Best Retro Runner Sneakers for Men
The Throwback Kicks of the Moment Can Upgrade Your Seasonal Style
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As the seasons change, your footwear should change accordingly — that much is obvious, right? In the same way you’d wear some of the best high-top sneakers in spring, there’s a throwback style worth wearing in the summer months: the best retro runner sneakers. In fact, it’s not so much of a major change as it is a step back in time, to decades gone by — when the runner sneaker was first popularized by brands like Nike and New Balance.
Nike’s waffle tread design was almost instantly iconic and highly functional, but the runner sneaker (an ankle-cut sneaker with a slightly chunkier design, in some cases, than traditional lace-up court sneakers), quickly became a civilian favorite, too. Think: streamlined, relatively sleek and able to be worn with shorts or, eventually jeans or rolled chinos.
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Collaborations by New Balance with brands like J. Crew helped make the runner sneaker a favorite over the past decade, and the trend holds true today. In casual summer style situations, there’s little that doesn’t look great with retro runner sneakers (except, perhaps, an ultra-formal suit). Even rolled chinos and a breezy garment-dyed T-shirt work well with the style. But enough semantics: Let’s get you outfitted with some of the best retro runner sneakers.
Nike Waffle Trainer 2 Shoes
Here’s the throwback style you need in a pinch, all done up in an iconic silhouette. The waffle sole and legendary oversized Swoosh are present front and center, and the two-tone texture and hints of color on the lace-up design are welcome touches, too. Wear them with joggers and a merino tee for sporty, off-track style.
$76.97 at Nike.com
New Balance 574 Sneakers
Here’s another OG favorite that’s made its way into the mainstream (and into your nearest J. Crew catalog, of course). The bold and retro blue-meets-green color scheme is eye-catching and fresh, while the fact that these hold some cache as the original “Dad Sneakers” is too cool to pass up. Wear them with rolled light wash jeans and an Oxford shirt for some high-low style.
$85 at JCrew.com
ECCO Soft 7 Runner Sneakers
ECCO goes big on springy, comfortable technology and minimal appeal with these runner sneakers, which blend both the future and the past seamlessly. The blend of textured and nubuck leather is a nice touch in a monochromatic color, and you can also pick them up in a dressier all-leather option.
From $77.28 at Amazon.com
PUMA St Runner 2 Sneakers
PUMA has a knack for making streamlined, sporty shoes you can rock with joggers or even black jeans, and these runner sneakers are no different. Color combinations like navy and white add some sleek, streamlined appeal to the mix, while PUMA’s tread design provides ideal traction on summer streets around the globe.
From $29.95 at Amazon.com
Cole Haan GrandPro Runner Sneakers
Cole Haan is another favorite brand of ours when it comes to blending technical appeal with sleek style. These lightweight sneakers are especially appealing to pack in a small weekender bag for quick summer getaways, yet the airy design and rebound-focused build means they’ll prove comfortable on your feet through long travel days aplenty.
From $79.98 at Amazon.com
ASICS Tiger Runner Shoes
If you’re all about the slick lines and sharp design that a runner sneaker brings to the table (and to your footwear rotation), then ASICS is the brand to shop now. Contrasting stripes on the side of these fresh kicks add some athletic appeal to your casual ensembles, although these are also well-suited to be worn with rolled black jeans and a crisp white tee.
From $39.10 at Amazon.com
Adidas Originals Smooth Runner Sneakers
Now, Adidas might not be as well-known as Nike when it comes to runner sneakers, but they’ve come up with a futuristic-leaning design that’s ultra-minimal and well-made for an agreeable price. Shake things up by picking up a pair with a contrasting three-stripe design to really drive home the retro aesthetic of the best runner sneakers for men.
From $29.21 at Amazon.com
GREATS McCarren Sneakers
So named for McCarren Park near GREATS’ stylish HQ in Brooklyn, the McCarren Sneakers just so happen to be the perfect type of sneaker to wear on sunny summer park days. The aptly named Blanco set of runner sneakers in particular is especially fresh, ideal for wearing with light wash or dark blue jeans, or even tan chino shorts.
$119 at GREATS.com
KOIO Retro Runner Sneakers
If you want to go super-premium and incredibly stylish with your retro runner sneakers, KOIO is the brand to shop right now. These are a luxurious expression of the retro runner style, made from handsome Mocha leather in a design that’s dressy enough to wear with a lightweight khaki cotton suit and a breezy merino tee this summer (seriously).
$295 at KOIO.com
Beckett Simonon Graham Trainers
Just when you thought the retro runner sneaker couldn’t get any dressier, Beckett Simonon comes through with another accessible-yet-luxurious take on the style, using a contrasting sole and a refined blend of full-grain leather and water-repellent suede. Feel free to wear these with lightweight tan stretch chinos and a chambray shirt for standout summer style.
$179 at BeckettSimonon.com
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