I need a new pair of sneakers to wear every single day.
July 31, 2017 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a new pair of daily sneakers. I don't have a particular pair in mind, but I have a few general requirements. Recommend/help me narrow down some choices!

I’m a (former?) sneakerhead. I still have and enjoy most of my old shoes, but even when I was actively collecting sneakers, I’d still need a “daily wearer,” and I’ve gone through a few different styles over the past couple years.

I wear the same pair of sneakers every day. I wear them to work, at home, in between. I walk at least a mile to and from work each day. I do IT, so daily work alternates between periods of light and heavy activity. I try to stand up and get on my feet every hour or so, even if it's just a quick walk around my floor. I live in a city and don’t have a car, so I walk/bike/public transit everywhere.

My current pair of sneakers is a pair of New Balance 247s. They're quite comfy, and I love the fact that they don't have a tongue, just some stretchy elastic under the laces. However, they have a mesh toebox, and after only three months, one starting to develop a hole just above the big toe on my left shoe (should've seen this coming!)

So, I'm looking for a new pair of daily wearers. I know no sneakers are going to last forever, but a hole barely three months into ownership is a little bit much for me.

Broadly speaking, here are my requirements/desires:
1. Something fairly discrete. My sneakerhead days are long behind em. Something plain, preferably in black, is what I'm after.
2. Decent fit/shape. I'm a US men's 12, and have fairly squared off toes. Nothing too narrow/tapered at the front.
3. I’m walking outside rain or shine, so something that won’t completely soak through at the slightest mist would be good.
4. Comfort is obviously subjective and dependent on a bunch of other factors, but, yeah, they should be comfortable.
5. Okay to wear with cotton athletic socks. I don’t wear shoes barefoot.
6. I’m not opposed to wearing non-traditional sneakers (for example, just wearing a pair of hiking shoes every day) but I don’t really want to *look* like I’m wearing a pair of hiking shoes every day. See #1.
7. Ideally something that is always in style/production so that when I inevitably wear them into dust I can just buy another pair.

Current/former daily sneakers:
New Balance 247 (current) - see above

Altra Instinct - I had a pair of these on a podiatrist’s recommendation after dealing with an ingrown toenail. They are stupidly comfortable and fit my big foot no problem, but the styling is a little much.

Adidas Neo Daily Line - I dig the look, but the toe box is a little to round/tapered, and my outside toes wind up feeling the crunch after a while.

Nike Air Pegasus 83 - on the surface, these look like they’d be way too narrow, but these were probably the most comfortable pair of shoes I owned until they literally disintegrated off my feet. I would be down to just get another pair of these, except as far as I can tell they’re not currently in production.

Under consideration:
Adidas Gazelle - I’d have to try a pair on to know for sure, but my worry is that they’d feel too narrow in the toe like my last pair of Adidas. The shaping appears subtlety different, though.

Allbirds Wool Runners - I’ve seen these pop up in a few different places. People seem to like them, but without a way to try them on first, I’m wary.

Any thoughts/reviews/recommendations on anything here would be great, but I’m really looking to see some stuff I might not have heard of/considered before.
posted by daisy55 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have worn the Nike Flex 2015-2017 consistently as my daily sneakers and I love them. Lots of low profile colors. I'm a woman so the men's fit might not be as wonderful, but...
posted by stoneandstar at 8:34 AM on July 31

I don't have a shoe suggestion, but I *would* suggest that you buy two pair and alternate. Allowing your shoes a day off tends to increase life span, even with sneakers. As a bonus, doing so will allow them to air out more fully between wearings, which can prevent odor.
posted by uberchet at 8:51 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]

I recently changed from wearing mostly Vans and Converse to a pair of Merrell Burnt Rocks. I'd never really considered that there might be sneakers/trainers made for walking, but since I've had them, walking everywhere has become a distinct pleasure. Those specific ones probably aren't your style, but they make all kinds, and pretty much all of them provide good support.

Seconding two pairs. It makes more of a difference than you'd think.
posted by pipeski at 8:53 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]

I met the man who started Skora shoes at a pre-marathon fair, and have been a devotee ever since. His shoes last forever, are insanely comfortable, and even give you some waterproofing. I particularly recommend his goat leather version, the Form. More here. BUT there is a catch: you'll either need to wait a bit or find some for sale elsewhere online, because he has sold the company to an NYC firm, and I think he's temporarily out of stock.
posted by bearwife at 9:04 AM on July 31

Seconding Merrell hiking shoes!

I switched from New Balance to Merrell Moab 2 Vents, and they are awesome! They feel much sturdier than a regular sneaker as well!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 9:08 AM on July 31

Filling Pieces? They have a lot of monochrome and/or color and white sole shoes like this. Now, the key thing is to get them on sale - if you look around the web, you can get them for easily half the cost on the website (or you can get them gently used on eBay if you're me). They're big sneakers, but they're big because they're leather lined, well made and comfortable. They fit very true to Euro sizing - I'm a 41 in virtually every European shoe and a short/wide 8.5 US.

Again, expensive, but if you get them on sale the price/wear is actually better than the kind of generic Adidas-ish fall-apart-after-a-few-months shoes.
posted by Frowner at 9:10 AM on July 31

Also, I see you're looking at some sort of minimalist Adidas - have you considered some leather minimalist shoes from either Epaulet or - and this will sound loony tunes - the higher end Kenneth Coles? I have a pair of those that I got on eBay, and they're actually super nice, far far nicer than men's shoe bloggers had led me to believe.

They're not a sports sneaker, but I walk around in them plenty, bike moderate distances at a slow citified pace, etc.
posted by Frowner at 9:19 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]

Maybe something like this?

The North Face Storm Tr Waterproof Shoe Mens
posted by Crystal Fox at 10:08 AM on July 31

I got a pair of Columbia Conspiracy Outdry shoes for a couple of hikes and they quickly became my regular non-work shoes. Comfortable, water proof and fairly durable. The ones I got were black and silver and the silver becomes grey pretty quickly so the shoes are not very noticeable. Also they look like running shoes not big hiking shoes.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:26 AM on July 31

I hate cramped toes and I've had good experiences with Palladium Pampa Oxfords.
posted by adiabatic at 10:35 AM on July 31

Have you looked at Clarks or (my old go-to) Simple?
posted by that's candlepin at 10:47 AM on July 31

Seconding the earlier recommendation to buy two identical pairs of whatever style you decide on--stick with one pair first to see if they're comfortable, obviously, before duplicating--and alternate wearing them so that they can dry out.
posted by serelliya at 10:54 AM on July 31

My pair of go-to sneaks are black Jack Purcell Converse All-Stars (I put an insert in them for comfort/support) and the Cole-Haan Grandpro Tennis Sneaker. I'm a reformed sneakerhead, as well, but the onset of middle age and a restrictive workplace dress policy has made me alter my style a bit. Hope you find the daily kicks you're seeking.
posted by Tardis_Spin at 12:27 PM on July 31

I am currently in love with most things that Native Shoes and People Footwear are putting out. Super lightweight, no man-made materials, pretty cheap, durable enough. More in the minimalist camp, generally speaking, with exceptions.
posted by hijinx at 1:29 PM on July 31

I wear these onitsuka tigers when walking to work and they are amazing. They last for years and come in so many colours, including black.
posted by Pademelon at 4:26 PM on July 31

My go-to almost-every-day sneakers are a pair of black Saucony Jazz (can't link but you know, they're the classic Sauconys). I wear the lower-profile style and they are super comfortable for walking or standing, even with my terrible feet. And they go with everything that goes with sneakers. In fact, I like them because they are the most comfortable low-profile sneakers I've found. And they come in so many colors - you could have a black or grey pair for everyday and then something more colorful for when you want some flash.
posted by lunasol at 7:12 PM on July 31

I would go with something from New Balance's Walking, Tennis, or Skateboarding offerings. Those designs tend to have less of the ubiquitous mesh crap that's hard to escape. Avoid any brand's running shoes for daily shoes. They all seem to follow the same formula with meshed uppers and super cloudlike soles, but they compress down wierdly with wear, the mesh is useless in the rain, and they just don't last.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:26 PM on August 2

Nthing the comments that wearing the same shoes everyday is taking the express train to stinky-town. Your shoes will wear out faster, too.
posted by Edna Million at 2:41 PM on August 5

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