Casual-Chic Sneakers We Love (Under $100)


Hey, friends. I feel like we’re always on the hunt for ‘the perfect jeans’ and ‘the perfect sneakers’ around here at TME. Casual-chic is our lyfe. Granted, what that looks like changes slightly from year to year, but the broken-in, cool girl sneakers don’t seem to be going anywhere (regardless of the haters!)

Cam covered Golden Goose years ago now, and you’ve seen me raving about my fav P448 mid-tops in the last few weeks. I cannot deny the fact that I think they’re rad, and they seriously make every outfit look cooler, even if you’re sporting leggings and a tee. I wear mine to and from barre3 all the time! If we share a similar style at all, they’re truly a fabulous investment. And while I’m seriously on board with some of the higher-end pairs right now, I totally get that is not a reasonable ask for everyone. So, I’ve been on the hunt for cool, broken-in sneaks that don’t break the bank. I’m happy to report: they are out there, and they look good.

8 Casual-Chic Sneakers We Love (Under $100)

Broken-in, cool-girl sneakers don't seem to be going anywhere. We found cool, broken-in tennis shoes that don't break the bank. Our top 8 pairs, right here.

1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/

1. Nature Breeze Sneaker // This is the only pair I can’t speak to the brand at all, but they look cute, and the price is super-reasonable at under $40. It says to size up a half in the description, and they offer a few different colors.

2. Steve Madden Philosophy Sneaker // Love love the print on these. They also come in a great gray with black spots, and they come in the snake and studs style, like number 8, but in the low-top.

3. STEVEN Rezza Sneaker // This is the super-comfy pair I have. The next pair in gold are the same, and they are awesome.

4. STEVEN Rezza Sneaker in gold // Love love.

5. STEVEN Rubie Sneaker // This style looks SO much like some of the Golden Goose I’ve seen. I am loving the zebra, but it also comes in a fun gray snake with yellow combo.

6. Madewell Sidewalk High Top // These are a bit different, but so, so cute.

7. Tretorn Cheetah Low Top Sneakers // Tretorns are classic. These are subtle and adorable. They’re selling out everywhere, but here’s another version that’s a little less subtle.

8. Steve Madden Kenzie High Tops // I love these. Swap out the laces for white for an even more wearable style, but the red is amazing for a great splash of color.

STEVEN by Steve Madden is killing it in this style. They offer many of the styles above, and they make the pair I have and love. The ones I have are so comfy, and have a soft terry lining that makes them easy to slip on without socks for those quick errands. Stance socks are my favorite no-show sock, too, for everyday wear; they’d work with any of these.

Shop Cool Sneakers

In a side-by-side comparison of high-end to reasonably priced tennis shoes, I’d say the STEVEN pair I have really stacks up nicely. I wish more well-priced pairs would offer a good mid-top style, but that’s my only critique. If you’ve found any you love in this kind of style, we’d love for you to share in the comments! And if you have tried any of the above, let us know how they are!



Hey, friends. Hop on over to follow me on Instagram @laurajansenstyle to see more of what I’m up to in Portland, Oregon. If you want to shop my current pieces I’m loving and wearing, head over to My Closet!

Opening image credit: Posy Quarterman.


  1. I have been on the hunt for a cute and comfy pair of sneakers for an upcoming Europe trip. I bought the pair you have (option #3) after you posted about them previously. I love them so much that I subsequently also bought the gold pair (option #4). Very cute and comfortable, and that’s coming from someone who until recently never ever wore sneakers for anything other than working out.

    • Oh awesome! I’m so glad you like them, too! I’m so tempted to snap up the gold pair. I hope they’re great for your trip!

  2. These are great alternatives to Golden Goose, and I appreciate your dedicating a post to that.

    Golden Goose is problematic, in that it glorifies worn down shoes and celebrates “poor chic”—at an exorbitant cost. Poor folks wear scuffed up, held together with duct tape shoes because otherwise they’d have no shoes.

    It doesn’t sit right to see such otherwise thoughtful women continue to promote a brand that is so out of touch that it glorifies poverty.

    I’m a long time reader and huge fan. Please reconsider.

    • Katie – this is such an interesting perspective and one I hadn’t considered. My gut reaction is that Golden Goose is more about achieving that broken-in-to-perfection look. (And then they add a ton of embellishment – like glitter – because, fashion.) To me they’re not any different than my beloved destroyed denim, or the artfully distressed t-shirts that have been all the rage. The looks strike me as more about age (vintage) and nostalgia than they do income level. But now that you’ve brought this up, I need to think about it some more. As always, thanks for the food for thought.

  3. I’ve been pondering high-tops lately, and those Steve Madden white ones have caught my eye. (I think I’d replace the laces.) So… styling suggestions? How does a 40-something petite mom make high-tops look… not silly?

    • I hope you’ll try them! I am also a 40-something petite mom and I wear some almost daily. I like to pair them with preppier pieces like a blazer or a long structured coat or something to give them a little boost! And I think swapping out the laces on those will be great, too, for making them blend into your regular wardrobe. I think I need to do a little post on how I wear mine, so stay tuned! I love them with all of my cropped jeans and put them with plaid pants last week, too. Here’s that post!

  4. Fun sneakers! I wish this style looked good on me but they make this 40+ super petite mama look frumpy and squat. I do like black wedge high top sneaks and am on my second pair of Paolo Linneas now. So comfy and stylish!

    • I totally understand! I have to stick to a mid-rise high top instead of a higher one, too, since I don’t have long legs either. If it shows a bit of ankle it’s so much more flattering! Ah i bet those are adorable!

    • I agree the duct taped shoes are taking it way too far. I can see how that view would be taken from a design like that. Do not approve! I do however love a well-broken in shoe or jean and I think that’s all we’re looking for here. We definitely don’t condone anything beyond that. Thank you for sharing the article.

  5. I have a pair of Nature Breeze sneakers, linked below. They are super comfy, and I wear them all the time and get compliments from other women (my husband, on the other hand, despises them)! That being said, you get what you pay for. They are definitely showing some wear and tear on them (and not in the intentional way of GG). But for the price, and comfort, they are definitely worth trying!

    • The ones I have seem to have shorter laces and they’re tied in a little knot near the last hole to keep them from slipping through. They are also laced pretty loosely through the shoe. They came like this, but I think it would be easy to copy with a little trial and error!

  6. Do you have no show socks suggestions? In theory the Converse for Chucks are great (right thickness, stay in place), but they are too big for me and only come in one size.

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