Summer is here, fellas, which means it’s time to shelf the heavy pairs of Dr. Martens and gorpy hiking boots and exchange for some warm weather kicks. Now, as tempting as it may be to reach for a pair of flip flops or Keens, sandals for gents are generally only to be worn with socks—with the exception of Birkenstocks and Tevas, which are acceptable to wear toes-out with your vintage Grateful Dead shirt—and while they’re good for the beach, that’s essentially their only use. (Crocs actually serve as a much better beach shoe, but we’ll get to that.) Even the boardwalk proves to be treacherous terrain for sandals, where a stray piece of wood or nail can spell excruciating toe-wedgies or torn-up soles. Plus, we’ve got to go to work, on dates, and into other social situations where we don’t want our gnarly, unkempt feet on full display. Even for the pedicured among us, sometimes we’re just in the mood (and market) for a closed-toe summer shoe.
If your current summer footwear options are few and far between, we’re here to help. The best summer shoes for men need to be stylish, sturdy, and breathable, which means we’re not looking for tons of insulation, but we are looking for flexibility, durability, and general swag. That’s why we bring you this short list of our summertime shoe must-haves, from loungy loafers and cult-fave clogs to dad-core sneaks and more. Lace up—it’s shoppin’ time.
A classic pair of white or neutral sneakers
For everyday wear, you can’t go wrong with white sneakers. While there are plenty of options out there—see our full list of the best white sneakers for men here—we’re fans of these simple white sneakers from Adidas. They go with everything from suits to sweatpants, and are super supportive and comfortable for even the most discerning sole. (PS: These are sold out on the brand’s website, but we found a few in stock at some other retailers—just make sure you act fast.)
“Woo-hoo, they’ll let anyone in here!” is how we started greeting our friends after slappin’ these suckers onto our feet. New Balance doesn’t just make quality runners anymore—they’ve established themselves as veritable streetwear gods in the past few years, with designer collabs and a general cultural cachet. These 997H sneaks come in a bunch of tantalizing colorblocked combinations, so buy all of them for elite mixing and matching.
We’re all trying for that laid-back look, right? These casual slip-on sneakers with a pared-down, minimal design are perfect for pairing with beachy outfits, a flowy summer shirt, and a cigar. They have a slight platform, come in three colorways, and are made with smooth, soft suede.
A lightweight pair of non-douchey loafers
Loafers: not just for investment bankers! If sneaker-shaped, then why not sneaker?, you may ask—and the answer is in the materials. A solid basic loafer should be both comfortable and practical, and these Strafford Woven Moc Toe Loafer by Nunn Bush are exactly that. They feature premium woven leather uppers with detailed stitching and tassels, and a soft, microfiber lining for all-day wearability.
Or, opt for these super-highly rated (we’re talking a solid five stars from almost 42,000 reviews) desert-boot-style loafers available on Amazon. “I was instantly teleported to cold IPA beers and the land of walking on clouds,” one customer wrote in a review titled “Holy Jesus Cleats,” which we will be stealing to name our next metal band. “Very happy with my purchase,” they continue, “and will be buying another pair to squirrel away until I burn out the first pair.”
Let those puppies BREATHE with these very… confident, very awesome Black UNBITA-ab Loafers by Suicoke. They feature a round cleft toe, a Velcro strap at both vamp and ankle, as well as a foam rubber midsole and tonal-treaded rubber outsole. (Disclaimer: You may have to fend off hordes of people asking you about your kicks.)
I would do a-a-nything for shoes. I’d run right into DSW and back, even. If you’re in the market for some loafs for your meat, you can’t go wrong with these breezy Bandana Loafers by Rhude. (RIP Meatloaf—he gave us a lot of things, but none so offensive as that pun.) The round toe and printed pattern make sure that you’re not giving off banker vibes, but suggest that you might be hitting a gallery open later tonight.
If you’re not familiar with huaraches, they’re the woven leather loafers that are built for summer vacations. Originally a traditional type of sandal from Mexico, modern huaraches come in a variety of vibes from “total hippie” to “essentially a dress shoe.” Best of all, they’re super-breathable, but won’t expose your (presumably ugly) little tootsies to the unsuspecting world. These classic brown bois from Chamula Cancun are very Miami-chic, while this pair of Nisolos in “Tobacco” are ready for the cabana. Not a fan of the open midsole? No sweat—Johnston & Murphy have a loafer/sneaker/huarache hybrid, just for you.
Clogs and mules as far as the eye can see
And why would they want to? Clogs—in this context—are welcome in our home, especially when they’re as sleek and surly as these Classon Clogs by Greats. They feature both an adjustable strap at the foot and a durable rubber sole. Think: “Getting the mail,” just with more sauce.
Oh Vans, how you always come through for us. This clog-sneaker hybrid is called a “mule,” and it combines the best parts of classic slip-on Vans and clogs to bring you the final boss in kickaround footwear. Plus, the green colorway will match the olives in the many, many martinis you’ll slug this summer.
The OG of modern clogs: Boston Birkenstocks. These are made for stomping year-round, but have a special place in our summer wardrobes—the contoured footbed offers comfort, while its suede body makes it a svelte, lightweight choice. They’re also designed to stimulate circulation and improve balance, which sounds equally dope.
Shoes that can handle your beach adventures
It’s 2022, and we all need a tactical pair of Crocs in our closets. If they aren’t outfitting Seal Team Six in these bad boys, we need to have a word with Uncle Sam. These all-terrain tactical Crocs are exactly what the doctor ordered, specifically when you told them you planned on cramming your feet into some mustard-colored Timbs until September. They feature a more rugged outsole than regular Crocs and an adjustable turbo strap for high-speed scrambling. (Pro tip: I found these run a touch big, but the strap tightens and loosens for a perfect fit every time.)
These huarache-style loafers aren’t just great for guzzling mojitos in a linen shirt by the ocean—they’re good for guzzling mojitos in a linen shirt in the ocean, since the breathable leather is water-resistant. They also feature a cushioned footbed lined with an ultra-comfy insole.
All that’s left now is to snag a pair of running shoes to prepare for your Baywatch-style beach runs.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.