If anything good has come from sheltering in place during the pandemic, it’s a return to comfortable, functional apparel. We’re all for dressing sharp and looking your best, but sometimes you just need to wear something that feels good—and that’s especially true when it comes to what’s on your feet. Comfortable shoes are essential, whether you’re lounging around the house or spending a day running errands.
Not everything you wear has to come straight from the runway (that said, some of these picks have become offbeat high-fashion icons). There’s nothing wrong with embracing shoes that keep your feet—and by extension, you—happy. Here are some of our favorite comfortable shoes that throw typical fashion sense out the window.
Kane is a new footwear brand dedicated to recovery shoes. Its first model, the Revive, is sort of like a Croc attached to a super-plush sole. The result is a breathable, comfortable shoe that’s designed to help your feet rest and repair after a tough workout. The upper is molded for a supportive fit around your arch, heel, and instep, while the roomy toe box gives your feet room to expand. Kane’s BounceBack foam creates a soft ride, and it’s partially derived from sustainably harvested sugarcane, so it’s eco-friendly too.
Crocs are an icon of comfort over coolness. These molded plastic shoes are lightweight, breathable, and easy to clean—just rinse them with soap and water. They also float (a nice perk if you spend time near the water), and you can go nuts customizing them with Jibbitz charms or just leave them plain. They won’t impress your date, but for rudimentary and comfortable footwear, they can’t be beat.
Hoka’s running shoes are known for their incredibly plush feel, but you don’t have to lace up for a run to experience it. The Ora brings the brand’s signature cushy midsole to a flip-flop. Aside from a generous layer of foam, the Ora also utilizes Hoka’s Meta-Rocker design. As the name suggests, the sole’s shape creates a rocking sensation to help encourage a smooth stride. It’s a great pick if you want to keep your feet cool and comfortable for post-run recovery (they’re also great for just wearing around the house).
Before it became known as the quintessential dad shoe, the 990 was a technological marvel: It was the first shoe to utilize New Balance’s ENCAP system, where cushioning foam is encased with polyurethane to create a springier, more durable cushioning layer. Decades later, the shoe is still going strong—it delivers superb comfort, and it’s even made inroads into high-fashion streetwear. The shoe’s neutral, suede-and-mesh upper creates a laid-back look for dads (and guys who dress like them) everywhere.
A cushier alternative to Teva’s classic Universal sandal, the Hurricane XLT features a beefed-up sole with an EVA foam core for extra cushioning and a nylon shank to support your feet on hikes or walks to the coffee shop. The lugged rubber outsole offers dependable grip and durability, and the quick-drying, recycled polyester straps come in the typical array funky of Teva colorways. Gorpcore is in; it’s time to get on board.
We picked a similar North Face shoe in our camp slippers guide, but the brand’s Thermoball tech performs just as well at home as it does at the campsite. This unique insulation traps heat even when wet, while the shoe’s water-resistant ripstop upper keeps your feet dry. The recycled rubber outsole creates dependable grip, and the fleece collar lining delivers a cozy feel.
Say goodbye to your Topsiders. The Moku Pae from Olukai ditches the Cape Cod aesthetic in favor of performance fabrics and a comfy fit. The minimal mesh upper breathes well and creates a snug wrap around your foot. The Drop In Heel is designed to fold flat or stand upright against your heel—that means you can wear these as slides or slip-ons without damaging the shoe. A washable polyurethane footbed and EVA midsole create a soft step-in feel, and the non-marking rubber outsole will keep you upright on slippery decks and docks.
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