In the past if you wanted a comfortable everyday shoe it meant wearing a running shoe or “lifestyle” shoe with the company’s logo proudly displayed on the side. If you are looking for the best shoe for your minimalist wardrobe, the big logos and crazy colorways are kind of annoying.
It’s understandable why brand logos have seemingly become larger and larger over the years. It’s good advertising for the brands, and many people aspire to be like their favorite athletes and celebrities proudly representing the gear.
Minimalist-inspired shoes offer an appealing alternative forward, and fortunately, there are several companies designing beautiful and comfortable shoes perfect for any minimalist wardrobe. The shoes are clean and crisp, without sacrificing comfort, and come in a variety of fresh colorways too, so you can still express your personality without feeling like a walking billboard.
So which brand should you choose? We will help you decide. Read the detailed review or see the side-by-side comparison below.
What are the best minimalist shoes?
Despite the low-key design, our favorite minimalist shoes still have enough unique flare to stand out from the crowd, allowing you to proudly walk the tightrope between casual and distinguished. Whether you are planning a night on the town, or planning some first-class lounging, we recommend these brands as the best shoes for your minimalist wardrobe:
- Allbirds - Tree Runners - Most Versatile Sneaker (Top 5)
- Casca - Avro Leather - Most Comfortable Design (Top 5)
- Oliver Cabell - Low 1 - Best Dress-up Sneaker (Top 5)
- Suavs - Zilker - Best Sneaker for Traveling (Top 5)
- Greats - The Wooster - Best Slip-on Sneaker (Top 5)
- Nothing New - High Tops - Most Classic Design (Honorable Mention)
- Mahabis - Classic Slippers - Best Indoor Slipper (Honorable Mention)
- Atoms - Model 000 - Best Vegan Sneaker (Honorable Mention)
Don’t Buy The Same Brands Your Parents Wear - Today’s Minimal Shoes Are Better
In a decade gone by, there were only a handful of major shoe brands in the world. Some of those are still around and dominate the market in winner-take-all fashion, while some (such as Pony) are a shell of what they once were.
The internet has changed the game, providing brands direct access to consumers without the need for expensive advertising and expensive sponsorship agreements. This is good news for you and me, because there are brands flying under the radar, which sell high quality shoes. If you are looking for shoes for a minimalist wardrobe, going with one of the brands we have highlighted is a fantastic option.
Fortunately, in today’s internet driven world, there is no shortage of great shoes on the market, some you may not have considered in the past. When you buy Allbirds, Casca, or any other shoe in our Top 5, you will be buying quality made shoes that are comfortable and distinct.
Save The Planet Too - Minimal Shoes Are Often Sustainably Made
Minimalistic style elevates function and simple beauty above unnecessary noise, and this mindset influences the production process and materials as well. As a result, many of the brands making shoes which fit with minimalist wardrobes also happen to make sustainably driven shoes.
Allbirds, for instance, make shoes sourced from responsibly managed Eucalyptus tree farms. Eucalyptus trees require significantly less water and electricity to grow than traditional cotton farming. Eucalyptus trees don’t require harmful pesticides and chemicals either.
Greats’ The Royale Knit is responsibly made from seven recycled plastic bottles, and only uses recycled leather for the accents. From our honorable mention shoes, Atoms’ shoes are completely vegan, and Nothing New’s name highlights the importance responsible manufacturing and materials sourcing plays in their existence.
Allbirds Shoes: Casual Meets Refined
Allbirds might be the best known of these brands, and for good reason. The shoes are stylish in a way that is understated, yet somehow elegant for a sneaker. When minimalist design isn’t done well, it can just feel boring or tired, but Allbirds completely avoided this downfall. The shoes are clean and inviting, comfortably reinvigorating, and perfect for nearly any occasion.
The company’s line-up has expanded with success, so they now offer daily sneakers, high tops, running shoes, and more. Allbirds successfully designed each shoe line with a common minimalist aesthetic, so they are recognizable as Allbirds without larger maker’s marks. Allbirds come in a wide-variety of colorways, so while you may prefer the clean designs, you can still add a little pop to your outfit if you want to do so. Better yet, with so many colorways, you can buy multiple pairs to keep your wardrobe combinations continually fresh.
Are Allbirds really that comfortable?
The soles are highly flexible, so they conform to your feet, and the Eucalyptus construction of the tree toppers makes the shoes light and breezy. These are seriously comfortable shoes. Not only has the Allbirds sneaker been hailed as the “world’s most comfortable shoe”, but the company is also committed to sustainable manufacturing.
While the company admits they are not at zero carbon footprint yet, they are actively pursuing a zero carbon footprint. Look no further than some of the main materials including wool, recycled plastics and cardboard, and castor bean oil. Allbirds are comfortable on your feet, and keep the planet feeling comfortable too.
To have such a responsible and sustainable mindset, while also producing such an enjoyable and handsome shoe is an impressive feat. Once you purchase your new Allbirds, you will look good, and feel good too, both because of the comfort and because Allbirds is sustainably focused.
Bonus Information: If you like Allbirds, you will be stoked to know they now sell socks too! Check out our review of their wool and eucalyptus blended socks.
Casca Shoe Review: Versatile Everyday Silhouette
We love the Casca Avro. The silhouette is clean and simple, while also being modern and unique. The company is fairly new, so while the Avro is available in men and women’s sizes, it is the only silhouette available in Casca’s line-up. The Avro is so beautiful and versatile, it’s the only silhouette they need, or you might ever need.
The Avro might be the most versatile shoe on the entire market. The shoe comes either in a waterproof leather upper, or in a breathable knit upper, so the Avro will keep you comfortable in any climate. The knit version is machine washable so you can keep your new kicks looking fresh. The Avro is an everyday shoe that wears like a running shoe, but is much more durable and multi-functional.
Casca’s “FootB3D” Offers Tailored Insole
When you order your new pair of Cascas, they will be comfortable out of the box because of the proprietary support in the sole, but if you are looking for absolute maximum comfort, Casca has the solution for you. “FootB3D” is the first integrated sole tailored for you (and only you) based on 3D printing technology.
The way it works is you order your new pair of shoes and they are shipped with the standard insole, which is comfortable in its own right. If you added the option for the custom “FootB3D”, you download the app and follow the instructions to scan your feet. Casca will then make your custom insoles, which are intended solely for Casca shoes, and send them to you.
It’s honestly hard to imagine a better shoe. Casca’s Avro sneakers are sleek and modern, while providing superior durability and tailored comfort. If you are in the market for a new shoe, we recommend buying a pair of Avros today.
Oliver Cabell Shoe Review
If Italian leather shoes are your thing, then Oliver Cabell is for you. These might be the most luxurious brands featured here, but they aren’t sold at a luxury price point. Oliver Cabell sells direct to consumers, avoiding the need for retail mark-up. Given the Italian leather quality and direct-to-consumer pricing, It’s no wonder their shoes are often compared favorably to more expensive options such as Common Projects shoes, which frequently retail north of \$400.
We also love Oliver Cabell’s transparency. Oliver Cabell is big on providing premium luxury for affordable prices, and primarily skips retail outlets to accomplish this. Because providing affordable luxury is so important to Oliver Cabell, they actually provide a price breakdown for every sneaker in their collection. For instance, here is the price breakdown for Men’s Low 1 as of the time this was written:
- Leather - \$26.04
- Lining - \$8.12
- Outsoles - \$6.60
- Insoles - \$3.80
- Manufacturing - \$34.88
- Packaging - \$3.96
- Transit - \$12.43
- Duties - \$5.36
- Shipping - \$11.50
- Total - \$112.69
If you have ever wondered how overpriced a \$400 pair of sneakers really are, well now you know. Oliver Cabell’s shoes are absolutely worth considering if you are looking for minimal shoes, with a luxury feel, at an affordable price.
Suavs Shoe Review
Suavs are meant to be the perfect go anywhere, do anything shoe ideal for traveling, and that is exactly what Suavs deliver. The rubber soles provide extreme flexibility and mobility, while the digit knit uppers are so lightweight the shoes actually pack flat. They are the perfect shoes to pack in a backpack or overnight bag during your travels.
Because the shoes are so pliable, you could easily make the argument they fit more like a sock than a traditional shoe, and for that reason many people chose to forego the socks when wearing a pair of these minimalist Suavs. Worried about making your shoes smell? No worries. The insoles are moisture wicking to prevent sweat accumulation, and if they need to be washed, that is fine too. The insoles are washable and designed to dry quickly.
Suavs Are Vegan-Friendly Minimalist Shoes
We also love that Suavs shoes are made from 100% post-consumer recycled threads, so not only are your Suavs comfortably your go-to shoe for convenience, but they are also earth-friendly. Suavs is the only brand making the Top 5 to have a complete line-up of vegan-friendly minimalist shoes. If you do much backpack traveling, or are looking for a vegan-friendly minimalist shoe, then we are proud to recommend Suavs. Pick up a pair soon.
Greats Shoes Review
Greats mission says it all: “We make shoes for the rest of your life. And we like to make them in a responsible way.” These shoes are born on the streets of Brooklyn, and made to be your everyday shoe on your local streets. They offer classic styling made from quality materials, with care given to the planet in the process.
If you are looking for a wardrobe staple that will never go out of fashion, then chances are Greats are the shoes for you. On top of that, The Royale Knit is made from recycled bottles and 100% vegan, so if you are looking for a vegan shoe for a night on the town, GREATS The Royale Knit is a minimalist shoe that will go with both chinos and jeans.
As much as we love The Royale Knit, our favorite Greats shoe is The Wooster. It is an old school slip on available in suede or leather. In our countless hours of researching minimalist shoes, The Wooster stood out as one of the only slip ons worth recommending. When you are in a rush and don’t have time to sit down and tie your shoes, it is also nice to have a pair of shoes you can slide right into. Buy The Wooster, and it will become your go-to shoe as you are rushing out the door.
Greats makes timeless classics particularly fit for the minimalist wardrobe. Once you purchase a pair of their shoes, they will become a wardrobe staple for years to come.
Minimalist Shoe Customer Reviews
Buying shoes can be a big deal, so we have carefully curated 5 star customer reviews from around the web to provide you with insight into each brand’s best selling points. We are confident one of these brands makes the perfect shoe for your minimalist-inspired wardrobe, and these customers seem to think the same thing.
5 Star Allbirds Shoes Review
Review from Carol: The only trouble with Allbirds is that once you start wearing them, you never want to wear any other shoes. This is like wearing nothing but having your feet protected and happy.
Review from Kathy: Received my 2nd pair of Allbirds for Christmas. A perfect pair of shoes that require no “break in” time —they fit and are comfortable from the get go!
Review from Taylor: Brought on vacation at Disney with friends and walked several miles the couple of days we were there and they were excellent. No break in period and just perfection. Great for daily use as well. I have gotten so many compliments! Great mission too!
5 Star Casca Shoes Review
Review from Jackie: I bought these for work because I’m on my feet all day and was constantly getting a sore back and legs. They’re so comfortable, better than any shoe I’ve owned. I have very weird shaped feet but the foot beds are super comfortable and the knit shoe is very breathable. Would buy again no question!
Review from Yvonna: I love these sneakers they are not only so comfy (feel like I am wearing a sock actually) and lightweight I also love the 3d printed element of the insoles! They also match with every outfit whether you want to dress them up or down perfect for a walk, or heading out to a post-quarantine meal
Review from Astrid: Absolutely in love with these shoes. I have severe plantar fasciitis and arthritis in my feet. Have tried many different shoes including orthotics. Wore these shoes for a couple days after receiving them and I can actually now go for long walks with kids and dogs. My feet have never been happier. Highly recommended.
5 Star Oliver Cabell Shoes Review
Review from Andres: These shoes are fresh and well worth the price. They are minimalist, low profile, narrow, and most of all, versatile. I can wear these shoes with practically any outfit, dress them up or dress them down. They do run true to size, so if you want extra room, consider getting a larger size. I’m very happy with this addition (and investment) to my wardrobe.
Review from Ceedee: I was on the hunt for a cool pair of sneakers which were not as mainstream as Converse or Superga’s but weren’t as expensive as Common Projects. Oliver Cabell’s delivered big time. They are made in Spain, I’ve found them to be amazing quality and there is cushioning inside the shoe which makes them super comfy. They are super stylish too. Definitely not my last pair!
Review from Mark: Love the pure white leather sneakers. Exceptional quality, clean look. Great investment for the price point, probably the best deal for someone looking for high quality leather sneakers.
5 Star Suavs Shoes Review
Review from Christina: These shoes are the best! They are extremely comfortable and lightweight. You even forget you’re wearing them. They can be worn with or without socks, which is awesome (never been a fan before because of sweat and blisters- not a problem with these shoes)! They don’t require a break-in period and are ready out of the box. They are a true jet black. These are our first pair (both myself and my fiance) and we will be getting more! They are now our go to shoe when heading out of the house. If you’re thinking about getting them, just do it, you won’t regret it.
Review from Cody: They feel very comfortable and the size is right. So I’m happy to say I’ll be switching all my shoes to SUAVS. I actually fell asleep on the couch with them on because of how comfortable they feel. I’ve been telling everyone about them! What really sold me was that they were washable and made of recycled materials. Definitely excited to see the future for SUAVS. I’ve gotten a lot of Compliments on them so far and I haven’t even gotten a chance to wash them yet, needless to say they’re always going to stay looking fresh.
Review from Jessica: I bought these for my husband, who is the worst to shoe shop with. Every time he spends forever trying on walking around in a fashion in which I have never seen him walk normally. Multiple stores, hours of time and frustration eventually leading to a purchase. But it does not end usually said purchase results in a return days later. But THESE SHOES!!!!!!!!!! He put them on, left them there the rest of the day and LOVES them!!! They check every box, hate socks? No problem! Smelly feet wash em! Different size feet? No issue! They look amazing and will work for all seasons! No matter the weather they are comfortable.
5 Star Greats Shoes Review
Review from Dwayne: The shoes are a winner in every way… You can pair the shoes with just about anything. Always getting compliments on mine. Perfect Shoes!!
Review from Christopher: I was skeptical about all of the positive reviews about GREATS. I was also put off by the price tag. I have never paid this much for a pair of sneakers. The good news is that the hype is real, and they are well worth the cost. These sneakers are comfortable, sturdy, made with amazing attention to detail, and they look great, especially with jeans.
Review from Andres: Definitely did not disappoint. I enjoy both the style and quality of craftsmanship. Recommended!
Our Recommended Minimalist Shoe
We spent countless hours researching minimalist shoes, and after all of that time, there was one brand that stood out above all the rest. The Casca Arvo is seemingly the perfect minimalist shoe. The silhouette and materials are beautiful, a 3D printed insole is available for personalized comfort, and the shoe works in almost every situation. We are proud to recommend the Casca Arvo, and included it in our list of Ten Best Gifts for 2020.
BONUS: If sustainability is your first priority, check out our review, including Cariuma, Allbirds, and Atoms.
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