the map).

The Chuck 70 is the ultimate classic—promising to look great with pretty much anything in your wardrobe. You can wear them with jeans and a hoodie or rock some cargo shorts with a graphic tee.

Material: 100% Canvas Upper | Colors: 12 | Sizes: 3-13

New Balance 550

What started as a one-man band manufacturing arch supports eventually became a globally-recognized brand selling some of the best kicks money can buy. New Balance now boasts a super impressive collection of shoes, including a range of stylish sneakers for running, balling, and working out.

Once an icon on the courts, the 550 is now one of the most sought-after sneakers around. With its streamlined silhouette and eye-catching details, the 80s favorite has never felt so current. Pop them on with your sweats and an oversized tee, or take things smarter with jeans and a flannel shirt.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 3 | Sizes: 4-17

Tod’s Pantofola Gommino Nubuck Driving Shoes

Founded in 1900, Tod’s story started as a small shoe-making factory in Italy. Today, it’s most famous for its handmade Gommino driving shoes. A fine option for your warm-weather escapades, they’re made from the finest suede and finished with rubber pebbles on the soles.

This slip-on pair is made from velvety nubuck and feels like you’re putting on your softest slippers. But instead of pairing them with pajamas, you’ll want to wear these comfy shoes with slim-fitting jeans and a plain white tee.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 2 | Sizes: 7-13

Hoka - Mach 5

Motivating people to move is Hoka’s mission, and they’ve certainly succeeded if my Instagram feed is anything to go by. From runners to gym goers, everyone seems to have a pair of the super comfy, seriously cool sneakers.

The new Mach 5 is ready to rival the very best of pavement pounders. Sporting a mesh upper and stacked midsole setup, the result is a lightweight, responsive shoe that will help you perform to the best of your ability.

Material: Mesh Upper | Colors: 9 | Sizes: 7-14

Common Projects - Retro Low Leather Trimmed Suede Sneakers

Every well-rounded shoe collection needs a pair of designer sneakers. And if you’ve managed to save enough, you’d be wise to throw your money at Common Projects—a New York-based brand combining utilitarian design with the finest Italian construction.

The Retro Low probably looks familiar, as its all-round versatility has made it a popular choice for fashion editors, celebrities, and street style icons. Made from suede with a contrasting heel tab, this pair works equally well with sweatpants or casual tailoring.

Material: 100% Suede Upper | Colors: 3 | Sizes: 6-14

Uniform Standard - Triple Alloy Leather Men's

After spending almost two decades designing shoes for other brands, Georgina, Stewart, and Stephen decided to go it alone. In 2018, Uniform Standard was born—selling eco-friendly sneakers made in their East London studio. Streamlined, versatile, and easy to wear, the label’s kicks combine minimalist design with Italian leather and bespoke recycled components.

The Series 1 is one of the most attractive silhouettes, and the gray version is a fine addition to your rotation. Using premium calf leather uppers and a recycled rubber cupsole, the ridiculously sleek sneaker is as cool as they come.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 10+ | Sizes: 7-14

Artisan Lab - High Top Essential Sneakers

If clean lines and contemporary craftsmanship is your bag, then you’re going to be pleased I introduced you to Artisan Lab (if you hadn’t already heard of them, that is). A relative newcomer in the sneaker sphere, they were founded in 2019 by Riccardo Gismondi—a designer and former marketing consultant.

After deciding to set up shop on his own (with a little help from some of the best Italian artisans), the result was some seriously cool kicks, boots, and loafers that are functional and forever in style.

The label’s take on the high-top is right on the money. Free from unnecessary branding and hand-stitched, using a soft yet durable Italian calfskin. They’ll pair perfectly with jeans and a plain white tee, or you can dress them up with slacks and a fine knit jumper. If you like what you see, Gismondi recommends sizing down as the fit is quite generous.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 1 | Sizes: 8-13

Cobbler Union - Norwegian Brown Grain 358 Vibram

For most, bespoke shoes are nothing but a pipedream. Which is what the guys at Cobbler Union realized after spending three years making $4,000 footwear for a very distinguished clientele. So, what did they do about it? By shifting to a bespoke-inspired model, they were able to start offering a collection of luxury products at a far more reasonable price point.

Among their ever-growing portfolio is the Norwegian derby. A must-have for any true shoe aficionado, it’s made from pebble grain leather that’s been darkened by hand for a unique finish that gives it an almost vintage look. The soles are Italian Vibram for all-day comfort and durability.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 2 | Sizes: 7-13

Sunspel - Leather Slider

What was once worn to take you from the lockers to the shower has now become the essential summer shoe. Whether you’re on vacation or firing up the barbie, pool slides (or simply slides) are the ideal footwear choice for keeping you and your feet cool.

And while every man and his dog has made their own version, Sunspel’s pair is definitely worth a mention. The British brand has been on the scene since 1860 and is perhaps best known for creating some of the world’s first T-shirts. But not one to stand still, they now provide a tidy collection of footwear suitable for all kinds of occasions.

Material: 100% Leather Upper | Colors: 1 | Sizes: 7-11

man walking away from a plane
ahmadaserri12 / Instagram

What To Look For In Cool Shoes For Men

Style

Cool shoes come in many different forms. Which one you choose will largely depend on when you plan to wear them. For example, brown lace-ups are perfect for the office or a wedding, while high-tops are a must for casual looks. If you’re looking for ultimate versatility, you could opt for a pair of smart sneakers that can be worn with a wider variety of outfits.

Color

The color of your shoes is as much about versatility as it is personal preference. It’s good to pick a pair that you like, but how often will you get to wear them? If you’re looking to increase your outfit options, stick to classic colors such as black or brown. For sneakers, white is always a great choice.

Comfort

Whatever style of shoes you decide to invest in, it’s really important that they’re comfortable. This rings especially true if you’re going to wear them for long periods. To ensure you choose comfortable footwear, look out for features such as extra cushioning and materials like leather.

a pair of green dice lo sneakers
axelarigato / Instagram

Final Verdict

When shopping for cool shoes, it can be easy to find yourself endlessly scrolling through the overwhelming number of options. With this guide in hand, you should now be able to decipher the good from the bad.

And while I recommend investing in a selection of these styles, you may want to start with just one: Axel Arigato’s Dice Lo. The perfect everyday sneaker, it’s stylish, comfortable, and really versatile.

FAQ

    • From high-end kicks to swanky shoes, there are a plethora of footwear options trending right now. However, while some styles come and go, there are a few timeless designs that continue to come out on top. White sneakers, leather lace-ups, and pool slides are some of the most popular choices.

      • When it comes to cool shoes for men, sneakers are up there with the finest options on offer. If you’re looking for the best-selling kicks of all time, take a look at Nike’s Air Jordans and the Chuck Taylor from Converse.

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