Stylish, well-built athletic shoes: Do they exist?
June 21, 2010 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm a 40 year-old dude who tries to maintain at least a modicum of style. If there's one thing I hate seeing among other guys my age, it's those big honkin' white athletic shoes with shorts or jeans. I have some grey Sauconys that are at least a bit less inconspicuous, but I don't run and I'd prefer something that would look good with a pair of dark-wash jeans or shorts (I'm in AZ). I do like to walk a lot so something that actually has some support and would stand up to moderate daily walks would be good. I also wear orthotics so a removable footbed is a plus. Converse are OUT due to poor support, as an example.
posted by mattholomew to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I forgot to mention that I'm on a budget. So yeah, I know Mephistos are great, but I can't afford them. Something under $75 would be fabulous.
posted by mattholomew at 10:11 AM on June 21, 2010

So are you interested in the retro sneaker look? Or something a step up from that?
posted by bluedaisy at 10:12 AM on June 21, 2010

The men in my family wear Keens. These guys are into boating and fishing, so they have the water shoes. But they wear them with shorts and jeans, and honestly, they look fine.
posted by chocolatetiara at 10:14 AM on June 21, 2010

I don't know if you are "outdoorsy," but check out 5.10 or La sportiva's line of shoes at REI. I have a pair of the guides, and they are AWESOME shoes for all around outdoors/hanging out/casual shoes that can hold up to anything you want to do.

They are also alot less conspicuous than running/traditional athletic shoes.
posted by TheBones at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2010

I've been a big fan of New Balance shoes for years, and this link shows NB shoes that are under $100.00 and orthotic friendly at Zappos. Good luck!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 10:19 AM on June 21, 2010

Tennis shoes?
posted by grobstein at 10:27 AM on June 21, 2010

I usually wear trail running/light hiking type shoes for this purpose. They are usually some shade of inconspicuous brown, which is nice, and they are designed for being on your feet.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:29 AM on June 21, 2010

Best answer: I am a (comparative) youngin and know what you mean about the honking white athletic shoes. Saucony Jazz, Onitsuka Tigers, and some New Balance are where its at for attractive, comfortable men's shoes.

Keens are the ugliest shoes known to man. If you go with keens or something sold at REI, it better be for utility and not style. Try to avoid the shoes with the wider heels (like this) or anything that could pass for reebok. This is what screams "grandpa shoes".
posted by shownomercy at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

No orthopedic use here, but I walk a lot - I have a couple of pairs of Skechers that I swear by; lots of styles that look great with my almost-exclusively dark-wash jeans. I'm in my twenties, but the more fashion-aware of my peers (who're often much older) seem to wear a lot of them too, when they're not wearing dressier loafers. I didn't know it at the time, but New Balance and Skechers appear to be the favored brand of the non-white-sneaker wearing tech industry type.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:35 AM on June 21, 2010

Just yesterday I picked up some Ralph Lauren Gardener slip-ons at Macy's for $55. They look stylish, and while they're probably not suitable for strenuous activity, they provide much better arch support and comfort than Converse. They might be comparable to the Adidas slip-ons I have.
posted by naju at 10:41 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might also try Clarks.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:45 AM on June 21, 2010

I'm a fan of black Merrell Jungle Mocs (don't be put off by the name). Decent support, they don't look all sneakery, and they're slip-ons (good for TSA lines, 'remove your shoes' households, etc.).
posted by kurumi at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Most of my 40ish male friends, who aren't runners but are somewhat stylish, wear Keens. And so do I. They have removable footbeds, they accommodate orthotics, and they are super duper comfy.

FWIW - as a 40ish female, I've got to disagree with shownomercy's statement above that they are the ugliest shoes known to man. I really like some of the men's styles.
posted by chez shoes at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2010

I haven't worn them myself, but I like the look of the Tecnica Subway line.
posted by neroli at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2010

I like Keens, but find Simples to be less wide and utility-looking.
posted by smelvis at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Shownomercy You win, madam or sir! I found a dashing pair of Saucony Originals "Bullet Shoes" (pew, pew!) for $39 with overnight shipping at It's a brand I already like and I do like the retro styling so it's worth a shot.
posted by mattholomew at 11:26 AM on June 21, 2010

I have and enjoy those shoes, but I don't think they provide any support.
posted by grobstein at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks @grobstein, sometimes my orthotics will make up for it. If not there's free return shipping and I can look at one of the other recommended choices.
posted by mattholomew at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2010

Brooks makes several different styles. I would love to be pickier myself, but I end up with what gives me the best support and motion correction (Brooks Beast) at the cheapest price (meaning I buy last year or older models online at half price of the new ones) and sometimes they end up being exactly what you describe. I'm not happy with it, but (1) it's what I can afford for what I need and (2) no one makes nice dress shoes with enough support and motion control for my screwed up feet (and I already have custom orthopedic inserts). if you want to look around at their styles. Might be exactly what you hate, though, or there might be something worthwhile there. As said, I'd love to wear something more stylish, but I also like being able to walk without crippling knee pain.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:03 PM on June 21, 2010

Adidas Rod Laver.
posted by jade east at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2010

I just bought Chacos Paradox after a suggestion here last week. I think they look great with jeans and shorts and they have lots of support. Just a little over your budget, but not much. I LOVE THEM. (I am not a man, but I think the men's style looks cool also.)
posted by raisingsand at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2010

I have a similar objection to people wearing big ugly athletic shoes.

I generally wear plain black Etnies - very comfortable and durable but much more understated. When I want to change it up I have a few pairs of Diesels that I like quite a bit. They're not nearly as expensive as the jeans of the same brand, FWIW.
posted by flaterik at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2010

My cousin turned me on to Born shoes (careful, the main paged had auto playing music, flash website). Comfortable. Not really athletic, but nice.

As for athletic, I've really gotten into hiking shoes. They're comfortable, and usually you can find them in subtle, natural colors. Columbia is the brand I like the most, as, among other things, you can find shoes without logos splashed all over the shoes.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2010

I wear insoles in my Adidas Sambas now and they're mich more comfortable to walk in. You might have similar results with your unsupportive Chuck Taylors.
posted by chrchr at 3:39 PM on June 21, 2010

Nthing black merrel jungle mocs. Looks shoe-ish, feels sneaker-ish.

See here.
posted by lalochezia at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2010

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