The Coolest Men’s Gum Sole Sneaker Models For 2023
Bring interesting detailing and a touch of practicality to your sneaker rotation with a pair of gum sole kicks.
Contrast can sometimes be the key to acing a new look – or in this case, trotting out a pair of new sneakers. The white sneakers add a crisp, clean dimension to an #OOTD, and all-black sneakers bring an edge to a look, but it’s the gum sole sneaker that bridges the gap between both.
It’s a touch sporty, yet versatile enough to slot seamlessly into a variety of ensembles (even business-casual looks, provided you secure the right pair).
The gum sole, sometimes made from natural rubber or otherwise made from synthetic material, has utilitarian roots that carry over to today’s coolest pairs. Oftentimes, gum rubber soles were found on athletic sneakers, all the better to provide grip on the track or in the gym. In fact, skaters found pairs of Vans gum rubber shoes especially useful in the 1960s.
Today, this type of sole has been strapped to an eye-catching array of models and designs that nod to both its sporting roots and contemporary style.
Whether worn with chino shorts or a pair of light wash jeans rolled at the ankle, gum sole sneakers are a distinctive option that can go a long way in the modern man’s casual wardrobe.
Luckily for you, we’ve sourced the very best options on the market below, for all budgets and tastes.
Nike Killshot 2 Leather Gum Sole Sneakers
There are plenty of pairs of covetable gum sole sneakers on the market, but up until recent years, it wasn’t all that easy to find the Nike Killshot 2. Once sold almost exclusively by retailers like J. Crew – with a tendency to sell out in seconds – there are (thankfully) more varieties up for grabs now of these tastefully retro sneakers.
Clean leather combines with suede detailing and the iconic Nike swoosh, while the streamlined silhouette rests nicely above a court-inspired gum rubber sole.
If you’re lucky enough to score a pair, you very well might end up wearing them every single day.
Oliver Cabell Low 1 White Gum Sneakers
Oliver Cabell excels at taking the casual and turning it into something sophisticated and dressy, from normally rugged leather lace-up boots to the humble gum sole sneaker.
That means using high-end white leather for an ultra-clean look on the upper, plus premium Italian-made construction. The gum rubber sole is sourced from Italy (a region renowned for its durable, lightweight rubber), while the finely crafted and stitched upper is also made from handsome Italian leather. Even the laces are made from Italian cotton.
If you ask us, these are the type of sneakers you would style with a lightweight cotton suit.
CLAE Malone Cactus Sneakers
There’s something inherently appealing and memorable about a black leather upper sitting atop a high-contrast gum rubber outsole. Perhaps it’s because it calls to mind the trainers you wore for football as a lad, or perhaps it’s because the combination is simply timeless.
Either way, it’s got an enduring appeal that CLAE uses to perfection with its Malone model. This vegan pair uses an innovative cactus material, not to mention an organic cotton lining, for a remarkably sustainable approach to men’s sneakers.
The cork footbed also delivers a fit that molds to your feet over time, ensuring ultimate comfort all day long.
Nike Dunk Mid With Gum Sole
A gum rubber sole, in our humble opinion, looks especially cool when paired with a sporty design that references its heritage, like these mid-top Dunks.
The sole looks particularly crisp when styled with a tonal white and light brown leather upper, bringing a sense of cohesion to the colour palette. Contrast leather panels give this pair of basketball shoes some distinctive detailing, and it follows that these kicks would stand out nicely beneath the hem of tapered navy joggers or even stacked blue jeans.
Axel Arigato Dice Lo Sneakers
Some gum soles are simply a low-key, practical addition that blend into the background – but that’s not the case with Axel Arigato’s gum-soled take on its acclaimed Dice Low model.
A chunky gum rubber sole sits beneath a mixed-media upper, which uses grey nubuck, black leather heel detailing and crisp white leather for a pleasing series of contrasts. The ‘Arigato’ logo also stands out in gold lettering, as does the branded outsole.
However, the best part about this pair of sneakers is what you can’t see – the eco-conscious design approach. The sole is made from partly recycled rubber, while the lining repurposes recycled PET bottles and plastic.
Novesta Star Master Gum Sole Sneakers
The gum sole sneaker was first prized for its durability and functionality, from the sole to the upper, typically made from canvas. Those same timeless design hallmarks are also what makes Novesta’s signature shoe so appealing (along with the ultra-low price tag).
A sturdy canvas upper gives these shoes durability from day to night, while the vulcanised gum rubber outsole boasts cap toe detailing for added utility.
The design mimics classic court sneakers, while subtle branding on the tongue lets other sneakerheads know you’re rocking a standout pair.
Cariuma OCA Low in Gum
If you’re curious if Cariuma sneakers are worthy of the hype (and their often-impressive waitlist), we believe the answer is a resounding yes.
Of course, you should try a pair to see for yourself – and there might not be a better, more reliable option than the Cariuma OCA Low.
The gum rubber outsole boasts hand-stitched detailing and is 100% slip-resistant, all the while playing stylishly off the grey suede upper. With sustainability at the forefront of everything the brand does, the laces are made from organic cotton and recycled plastic, while the lightweight memory foam insole delivers unbeatable, springy comfort.
Plus, each pair sold helps Cariuma plant two trees, meaning this is a purchase you can make with a clean conscience.
Adidas Samba OG Shoes
If there’s any model that’s having a moment in the sun right now, from the runway to the Tube and beyond, it’s the Adidas Samba. The sneaker has experienced an unexpected resurgence as of late, but if you look closely, the Samba has always stood the test of time.
Originally a football shoe, the three-stripe design is immediately recognisable, while the gum rubber sole contrasts nicely with white leather and suede upper detailing.
What’s even better is the fact that you can choose from multiple unique stripe colourways for a look that best suits your wardrobe.
In a crowded sneaker market, filled with over-the-top designs and wild colourways, simplicity is often underappreciated and can go a long way if you’re searching for a pair of refined sneakers.
Refinement is what Velasca is all about, along with a few unexpected touches. Take the use of Sealup’s ‘peacoat’ fabric in the Corsaro, a technical knit upper made of high-tech fibre and cotton.
It’s water-repellent and dyed in a rich green olive color that should work well with all sorts of tan and beige outfit combos for a monochromatic finish.
Plus, the sock-like insole construction moulds to your foot and delivers exceptional comfort.
Rothy’s RS01 Sneaker
The world of men’s sneakers offers many an exciting new frontier: it seems there’s always new material with which to experiment, the sort of design innovation that turns even the classics (like these trainer-inspired kicks) into a modern favorite.
When it comes to Rothy’s, the brand first beloved by A-list female celebs, the difference is apparent right away. You see, Rothy’s used a remarkably innovative knit material woven from plastic bottles, resulting in a highly breathable upper that teams stylishly with a durable gum outsole.
The best part? They’re machine-washable.
Crown Northampton Harlestone Hand Stitch Derby Sneakers
Crown Northampton trainers are just about the height of luxury as far as sneakers are concerned, with a refined-meets-rugged nature that’s almost second-to-none.
That’s very good news for sneaker enthusiasts indeed, as a beautiful Horween bourbon shell leather upper rests above a Lactae Hevea gum rubber outsole. Consider this another pair of elegant gum rubber sneakers to wear with a breezy summer suit, or else with a hardy tweed jacket and raw selvedge denim come fall.
GREATS Royale Knit Sneakers
At the other end of the luxury sneakers spectrum, you’ll find Brooklyn-based GREATS. The company uses designer-level design tactics and materials, yet cuts out the middleman in the process of delivering highly affordable sneakers, slip-ons and even loafers.
The Royale is a time-honored favorite of the GREATS fanbase, and it gets a modern update through a lightweight knit fabric derived from seven plastic bottles. The anti-microbial algae foam footbed is a super-comfortable, eco-friendly touch, too.
Reebok Classics White BB 4000 II Sneakers
Every man’s sneaker rotation deserves variety and a sense of fun, right? And there’s something uniquely comforting about throwback sneakers these days, especially ones designed by a longtime footwear stalwart like Reebok.
The 80s and 90s were a heady time for sneakerheads, with plentiful options to suit every look, particularly if you were partial to a chunky, basketball-inspired sneaker.
The treaded gum rubber outsole on the these kicks is a sharp swerve from the ultra-clean white leather upper – wear with tapered joggers and a plain T-shirt to let the sneakers do the talking.
Vans Sk-8 Hi Shoes
You could make the case that it wouldn’t be a deep dive into the best gum sole sneakers without examining an utterly classic brand that helped shape the category. And you’d be right.
Vans has been one of the leading sneaker brands for decades, and it’s no secret that its shoes have delivered both cool, counter-culture style as well as prized utility (just ask any skater or punk rocker).
The Sk-8 boasts helpful design details in spades, from high-impact, energy-return cushioning to that iconic gum outsole – it’s made with the California company’s proprietary SickStick gum rubber compound for an extra-grippy finish.
Converse CONS Fast Break Pro Leather
We’d hope that your footwear rotation has a pair of hardwearing Converse Chuck Taylors in time-tested canvas, but don’t forget that the footwear giant cornered the market with a range of other takes on high-top kicks.
The Converse Fast Break was first designed as an 80s basketball shoe, but Converse has revamped it with a hybrid take – this time, it comes complete with the CONS traction rubber outsole in a sharp gum-rubber look.
The cupsole design also provides energy return and impact recovery for true functionality.
Air Jordan 1 Mid ‘Tan/Gum’ Sneakers
You’ve got an almost dizzying array of colorways and options when it comes to the seriously cool Air Jordan 1 Mid. It seems that each new season brings with it a new look for this world-famous model, and that includes a timely reboot of the silhouette with a breezy tan-and-gum finish.
It’s rightfully dubbed one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, and it gets even better here with a white leather upper shot through with hits of hemp brown detailing. This sits cleanly over a gum rubber sole for a look that can easily round out any collection of Air Jordans.
Puma Super Liga OG Retro Sneakers
There’s fierce competition these days in the world of gum sole sneakers, especially athletically-inspired designs worn for decades on the pitch and in training sessions.
Just as with the Adidas Samba, contrasting elements work in harmony here between the suede-and-leather upper and the gum rubber sole of the Liga OG. The sleek Puma side-stripe detailing sets these kicks apart from a crowded field of classic gum sole shoes.
These are versatile enough to wear with joggers, blue jeans or sport shorts on a balmy day.
New Balance BB550
New Balance rightfully looks to the past and into its extensive archive to dream up (or reintroduce) some of the coolest sneakers of today, be they basketball shoes, retro runners or its much-buzzed-about ‘Dad sneakers’.
The basketball court and the 80s are the source of inspiration for the New Balance BB550, which was hard to find before being brought back into the fold by the Boston-based company full-time in 2021.
Gum rubber is the model teammate here, delivering the perfect assist to the edgy black suede and leather upper.
Maison Margiela Replica Low-Top Sneakers
Some designs from Maison Margiela are made for the runway: instantly memorable and yet, a bit tough to pull off when it comes to everyday style.
The Replica Low-Top Sneakers, on the other hand, aren’t overdone in the slightest, using black calf leather and a gum-rubber sole in a look that’s reminiscent of the classic German Army Trainer.
They’re so iconic, in fact, that they’ve been part of the Maison Margiela line since the late 90s, and they show no signs of slowing down in terms of popularity (or enduring appeal).
Saucony Shadow 6000 Moc
You can certainly trust American menswear designer Todd Snyder to use his expert eye and deft touch when curating pieces from third-party brands – these Saucony sneakers are a rare find that bridge the gap between a moc-style shoe and a retro runner.
Your wardrobe is better for it, especially if you team them up with rolled selvedge denim crafted by Snyder’s eponymous brand.
Yet the real appeal lies in the blend of a rich suede upper with moc detailing and a chunky sneaker sole.