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Before You Buy: How to Pick the Best Sneakers for Men


A good style starts with a good foundation. One of the cornerstones of a smart–casual style is, in my mind, a decent pair of sneakers.

The best sneakers for men are classic sneakers. The simple low-top design and canvas material make them both easy to wear and very versatile.

Even though GQ and Esquire have made a big deal of telling you that you can wear sneakers with a suit, my advice is the complete opposite.

Use sneakers for what they are: awesome everyday shoes that look best with a pair of jeans or shorts, topped off with a tee and leather jacket or a shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

In this article, we’ll have a closer look at how you can find the perfect pair of sneakers for you.

The Best Sneakers for Men: Casual Sneakers or Limited-Edition Kicks?

First off, sneakers aren’t just Chuck Taylors from Converse.

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On the contrary, with the popularity of sneakers being higher than ever, every single brand on the planet has jumped on the bandwagon and created its own version of the perfect lace-up sneaker.

The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing sneakers is to buy casual ones, not trainers designed for activity and sport. So instead of getting LeBron’s latest signature sneakers, go for something that will still look good in five to 10 years.

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In short, the best sneakers for men are low-key, low-top classic sneakers.

These Sneaker Colours for Men Are Most Practical

When it comes to colours, the sky’s the limit.

For your first pair, avoid white sneakers, as white shoes are better for daytime activities.

Meaning that in most cases, they’ll look out of place if worn after 6 p.m.

Sneakers in other neutral colours, such as navy and black, are easy to wear with multiple outfits.

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Also, finding a matching belt becomes a lot easier when you’re wearing neutral shoes.

I talk about belts at length in “Belts for Men: The 3 Secrets to Picking the Right Belt.” In short, you should own at least two belts: a dress belt and a casual belt.

Each belt should match your shoe colour and, ideally, your shoe material. So for your casual belt, pick a canvas style in the same colour as your sneakers.

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Sneaker Materials for Men: Which Is Best?

Typical material options are:

  • Synthetics
  • Canvas
  • Leather

Synthetic sneakers have many advantages.

They’re lightweight, durable, and come in an endless variety of colours. They’re also relatively easy to clean because you don’t have to worry about colour bleeding, shrinkage, or water stains.

The only downside is that synthetic looks, well, synthetic and can be hard to find in classic sneaker brands like Vans and Converse.

Leather is easy to clean and durable.

However, leather is also heavier than the other material types listed above, and often bulkier. The limited colour range is another aspect that might steer many sneakerheads away from choosing leather sneakers for men.

So, as for the material, know that you simply can’t go wrong with canvas. It’s light, lets your feet breathe, dries quickly, and is easy to clean.

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Plus, you can buy canvas sneakers literally everywhere.

Related article: This is how I easily clean my canvas shoes.

The Two Most Popular Sneaker Styles for Men

What overall look you go for is for you to decide. Usually, we distinguish between plimsolls and regular sneakers.

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Plimsolls have a white rubber edge around the bottom of the shoe – typical of Vans and Converse sneakers.

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Regular sneakers have a subtler, dressier look, with their inconspicuous sole.

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Both types usually have either black or white flat cotton laces, although coloured laces aren’t uncommon.

Final Thoughts on the Best Sneakers for Men

That’s the overall basics of quality sneakers. The colour, brand, and price range is up to you.

Keep in mind that sneakers are one of the best kinds of shoes to wear with jeans. If you live in denims, you’ll want at least one pair of sneakers in your closet.

All I can say is that I love my sneakers. And because they’re relatively affordable compared with boots and dress shoes, both you and I can have several pairs.

Because I realised something a long time ago: with cool canvas sneakers, it’s hard to pick a favourite.

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