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A WISE MAN once said, “You can tell a lot about a man by the shoes on his feet.” Actually, we’re not sure who that man was. We kind of made it up, but we’re positive someone must have said it, and they were clearly very wise. Because no single fashion essential or accessory reveals more about a man’s style (and his personality) than good footwear.
We at Men’s Health—everyone from our fitness editors to our fashion writers—take shoes and sneakers very seriously. That’s true of the dress shoes we wear for a best man speech to the sandals we don at the beach to the boots we put on for a long day of hiking. It’s even true for a good pair of sneakers.
The right sneakers should be purpose-built for the job. Basketball sneakers, for example, demand solid support and excellent grip; golf shoes should provide stability through your hardest drives; and the best pickleball kicks need serious grip for keeping you well-planted in the kitchen. Whatever you’re into, there’s a shoe or a sneaker for the job, and we’re here to help you find it. This is the 2023 Men’s Health Sneaker Awards.
Boots that are big and bulky weigh down trail times—and fun in general. These lean, mean kicks can get you through the toughest terrain.
With plenty of cushion, a cleverly redesigned tongue, and a sturdy, molded heel color, the Torin 7 is built for speed and performance.
Like Arc’teryx’s legendary climbing apparel, the Konseal FL 2 is built for fast, light (hence the “FL” in the name) ascents. Don’t let the streetwear looks fool you. These are nimble, supportive, and ready to tackle the most technical approaches.
This Franken-kick looks like a heady mashup of a modern trail runner and a ’90s-era athletic sneak. Under the hood, it’s all business with serious trail-running chops and a waterproof Gore-Tex layer to boot.
Kailas proves you get what you pay for with this premium, ultra-technical trail runner. Trust us when we say it’s built for serious speed and long distances over any terrain.
With a bold, SpaceX-worthy design, the Aenergy TR BOA Mid looks ready to fly, even at a standstill. This flagship Mammut sneak features an ultra-grippy Vibram Megagrip outsole for serious traction.
Somewhere between a retro moon boot and a trail runner lies the VECTIV Infinite 2. The waterproof design fits like a glove, and the rockered midsole ensures your feet stay well-planted, no matter what.
Lightweight, agile, and stable meet tough, technical, and tacky (as in “grippy”). This is a solid go-to sneaker built for hardcore ascents and descents.
When you want footwear that’s as tight and lightweight as your ultralight backpack, there’s the Softrock. It’s purpose-built for fastpacking and speed hiking, when every gram of gear matters.
When you want serious trail-ready footwear, but a legit boot is overkill, there’s On’s Cloudtrax. It’s a mid-height hiker that balances support, comfort, and wearability from the city to the backcountry.
In Hoka’s own words, this is “a workhorse for sloppy, wet conditions.” We couldn’t agree more. The Vibram Megagrip and Gore-Tex fabric mean this sneak is ready for whatever the trail throws at you.
Bright, bold, and unmistakably Asics, this trail runner has a rugged outsole that easily grips and adapts to any off-road surface.
Fit matters above all else. This trail-ready hiking shoe from Adidas features double-loop pull tabs for an effortless, easy-on fit.
Merrell brings its considerable hardcore hiker design chops to bear on the Moab Speed. True to its name, it’s lightweight, yet Vibram tough on the outside, with cushy foam on the inside.
Next-gen runners offer mega cushioning for smoother runs.
Brooks continues the Ghost tradition with the latest Ghost 15. It’s ridiculously lightweight, comfy, and available in roughly three dozen colors for maximum accessorizing.
New Balance is still keeping it fresh with the bright, bold, race-ready FuelCell that looks like it probably needs a recharge after every run.
Topo’s first-ever high-cushion trainer is undeniably unique. With an ultra-aggressive heel and a rocker-style design, it’s purpose-built to propel you forward and catch your energy on the rebound.
From weekend training runs to 5Ks to marathons, Asics’s Gel-Kayano 30 is designed to go the distance—literally—with adaptive stability and a more balanced stride.
With a lightweight air mesh design, this is a racer that’s made for intense, long-distance runs. Plus, the bold, retro-’90s design is [chef’s kiss]!
The UA Flow Velociti Elite wraps up everything we love about Under Armour apparel—lightweight, premium, performance-minded design—into a single race-ready runner.
Premium enough for elite runners, yet accessible enough for everyday trainers, the Nordlite Ultra W features a proprietary midsole for maximum comfort and serious rebound.
Maximum cushion, minimum weight. That’s the name of the game with Hoka‘s Rincon 3—a featherweight runner that boasts one of the best cushion-to-weight ratios on the market.
With a soft collar, a padded tongue, and maximum cushioning all around, this racer offers an ultra-luxurious foot feel. It’s like a run-worthy pillow for your feet.
Built for serious, long-distance runs, this flagship racing shoe is cushier, bouncier, and more responsive than any Wave Creation shoe before it.
Maximum cushioning and support mix with an extra-bouncy sole to reduce road impact on your next 5K.
On continues to prove that you get what you pay for. Its premium Cloudboom Echo 3 features high-tech foam to maximize energy return for an ultra-springy step.
Retro-future on the outside, maximum comfort on the inside, thanks to a padded tongue and collar zone for a secure yet cozy fit.
The ’80s are back in all their comfortable, low-key glory.
High top, low-key style, the Modelo ’89 is pure ’80s sport aesthetic. We’re pretty sure they’re Run DMC-approved. Bonus points for its vegan design.
The silhouette has hardly changed in almost 40 years because … why should it? The slim profile and maximum comfort are pure, vintage Vans.
Urban meets sporty good looks in Autry’s CLS Sneaker. It’s retro b-ball style with a dash of modern functionality that works from the streets to the court and back again.
This reboot (pun intended) is a modern take on a classic Converse high-top that’s built to move with you, whether you’re shooting hoops or riding the longboard.
Simple, timeless, and functional, the Legacy 816 is a throwback to Avia’s founding era, when low-top kicks still ruled the court.
The 40th anniversary of Onitsuka Tiger’s Ultimate 81 recalls the brand’s highest-performance, high-spec sport shoe from a bygone era.
New Balance‘s OG 550 was a high-tech basketball shoe for the everyman. After 30 years, the reboot proves some things just don’t need to change.
Saucony’s take on the vintage low-top basketball kick is an understated masterpiece that’s ready to move from the hardwood to the blacktop and back again.
Built for the court, the streets, and everywhere in between, this throwback sneaker wears well with everything and features a super comfy lining.
With a retro-inspired design, this all-new vegan shoe is actually thoroughly modern on the inside. Most important: a sustainable construction and a bamboo lining for maximum durability.
This timeless classic recalls ’80s-era Italian sports culture with a high-top silhouette and a pre-worn aesthetic that feels like you just stepped off the court after a weekend-long tournament.
These athletic-build sneakers are made with specialized sports in mind—from golf to pickleball. (Yes, pickleball!)
On‘s first-ever tennis shoe is a banger. It combines all the performance tech of the epic running brand with the pro experience of co-creator and tennis legend Roger Federer.
It’s a game-ready shoe that works on every pregame surface. The forefoot strap ensures a snug fit during batting practice, catching pop flies, and everywhere in between.
Retro elegance meets versatility and functionality in Adidas‘s suede soccer kick that’s built for all indoor courts.
The dead-simple design of this go-anywhere golf shoe is built for speed, comfort, and play-anytime versatility thanks to a legit 100 percent waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
Playful on the outside, all business inside. It’s lightweight, responsive, and ridiculously comfortable, no matter how hard you like your racquet sports.
Flexible, stable, and supportive exactly where you need it, this is one volleyball court sneaker to rule them all.
With a wider toe box, a breathable mesh upper, and a cushioned heel-toe drop, the Ace Pickler is purpose-built for the most intense pickleball tourneys.
Hardcore anglin’ demands hardcore footwear. This dedicated fishing shoe is built with maximum cushioning, solid wet-dry traction, and excellent water and stain resistance.
A breathable mesh upper keeps your feet calm, cool, and collected, while a super-grippy tread ensures you’re well-planted in the kitchen.
A retro, cushy design plus a cushioned midsole let this skate shoe propel your kickflips.
The bleeding-edge tech in Nike’s latest Jordan includes a low-to-the-ground profile to help quicken your hoops footwork.
These wear-anywhere kicks are sharp enough for the office, and comfortable enough to stand all day in.
Business meets play with this sport kick featuring an airy breathable knit upper and genuine leather trim.
The chic burnished calfskin-leather construction is ready for the boardroom, while the sleek silhouette is low-key and minimal enough to wear for cocktails after closing the deal.
With hand-burnished calf leather set on a sporty off-tone sole, this handsome kick works well with jeans and joggers or dressed up for a night out.
With an uber-comfy, already-broken-in fit straight out of the box and classic good looks, this is guaranteed to be your go-to sneaker. Bonus: Rothy’s are 100 percent machine washable.
A dash of retro chic adds timeless appeal to this minimalist sneaker. The best part? No break-in time required. It’s uber-comfy and ready to roll with you from the get-go.
This everyday sneaker exudes a distinct downtown London vibe. Plus, it’s lightweight and durable enough to wear just about anywhere, from the grocery store to grabbing drinks with the crew.
Nothing screams “timeless footwear fashion” like a leather and suede sneaker. The Brown Runner Sneaker from Suitsupply is an instant classic.
Another classic, Peter Millar’s Vantage Suede Sneaker pairs supple suede with a timeless silhouette. Plus: The fully-lined leather interior and memory-foam footbed are like a cloud for your foot.
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