Nothing ruins an activity more quickly than blistered feet, a lack of stability, and no support in a shoe. And it’s not only women who have trouble finding comfortable footwear. My husband is often on the lookout for supportive shoes for the office, durable shoes for his commute, and hiking boots that aren’t suffocating. Whether exploring trails, hitting the pavement, or stopping by the office or the gym, men need shoes that are appropriate for the occasion while still delivering the utmost comfort. Our picks give you options for every situation, combining breathable materials, supportive soles, and details that stabilize and secure the foot.
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For long, urban walks
Whether you’re hitting up a street fair, the farmer’s market, or just spending the afternoon moving from brunch to errand-running to shopping, you’re probably in the market for a sneaker that looks cool, feels great, and can stand up to hours of hitting the pavement. Allbirds have become a phenomenon for good reason. Their merino wool uppers and interior are soft and breathable. The soles are supportive and sturdy, and they can endure the dirt and grime of urban exploration, as they’re machine washable. I bought my first pair, noted that they felt like walking on clouds, and bought a second pair for myself and another for my husband. The men’s wool runners look great and feel like wearing nothing at all.
For the traveler
Travel, especially international travel, necessitates a certain type of shoe . Whether you’re headed to a European city for a week of exploration, a series of stops throughout Asia, or some downtime in a beach town, you’re going to need a comfortable shoe in order to explore your environment. Many travelers opt for sneakers, as they combine comfort with versatility, but finding the right type of sneaker with that classic look can be tough. Born Shoes come in a variety of colors, feature a very classic profile and style, and the removable footbeds and rubber outsoles ensure comfort.
For a day at the beach or on the lake
Spending the day at the beach or on the shore of a nearby lake means that you’ll need flexible, waterproof footwear. If you are looking for something with more support than flip flops, to explore tide pools, walk on rocky shores, or take a break for a short hike, you’ll want a shoe that stays on firmly, allows your feet to breathe, and has a sole that grips wet surfaces easily. The Geox Sandal Strada has a grippy outsole, and an EVA footbed that allows your shoe to absorb shock instead of your joints.
For the all-terrain hiker
One hiking boot that does it all is a perfect choice for casual and experienced hikers. The Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GT Hiking Boot has a reinforced upper which secures your foot in place, foam cushioning attached directly to the sole for comfort and stability, and a rubber outsole that grips the terrain. After scouring online reviews, this became my husband’s choice for hiking, fly-fishing, and camping, and his pair has survived dozens of adventures per year for the last five years. They’re waterproof and great for both wet and dry conditions. Plus, reviewers say they feel comfortable running in them, making them uniquely versatile.
For the office
Nisolos are known for their vintage look and their minimalist sensibility, making them a great choice for men who need to wear dress shoes to the office, but want to look current. They pair well with dress pants and jeans alike, and the Nisolo Calano Oxfords are uniquely comfortable as well. They feature an internal leather lining for breathability, a stack heel for stability, and soft Italian leather for increased comfort. Ethically made, these shoes are an easy alternative to more conservative dress shoes for the office. They are on my shopping list for my husband, after I spied them on one of his coworkers and loved the retro, yet classic, look.
For the gym
Cross-trainers allow gym-goers to go from the treadmill to the climbing wall to the weight room without needing to change shoes. The Nike Metcon 4 Cross Training Shoes are suited to the challenge. They feature a breathable mesh upper, flywire for a secure fit, a heel counter to reduce drag, a heel clip that stabilizes during side-to-side movements, and optimal traction .
WBUR Guide Picks
For urban treks: Allbirds
For the traveler: Born Asmunds
For a day at the beach: Geox Strada Sandal
For hiking: Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GT Hiking Boot
For the office: Nisolo Calano Oxfords
For the gym: Nike Metcon 4 Cross Training Shoes
Rebecca is an outside contributor providing content for WBUR Guides. Based on her experiences as a professional writer and editor, frequent traveler, and busy mom, her product guides share her unique perspective with her fellow WBUR listeners and readers.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Barnard College of Columbia University. When she’s not writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking without stopping to measure precisely, swimming a poorly executed freestyle, and spending time with her husband and son near their home in Somerville, MA.