The Best Gum-Sole Sneakers for Men Make for a Simple Style Upgrade

gum sole sneaker featured image
Courtesy of Nike

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You can buy men’s sneakers with high-tech foam or pressurized air bubbles built into the sole, but one of the best options for sneaker soles is also one of the most old-school: gum soles. In addition to the advantages they provide, gum soles just look plain cool. Gum soles are often attached to retro-inspired sneakers like Adidas Sambas or Vans Authentics, but that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of contemporary takes on the classic gum sole.

Gum sole shoes are so named for the kind of rubber that they were traditionally made of and not the unfortunate occurrence of stepping on a gooey pile of melted Trident or Orbit. This “gum” comes from rubber trees, which are tapped in much the same way you’d tap a maple tree. These days, gum sole shoes can be made from synthetic materials, but you can still find sneakers made using natural rubber, too. How do you tell gum-sole sneakers apart? They all have a distinctive color that’s similar to brown sugar, offering a stylish contrast with white leather, suede or mesh sneakers. If you find all-white sneakers a little plain, picking up a pair of gum sole white leather sneakers can be a definite upgrade.

Gum soles have the benefit of being durable, while the darker brown color resists abrasion and visible scuffs compared with traditional white outsoles. Plus, gum soles have the added benefit of traction, making for a more secure grip. That’s why many skate shoes, such as Vans, utilize gum soles.

So what are the best gum-sole sneakers? Frankly, there are almost too many to choose from, but we’ve rounded up some of our favorites, including retro-inspired sneakers as well as high-tech, fashion-forward footwear.

  

1. Adidas Samba Classic Shoes

BEST OVERALL 

The sport-shoe-to-lifestyle-shoe pipeline usually relates to basketball or tennis shoes, but Adidas Sambas were built as soccer shoes. These days, Sambas are popular a stylish shoe for everyone, enjoying a co-sign from the king of average guy style himself, Jonah Hill. These shoes are made from leather and suede and have a dark rubber gum outsole.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Adidas
  

2. Puma Suede Gum Sneaker

BEST SUEDE SNEAKERS

It’s all about texture with the Puma Suede Gum Sneakers; the uppers are made from soft suede, while the rubber gum soles have a rippled design on the sidewall. The beige and brown colorway is classic, and would pair well with a workwear jacket (may we suggest Carharrt).

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Urban Outfitters
  

3. Beckett Simonon Morgen Trainers

BEST MINIMALIST SNEAKERS

These might call to mind Maison Margiela’s Replica sneakers, but both brands are referencing the same thing, namely the German Army Trainer developed by brands like Puma and Adidas. These sneakers have a sturdy gum sole and contrasting blue paneling that’s available in a range of colors.

beckett simonon sneakers Courtesy of Beckett Simonon
  

4. Superga 2750 COTU Classic Sneaker

BEST CREPE SOLE SNEAKERS

Italian brand Superga takes gum soles a step further, opting for a crepe sole made from natural rubber. These squishy soles are similar to what you’d find on a pair of Clarks desert boots, making for a comfortable sneaker. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Superga has been around since 1911, making them one of the oldest sneaker brands.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Zappos
  

5. New Balance 327

MOST ON-TREND SNEAKERS

The New Balance 327 is one of the brand’s hottest silhouettes right now, and it has a decidedly sporty look evoking classic running sneakers. They have a grippy, dimpled gum sole that extends from the tip of the toe all the way up the back of the heel, providing ample traction for every part of your foot.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of New Balance
  

6. Nike Killshot 2 Leather

BEST THROWBACK 

We passed peak Killshot years ago, which means that maybe it’s time to bring this stylish sneaker back. After all, it’s arguably the Killshot that made gum-sole sneakers a big deal in the first place. And this classic low-top silhouette can be worn with just about anything. It has leather and suede panels and a light brown gum sole on the bottom.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Nike
  

7. Everlane The ReLeather Tennis Shoe

MOST STREAMLINED

The fashion industry is notoriously bad for the environment, but sneakers are an especially bad offender. Everlane is reinventing the wheel in terms of production while keeping the style classic. These gum-sole sneakers are made from recycled leather, with a rubber gum outsole.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Everlane
  

8. Reebok Club C 85 Men’s Shoes

BEST COMEBACK

British label Reebok has been enjoying an unexpected style resurgence in the past few years, and the Club C 85 is one of the brand’s most distinctive styles. These have a layered outsole with a white rubber and gum rubber sole on the bottom.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Reebok
  

9. Vans Gum Authentic

BEST CANVAS SNEAKERS

The lace-up Authentics come in an off-white “oatmeal” color that pairs especially well with the brown sugar color of the gum soles. These shoes are also made with Vans’ comfortable waffle soles. Waffles, oatmeal, brown sugar. It’s like breakfast for your feet.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Vans
  

10. New Balance Numeric NM288 Sport

BEST 80S INSPIRED

Classic but not boring is the story with the New Balance Numeric NM288s, which come from the brand’s skate shoe line. Of course, you don’t have to be a skater to wear these classic leather sneakers, which offer all-day comfort and a uniquely stylish look.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of New Balance
  

11. Filling Pieces Crease Runner Checkered

BEST SMALL BRAND

The best gum-sole sneakers go well beyond just big players like Nike and Adidas; Filling Pieces is a brand you should have on your radar. The Crease Runner has an eye-catching dimpled design that shows off the gum-colored sole in a unique way. The checkered design also adds to the stand-out look of these sneakers, all without the need for obvious logos.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Filling Pieces
  

12. Onitsuka Tiger Admix Runner

MOST EYE-CATCHING

Frankly, we’re not even sure what these shoes are. They’re called “runners,” but they look like the kind of shoes you’d wear aboard a sneakerhead spaceship. Either way, the red and blue on white colorway makes these a surprisingly wearable style, while the rubber gum sole keeps your feet firmly planted on Earth. They’re made by Onitsuka Tiger, a classic Japanese sneaker brand that is, in many respects, the reason Nike exists.

gum sole shoes Courtesy of Onitsuka Tiger