The Best Casual Sneakers for Every Budget | BuzzFeed Reviews
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The Best Casual Everyday Sneakers

We hope you love the products we recommend! We do a lot of research and testing before making our picks for the best thing to buy in each price point. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change. For more info on how we choose products and make money, go here

New Look Lace-Up Trainers

$24

  • Surprisingly sturdy for the price
  • Made with smooth faux leather
  • Glowing white that stays clean
Buying Options

Allbirds Wool Runners

$95

  • Comfortable, with no breaking-in period
  • Made with all-natural and recycled materials
  • Comes in neutral/natural colors
Buying Options

Greats Royale Sneaker

$179

  • Buttery-soft Italian leather
  • Timeless style in seasonal colors
  • Can be worn without socks
Buying Options

We enlisted the help of stylish sneakerheads and regular comfort-seekers to help us figure out what casual everyday sneakers are the most comfortable to wear, versatile to style, and durable in the long term. For fairness and ease of comparison, we tested only solid-color lace-ups with men’s and women’s sizes. (Stay tuned for our best slip-on sneaker review!)

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New Look Lace-Up Trainers

Starting from $24

Where to buy

The Details

Textile and Rubber Sole

Faux Leather

Grip tread

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who want to keep that new sneaker look
  • Casual strollers on a budget
  • People looking for a vegan leather option

Why We Love It

As any frugal sneaker shopper can attest, it’s weirdly difficult to find a solid pair for under $40. Discount retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, which usually sell cheaper knock-off versions of brand-name shoes, have a woeful selection. Even classically inexpensive kicks like Keds and Vans Authentics will run you at least $50.

A pair of New Look Lace-Up Sneakers being held by the heels

Knowing this makes these sneakers — from Irish company New Look, which also offers a slew of clothing at reasonable prices — a real gem. Their style is simple and classic, so they’re an easy hit with a wide range of people. These sneakers are an exceptional find for those looking for a regular, no-nonsense shoe that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The first thing people typically notice about these sneakers is their material. While most low-cost sneakers are made with canvas, these New Look kicks are crafted with a thin but sturdy, buttery-smooth faux leather. They have a nice new-sneaker smell and feel comfortable from the first wear. Testers reported that these shoes don’t require much breaking in and mold well to the feet. They won’t make your feet ache, even after a particularly long walk.

These lace-up sneakers have a medium-thick sole and a rounded toe. The monochrome design makes it easy to pair them with most styles and outfits. Testers found they worked best with pants or shorts, but could be styled with a casual skirt or dress. They’re really so simple, it’s hard to think of an outfit they’d clash with; this versatility makes them a great staple shoe.  

The back of a pair of New Look Lace-Up sneakers

Perhaps the New Look’s best feature is how pearly white they stay after extended use. Testers wore these out into the soot- and dirt-caked streets of New York City, among other places, and were amazed at how well the shoes retained their glowing, new-sneaker look, even after a month of use. The material repels stains and any blemishes can easily be washed away with a little white toothpaste and a wet cloth. Considering how quickly more expensive shoes can fall apart — testers who tried Cole Haan’s $130 GrandPro sneakers found that the stitching started to come undone after only a week — these truly do give you the best bang for your buck.

Unfortunately, these shoes only come in full sizes, so those who wear a half-size have to size up or down. It’s probably safer to size up, but one size-7.5  tester said the size 8 was a little too large.

Ultimately, these lace-up sneakers are a stylish and affordable choice for people who aren’t looking for anything fancy. They’re comfortable, inexpensive, and timelessly classic.

New Look Lace-Up Sneakers On Feet

New Look

Wallet- and feet-friendly monochrome kicks

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Allbirds Wool Runners

Starting from $95

Where to buy

The Details

Merino wool uppers

Wicks Moisture

Available in 4 Classic Colors

Limited Edition colorways

Recycled Laces

Soft padded insoles

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who value comfort above all else
  • Sock-haters
  • The environmentally conscious

Why We Love It

Allbirds claims to be the most comfortable shoe in the world. While we’re always skeptical of such bold marketing statements, after actually wearing them, we have to agree. The second our testers tried these on, they noticed a unique plushness that cradles the foot like the precious baby it is. Some said it felt like walking on clouds (which we’re pretty sure they’ve never done) or wearing slippers (which we should all be doing more). You can count on these shoes to keep your feet happy, no matter how long you’re on them.

These are everyday sneakers, so they’re not for hiking, workouts, or intense running. They’re ideal for people who spend a lot of time on their feet or enjoy long walks on even terrain (like city sidewalks). They offer more arch support than your typical casual sneaker (e.g., Converse or Vans) and won’t give you those dreaded breaking-in blisters. Wool Runners are meant to be worn while strolling around the park, standing at work, or walk-running to your next appointment. They’re about to be your go-to shoe — and they match everything.

Grey Allbirds Wool Runners close-up of insoles

Wool Runners are made with lush merino wool that’s soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Unlike a wool sweater, you can wear these in the summer without overheating or getting itchy. You don’t even need to wear socks if you don’t want to! For those who hate socks but have stinky feet, don’t worry: Allbirds are machine-washable. Just remove the laces, pop them in the washing machine and wash on cold, air-dry, and you’re back in business.

Comfort aside, Allbirds says its manufacturing process is environmentally conscious. One plastic bottle goes into the production of each pair of shoelaces. There’s castor oil in the insoles, and the shoeboxes are made with 90% recycled cardboard. Even the wool is ethically sourced: Allbirds works with organizations like ZQ to ensure its wool comes from happy sheep and says its process uses 60% less energy than typical synthetic sneaker manufacturing.

Grey Allbirds Wool Runners on Feet

Allbirds Wool Runners come in natural, neutral colors like olive, gray, and white; more vibrant colors, like lavender; and limited-edition colors, like teal. The monochrome style avoids  visible logos and bright flourishes, making it a subtle choice that works for casual events. That said, these are not exactly “fashion” sneakers. Most testers said they wouldn’t wear them with a dress, but they do look great with a pair of jeans. They’re a sleek but casual option meant for everyday use.

Wool Runners don’t run in half-sizes, but have no fear: This handy guide will help you find your correct size, and the flexible wool stretches and tightens for a great fit. None of our testers had trouble ordering the right size on the first try — but if you do, Allbirds offers a 30-day trial and simple returns.

Back of grey Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds are a great choice for environmentally conscious people looking for a simple and elegant sneaker that doesn’t make a loud statement. If you’re sick of getting blisters every time you wear a new pair of sneakers, consider Wool Runners to be the answer to your feet’s prayers.

Allbirds

Truly “the most comfortable shoe in the world”

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Greats Royale Sneaker

Starting from $179

Where to buy

The Details

Full-grain leather uppers

Waxed-cotton laces

Lined with Leather

Available in solid or perforated

What / Who It's Best For

  • People who want a high-end pair of sneakers with real leather
  • The fashion-forward
  • People who don't mind a breaking-in period

Why We Love It

You don’t get away with naming your shoe company Greats and not make a truly amazing sneaker. The quality is obvious the second you open the box. While it’s worth noting that their packaging is not as fancy as competitors like KOIO or M. Gemi, Greats lets the shoe do the talking. They know that you’ll be wearing these so often, you won’t even need the shoebox!

The back heel of Royale Perforated Greats in White

Greats offers a classic, vintage-inspired silhouette with a rounded toe that appeals to pretty much anyone. They’re simple and versatile, making them easy to wear with almost any outfit — dresses included! While they may not be the most cutting-edge, fashion-forward, hype-of-the-moment footwear choice out there, Greats are designed to last, in terms of quality and timeless style. In our book, that’s worth a pretty penny.

While Greats aren’t instantly comfortable, the breaking-in period is considerably easier on the feet than other leather shoes in the same price point. The backs are cushioned and delightfully squishy, keeping the wearer’s heels and tendons relatively blister-free. Since they’re leather, they only feel better the longer you wear them. Talk about a solid investment.

The Royale Perforated Greats in White top-view

Testers found these shoes extremely durable; they can handle even longer walks on a variety of surfaces. They’re easy to keep clean — a simple swipe with a wet cloth will do. While it’s not advised, you can get caught in the rain in these and not worry about them melting off your feet (one tester did just that in a light rain and didn’t notice any significant damage). Remarkably, Greats can be worn without socks; the perforated Royales, especially, are perfectly breathable, keeping your feet cool and sweat-free.

Greats’ original line of Royale Classics comes in a variety of colors, like white, black, gray, and pink. It also offers limited-edition colors — like teal, yellow, and white with a metallic gold sole — for the more sartorially adventurous. The original line runs a half-size small for women’s styles and a half-size large for men’s, but this is helpfully labeled on the website (though why they wouldn’t just change the sizing is beyond us). If you’re searching for a high-end pair of sneakers made with quality materials and a timeless silhouette, Greats are the best value out there. You’ll fall more deeply in love with these classic shoes with each wear.

The Royale Perforated Greats in black on feet

User Reviews

"I was hesitant because of the price point but I am glad I got these sneakers! They are comfortable and yet classy. They are also a little different so they stand out in a beautiful way. I am glad that I took the chance and purchased them. Go for it; you will enjoy them. Now to order a white pair.”
— Ann D. From Greats
“I spent over a year wishing I could have a pair of white shoes like my boyfriend, who wears the Greats Royale Blanco. I went through multiple pairs of white shoes, eventually abandoning them in my closet because they just weren't right. It finally dawned on me to buy the women's version of the Greats, and they definitely live up to the name! They gave me blisters on the first wear (to be expected when breaking in shoes), but have been so comfortable since then. Definitely go up a half size...I'm a size 8 and the 8.5 fits perfectly.”
— Katie W From Greats
"These are the coolest and classiest white sneakers I can imagine. They fit perfectly, they’re super comfy, and look great! I love these shoes!"
— Paul N. From Greats
“This is my everyday to-go clean white sneaker. I would say that my purchase of the Greats Royale Blanco is the single 10 out of 10 greatest purchase in my entire closet. This sneaker is so comfortable right out of the box. Greats cares so much about the presentation that they even spent time perfecting the packaging and box. The shoe is made with full-grain handmade and hand-stitched Italian leather. You know somebody spent time out of their day to make this for you and now it’s on your foot. When Greats says wearing socks is optional, they actually mean it; wearing socks without the shoe is perfectly fine and your foot doesn’t sweat. Everything about the shoe is so perfect it gives me chills just writing about it. Oh and if you have any doubts about the price, don’t worry it is well, well, well, well worth it. Thank you so much for everybody at Greats that made this purchase and product possible. Thank you!”
— Zachary N. From Greats
"They take a bit to break in, but overall, they’re very comfortable and the leather is soft, I’ve worn them for work with jeans and a polo, and got lots of compliments. I even wore them to dinner at the pier with some shorts. They’re very versatile and luxe."
— Stephonme818 From Nordstrom
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