What are your favorite canvas sneakers?
June 17, 2013 6:26 AM   Subscribe

My cheap pair of white canvas sneakers recently bit the dust, and I'm looking to replace them. I've been looking at all the usual suspects (Keds, Vans, Jack Purcells, Supergas, Tretorn, Pro-Keds, PF Flyers, Adidas, etc.). I'd like something reasonably well-built, reasonably inexpensive (up to $70 is okay), and comfortable.

I do a lot of walking in the summer months, and it'd be great if these didn't murder my feet. What would you suggest? I'm very open to options not listed above as well.
posted by rensar to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
chuck taylors forever. i love them.
posted by crawfo at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I pretty much exclusively wear Ethletic, because they are good shoes and they are ethically made.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2013

I think we need some information about your foot. Vans are my forever favorites, but I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel (V shaped foot) and they work with that best. Conversely, Chuck Taylors fit my wide forefoot so poorly that the shoes literally crack on the sides and fall apart.
posted by telegraph at 6:34 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: My foot is fairly wide at the forefoot and slightly narrow near the heel. I've owned Chuck Taylors in the past, but they were so uncomfortable that I never wore them.
posted by rensar at 6:40 AM on June 17, 2013

posted by nathancaswell at 6:41 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ah yes, ethically-made shoes would also be great. Thanks for the tip on Ethletic. I hadn't heard of them.
posted by rensar at 6:42 AM on June 17, 2013

I find Chuck's too flat for my high arched feet. I like Keds because they have arch support, but my flat footed sister hates them. It's pretty individual to your feet to be honest.

I do like the leather Keds because they're really easy to keep clean.

I'm a huge fan of the Puma Zandy Flat these days. I have this one and it goes with a ton of stuff! I get a bazillion compliments on them too!

Here it is at Zappos in white.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:44 AM on June 17, 2013

Confirming Superga. A touch pricier, but I've had my black/cream soles for 5 years!! Love!
posted by thinkpiece at 6:58 AM on June 17, 2013

I like Gola. I have a few pairs that have held up pretty well. I have wide flat feet and they're not like, great for that but mostly OK.
posted by sweetkid at 7:08 AM on June 17, 2013

I like Keen Arcatas but it looks like they're on clearance.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:11 AM on June 17, 2013

OP is male. Some folks here are posting women's shoes.

I've had 2 pairs of purcells. One lasted for years and felt great the other pinched until I tossed them. So YMMV literally.

I've got a couple pairs of Zig-zags now that are cheap but comfortable. If you just want classic comfort tho low top shelltoe addidas still can't be beat.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:03 AM on June 17, 2013

Sorel Men's Berlin Low

I have an earlier version that I picked up on sale from the Sorel website for about $25. They're very nice.
posted by probablysteve at 8:10 AM on June 17, 2013

OP is male. Some folks here are posting women's shoes.

Oh! My bad. Have you looked into Sperry? They make great shoes for dudes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:17 AM on June 17, 2013

I have these Vans Rata Vulc in a different colour and they're fantastic. They have a new, more cushy insole than the classic Vans I'd been wearing for the last decade so they actually have support and a little foot relief.

As another wide-forefoot, narrow-heel fella, probably stay away from Tretorns and Jack Purcells; I tried on several pairs of Tretorns because they're nice looking but could never find a pair that was wide enough without being many sizes too long. YMMV but I think you'll find Supergas, Keds, and Purcells to be similarly uncomfortable if you don't like the way Chucks fit.

You might want to try the canvas Sperrys— they're not known for being wide foot friendly, but due to the construction the upper material can stretch without cracking the rand. I have leather A/Os and they're great. They've shifted sizes, so size down— I'm wearing 1-1.5 sizes smaller in Sperry than in other shoes now.
posted by a halcyon day at 8:35 AM on June 17, 2013

Response by poster: Great suggestions! Much appreciated. Keep 'em coming. These Sperrys seem pretty good--thanks a halycon day.

Does anyone have experience with PF Flyers? I've seen a few places around the interwebs say that they're the most comfortable plimsoll-style shoe. Verification of that statement would be great, because I'm really liking the looks of the Sumfun and Windjammer models.
posted by rensar at 8:50 AM on June 17, 2013

I've been able to completely avoid the age-old style-vs-comfort dilemma by investing in a pair or two of really good low-profile orthotic insoles and then buying whatever the hell hard-bottomed no-support-giving shoes I liked the best.

My favorite combo is the Walking Company's neutral premium orthotics and pair of these dirt-cheap generic plimsolls that Urban Outfitters sells for $18, by I've seen in other stores for as low as $12.

Best of all, a good pair of orthotics will last a lot longer than any pair of canvas shoes.
posted by patnasty at 9:42 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Glad you like those, rensar, but I meant these A/Os that have the moccasin style sole. Looks like they don't currently have white/natural though.

Reason being that the ones you linked have the same rand construction as Vans, so your wide feet might find a pressure point where the canvas joins the rubber. But they might not!
posted by a halcyon day at 9:56 AM on June 17, 2013

Simple Shoes were my go-to ethical sneaker since No Sweat seemingly ceased production a few years ago, but Google has just informed me Simple have gone the same way (shame, 'cos I really need some new ones too!).
I've had PF Flyers before too, and they were comfortable, but only lasted a year or so under moderate daily abuse. I'd buy 'em again if their European distribution was better.
posted by anagrama at 9:56 AM on June 17, 2013

Converse Chucks with removable insoles.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:29 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by mani at 10:36 AM on June 17, 2013

Does anyone have experience with PF Flyers?

I'm currently wearing one of the two pairs of PF Flyers that I've now owned for 5 and 3 years, respectively. They are super comfy and have held up very well even though I wear them a lot. I'd definitely recommend them. I was just recently thinking of trying to find a new pair of them since the 5-year old ones are starting to show their age.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 12:09 PM on June 17, 2013

Hey, fellow wide-footed guy here who hates chucks with a passion. The "chucks with insoles" thing doesn't solve the problem that they're made for a guy with skinny, flat feet.

What i do like are the airwalk brand ones they call "kicks". They're wider, come with a nice insole, and just well... actually fit my wide ass feet.

I've had similar success with onitsuka tigers in the wide-foot department, and they offer a few canvas variations. Also with sperrys

Inversely, toms are garbage. The shoes fall apart really quickly and their "we give kids shoes in developing countries!" thing is a complete crock.

What i always do is go to a place like ross or marshalls and look through whatever canvas shoes they have on sale. Try them on, and whatever fits my wide feet i buy. I've never had a pair of canvas shoes last more than two years, so fuck spending $50-70 on them. Spend 10-20 at markdown.
posted by emptythought at 2:59 PM on June 17, 2013

I have had 2 pairs of PF Flyers and loved them.

As an aside, I don't like chucks because everybody else has them - and sperry's are for Chaz Wentworth III & friends. The flyers look good, feel good, and don't really make a statement as far as I know...
posted by everythings_interrelated at 3:47 PM on June 17, 2013

I can't vouch for these, but I thought I'd mention that Old Navy has some canvas shoes for men on sale right now.

And I've tried the Payless Shoe source Airwalks brand that emptythought mentions above. Although they were the womens Airwalks, not the mens, I can vouch that they're nice shoes and pretty well made. Here's the men's link.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:05 PM on June 18, 2013

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