The oversaturated sneaker market makes choosing the right pair of shoes for the modern man harder than ever. Where does one even begin? After speaking to several leading foot specialists, we learned it all starts with support, but sturdiness and style also play a part. And when it comes to travelers hurrying from the plane to the hotel to exhibits, restaurants, and late nights, the need for versatility and comfort is key.
For a men’s sneaker that’s supportive, stylish, and can take you from long travel days to a night out on the town, the New Balance 990v6 is our top overall choice. But if you’re looking for something sustainable, stylish, or simply with a more retro feel, read on for our picks for the best sneakers for men in 2023.
New Balance 990v6 Sneakers
Why We Love It: From morning runs to a casual night out, this sneaker manages to go everywhere and stays comfortable and stylish.
What to Consider: While undeniably cool, they simply won’t work in fancier settings.
I’ve carried my running shoes in the water bottle pockets on the outside of my backpack just so I’d have a second pair for morning runs. Frankly, finding a shoe you can run in and take out to dinner continues to be one of my biggest traveling challenges. But everyone’s favorite dad shoe may have just fixed the problem. There’s a reason dads wear New Balance: they’re comfortable, reliable, and you can do just about anything in them. Now, the shoes are undeniably in vogue and on the feet of everyone from creative directors to models. Last winter, the classic dad sneaker launched its latest version which returns to its running roots, giving them even more versatility.
Price at time of publish: $200
The Details: 7 to 16, X-Narrow to XX-Wide | Pigskin and synthetic overlays, mesh underlay | 13.2 ounces
Brooks Men’s Ghost 15 Running Shoes
Why We Love It: The classic running shoe seems to only get better with age and is as good for long distance runs as it is for comfort on the plane.
What to Consider: The shoe tends to run narrow, so be wary of size choices if you have a wider foot.
Brooks is a classic running brand loved by marathon trainers that continues to improve with time. Today, the Brooks Ghost 15 sneakers come in a wide variety of colors and are great for getting around town, plus they’re appropriately priced for their quality and value. They’re also great for training while on the go.
Price at time of publish: $140
The Details: 7 to 15, 1D to 2E | 57 percent recycled materials | 11.3 ounces
Best Arch Support
Hoka Men’s Gaviota 4
Why We Love It: These stylish and supportive walkers are great for a variety of activities.
What to Consider: They are a bit bulky and some shoppers find them tight in the toe.
A relative newcomer by shoe standards, Hoka has made a huge splash since hitting the market less than 15 years ago. Hokas across the board are known for their arch support, and the Gavoita 4 takes things to the next level. Removable insoles also allow you to add customized support if you need it.
Price at time of publish: $170
The Details: 7 to 15, D or EE | Mesh, foam, durabrasion rubber, recycled polyester laces, rubberized EVA | 1.6 pounds
Adidas Samba Classic
Why We Love It: Always stylish and versatile, this shoe has a casual cool that stands the test of time.
What to Consider: While featuring an athletic look, these shoes aren’t made for morning runs or more strenuous athletic activities.
This classic soccer sneaker never seems to go out of style. For decades, they’ve been the casual choice when looking for a shoe that can go anywhere. One of my favorite things about Sambas is the plethora of options when it comes to styles and colors that all manage to be both simple and imaginative. There’s even a vegan version.
Price at time of publish: Starting at $75
The Details: 7.5 to 14 | Leather, suede, gum rubber outsole | 11.8 ounces
Allbirds Mens Tree Dasher 2
Why We Love It: From light morning workouts to crosstown walks, these shoes are good for getting you anywhere you need to be.
What to Consider: They aren’t made for continuous intense workouts.
Stylishly simple with good arch support and very breathable, the latest edition of Allbirds’ Tree Dasher sneakers can do just about anything. Even better for the environmentally conscious, Allbirds is a certified Climate Neutral company, which means you can look good without feeling guilty about your purchase.
Price at time of publish: $135
The Details: 8 to 14 | Eucalyptus tree blend, recycled plastic bottles, merino wool, castor bean oil-based foam | 10.2 ounces
Best Basketball Sneaker
Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid
Why We Love It: These basketball sneakers never go out of style, and have enough arch support to wear every day.
What to Consider: They can take a little while to break in, so make sure to wear them in properly before heading on any long walks.
The shoe that started it all. It doesn’t get much more classic for basketball sneakers than the AJ1. Each year a few new colorways hit the market and get snatched up faster than a fadeaway. They’re cool and surprisingly good for walking with better arch support than one might expect from a retro design.
Price at time of publish: $125
The Details: 7 to 18 | Leather, synthetic leather and textile upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | 14.2 ounces
Adidas Forum 84 High Shoe
Why We Love It: Irresistibly cool with a retro ‘80s feel, these high tops can actually support an entire day on your feet.
What to Consider: Only released a few times per year, they can be hard to find.
It’s not every day you find a pair of high tops that actually support your feet, but these do. Adidas went all out when putting Forum 84s together and the price point isn’t bad in comparison to other stylish sneakers. There are also a variety of colors available.
Price at time of publish: $130
The Details: 5 to 14 | Full grain leather upper, textile lining, rubber cupsole | 1.1 pounds
Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
Why We Love It: These designer sneakers are as cool as they come, with a cult-like following that features some of the world’s trendiest people.
What to Consider: They are not made for more strenuous activities.
Over the past few years, Common Projects gained cult status among sneakerheads and design-focused people looking for simple lines and solid construction. If you want something truly fashionable that won’t fall apart during daily walks and can also be worn at the nicest restaurants and bars in town, these will certainly do the trick.
Price at time of publish: $465
The Details: 6 to 13 | Leather, rubber soles | 1.4 pounds
Maison Margiela Replica Low Top Sneaker
Why We Love It: These are the pinnacle of street-meets-high-fashion sneakers. If you’re ever going to splurge on a pair of shoes simply because of their history, these are them.
What to Consider: At this price point, you could get four or five other sneakers you really love and it may keep you from wearing them around too much.
When street style went high fashion, it was with these Maison Margiela sneakers. Affectionately known as GATs (German Army Trainers), these replicas of Austrian sport shoes from the 1970s are the epitome of cool. While certainly not for every occasion, these shoes suggest you know what you’re talking about when it comes to the sneaker game.
Price at time of publish: $540
The Details: 6 to 13 | Calf leather, cotton, rubber
Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star
Why We Love It: They’re true classics that look good anywhere.
What to Consider: A lack of arch support and tight netting means spending long hours walking in these could lead to some foot pain.
Almost everyone has had a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. They are true icons in the sneaker world and can be paired with just about anything. They come in high-tops or low-tops, tons of colors, and you can even customize your own pair. The only problem with being a classic is that shoe technology has advanced a lot over the years, which makes these less comfortable than other options when choosing something to spend an entire day in.
Price at time of publish: $65
The Details: 3 to 18 | Canvas upper, rubber sole | 7.9 ounces
Puma Clyde OG Sneakers
Why We Love It: An icon from the Puma vaults, this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of these classic sneakers.
What to Consider: They’re made for looking good, but not for intense activity.
Puma is celebrating 50 years of their Clyde shoe (also 50 years since Walt “Clyde” Frazier led the New York Knicks to their last NBA championship), which makes these sneakers a truly unique offering for 2023. They come in three colors – including a beautiful cherry red – and have a classic, retro cool that’s hard to match.
Price at time of publish: $110
The Details: 4 to 14 | Suede upper, rubber outsole | 11.9 ounces
Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Shoes
Why We Love It: They’re good looking shoes that will stay comfortable all day long.
What to Consider: These aren’t made for intense activities.
Whether you’re looking for something all white or white with a splash of color, a well-crafted shoe made from leather tends to stand the test of time; add in heel-cross reinforcement for better stability and you’re looking at a sneaker that’s comfortable to wear all day. Asics was founded on the principle of Anima Sana In Corpore Sano – a sound mind in a sound body – and few shoes embrace that thought process as well as the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66.
Price at time of publish: $130
The Details: 6 to 13 | Leather, Ortholite® sockliner | 11 ounces
New Balance Men’s 1540v3 Sneakers
Why We Love It: These shoes can go the distance, which can make all the difference on a busy travel day.
What to Consider: The toe box is a bit smaller than in the v2 and they wear down faster.
These shoes can get you anywhere on a busy travel day. Whether it’s a morning jog followed by miles trekking from site to site, or a tapas crawl that runs late into the evening, these New Balance sneakers were made to keep you comfortable and supported no matter how much ground you cover. They offer the perfect balance of support and comfort with two layers of performance foam, and they come in two colors.
Price at time of publish: $180
The Details: 7 to 16, X-Narrow to XX-Wide | 50 percent synthetic, 50 percent mesh, rubber sole | 14.7 ounces
Best for Weight Lifting
Reebok Nano X2 Training Shoes
Why We Love It: More versatile than most weightlifting shoes, they’ll also work for some cross-training workouts.
What to Consider: There’s not enough support for long runs or a day’s worth of errands that take you across town.
Not a lot of weightlifting shoes are also good for CrossFit activities, so when it comes to versatility, the Reebok Nano X2 is a pretty unique prospect. It performs at its best during high-level strength and balance exercises, but isn’t as functional as a running shoe.
Price at time of publish: $135
The Details: 4 to 14.5 | Woven textile upper, rubber outsole | 10.2 ounces
On Running Cloud X 3 Shoes
Why We Love It: Light, breathable, and stylish, these Swiss sneakers are great for running.
What to Consider: Bendable and without too much support, they can get a bit uncomfortable when worn for extended periods.
These sneakers are super lightweight and very breathable, which makes them great on the plane or for light morning runs. They come in seven stylish colors and are extremely versatile and packable. Note, however, that these don’t provide a ton of support, so be wary of using them on longer runs or full days spent on your feet.
Price at time of publish: $150
The Details: 7 to 14 | Textile and synthetic upper, textile lining, rubber and synthetic sole | 8.5 ounces
Nike Air Force 1 ’07 Sneaker
Why We Love It: This classic and versatile style is perfect for nearly any occasion.
What to Consider: The heel may slip a bit, so make sure they fit properly before taking them out for a pick-up game.
Dress these sneakers up or down, Nike Air Force 1s have always been able to go just about anywhere. Since first being introduced in 1982, little has changed about these shoes, which gives them a timeless appeal. Even professional basketball players can still be seen rocking these on the court, which makes their versatility undeniable.
Price at time of publish: $110
The Details: 6 to 18, X-Narrow to XX-Wide | Leather, foam midsole | 15.3 ounces
Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
Why We Love It: High quality and versatile, these sneakers boast a classic retro style that stands the test of time.
What to Consider: The sole can be a bit hard and they run small, so you’ll want to size up.
First launched back in 1965, this sneaker has stood the test of time and now comes in a huge variety of options. Every few years I come across a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths that have a new unique touch I can’t help but buy. Even better, they can stay in my closet for years and never go out of style.
Price at time of publish: $100
The Details: 4 to 14 | Leather upper, leather lining, rubber midsole and outsole | 12 ounces
Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
Why We Love It: Light, breathable, and well-priced, these shoes are great for short, wet hikes.
What to Consider: The quality isn’t made to last.
It’s not easy to find a pair of sneakers that are lightweight, breathable, and good for hiking, but that’s just what these are. These are also great in water, so you don’t have to worry about rain or streams, and they’re available for a pretty unbeatable price. These are a great option if you need something easy and budget friendly in a pinch.
Price at time of publish: from $26
The Details: 7 to 14 | Fabric and mesh
Tips for Buying Men’s Sneakers
According to Dr. Bob Baravarian, Director at University Foot and Ankle Institute in Los Angeles, the misconception people often have is that the softer and more cushioning a sneaker has on the sole, the better their feet will feel. But in reality, there needs to be a balance between the stability and the cushioning of the shoe. He recommends looking to see if you can bend a shoe in half or twist it out like a sponge; if you can, then it’s not stable enough to support you properly and won’t keep you comfortable in the long run.
Make sure to get the proper fit
Dr. Thomas Lim, podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at The Sunset Foot Clinic in California, finds the biggest problem in picking the correct sneaker is that as we get older, we often stop measuring our feet. He finds that to be especially true when it comes to the sides of the foot. He compares it to someone wearing jeans that are too tight, which causes discomfort in the mid section. People tend to wear shoes that are too narrow, he says, and if you look at a shoe from straight ahead, you can see the big toe and the pinky toe bulging out. So be sure to measure your feet to make sure you’re choosing the correct size to get the best fit.
Consider how you plan to use your sneakers
If you’re a runner, you’ll want to opt for running shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and good for getting around all day. If you’re just looking for something stylish, you might opt for a more versatile sneaker like Nike’s Air Force 1s, that are supportive enough for the day but can also be worn out at night.
Find the right balance between style and comfort
If you don’t think your sneakers are stylish enough to take you where you want to go, you’re less likely to wear them. The same goes for comfort – if your sneakers aren’t comfortable, they probably won’t be your first choice when packing for a trip. Make sure when picking out a pair of shoes that they both look and feel good before purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wear sneakers to fancy establishments?
While certainly not always the case, today, sneakers can be found in some of the world’s fanciest and hippest establishments. However, it’s never a bad idea to check ahead as there are still some old-school locales that do not allow sneakers.
What makes for a high quality sneaker?
It all comes down to the materials and the stitching when talking about quality. When searching for shoes that will last, look for things like premium leather and good seams. These will help your shoes last longer.
Should I size up or down for sneakers?
If you’re planning on being on your feet for extended periods of time, then it’s safe to wear shoes that are a half size bigger. This is because our feet tend to swell when we spend prolonged time standing or walking around. Much bigger than that, though, will have you feeling uncomfortable and unsupported.
How do I wash sneakers?
Not all shoes can be put in the washing machine, so you’ll want to check your specific pair’s care instructions before doing anything else. For those that can be washed, however, you can place your sneakers in a closed mesh bag with the laces and insoles removed. Next, make sure to choose a gentle, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin setting. Together, these tricks will help keep your favorite shoes intact and your washer in working order.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure writers are experts when it comes to traveling, walking, and sightseeing in comfort. For this story, writer Christopher Friedmann, a frequent traveler who has climbed mountains on three continents and reviewed many of the world’s top bars and restaurants, evaluated sneakers from top brands and spoke with prominent podiatrists, including Dr. Thomas Lim, podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at The Sunset Foot Clinic in California, and Dr. Bob Baravarian, Director at University Foot and Ankle Institute in Los Angeles, California.
Related: The 10 Best Men’s Travel Pants of 2023
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