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While they may have originated in sports like tennis and basketball, sneakers have always been a comfortable option off the court. It makes sense; shoes that are built to perform also work well for walking or standing. And while most sneakers are going to be pretty comfortable, at least compared to stiff dress shoes, they’re not always the most comfortable. That’s why we rounded up some of the most comfortable men’s sneakers you can buy online.
Everyone likes to be comfortable, and unless you’re determined to wear elite designer labels at all costs, no one buys uncomfortable shoes on purpose (of course, that is absolutely not the case with women’s footwear). However, for guys that spend all day on their feet, comfortable shoes are actually crucial, unless you want your feet, legs and back screaming out in pain after a few hours on the job. That’s why shoes like Crocs and New Balance sneakers are so popular with essential workers, who have to prioritize comfort over style — and we say that will all due respect to Crocs.
For many guys, the best running shoes will suffice as the most comfortable sneakers, but they’re not the only options. From basketball shoes to low-top canvas sneakers, there are a lot of comfortable shoes that can suit different settings and outfits. And since different people look for different factors when considering comfort, we’ve kept the parameters pretty broad.
When Shopping for Comfortable Sneakers, It’s All About the Midsole
When you’re shopping for the most comfortable men’s shoes, we recommend looking for shoes with a midsole made from EVA or a similar material. The midsole is the part of the shoe between the inner and outer sole, and if comfort is your top priority (as opposed to, say, style or traction), then the midsole is what you need to worry about. Today, some of the most comfortable sneakers for men and women feature EVA midsoles. EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate, and it’s a lightweight, foam-like material that provides excellent cushioning.
To help us identify only the most comfortable sneakers, we turned to Wade Motawi, a shoe designer with more than 25 years of experience creating shoes and advising footwear brands. Motawi runs the Sneaker Factory website, and he literally wrote the book about How Shoes Are Made. Wade declined to recommend specific sneakers to SPY, but he told us in an interview that most comfy shoes use EVA, often in the midsole.
How did EVA midsoles become the go-to material for comfortable shoes, especially comfortable sneakers and running shoes, in the United States? While you may have started hearing about this material recently, it’s actually been the standard for comfort since the 1970s. Motawi told SPY that the use of EVA in sneakers started with — who else? — Nike and its co-founder Phil Knight.
In the early 1970s, Knight traveled to Japan, where he learned about EVA from the Japanese sports shoe company Onitsuka Tiger. The way that EVA midsoles are produced has evolved over the decades, but the same basic material has been widely used in running shoes, walking shoes and sneakers of all kinds ever since. Motawi said that some brands have since created their own version of EVA foam, which is why some shoemakers claim to use a unique patented foam. However, at the end of the day, it’s all pretty much EVA. The only exception would be cutting-edge marathon footwear and performance running shoes.
EVA midsoles provide long-lasting support even with intense use, which is another why so many of the best men’s sneakers now feature this material. EVA midsoles don’t just cushion your feet and contour to the unique shape of your soles; they also provide excellent shock absorption. For this reason, a lot of popular running shoes have EVA materials. This is why so many running shoes appear on our list of the most comfortable sneakers for men.
How We Chose the Most Comfortable Sneakers for Men
Of course, comfort is subjective, so we sought out sneakers in a wide array of styles to fit different needs. If you have a specific foot issue such as plantar fasciitis, then you’ll want to look for shoes that provide that specific type of support. Likewise, some people need shoes that are very supportive and structured, and many of the running shoes on this list check that box. But some people feel better closer to the ground, so less cushioned shoes like the Adidas Gazelle or Converse Jack Purcell might meet that criteria.
Another factor to consider is breathability. Many of the shoes on this list have mesh or canvas uppers, allowing adequate ventilation for your feet. Even if it’s nippy out, you’ll be glad to have breathable shoes if you’re walking around all day.
Finally, it doesn’t matter how cushioned and supportive a sneaker is if it simply doesn’t fit you. That’s why it’s important to consult size guides (and even forums) to ensure you end up with the right-sized shoe. If something feels wrong, then you might want to size up or down. If your feet are irregular in shape, then look to brands like New Balance, which is well known for offering its shoes in wide sizes.
“If you have a beautifully sleek foot, then Nike’s going to fit you great,” Motawi told us. “If you have a loaf of bread foot and bone spurs, then Nike’s not going to fit you. No shoe fits everybody. Find a brand that fits you right and stick with it.”
With all these factors in mind, we went on a search for men’s sneakers that check these boxes without sacrificing style. From classic favorites from Nike and adidas to under-the-radar brands like Rothy’s, follow along and discover the most comfortable sneakers.
1. Nike Air Force 1 ’07
There’s probably a dirty pair of AF1s sitting near your front door, and if that’s the case, you’ll already know just how comfortable these sneakers are for daily wear. Nike’s Air Force 1 ’07s have become a modern staple to men and women’s footwear for their easy-to-match style properties and unmatched comfort. These sneaks are available in white and black to keep your outfit looking clean no matter what you throw together. AF1s are designed for shooting hoops, so you can expect extra cushioning to provide all-day comfort no matter how far you’re walking. In our experience, these sneaks are also tremendously durable and have a long lifespan. They’re one of the most legendary white sneakers, too.
2. Hoka One One Clifton 8
For avid walkers, finding a solid pair of durable sneakers that last more than a couple of months is the goal. Thankfully, the Hoka One One Clifton 8s are some of the most durable, long-lasting shoes we’ve seen in a while. They’re made with a high-abrasion rubber outsole to ensure they fall apart after a few months. Each pair is super lightweight to lessen any additional energy used when strolling around town. Worried about an uncomfortable fit? Don’t be. These sneakers have a full-compression EVA midsole to give you some of the best cushioning available in a pair of shoes.
Read More: Most Comfortable Men’s Shoes
3. Adidas Ultraboost 5.0 DNA Shoes
BEST FOR ATHLETES
Most comfy shoes feature an inner layer of molded EVA, meaning the midsole is made out of a single piece of EVA. However, the Adidas Ultraboost line is an exception, and this footwear features an innovative material and design. Adidas trades the standard EVA midsole for its BOOST material, which is a different type of plastic made up of tiny pellets pressed together, hence the unique look of the Ultraboost line. These trainers are famously comfortable, and that’s because they combine a cushioned footbed with excellent energy return on each step. This is crucial to overall comfort, especially when you’re working out. For all these reasons, these are some of the most comfortable sneakers in the world, and a great alternative to Nike sneakers.
4. APL TechLoom Pro
Comfortable, good-looking, clean, durable — we could use just about every positive word we’ve ever learned to describe our love for the APL TechLoom Pro sneakers. These running shoes aren’t only perfect for your morning jog, but they have the ability to keep your feet comfy as you’re mobile on shorter walks and adventures. The APL TechLoom Pros make quite the travel shoe for those experiencing new cities and prefer ditching the taxi to get from place to place. Each sneak uses APL’s proprietary Propelium midsole and outsole for both visual and comfort purposes, too.
5. New Balance 990v5
In 1978, the New Balance birthed the 990 sneaker, making it one of the best running sneakers of all time. Now, over 40 whole years later, the tradition continues with the New Balance 990v5 sneaker — the latest release of the original 990 sneaker. This stylish sneaker is made to take on your day in maximum comfort. It effortlessly blends cushioning and style to ensure you’ll stay looking fresh on the streets. Dual-density collar foam is included around the ankles for extra support and comfort. Finally, these famously comfortable shoes feature an ENCAP midsole, which is a type of EVA midsole.
6. Allbirds Tree Runners
Not only are the Allbirds Tree Runners some of the most comfortable sneakers to rock throughout the year, but they’re some of the most eco-friendly sneakers on the planet. Each pair is made using eucalyptus tree and renewable materials to keep your feet cozy, light and breezy. On top of that, these sneakers feature the world’s first carbon-negative, plant-based EVA material. The sneakers naturally minimize odor contour your foot to move with it. You won’t have to go through that awkward “break-in” process you do with other sneakers, either. When they get dirty, you can even throw them directly into the washing machine.
7. ON Cloud 5 Running Shoe
EASY ON AND OFF
ON’s shoes are primarily designed for runners, but they’re so comfortable that it’s pretty common to see people wearing them as casual footwear. They’re available in a range of muted colors. The soles have air cells that provide cushioning, so you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds. Plus, the elastic laces make the shoes easy to slip on and off. ON refers to its version of foam cushioning as CloudTec® Zero-Gravity foam, which is equivalent to an EVA sole in terms of comfort.
8. New Balance 237V1
NEW FROM NEW BALANCE
Because of their legendary comfort, we couldn’t include just one pair of New Balance sneakers on this list. If the 990 feels a little too dad-shoe for you, then the sporty lines of the 237V1 might be more your speed. They’re available in a range of eye-catching colors, and the uppers are made from mesh and suede. The ripple gum-sole adds cushioning and traction. Most importantly, an EVA midsole will keep your feet comfortable, which makes this a stylish shoe that’s perfect for standing all day. New Balance is perhaps best known for its classic dad shoes, but we love the modern styling of these comfortable sneakers.
Read More: The 15 Best Dad Shoes To Rock in 2022
9. Rothy’s The RS01 Sneaker
For many people, comfort isn’t just about ergonomics — it’s also about ethics. That’s why it’s a good thing that these sneakers from Rothy’s have a knit upper that’s made from recycled plastic bottles. Of course, they’re also physically comfortable, too. The knit uppers promote improved breathability, while the gum soles provide traction and shock absorption. The shoes have a classic look and a low-profile design that’s modeled after German Army trainers made famous by brands like Adidas and Puma, so they can easily be worn with any style of pants.
10. Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 21
BEST FOR RUNNING
Unsurprisingly, running shoes are often pretty good for anyone looking for comfortable footwear. Brooks’ Adrenaline is a great example of that. They’re stable and supportive for all-day comfort. They’re available in a wide range of colors as well. Also, our Assistant Managing Editor and in-house running expert swears by these for anyone hoping to crush their mileage goals this year.
11. adidas Gazelle
The adidas Gazelle is the perfect mid-point between a flat shoe and a structured running shoe. They have some cushioning and arch support, but won’t be too structured for people used to shoes like Vans and Converse. Plus, they’re not too wide or narrow, and they’re pretty easy to slip on and off even when they’re laced up. The Gazelle comes in a wide range of colors — go for pink if you’re not afraid to make a statement.
Read More: The Best adidas Sneakers for 2022
12. Jack Purcell Low Top Sneaker
BEST CANVAS SNEAKERS
Comfort in footwear is typically thought of as cushioning and support, but that’s not necessarily what works best for everyone. The Jack Purcell is a low, relatively unstructured shoe that’s ideal for anyone who likes a flatter shoe. However, they are slightly more supportive and comfortable than the traditional All-Star. The rubber cap is an iconic design detail, which offers the practical benefit of keeping your toes protected.
13. ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes
Another great running shoe that can be worn for comfort is the ASICS Gel-Kayano. ASICS makes a wide range of sportswear, but they’re best known for their quality running shoes. The Gel-Kayano 27 comes in a variety of colors and has a classic running shoe look. The supportive foam sole is great for bounding farther and faster while you run, but it also suits anyone who’s on their feet all day.
14. Vans Authentic Sneakers
BEST SKATE SHOE
Vans don’t offer the same out-of-the-box comfort of many of the shoes on this list, but the more you wear them, the more comfortable they’ll become. The canvas will gradually conform to your foot, while the iconic waffle sole is flexible enough to keep you on the move. They may not be the most supportive shoes on this list, but they are comfortable in their own way, especially for anyone who prefers a more low-profile shoe.
This article was last updated on Thursday, April 21, 2022, when we added the Adidas Ultraboost 5.0 DNA shoes as the best option for athletes. In addition, we moved up the ON Cloud running shoes after receiving additional feedback from readers.