1. Material

Casual shoes consist of a wide range of materials, but the most preferred types – at least for your money – are leather, suede, and canvas.

  • Leather, particularly pebbled leather, is a common, quality material used to make casual shoes. It’s visually appealing, durable, and porous enough to provide some breathability.
  • Suede consists of the underside of a cow’s skin and is a staple of men’s casual footwear. Suede looks great with jeans, khakis, or other types of casual pants. A suede shoe’s distinctive nap – which gives it its texture and appearance – sets it apart from other types of material; the more prominent the nap, the more casual the shoe.
  • Shoes made from canvas are most popular in the spring and summer, although not limited to those seasons. Sneakers, espadrilles, etc., consist of canvas and are lightweight and pliable.
  • A couple of other materials to consider are calfskin leather and patent leather. Calfskin is smooth leather and looks good on many casual shoes, but it’s not a truly casual look like pebbled leather, suede, and canvas. Patent leather, meanwhile, is smooth, stiff, very shiny – and not appropriate for casual wear. It looks great on shoes worn with tuxedos, however.

2. Comfort

Casual implies “comfort” and among the many reasons that men choose casual shoes is their comfortability. Besides, no casual shoe manufacturer wants to be known as the company that sells uncomfortable shoes.

3. Breathability

A shoe’s breathability means, in part, the ventilation inside the shoe and how well it keeps your foot cool and dry. There are a variety of materials used in a casual shoe’s construction, including microfibers that help wick sweat away from your feet while providing plenty of moisture evaporation. Mesh uppers rank high on the breathability scale, while a shoe’s perforations allow air to get into the shoe to help keep your foot dry.

4. Foot support

While comfort is king when it comes to casual shoes, foot support isn’t far behind. The quality of a shoe’s foot derives from elements such as its heel cup (the deeper the cup, the more stable), the roominess of its toe box, and an anatomical footbed that’s a feature of many casual shoes. “Anatomical” means the footbed conforms to the natural shape of your foot to provide better support.

5. Stability & Grip

A shoe’s stability prevents twisted ankles and other issues that may arise when walking on different types of terrain. Its grip comes from the outsole, which ideally should consist of non-marking rubber. The more slip-proof a shoe’s grip the better, especially if you work in an occupation (such as nursing) in which spills and wet floors are common.