What defines the ultimate summer sneaker? Is it something lightweight and sweat-free? Or would you prefer a shoe that can take a pounding, something that works as well on the fishing boat as it does under the dinner table? For some, best summer shoes actually refers to loafers or sandals. But even for all the penny-loafer diehards and flip-flop wearing beach bums out there, there’s a lace-up plimsoll or deck shoe that they’ll be glad they picked up on the way out of town.
Vault by Vans OG Style 43 LX
Inexpensive, versatile and wildly cool, Vans’ Style 43 sneakers are a lace-up classic that look just as great when they’re all worn down as they do fresh out of the box. Available now in a bold red-striped upper (lime stripes are available too, but sizes are going fast) these will look great all the way through your summer’s last beach-side skate session.
Sperry Striper II CVO Sneakers
The CVO is a preppy, classic sneaker style that’s most often associated with being out on the water. Don’t be afraid to beat yours up — a working man’s patina works just as well as pristine midsoles and un-scuffed canvas. These are available right now in four fresh varsity-inspired colorways, brand new for beach season.
Converse Chuck 70 Low
These aren’t exactly the newest of new summer sneakers you can buy right now, but they’re special enough to make this list. Here’s why: the Chuck 70, unlike the standard Chuck Taylor sneaker you already wear every summer, features a nicely-cushioned insole, a weightier (but still breathable) upper and bits of vintage styling like weathered rubber midsole foxing and off-white whites. It looks subtly broken-in right out of the box and stays perfectly fresh just a bit longer than the optic-white kicks everyone else is dirtying up.
SeaVees Legend Beachcomber
SeaVees is an old company rich with heritage, featuring several original styles that stretch back to the 1960s. Each season brings a few new prints, and one of our favorites this summer is a glorious surf-inspired print on faded black twill, atop a cushioned footbed and sturdy rubber sole.
Vans Slip-Ons Bricolage
Vans is another brand that re-releases its greatest hits each season with fresh colorways, materials and modifications, and this take on the standard checkered Vans Slip-Ons incorporates a suede rear, stitch details on the upper, elevated rubber foxing and all the standard under-foot feel you already love.
Veja Nova Canvas
Veja’s Nova Canvas sneaker might seem like an overbuilt low-top at first glance, but the premium material choices and excellent construction quality set each shoe apart from the competition. This colorway, new for the spring/summer 2019 season, rides the line between staid classic and playful newcomer — pair yours with denim, chinos, swimwear or sweats and rock them all summer long.
Adidas Originals AR Trainer Archive
Does it get any better than the recent run of archival re-releases Adidas has been putting out? The argument is definitely on the table. These AR Trainers are a point for the defense, with all the late-80s and early-90s goodness you could ask for, plus the modern insole comfort and premium leathers you would expect from a modern Adidas shoe.
Based on a terrific (but long-discontinued) Adidas tennis shoe silhouette called the Newcombe, the modern Lacombe is a low-cut sneaker made with incredibly soft white leather and a cushioned foam insole. They shoe is breathable and lightweight enough for the hottest days — most all-leather footwear can’t compete with canvas and twill — but they’re also substantial enough, thanks to their leather construction, to pair with denim and wool socks when autumn eventually rolls in.
Todd Snyder x New Balance 997
Todd Snyder’s collaborations with New Balance never disappoint. This particular sneaker features an ensemble in pastels, using both premium suede and perforated leathers in the upper to provide a plush-yet-breathable wearability. If you’ve ever worn a pair of high-end New Balance 997s you know what you’re getting into — and you know they’re worth the asking price. For all-summer-long wearing, though, it might not hurt to pick up a sneaker cleaning kit while you’re at it.