20 Of The Most Comfortable Sneakers For Men (Which Aren’t Ugly)
Forget chunky orthopaedic shoes, these sneaker models offer good looks and comfort for those who are on their feet all day.
There was a time when style and comfort were something close to polar opposites; you couldn’t have both at the same time. When style was synonymous with formal dressing, looking good meant tight collars, waistbands with zero give and shoes that mangled your feet. Fortunately, we now live in enlightened times. Luxury loungewear is a ‘thing’ and comfortable sneakers are practically a human right.
Maybe we should thank the dads of the early 90s. They, and the casual sportswear they proudly lived in, taught us that form and function don’t have to mean sacrificing comfort. The most comfortable sneakers for men – from those same dads’ chunky New Balance to minimalist designs that work with a suit – boost your style and protect your joints at the same time. That, we think, is something to celebrate.
So throw away your preconceived notions of what comfortable sneakers look like – stylish options abound beyond chunky orthopaedic shoes. In fact, many of your favourite brands have gone the extra mile to deliver comfortable kicks for men. Slip your feet into some of these.
The most comfortable men’s sneakers for 2023
Cult customisation brand DiVERGE lets you make its sneakers your own. You can tailor the design of every model it makes, adding colours and other details to ensure your pair is its own limited edition.
Do that with the brand’s Landscape model, and you’ll also strut in extreme comfort. The chunky, oversized design includes a removable insole and plenty of cushioning and support around the ankle. A mesh lining keeps it breathable on the road, too.
Skaters have long prioritised function over form, which is why some of the most comfortable kicks you can buy are skate shoes. But if you’re tired of the now-ubiquitous Vans models, try Cariuma: an environmentally-friendly, Brazilian footwear brand that produces authentic skate silhouettes using sustainable materials.
Cariuma’s Slip-On sneaker is 100% vegan, crafted from premium organic cotton and natural rubber. The removal of laces means there are no seams to cause friction, while the natural cork and foam insole offers superb cushioning. It makes them a pleasure to wear all day, whether you’re running errands or whittling away the hours on a halfpipe.
Available in five colourways and priced at just $79/£79, you can afford to make these your everyday beaters.
Born in Los Angeles, Clae epitomises the laid-back, easy-going vibe of the US West Coast, drawing inspiration from the architecture, design and colours of its surroundings. So it should come as no surprise that its kicks are some of the most comfortable on this list.
The Joshua is an old-school retro runner which has been brought bang up to date using modern technologies. The recycled synthetic and mesh upper works to stop your feet from overheating when you’re pounding the pavement, while the spongy PU foam insole combines with the EVA cushioned outsole to ensure your dogs feel as fresh as the end of the day as they did at the start.
Axel Arigato Marathon
Axel Arigato often sacrificed comfort for aesthetics in the early years, with wearers often complaining about foot pain and blisters a common occurrence. However, those days are now long gone, with the Swedish brand now offering the best of both worlds.
This marriage of fashion and function has peaked with the label’s Marathon model. This chunky sneaker features a premium leather and breathable weave mesh upper for temperature regulation, an anti-slip detail in the counter back to reduce rubbing (and associated blisters), an oversized lugged rubber outsole for traction and cushioned insoles for those times when you’re on your feet all day.
The fact that Axel is also one of the hottest names in the game right now is just a bonus.
Independent shoemaker JAK produces some of the finest sneakers on this list. Hailing from Lisbon, Portugal, the brand shows up many of its rivals when it comes to quality, choosing to only manufacture in its homeland at family-owned factories that are known for their fair working practices and time-tested, traditional shoemaking techniques.
Its S03 model takes comfort extremely seriously, with the buttery-soft nubuck upper and 100% calf leather lining gently wrapping the foot for the perfect moulded fit. But it’s the sole where these sneakers really come into their own and separate themselves from the competition.
Not only does the S03 feature shock-proof inner soles to absorb and dissipate impact, but JAK’s has also bolted on a Vibram outsole, which is what you’d typically expect to see on more practical hiking or work boots. This gives the sneaker added traction, meaning not only does it look good, but it will perform on any terrain.
New Balance 990
New Balance sneakers have been tagged with the ‘dad shoes’ rep since the 80s, but when you really get down to it, it’s a timeless brand that wears especially well with daily staples like slim blue jeans or khaki pants.
The 990 model builds on decades of running shoe technology and delivers what is a genuine classic. They nail it on comfort thanks to the company’s FuelCell foam build, plus a crucial cushioned midsole for all-day support. The suede and mesh upper hits the right notes in terms of texture and breathability, too.
ASICS Gel-Lyte III OG
Sneaker trends tend to come and go, but they always loop back around to decades past – as with the 90s-inspired Gel-Lyte III OG, which nods to a true original while looking (and feeling) better than ever.
Hits of suede and leather offer a visually appealing mixed-media style, but it’s what’s underneath your feet that truly counts. The GEL midsole unit delivers soft, springy absorption that runners, waiting staff and anyone else who works on their feet will attest to, but it’s wrapped up here in a pleasing lifestyle design you can rock on the daily.
GREATS McCarren Sneakers
Want to snag a pair of ultra-premium sneakers that won’t cost you an arm and a leg? GREATS specialises in designer-quality sneakers made from top-notch materials (think Italian leather and recycled rubber outsoles), delivering them at stellar prices.
Here, the brand has designed a retro-style runner in an homage to Brooklyn’s McCarren Park (in the hip Williamsburg neighbourhood), with the use of a lightweight, recycled EVA footbed bringing the comfort factor. The leather footbed lining is a nice extra that moulds to your feet over time, too.
Converse Star Player Mono 76 Low-Top Sneakers
Converse has moved one of its most classic sneakers into the 21st century with upgraded technology that replaces the pair of Chuck Taylors you likely lived in as a teenager. While that iconic design is lightweight, there’s not much in the way of cushioning or support.
The Star Player design brings in Converse’s Ortholite cushioning and a padded tongue for extra comfort. You can also get it in a wider fit if you need one, while the brand’s trademark eyelets enhance airflow.
Nike Air Max 90
The most comfortable sneakers should almost feel like you’re walking on air. And that’s the idea behind the fan-favourite Nike Air Max 90, a stalwart of the footwear giant and one that’s always available in an array of intriguing colourways.
But what really counts (like we keep saying) is the technology on offer, including a traction-friendly waffle outsole and that crucial Air cushioning for plenty of rebound and shock absorption. The blend of leather and mesh on the upper provides a lightweight feel over top of your foot to round things out nicely.
Vans All-Weather MTE
Those low-cut skate shoes you wore endlessly years ago have taken a big step into the future, in terms of comfort and performance. The style is now revamped and turned into a bold, durable sneaker boot, retaining the iconic Vans stripe but boasting features like waterproof protection and PrimaLoft insulation for chilly days.
The UltraCush moulded EVAva footbed pairs nicely with Ortholite technology for rebound and performance-minded support, while Vans has also worked to make this pair surprisingly lightweight for high-tops.
Nike SFB Leather
Fancy a pair of sneakers that performs and wears like a boot, but delivers the comfort of your favourite pair of trainers? The futuristic Nike SFB Leather might be the one, with all the functional specs that few brands can deliver.
The taller 6-inch build provides ankle support on slick city streets or uneven terrain, while Nike notes that a blend of nylon and mesh through the upper provides breathability. They’re outfitted with a Phylon midsole to provide comfort and extra cushioning (unlike heavier, more traditional boots), and it doesn’t hurt that the innovative design is a nice change of pace from your regular lace-ups.
Rothy’s RS01 Sneakers
Step into supreme comfort with a pair of knitted sneakers quite unlike any you’ve tried before. What sets apart these much-loved Rothy’s sneakers is the lightweight knit upper, woven from recycled material derived from plastic bottles.
That means these are stylish, sustainable and breathable, and they can be packed away at a moment’s notice without taking up too much space. They also weight next to nothing, yet the chunky gum rubber outsole and a contoured footbed still delivers the support you need from day to night.
On Running Cloud 5
Ideally, the most comfortable sneakers for men should provide a fit and a feel that instantly makes a difference – right out of the box and right when you step out the door.
On shoes, from the ahead-of-the-curve Swiss footwear maker, definitely nail that difficult proposition from your first steps, thanks to ‘zero-gravity’ foam and the company’s CloudTec cushioning.
The result will literally put a spring in your step, while handy features like speed lacing give them an easy-on, easy-off appeal.
HOKA Carbon X 3
Moving from day to night can present all sorts of style challenges and your feet need to be up to the task, too. That’s where innovative, exceptionally comfortable and well-made sneakers set the pace. While HOKA has a strong background in performance running, the comfort of many of its sneakers works well for a casual lifestyle – especially if you work in a setting that allows you to wear colourful kicks.
If not, trust these HOKA Carbon X 3 Sneakers the rest of the time: the compression-moulded foam midsole serves up incredible, lightweight cushioning, while the breathable mesh upper is another performance must-have for a man on the move.
Danner Jag Low
Love hitting the trail but don’t want to lug a pair of chunky hiking boots with you? Legendary Pacific Northwest boot brand Danner takes the same craftsmanship-minded approach that makes its hikers so hardwearing and essential, yet tones things down in low-top sneaker form.
All the same timeless, comfortable Danner features still apply, including a cushioning EVA midsole and a mesh lining for breathability. The Ortholite footbed complements two other layers (including that EVA midsole) for shock absorption, no matter the terrain.
Asics LYTE Classic
Timeless Asics sneakers are not to be trifled with as far as comfort and retro looks are concerned. The LYTE Classic will combine with anything in your wardrobe, but they also deliver comfort thanks to tried-and-tested technology built in.
Like the GEL-Lyte, the LYTE Classic uses an EVA midsole that moulds to your foot, delivering lasting comfort and support. An array of colours and sizes, plus width options, should suit every sneaker lover out there.
Cariuma OCA High
With plentiful celebrity endorsements and hordes of devoted fans, Cariuma is one of the fastest-growing sneaker brands on the market, and for good reason. It takes a environmentally-friendly approach across the board, using natural materials like Brazilian rubber (plus recycled packaging) to craft kicks that are as sustainable as they are stylish.
A padded high-top collar on this design delivers comfortable ankle support, while lightweight cushioning technology is incorporated throughout the sole design. The vegan insole is made from cork, which conforms to your foot the more you wear these high-top essentials.
Converse Chuck Taylor 70 AT-CX
Love the look of classic Chuck Taylor sneakers but prefer something with a thicker sole and more sturdy construction? The legendary footwear maker knows a thing or two about building on the classics, as seen in this boot version of the Chuck Taylor 70.
It’s supremely well-built, with a foam midsole and sockliner design that hugs your foot on rugged terrain (or cobblestone streets in your city’s craft ale neighbourhood). The cotton-canvas upper is also designed with durability and lightweight appeal in mind – you’re getting the best of all worlds, complete with classic looks and modern performance.
Vans UltraRange EXO
Vans just keeps improving upon its classic sneakers with bigger, better and bolder technology, the kind once unheard of in thin, low-cut skate shoes.
Now, the UltraRange EXO takes the California company’s low-top offerings to the next level, complete with a reverse waffle lug outsole for traction you can count on. Within the sneaker, the brand’s UltraCrush Lite midsole is designed to deliver shock absorption without added weight.
Meanwhile the signature Vans stripe design rounds these out in timeless fashion.
What makes sneakers comfortable?
Comfortable sneakers are all about design decisions, from the ground up. The footbed, which is the part of the sneaker that provides cushioning, is critical. Some sneaker companies use memory foam footbeds, opting for the same technology you’d find in your mattress. The memory foam moulds to your foot and responds accordingly over time.
Brands like Nike and On Running pour a lot of money into R&D and innovations in running shoes often find their way into casual sneakers. Moulded footbeds, sometimes made from a rubber-like material known as EVA, are designed to cup the physiology of your foot and absorb pressure with each step.
Pay close attention to the upper, because the material you choose is going to determine breathability and flexibility around your instep and toes.
Sneakers made from materials like merino wool or lightweight canvas are naturally more breathable than leather alternatives, while you’ll often find mesh panelling incorporated into suede uppers to improve air circulation.
If you do go for leather, opt for the highest quality, most supple hide you can, which will not only age beautifully but mould to your feet over time.
Big-name sneaker brands often tout the effectiveness of a certain type of sole design – especially companies like Nike or Adidas, which are known for blending casual lifestyle designs with performance technology.
You’ll recognise names like Nike AirMax, Adidas BOOST soles or Asics GEL cushioning, for example. These proprietary designs are engineered to deliver cushion and absorption beyond what the footbed itself delivers. In our experience, the most comfortable sneakers absorb impact and transfer energy back in each step – a welcome design point when you’re exploring a new city or going about your daily grind.
When shopping for comfortable sneakers, it’s like we said: the little details make the difference. It might sound overly simple on the surface, but selecting sneakers with the proper weight is going to go a long way toward ensuring maximum comfort.
In short, you don’t want sneakers that feel too heavy or too overly built, as if you’re wearing concrete blocks on your feet all day. Yet, a good pair of kicks also offers support – they shouldn’t feel too flimsy underfoot.
The most comfortable sneakers will, quite literally, toe the line. Get nerdy by comparing the weight of different shoes in your size and work out what that Goldilocks number is for you.
None of the above principles count for much if your sneakers don’t fit properly to begin with. The most comfortable sneakers you ever wear will be the ones that suit your own feet. Know them like the back of your hand and spend your money accordingly – and we don’t just mean in terms of sizing.
Work out whether you need a wide or narrow design. Try some running shoes and see if you prefer styles made with a high arch. Many sneaker companies offer multiple widths and fit options, and while some experimentation might be required when trying a new brand, be sure you’re looking for shoes with features that work with the shape of your feet.