Umm…Your Man’s Casual Summer Shoes? They Need An Upgrade.



Something is happening in the world of male fashion.  Guys – like regular, everyday guys – are starting to step up their sartorial game.  They’re adding pocket squares to their sports coats, and wearing hats because they like how it looks (not because they haven’t showered in eight days aka my husband-back-in-college).  I was astounded to learn, at my sister’s wedding, that most of the groomsmen had  bought their own tux shirts (rather than rent) because they were all so fastidious about fit.

Times are changing, peeps.

What I notice, though, is that there is a style gap between the guys that do care and the guys that don’t.  And when you factor in changing trends (and frankly, most people get stuck dressing like they did their first year out of college…) this gap is widening.  Forget about mom jeans (we’re all looking pretty good amiright?) the next big joke will be on dads.

So let me propose a few easy upgrades.  Nothing too crazy, nothing too “dude-y” (my dad’s word for anything he won’t wear), nothing too far out of a comfort-loving man’s comfort zone.  The best place to start?




I know I’m breaking some hearts here.  But flip-flops?  Unless you are actually at the beach (or going into a communal shower and worried about fungus)…put on some real shoes.

And just so we’re clear:  Crocs are not real shoes.

Last item I’ll harp on:  Trail shoes.  They are awesome for hiking.  Did you catch that?  —>FOR HIKING<—   For general dad-ing around, one does not need trail shoes.



Likewise, one does not typically need features like ‘superior traction’ on date-night (at least not in the shoes).  If you guys are going out and he reaches for the trail shoes, it’s time to bust out the granny panties, Mamas.  Bust out the granny panties.

(Disclaimer:  I do believe any style “rule” can be successfully broken somewhere, by someone. For example, if Mike wore this on date night, I’d be totally OK with flip-flops away from the beach.  So….yeah.  There’s that.)

Here are a bunch of seriously awesome guy-shoes that can get your man through almost any casual summer situation.  (And they’ve all been approved by Mike since he tends to be rather opinionated about these things.)


Retro Sneakers

ASOS Retro Sneakers, $28

Gola Blade Sneakers, $80

Onitsuka Tiger by Asics California 78 Vintage, $85


Surf-Inspired Shoes

TOMS Paseos in Canvas Cobalt Blue Pop, $64

Vans Rata Vulc, $47

Vans for J.Crew Chukka Boots, $60


Slip-On Shoes

TOMS Navy Freetown Sabados, $79

Vans Classic Slip-ons, $47

Soludos Barca Stripe Canvas Espradrilles, $48


Lightweight Lace-Up

Seavees Hermosa Pop, $98

TOMS Chambray Paseos, $59

Sperry Top-Sider Bahama2 in Navy, $60



Birkenstock Sandals, $120 at Zappos

Ted Baker Tuxee Sandal, $120 at Nordstrom

Aldo Lorren Sandals, $123 at ASOS



I know the sandals might be pushing it.  We could probably do a whole article on the topic of man-sandal alone.  Any interest?

Lastly, I need to point out Van’s Rata Vulc (the middle shoe pictured under the ‘Surf-Inspired’ heading).  Mike, my sister’s husband, and my older brother all own (and love) this shoe.  Not bad, considering that this shoe appeals to guys with an almost 15 year age difference.

And if you want to be really fancy, swap out the factory laces of any canvas sneaker for a leather pair, like my sister’s husband did in the very top pic.  Instant style upgrade.






  1. Please do a post like this for moms. I pretty much wear Keens and Birks all summer and now I feel like I should step up my game.

  2. I completely agree with you about men needing footwear help. My husband wears flip flops all summer and I hate them. I just bought two pairs from your post for my husband the Vans Rata and the Onitsuka sneakers. There is no way in hell he’d wear those sandals in the middle and on the right though, they would definitely qualify as way too “dude-y” and by “dude-y”, I mean “dandy”. xoxo.

  3. Should I be proud that my husband already has (and wears) the Rata Vulc (purchased by my for my brother’s beach wedding) and a closet full of retro sneaks?

  4. Laughing so hard cause the comment about your man dressing like he did the first year out of college… so true, so true! Please burn all the graphic tees, cargo shorts, and flip flops!! Buying him the vans and considering the onitsukas. Thanks so much. Now I just need a post to show him for the clothes!! Because apparently he will listen to you and not me!!

  5. Oh, I don’t know, if my DH wore Birks, I think I might bust out the granny panties. They might be on trend, but they are not cute!

  6. Sigh. Normally I wouldn’t think of disagreeing with you, but (as I’m sure you’re aware) here in the greater-Boulder-area, the “Instead of This” column is actually the epitome of dad-street-cred. Apparently you do need superior traction for normal dadding activities (and Keen and Crocs are busting out more styles and colors than ever, so they’re undoubtedly aware of this…)
    Thanks for the other options though – my husband is due for his decade-shoe-change, so it’s lovely to have these in hand. 🙂

  7. Yes! Thank you for this! My husband definitely still dresses like his first year out of college…and don’t even get me started on the flip flops! Could you please do one of these for non-work clothes too? We need some serious help with that in my house 🙂

  8. THANK YOU! Great and necessary post. I agree that we might need some follow up posts on dressing the guys for weekend days and date night.

  9. Fantastic post. Whenever I push something hard on my husband, he ends up never wearing it. This I just forward to him and come to his own conclusions. He is buying the Vans Rata in red! I’m pretty sure he will love them since it feels more like his style than the style his wife forced on him.

  10. Do any of these styles come in wide widths? My husband is uncharacteristically open to fashion lately but he needs a wide shoe. No getting around it.

  11. Yes, please, PLEASE do a post on man sandals. My husband needs to buy some ASAP and neither of us has a clue what to look for. He’s used to living in Chacos.
    An updated men’s clothing post would also be fantastic.
    Thanks, Shana–LOVE your blog!

  12. I’m going to say no to the Birkenstocks. But there are some others I could see my husband wearing, could you please post something on men’s jeans, specifically for height-challenged ones? Maybe a whole dressing the height challenged man? There’s no petite section for men and sometimes the length of shirts and shorts swamp my husband.

  13. They don’t have to. If that’s an issue, though, you can buy socks that were made to be worn without showing….Zappos has them… I’ll look for a link somewhere.

  14. Love the blue canvas in the very top pic – what is the brand?
    I’m trying to get my husband out of Tevas…he wears them everywhere, with everything (even with socks…ugh!). The leather flip flops would be an upgrade – seriously.
    Discovered your blog this year and I just love it – thank you!

  15. Agree with poster DD … I’d love to know what brand the navy ones at the top of the post are. I’ve just scoured the internet and can’t seem to find them. I’m almost 100% certain they’re not Vans.
    Please help!

  16. Love these, but it ain’t gonna happen at my house. My husband has his act together when it comes to work clothes, but it’s nothing short of a miracle if I can get him out of his Nikes the rest of the time.

  17. Thanks, Shana! At a quick glance, I could not seem to find on Target’s website, maybe I would have better luck finding in store. If you have any luck locating or know brand, I would love to find these for my hubby! Love your blog, thanks 🙂

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