Sneakers were originally invented to provide a comfortable and accurate fit, allowing you to move quietly and sneak around. While this might not be part of your buying criteria today, you do want sneakers that are durable, high quality, and functional. With so many styles ranging from trendy to classic, you're sure to find the perfect sneaker to meet your needs.
When selecting a sneaker, consider its purpose, whether that's comfort, fashion, running, walking, or working out. Athletic sneakers are geared towards specific activities. Road running sneakers serve a different purpose than trail running sneakers. Shoemakers engineer their shoes with a purpose, so it's important to keep their function front of mind.
How long do you plan to wear your sneakers? If you're in the market for a pair of trendy kicks, they'll suffice for a 15-minute walk. But, they're probably not suited for exploring an entire city on foot. Consider how often and for how long you'll be wearing a sneaker before purchasing. Make sure the shoe fits comfortably, has a reliable sole, and is compatible with any custom inserts you may have.
New Balance 574
BUY IT: $79.91; amazon.com
Recognized globally for its versatility and classic style, New Balance's 574 was first designed in 1988 and can be worn with anything. These 100% suede sneakers have a removable insert to allow room for your own customized shoe inserts if needed.
On Running Cloudflow
BUY IT: $168.37; amazon.com
On's Cloudflow is a lightweight, fully cushioned shoe for training and racing. Founded in Zürich, Switzerland, the brand designed this sneaker with a breathable, adaptive, and supportive engineered mesh upper. The sole is unique and flexible, crafted from Zero-Gravity EVA foam.
Veja Esplar Low Sneakers
BUY IT: $120; amazon.com
Veja, a French brand, is dominating the sustainable sneaker market. These crisp white sneakers are made of ethically sourced materials including calfskin leather, a rubber sole, and a suede heel cap.
Nike Downshifter Sneaker
BUY IT: $71.97; amazon.com
Keep comfortable on your morning runs with an open mesh forefoot that's lightweight and breathable. Phylon midsoles provide resilient and flexible cushioning. Flex grooves supply traction while the soft, smooth midsole cushions your stride.
On Running Cloud
BUY IT: $177.39; amazon.com
This 4.7-star trainer is constructed to perform all day, every day for active people on the go. On Running's Cloud is sustainable, lightweight, flexible, and breathable with a moisture-wicking textile lining for a healthy in-shoe climate.
Veja V-10 Sneakers
BUY IT: $150; amazon.com
Produced from leather sourced from Rio Grande do Sul farms in Brazil, this 4.9-star sleek and classic sneaker has a recycled fabric lining and Amazonian rubber soles. With a removable insole and faux leather upper, these shoes "mold to your feet," wrote one 5-star reviewer.
New Balance 990v5
BUY IT: $175; amazon.com
New Balance's 990 was designed in 1978 with extra cushioning, created to take you from long runs to stylish outings. "They fit my custom orthotics perfectly," shared a 5-star Amazon reviewer. "I have tried other brands of shoes - Brooks, Asics, etc. but NB 990v5 are the best. Yes, they are pricey but worth every penny."
Brooks Ghost 13
BUY IT: $129.95; amazon.com
With 7,000 5-star Amazon ratings, Brooks's Ghost 13 is popular among runners and nurses alike. Neutral support in a lightweight sneaker provides soft cushioning while maintaining responsiveness and durability. Regardless of how your foot lands, shock absorbers cushion every step.
Nike Court Royale Sneaker
BUY IT: $82.98, amazon.com
This retro tennis-style trainer generates a classic look with lasting durability. Featuring a leather upper, rubber outsole, soft fabric lining, padded footbed, and thousands of 5-star reviews, it's made for walking around the city in comfort.
Adidas Grand Court Sneaker
BUY IT: $49.97; amazon.com
This stellar sneaker has 16,064 5-star reviews and features Adidas' three signature stripes. Past iconic tennis styles are brought into the future with a durable leather upper, plush midsole cushioning, and cloud foam sock liner.
Asics Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes
BUY IT: $70; amazon.com
Ranked as the #1 best seller in women's trail running shoes with 14,511 5-star ratings, this is the sneaker for trail runners. A durable upper made from synthetic leather and breathable mesh encases the Ortholite sock liner, while molding to the shape of your foot.
Asics Gel-Excite 7 Running Shoes
BUY IT: $75; amazon.com
With more than 5,000 5-star ratings and a removable cushioned footbed, Asics' Gel-Excite 7 is designed to generate prolonged comfort no matter the distance. The AmpliFoam midsole, engineered to maintain durability at softer densities, provides flexibility.
Brooks Glycerin 18
BUY IT: $150; amazon.com
As a runner with arthritis, I won't run in anything else. There's no such thing as too much cushioning, right? Brooks' Glycerin 18 has 3,147 5-star ratings and provides neutral support with smooth transitions from heel to toe.
Hoka One One Clifton 6 Running Shoe
BUY IT: $127.66; amazon.com
Hoka's 4.5-star Clifton 6 is soft and light with a smooth ride. Embroidery decreases layers and provides support and midfoot lockdown. This sneaker is said to have given Hoka its stardom among runners.
Cole Haan Grand Crosscourt Sneaker
BUY IT: $79.95; amazon.com
Cole Haan's Grand Crosscourt is complete with comfort footbeds and a rubber sole. "These shoes are amazing," shared a 5-star reviewer. "I bought them for my trip to Europe and walked 15-20 miles around Rome. No blisters, no rubbing, just pure comfort."
Converse Jack Purcell Canvas Low Top Sneaker
BUY IT: $62.41, amazon.com
First sported by Americans in 1935, this crisp white pair of classic sneakers is particularly versatile and goes with everything. With a 4.7-star rating, you can't go wrong with this signature canvas-and-rubber sneaker.
Frye Ivy Low Lace Tumbled Leather Sneaker
BUY IT: $198, amazon.com
Available in 15 colors, this classy sneaker is 100% leather and pairs well with skirts, dresses, shorts, or pants for all-day comfort. Experience elevated luxury with a lace-up closure held together by fabric laces.
Superga 2750 Cotu Classic Sneaker
BUY IT: $45.20; amazon.com
Originating in Italy, Superga has been a Mediterranean favorite since 1913. These machine-washable sneakers are known for their comfort and range of color options. Crafted from Torino cotton canvas, the lower-cut ankle provides flexible movement and a rubber sole for optimal traction.
Sam Edelman Ethyl Sneaker
BUY IT: $99.95; amazon.com
Simple yet stylish, this 4.6-star sneaker from Sam Edelman is available in seven colors and can be worn with anything. It's made out of 100% leather and features a round toe, synthetic insole, and one-inch heel.
Steve Madden Starling Sneaker
BUY IT: $56.99; amazon.com
With 168 5-star ratings, this streamlined Steve Madden sneaker features a suede star cut-out and matching collar panel. Perforations provide fresh texture and breathable comfort with a one-inch platform.