As temperatures start to heat up and we’re whipping out our shorts for summer, shoes immediately become a question. Pairing shorts with shoes isn’t always a walk through the park—some merely don’t mix. And, it doesn’t take a whole lot to create a fashion faux pas that’ll have you avoiding shorts until the end of time.
That said, to help you determine the best shoes to wear with shorts this summer, we’ll cover 12 super stylish options to keep you looking stylish while you stay cool. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Low-Top Sneakers
Lacing up some low-top sneakers alongside your shorts is never a bad call. Not only are sneakers super comfortable, but they also offer a fashionable style choice. Whether you go for a pair of canvas Converse, classic Vans, or leather sneakers, you can’t go wrong with a low-top shoe.
Try them with some no-show socks alongside some khaki shorts or denim; the choice is yours. Not to mention, a myriad of colors could also work for the combination.
2. Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are a classic possibility for shorts and warm weather. And, get this: you don’t even have to set foot on a boat to take advantage of the stylish shoe. Nonetheless, they certainly have a preppy reputation, and they’re not for everyone. But, if you’re all for the look, they can make one of the most comfortable and cool shoes for summer ensembles.
They’re available in plenty of colors and styles, making them super versatile. Boat shoes are the key love interest of the polo. But they also look relatively dapper with button-ups if you’re on your way to more of a semi-casual, casual event, or even a solid tee for some added comfort.
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On the more formal-yet-not-totally-formal end of the spectrum, we have loafers. They’re the least-casual shoe to wear in a casual scenario, but penny loafers can look great when combined with a well-fitted pair of shorts.
It’s best to avoid the formal and dressy loafer choices or anything you’d wear with a suit. However, plenty of alternatives can complement a summer get-up very well.
They’re best worn with no-show socks or no socks at all, and for more laid-back occasions when you’d wear shorts, it’s tough to go wrong with a medium or light-brown leather pair of penny loafers.
The sandal world is very wide. That said, there are a select few that looks stylish with shorts, including Birkenstock sandals and slides.
For a super casual look, try some sweat shorts with some branded slides—you can opt for half-calf socks or none at all—and a basic tee. But a pair of Birkenstock buckle sandals can serve as a complement for nearly any casual short ensemble.
Unless you’re going for “hot dad summer,” avoid the Velcro chunks. But, the dad sandal is also becoming quite the trend, so you can’t go wrong with a good pair of Chacos or Tevas.
Some people may think trainers and low-top sneakers fall into the same category, and they may be right. But, when we’re talking about trainers, we’re talking about lace-up athletic sneakers that have more of a defined arch.
Regardless, trainers can also look great with shorts. Chunky trainers and the New Balance dad shoes are back in style, too. So, if that’s your look, toss on your khaki cargo shorts, and you’re good to go.
But, sleek white or black athletic shoes with a clean yet laid-back shorts ensemble can make a solid combination.
6. Driving Moccasins
They’re not exactly loafers, but they’re also not quite boat shoes. They’re driving moccasins. Driving shoes are usually available in suede options and any color you can think up. They’re a great summer shoe as they’re flexible, comfortable, and offer plenty of support.
Some have the classic moccasin laces, while others are mere slip-ons, but they’re all super stylish when paired with shorts. They can also offer up that semi-preppy vibe, so if you’re into that kind of style, they can be a great addition to your summer wardrobe.
If you’re on the hunt for a super comfortable, breathable, and fashionable shoe to pair with your favorite shorts, look no further. Espadrilles are essentially a perfect choice for a summer canvas shoe. They’re comfortable and versatile enough to wear with a blazer or just a simple tee. Not to mention, they’re unique and far less preppy than some of our other options.
Espadrilles look great alongside chino shorts. Wear them to your weekend barbecue or for a walk along the boardwalk. You’ll thank us while your feet stay well furnished.
8. High-Top Sneakers
If you thought low-tops were the only way to go with shorts, think again. Plenty of high-top sneakers look killer with shorts, particularly the classic Converse high-top sneakers, Vans Sk8 His, and even some vintage Nike Blazer high-tops.
High-tops are incredibly versatile and look great with nearly any style. Wear some alongside some distressed denim cut-offs and a solid t-shirt or try out some trendy, well-fitting cargo shorts and a tailored denim jacket layered over a clean tee. High-top sneakers are basically elite, and with them, your options are endless.
Slip-ons might also fall into the same realm as low-top sneakers, and they’re technically on the same path as penny loafers, boat shoes, and driving shoes. But they don’t have laces, they’re far more casual than any of the more preppy choices, and they’re on the more trendy side of the fence.
A classic pair of white slip-on Vans is always a great way to go when you’re opting for shorts. Slip-ons are as simple as they sound—they actually slip on—and they’re versatile enough to go with absolutely anything. You can wear your slip-ons in the summer, fall, spring, and even winter if you’re feeling dangerous. And nearly every casual occasion is cause for some slip-on sneakers.
Flip-flops fall at the super casual and relaxed end of the shoe spectrum, but they can be a great shoe to wear with shorts. They’re cool and allow your little pigs to breathe, which is always a plus. But, probably avoid your flippers when you’re heading into a long day of walking.
Due to their inability to provide support or comfort, it’s probably best to save flip-flops for a day at the beach or a casual stroll through the park. Opt for a more laid-back outfit to pair them with, like a pair of chino shorts and a basic tee-shirt. All in all, if you ultimately choose flip-flops, show those toes with pride.
Mules came back with force a few years ago and for a good reason. They’re super stylish and add a solid fashion boost to any ensemble. They are quite a look in and of themselves, and they—like boat shoes—are not for everyone. But, there are plenty of styles and colors on the market, and they can certainly add some flair to your favorite pair of khaki shorts.
Keep things classy with a tucked-in button-up and a coordinating belt. Your mules will have you feeling like a prince on coronation day.
Last but certainly not least, we have the half-sneakers. Part mule, part low-top sneaker, the half-sneaks provide plenty of uniqueness to a casual get-up. Now, before your mind goes straight to Crocs, hear us out. Half-sneakers may not be the most popular shoe choice for today’s generation, but they’re comfortable and can be super stylish. Not to mention, slipping them on is a breeze. Try a classic or Old Skool Vans half-sneaker or even some trendy Reebok slip-on sneakers. While your buddies are held back by tying up their laces, you’ll already be on your way.
The shorts-and-shoes debacle doesn’t have to be intimidating. With these 15 killer shoe options to wear with your shorts this summer, you’ll never have to doubt your style choices, and you’ll always stay dapper.