32 Best Summer Shoes for Men: Warm-Weather Kicks To Keep You Styling in the Heat


Come the dog days of July, the best summer shoes for men are a godsend. After all, at least half of the difficulty in dressing for summer is just trying to survive the heat. Opportunities to layer are basically non-existent, skin exposure peaks, and freaking your fits becomes infinitely more difficult. Your footwear represents one of the few areas you can get a little experimental, so it’d behoove you to make sure your shoe game is on-point. Which means it’s time to take a serious gander at the best summer shoes for men on the market—and from sandals to sneakers and all the wonderful shoes between, there’s plenty of warm-weather appropriate footwear beyond the usual open-toe, beach-ready slides you’re accustomed to.

The Best Summer Shoes, at a Glance

Swanky Leather Sandals

Sandals take many shapes, from classic flip-flops to two-strap joints to espadrille fusions. But the sandals of the moment offer a little more coverage without sacrificing that life-saving airflow—we’re talking, of course, about woven leather sandals, and huaraches and fisherman sandals, specifically. Huaraches are a traditional Mexican sandal with intricately-woven leather uppers often affixed to a slim leather or crepe sole. Fisherman sandals, on the other hand, are the type of kicks you’d expect your neighborhood’s resident grillmaster to be wearing at the cookout, tending to his charcoal-laden domain. You probably recognize them with a pair of bleach white socks and cargo shorts, but fancy versions exist now—and they look downright elegant with pressed dress pants and a breezy camp shirt.

Yuketen “Alejandro” huarache sandal

Jacques Soloviere Biarritz sandals

Every Kind of Birkenstocks

We’re Birkenstock fiends here at the GQ offices. As such, you can catch any one of us in a pair most times of the year (come December, it’s mohair socks seven days a week, baby!). But the Birk-to-GQ-staffer ratio is at its peak between June and August. They’re more comfortable than your NASA-engineered mattress and stylish as hell, the ne plus ultra of a daily driver. Whether it’s the beach-friendly Arizona, the funky-yet-weirdly-versatile Boston, or even a wild high-fashion collab, a pair of Birks is the best place to start building out your rotation.

Birkenstock Milano oiled leather sandals

Birkenstock Arizona soft footbed sandals

Birkenstock Boston oiled leather shoes

Birkenstock Boston soft footbed shoes

Do-Everything Loafers

God, if there’s one thing we don’t need more of in these times it’s shoelaces. It’s summer: you’re hot, you’re sweaty, and the collective frustration of having to deal with tying your shoes has got to be raising world temperatures by a statistically significant amount—making you even more sweaty. A vicious cycle, truly. The solution? You’re looking at ’em! Loafers sit in the Goldilocks zone between sneakers and dress shoes, and can swing any which way you style ’em. All the drip and none of the laces.

Gucci Roos Horsebit Loafers

Sebago classic “Dan” loafers

Toga Virilis polished loafers

Beach-Friendly Sandals

If you plan on heading to the beach, you’d better be wearing a shoe with some aeration. Whether that means a pair of open-toe slides, woven leather joints, dressy leather joints, or, yes, flip-flops, a good pair of sandals will not only let your toes breathe, but will let sand and water drain easily. That said, you don’t need to be planning a day of righteous waves just to have an excuse to wear a pair. As appropriate as they are for seaside vacays, sandals can also put in the work when you have no travel plans (or if your PTO didn’t get approved). Wear ’em with flowy linen pants and a billowy button up la Jack Nicholson in Something’s Gotta Give and enter a state of rakish repose—or go the complete opposite route and pair them with a thrashed vintage tee and cutoff jorts. Whatever your style lane is, there’s a pair of sandals that can press the pedals.

Todd Snyder Nomad Suede Crossover Sandal in Tobacco

The Resort Co Saffiano-leather flip flops

Chaco x Huckberry “Morel” sandals

Freaky Mules

Aren’t mules just another type of sandal? You might argue that we’re getting into sartorial semantics here. We’re not, and you’re wrong. (Sorry, bud.) Mules stand apart from sandals and loafers for their open back and closed-toe design that should only make sense within the context of your own home, as a house slipper. It’s a slip-on shoe, it’s a clog, it’s the weird shoe that your hippest fashion friend wears—and you should, too. While you’re ditching the laces, why not ditch half the shoe and let the breeze in?

Marni x No Vacancy Inn striped woven mules

Manolo Blahnik Capuleti mules

Better-With-Age Canvas Sneakers

Pretty much any sneaker would be appropriate for knocking down some serious warm-weather fits. But canvas sneakers deserve special attention. We’re talking your typical Vans sneaker, a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors, and so on. Their lightweight uppers won’t weigh you down and will help keep your howlin’ dogs from overheating. The more scuffs, fades, and general wear (and literal tears) the better. Summer is the optimal time to lace up a new pair and, by the time the first crispy leaves touch the sidewalk, you’ll have a sick pair of battered kicks that look even better than when they were box-fresh.

Rick Owens DRKSHDW cargo sneakers

Catchball original plus canvas sneakers

Converse Chuck 70 sneakers

Sperry Cloud CVO sneakers

Rubber Clogs!

You’ve seen them around—on the way to the bodega, at the pool, back-of-house at your favorite restaurant. (Also on Julia Fox.) The monoblock of synthetic waterproof foam shaped into a shoe takes many forms—from simple shower slides to otherworldly water shoes to the so-bad-they’re-good Crocs. They’re waterproof, affordable, and an easy way to toss some spice into your blander summer fits.

Merrell Hydro Moc sandals

And When All Else Fails…Any Sneaker Under the Sun

It feels like we shouldn’t have to mention that sneakers are a good option for, well, all the time. But just so we’re covering the bases here, sneakers are a great option for summer…and spring, and fall, and winter. School’s out, vacation is imminent, summer Fridays (along with the occasional office happy hour) are in session. It’s an all around casual time. Get comfortable with your favorite pair of sneakers, whether they’re a classic pair of tennis shoes or a marathon-ready pair of trainers, and wear them with every summer outfit you can think of.

Adidas Original

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32 Best Summer Shoes for Men: Warm-Weather Kicks To Keep You Styling in the Heat

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