10 Best Casual Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed
Whether it’s wearing professional shoes all week or constantly wearing dress shoes for your evening affairs, it’s nice to give your feet a break once in awhile. Casual shoes are just the option that can provide that relief and relaxation for your feet that you desire from time to time. One of the main benefits you get from casual shoes is the comfort. You’ll find features in this footwear such as AirCushion heels, padded collars, and foam midsoles.
Toe areas can be tight in a lot of non-casual shoes. Thankfully with many casual shoes, you get adequate toe space for your toes to wiggle and stretch around through features such as a roomy toe box. Excellent foot support can also be found in casual footwear. You’ll see foot support features such as anatomical footbeds, ortho-lite footbeds, and deep heel cups which will give your feet an easy time walking around all day.
- Merrel Encore Gust
- Ortho-Lite Footbed
- Ecco Soft 7
- PU / TPU Outsole
- Dunham Captain
- Memory Foam Insert
Along with the benefits discussed so far, you’ll get the added benefit of breathability and traction in these options. From perforations and removable inlay soles, to rubber outsoles and M-Select outsoles, your shoes will be keeping your feet cool and maintaining your step on difficult surfaces. All these combined features definitely make these top casual footwear options worth consideration for the days you just want to wear something relaxing on your feet.
10 Best Casual Shoes
1. Merrell Encore Gust
The M Select GRIP sole is made up of sticky lugs on the bottom of the shoe. They help to keep any dirt or rocks from attaching to the outsole. The angling of the lugs also help to give your shoes good grip on dry or wet surfaces.
The AirCushion heel feature first of all gives you a comforting feeling in the heel area, but it also helps to increase blood flow in the area for better recovery from any foot injury.
Cost and Value
These are a bit expensive compared to the other casual footwear. In spite of that, there are enough good features along with the nice leather look that makes these shoes worth consideration for purchase.
- M select GRIP sole
- AirCushion heel
- Ortholite footbed
- Padded collar
- Poor size accuracy
- Not much insole padding
2. Dunham Captain
A siped rubber outsole is a unique feature in that it has thin cuts on the outsole. This helps your shoe to be more able have traction on wet and even icy surfaces.
The EVA Midsole features accomplishes a few things in these shoes. It’s extra protection stepping on any potentially sharp objects, it provides more comfortable cushioning on the feet, and it gives added shock absorption.
Cost and Value
The Dunham Captain come at a pretty low price. It’s emphasis on foot comfort with it’s features make this a good bargain to have as a part of your casual footwear.
- Siped rubber outsole
- EVA midsole
- Memory foam footbed
- Extended size/width range
- Narrow fit
- Rough interior lining
3. Birkenstock Boston Soft
The roomy toe box feature in these shoes does more than comfortably give your toes room to stretch and wiggle. It also helps to enhance your balance and correct your alignment.
Raised Toe Bar
The Birkenstock Boston Soft’s raised toe bar feature assists with promoting the gripping motion of your feet. You’ll be able to more naturally get a firm step into the ground when you’re walking.
Cost and Value
While the Boston Soft comes at the higher range of pricing among these footwear options, there’s no arguing the quality of this shoe if you desire to indulge in having a more fancy look to your casual shoe.
- Roomy toe box
- Raised toe bar
- Deep heel cup
- Synthetic sole
- Stiff leather
- Very wide
4. Olukai Moloa
The Dri-Lex Microfiber lining feature helps to keep your feet dry and cool by being moisture wicking. This means it draws sweat away from your skin and on the outside of the fabric.
The contoured footbed is a great feature in this shoe because it molds to the shape of your foot giving you a comfortable feel on your feet. In addition it’s removable if you would prefer to replace it.
Cost and Value
The Olukai Moloa are surprisingly on the lower end of pricing even though it has such a unique design. The design combined with it’s other features make these a great option to purchase.
- Dri-Lex microfiber lining
- Contoured footbed
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Elastic gore panels
- Less durable outsoles
- Little arch support
5. Dansko Sam
The adjustable ankle strap hooks and loops around your feet, allowing you to customize the fit how you want for a more comfortable fit and an easier time walking around.
It can be difficult not to stumble in heels as you walk in them. The beveled heel feature makes that difficult task easier as it’s designed to provide stability on impact through give you a rolling motion from your heel to toe.
Cost and Value
The Dansko Sam is more expensive than some of the other casual footwear on this list. In spite of that, the attractive style and the long list of features offered make these shoes worthy of consideration.
- Adjustable ankle strap
- Beveled heel
- EVA midsole
- Dril-lex sockling
- Straps are slightly short
- Tight at the toes
6. Merrell Dassie
The M-Select FRESH insole is a feature that helps to get rid of sweat and odor in your shoe. It has reactive microbes that use natural enzymes to eliminate perspiration.
Padded Tongue and Collar
The Padded Tongue and Collar feature gives you a soft feel in your shoes in the top of your feet and around your ankle. This will help to make your walks in these casual footwear more comfortable
Cost and Value
The Merrell Dassie are about average price in comparison with the other casual shoes. While there isn’t a large diversity of features, the traction and fresh insole features make this worth a consideration.
- M-Select FRESH insole
- Padded tongue and collar
- M-Select GRIP outsole
- Elastic goring
- Leather can push down on toes
- Not much cushioning
7. Ecco Chase II
The leather and textile lining feature in these shoes gives you extra cushioning in your feet for being able to walk and stand around comfortably all day in your casual footwear.
The perforations in the Ecco Chase II allow for more air to be circulated into your shoes. This helps to keep your feet cool and dry from any excessive sweating.
Cost and Value
The Ecco Chase II are on the higher price range of shoes in this list. The trendy style of this casual shoe is impressive enough to ponder a potential purchase.
- Leather and textile lining
- Wraparound bumper sole
- Padded collar
- Stitching may cause blisters
- Not much arch support
8. Mephisto Laser
The Soft-Air Flexible Midsole gives these shoes good shock absorption for your feet. The feature also assists in relieving joint pain, back pain, and helps to allow more air circulation.
Thick Rubber Bottom
The good traction in the Mephisto Laser is a result of it’s thick rubber bottom. It provides a good grip on the ground even on surfaces that are slippery to keep you on your feet.
Cost and Value
Unfortunately these are the most expensive shoes on this list. Though in spite of the high price, there’s no denying that you’ll be getting an all around comfortable stylish shoe.
- Flex groove sole
- Thermal bonding PU pattern
- Vent mesh
- Duraglide EVA midsole
- Not much padding
- Short term durability
9. Rockport City Play 2
The ADIPRENE footbed is a distinct feature in that it offers shock absorption particularly in the heel portion of your shoe. So if you’re prone to achy heels, this will be a great feature for you.
The mesh lining is a good breathability feature.It allows more air to get into your shoe and the mesh lining also helps to pull away moisture from your feet.
Cost and Value
The Rockport City Play 2 is lower in price in comparison with the other casual footwear. While it doesn’t stand out much stylistically, it definitely gets the job in foot comfort features that’ll make you glad to have them.
- ADIPRENE footbed
- Mesh lining
- Strobel construction
- EVA rubber outsole
- No upper padding
- Soles wear out easily
10. Ecco Soft 7
The full grain leather upper in the Ecco Soft 7 gives you softness on the top of your feet for increased comfort in your shoe. It’s also light on your feet as well.
Ecco Comfort Fibre System
The ecco comfort fibre system is a soft foam inlay sole that gives comfort to the bottom of your feet. It’s also moisture absorbent helping to reduce odor and bacteria.
Cost and Value
The Ecco Soft 7 has the least expensive price range on this list. With it’s distinct look and innovative comfort fibre system, these shoe would make for a great bargain.
- Full grain leather uppers
- Ecco comfort fibre system
- Pu/tpu outsole
- Long-lace closure system
- Very narrow
- Tight toe box
How to Choose Casual Shoes
Everyone wants to wear something on their feet to relax every once in awhile. Casual shoes give you the ability to have something on that’s comfortable for your feet and looks nice on your feet as well. As we’ve seen among these footwear options there are numerous comfort features to like about these shoes. Features such as a padded upper, a Soft-Air flexible midsole, or even an EVA midsole will keep you feeling good standing on your feet and walking for the whole day.
Adequate foot support features also are included in this casual footwear such as the ADIPRENE footbed and the contoured footbed. You can be guaranteed stability walking with some of these shoes having beveled heels and raised toe bars. Lastly, there are great traction and breathability benefits in casual shoes which include thick rubber bottom outsoles, siped rubber outsoles, dri-lex microfiber lining, and perforations. The stylish looks on top of all of these excellent features make getting some casual shoes to relax in a worthy option to consider purchasing.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Casual Shoes
Comfort/AirCushion Heel/EVA Midsole
One of the main reasons for having a pair of casual shoes is to have something to wear for your feet to be able to relax in. Comfort is a crucial thing to make sure you have when it comes to selecting a good casual footwear option. Seeing an AirCushion heel feature would give you a good start to your search. It provides a soft feeling on your heel and also helps to maintain proper blood flow in the area to ease in any aches you have or pain that you might be recovering from. An EVA footbed would be a good bet for comfort too. EVA, which is short for Ethyl Vinyl Acetate, is a similar material to foam and provides a softness to your feet like foam that will make it easy for you to walk comfortably.
In addition to the EVA footbed, it would serve you well to look for an EVA midsole featured in your casual shoe option. The EVA midsole provides an extra layer of cushioning between your insole and outsole for a greater comfort. You can get this similar cushioning if you find a foam midsole highlighted in a casual footwear as well. Lastly with regards to midsoles, you can keep your eye out if you happen to see a Soft-Air flexible midsole, with which a name like that you can be confident there’s going to be a good gentle feeling given to you with that feature in your shoes. Also make sure to pay attention if your shoe is highlighted as having a strobel construction, which provides comfort through giving you more flexibility in your footwear.
Returning to footbeds, the ADIPRENE footbed is another great find as far as comfort features in a casual shoe. It provides cushioning mainly in the heel of the shoe, but also in the forefoot of the shoe too. An Air-Relax footbed feature in your footwear can also accomplish easiness walking around all day as it massages your foot with every step you take. Lastly with footbeds you’d be well served if you found an ortholite footbed which provides extensive cushioning. A good casual shoe should be able to provide you all around comfort beyond just the bottom of your feet. Pay attention to see if a padded upper or padded collar is noted as being featured. You’ll get that softness on the top of your feet and around your ankle as well. Additionally, an upper made with full grain leather will also provide you that same comforting feel on top too.
Foot Support/Deep Heel Cup/Raised Toe Bar
After comfort, foot support is an important trait to have in an effective casual shoe. The deep heel cup feature is one feature you’ll be glad you found in your casual footwear. It cradles the heel to assist in maintaining a proper arch in the foot and also redistributes pressure to relieve the high pain areas. Foot support in a good casual shoe should mean that all parts of your feet are able to stand and step naturally, including your toes. A roomy toe box is able to allow your toes to spread naturally with each step as they’re supposed to and keep them more properly aligned. It also encourages your balance more as well.
Another toe feature you can search in your casual footwear that can be helpful for foot support is a raised toe bar. This feature assists your feet by promoting its natural gripping motion. An anatomical footbed can be found in a lot of casual shoes too. Anatomical essentially means the footbed is designed to the natural shape of a foot for better support. A contoured footbed in your casual footwear can also provide this same effect by molding to your feet and supporting that natural shape of your foot.
Stability/GRIP Outsole/EVA Outsole
You may not always think of great stability and traction with casual shoes, but some of the best casual shoes can keep you stable on your feet, so it’s important not to neglect finding features that give you that in your shoe choice. The M-Select GRIP outsole is one of the best features you can find that will provide you good stability. It’s designed to give you slip resistance on wet surfaces, and also good traction on dry surfaces for maximum control in your steps. A non-marking rubber outsole is also another great option for stability. What it does is it gives you solid grip on the ground and it doesn’t leave any scuff marks on the floor either.
Similarly, a non-marking siped rubber outsole can accomplish the same grip on wet and even really icy surfaces. In addition, TPU outsoles are a feature you’ll be glad to see in a shoe given its resistance to abrasion, splitting, oil, and chemicals. It’s also great if you find a casual shoe that’s highlighted to have a trail grip. A wraparound bumper sole is another good sign you’re getting stability and traction as well. Lastly, in addition to the previous outsoles mentioned, an air-jet outsole and an EVA outsole can accomplish good traction with your shoes for stable steps. A beveled heel is a feature worth finding in your casual shoe if you can because it gives a nice rolling motion from the heel of your foot to the toe. This helps to give your feet stability upon impact to the ground with your steps.
Breathability/Perforations/Dri-Lex microfiber lining
A part of getting that relaxation you want in your feet wearing casual shoes involves getting adequate breathability so your feet aren’t feeling too sweaty and uncomfortable. Dri-Lex microfiber is an excellent feature to have in your footwear for getting that breathability. It assists with pulling away sweat from your feet and transporting it to the outside of the material for better moisture evaporation. Dril-lex socklings also do the same kind of moisture management to keep your feet cool, dry, and relaxed. Anything with mesh material can accomplish these actions too. Perforations are another option worth finding in your casual footwear. Perforations are holes in the shoe which allow for air to get in and help keep your feet dry. Lastly, an ecco comfort fibre system is also great to find as it assists with giving you an increased air circulation inside of your casual footwear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are casual shoes?
A: Casual shoes are shoes that you wear when you’re dressing less formal and wanting to have something comfortable on your feet. Most casual shoes are typically easy to slip into and can often not have any laces, though you can find some casual shoes that do if you prefer to have that. They can also tend to be made with nice soft material and intricate designs to look more stylish.
Q: How do I choose casual shoes?
A: You want to first make sure the casual shoe you’re considering is one that’s going to make your feet feel comfortable by reviewing its features. Your casual shoes shouldn’t be as uncomfortable as formal shoes can be at times. After all, you’re looking to relax your feet. Secondly it can be important to consider whether the style of the shoe goes well with your casual clothes. For example, brown casual shoes tend to go well with khakis. So picture the footwear you’re considering with the casual style you have in order to make a conclusion for yourself.
Q: How long do casual shoes last?
A: Casual shoes are generally designed for comfort and style more so than long-term durability. The materials of these shoes are often soft materials that can be potentially damaged easily. However, some casual shoes come with really good traction features that measure up to the level of running shoes. It would probably be best for you not to wear your casual shoes every day. You also might want to be cognizant of what activities you’re doing. For example, if you’re going for a run, then you should put on running shoes rather than casual shoes. Casual footwear are made mostly for walking around and not doing any activities that require a lot of intense physical movements.
Q: How do I clean my casual shoes?
A: Cleaning your casual shoes depends on the type of material your shoe is made with. Since a lot of casual shoes are made with leather, here are some steps for cleaning leather shoes. First determine if your shoe is unfinished or finished leather based on what it says on the shoe tag or shoe box you bought the shoes. Unfinished requires a more specific cleanser, but finished you can just use water. You want to brush off the shoes lightly to get off anything on them and loosen the leather. You can also rub it a little with a dry cloth. After you do those things, dampen your cloth and wipe your shoe. Make sure you do it with the grain of the leather. Once you’ve done those things, let the shoe dry completely in open air in a cool place inside the house. Any other form of drying such as heating or sunlight can cause damage such as cracking. Lastly, you can apply leather polish that’s the same color as your shoe with a gentle cloth, give them a few minutes to sit, and then buff it to get that shine you want.