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April 13, 2015 9:59 PM   Subscribe

What is the next step up, mainly in terms of quality and price, from Vans slip-ons that are similarly minimalist styled and comfortable enough for everyday wear? Looking for good quality, long lasting, simply-styled, slip-on men's shoes.

I am rather unfamiliar with shoes, especially so with men's shoes, so I apologise for not being 100% precise with what I am looking for and not knowing of the best leads to start with. I am looking for some advice for a friend who is in dire need of new shoes.

Currently he wears Vans slip-ons as daily shoes, but they really only last less than six months before the soles start wearing through and the toes get a bit of sunlight. His current shoes are a disaster zone, new shoes are well overdue.

It would be nice, however, to get some shoes that are similarly comfortable but much more durable. Price is not the primary concern here, the choice of Vans was made mainly for simplicity (widely available, a known quantity).

The shoes would ideally be slip-ons (elastic laces are okay), in somewhat muted colours (the current shoes are grey) with minimal or subtle features, that would be good for maybe a year or more of daily wear. I would love to hear your recommendations even if they aren't a perfect match!
posted by Prahan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I bought a pair of these and have been breaking them in for a week or two in preparation for my upcoming trip to Europe. They are really comfortable and I've had no issues whatsoever. I know it says they're for women, but I don't really see anything feminine about them. The cloth on the top of the shoe feels pretty thin, but the sole feels very nice and cushy and look thicker with a better grip than the soles of Vans slip-ons.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 10:10 PM on April 13, 2015

I have some along these lines (they seem to change the lineup every season, so mine aren't exactly the same), and they're super comfortable and have lasted me quite a while (though I don't wear them anywhere close to every day).
posted by primethyme at 10:19 PM on April 13, 2015

To add to primethyme's recommendation, Sperry also makes slip-on sneakers, if he's looking for something more casual. J.Crew sells two models.

Personally, I love The Hill-Side's sneakers, and they've just been released in chambray and canvas slip-on models. They're steeply priced at $150, but if you're willing to wait, Hickoree's runs two major 30-40% off sales at the end of summer and winter in which The Hill-Side's shoes are always discounted.
posted by lunch at 11:02 PM on April 13, 2015

I wear the hell out of various Cole Haan slip ons. Drivers, loafers, espadrilles.

My go to have been some flavor of these since Ought-Six.
posted by notyou at 11:10 PM on April 13, 2015

Common Projects slip-ons are amazing, but pricey.
posted by doctordrey at 12:28 AM on April 14, 2015

Hush puppies.
posted by brujita at 1:55 AM on April 14, 2015

I have a pair of these from Skechers that I wear all the time; they have a number of other slip-on styles as well. Mine have lasted over 2 years of near daily wear. If there is a Walking Company store near you you might want to check them out; they have a good selection of comfortable slip on shoes in a variety of styles, although they tend to be a little pricey.
posted by TedW at 4:53 AM on April 14, 2015

No specific recs, but as a former walking commuter, I used to go through shoes pretty quickly. One thing that helped extend their respective lives was rotating between two to three pairs of shoes and letting each pair rest 24-36 hours between uses - this would make all the pairs of shoes last significantly longer.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 6:55 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Merrell are my go-to if these are this guy's only shoes. These will be okay walking in the woods or on the concrete. There are a number of different slip on options depending on what fabric he'd prefer. And yeah, two pair that rotate will last longer than two pair worn sequentially, so consider that.
posted by jessamyn at 7:38 AM on April 14, 2015

I strongly agree with Pandora Kouti -- this type of shoe, worn this often, is not going to last very long, no matter how high quality it is. It's likely that you could end up paying twice the price of the Vans for a pair of shoes that lasts far less than twice as long. I think the most cost effective approach would be to buy two pairs of identical Vans and rotate them.
posted by telegraph at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2015

I have these from OluKai and I love them. They are incredibly comfortable and I think they're classy as hell.

My other go to slip-ons are always Merrells. I rotate them.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:56 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Since you aren't limiting your answer to sneakers, the next step up for slip-on shoes for a man would be 'penny' loafers, made of leather. The classic, 'collegiate' choice would be Bass Weejuns.
posted by Rash at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2015

Seconding Olukai's. They are comfy, sturdy and look great. Available at Zappos, Rei, etc.
posted by gryphonlover at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2015

I've tried others as my daily-wear shoes, but I keep coming back to plain old Adidas Sambas. I don't lace the very top holes, and use them as slip-ons, never untying them. If I get plain black, they've lasted me several years. If I get something lighter, I decide they're too stained and I have to replace them before they physically wear out.
posted by cmoj at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2015

Camper Peu. I'm on my 2nd pair and think they are great. Stretchy elasticated laces make them easy on and off. Super good for travel.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 1:30 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Might be a bit smarter than you are after but I feel like a Chelsea boot occupies exactly this slot in my footwear arsenal.
posted by Albondiga at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2015

I bought a pair of Hideaways by LS Evans. I got them from Kohls via the internet, but if you Google the Evans site, you can find a much bigger selection. Mine are on the border between slippers and shoes, but I think some are more shoe-like.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:45 PM on April 14, 2015

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