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Men's Guide on Wearing & Styling Canvas Shoes

Canvas sneakers are an essential part of a man's wardrobe. But is there a definitive guide to rocking them? We don’t think so – there are dozens of ways to wear them and personalize them to fit your style. Whether it's laid-back, smart-casual, or athleisure you're after, canvas shoes are  endlessly versatile. And it all begins with finding that ideal pair for yourself…

Choosing the Right Canvas Shoes

Most men are pretty particular about their shoes, with good reason. When it comes to finding the right canvas sneaker for yourself, your standards should remain just as high. Here's a quick guide to ensure you snag the best pair:

Comfort: Test them out by walking in them either at the store or at home to confirm they're a good fit and free from any discomfort. Pay special attention to the amount of arch support and heel cushioning that they provide. 

Size and Fit: Experiment with various sizes and widths to discover the ideal size for you. Though most canvas shoes run pretty true to size, including ours at Taos, they can stretch after extensive use. If you plan to wear them regularly and want them to last, keep this in mind when choosing your size.

Style and Design: Whether it's the timeless appeal of lace-ups or the ease of slip-ons, let your personal taste guide your choice. Decide if you lean towards a simple look or if patterns and artistic details speak to you. And if you can’t choose just one, get both.

Durability: Canvas quality varies among manufacturers. Inspect the stitching and construction to ensure your choice can endure regular use. Materials like hemp and robust cotton canvases are known for their longevity.

Versatility: These sneakers should complement multiple outfits. For your first pair, consider a neutral tone like white or black. These will serve as footwear staples in your wardrobe, so you’ll never have to spend too long thinking about which pair to wear.

The right canvas sneakers for men should be stylish yet functional, offering comfort and durability for wear after wear. Invest time to find a pair that meets all your needs and aligns with your fashion sensibilities.

Casual Outfit Ideas

Canvas shoes are diverse – they can be styled with all kinds of outfits. But in most cases, you’ll opt to pair them with a more casual, relaxed fit. So let’s start with a few outfit ideas to help you look great while feeling casual:

Classic Jeans & T-Shirt

There’s not a more staple outfit in a man’s closet than classic jeans and a t-shirt. But instead of pairing them with leather sneakers or trainers, throw on your new canvas shoes for a relaxed and effortless look. Slim or straight-cut jeans tend to compliment the shoes the best. Color is up to you; dark washes look more polished while light washes are more relaxed. Complete the outfit with a plain or graphic t-shirt and accessorize with a simple watch or bracelet.

Chinos & Polo Shirt

For a slightly dressier look, though still casual enough for a day out with your friends, team your canvas shoes with a pair of chinos and a polo shirt. This combination toes the line between smart and casual, making you stand out in the crowd. And who knows? Maybe your future significant other could be out there looking for you. Choose a slim-fit or tailored pair of chinos in a neutral color such as beige or navy, and make sure they don’t hang past your ankles. Pair with a well-fitted polo shirt in a complementary shade. Add a leather belt and sunglasses to finish off the look.

Shorts & Button-Down Shirt

When the weather gets warmer, swap your jeans or chinos for a pair of shorts. Combine your canvas shoes with tailored shorts, preferably in a neutral color like khaki or navy. Pair them with a button-down shirt in a vibrant color or playful pattern. Roll up the sleeves for a more relaxed vibe and accessorize with a woven belt. Make sure you’re wearing ankle or no-show socks; crew socks won’t look great with a button-up and shorts.

Athleisure Look

Athleisure is the new wave, a chance to show off your athletic frame outside of the gym. Pair them with joggers or track pants and a casual hoodie or sweatshirt. This comfortable outfit takes no time to plan and is great for running errands or rushing to casual outings.

Denim Jacket & T-Shirt

If you’re aiming for a cool, relaxed vibe, pair a plain t-shirt with a denim jacket. Choose a well-fitted denim jacket in a light or medium wash, and be sure that there’s some contrast between the denim color in the jacket and pants, unless you’re set on a Canadian tuxedo. Jeans or chinos both work well, and you can roll up the jacket (and pant) cuffs for a bit of flair.

Remember, the key to a casual men’s outfit with canvas shoes is to balance comfort and style. Experiment with different combinations and find the ones that suit your personal taste and body type. Don't be afraid to add your personal touch to make the outfit truly your own.

Dressier Outfit Ideas

Most guys go straight to leather shoes for dressier occasions, but don’t overlook your canvas sneakers. They can be styled to create dressier outfits for special occasions while still maintaining a “casual” feel. Here are some of our favorite ways to wear them:

Tailored Suit with Canvas Sneakers

Break away from tradition and add a modern twist to your formal attire by pairing your tailored suit with canvas sneakers. The only way that canvas will look good with a suit is if it’s tailored properly. Nothing oversized and make sure the pant cut is slim or skinny, not straight. Most colors will work, but if you’re unsure, start with a classic color like navy or black. Wear sneakers that complement the suit, such as white or black.

Blazer & Chinos Combination

For a smart-casual look, pair a blazer with chinos and canvas shoes. Starting with the pants, throw on a pair of beige or olive green chinos with a slim or skinny fit. Then pair with a navy or light gray blazer and neutral-tone shirt underneath. Finish off the outfit with canvas shoes in a coordinating color. Pair it with a leather belt and leather strap watch and you’re dressed for success.

Sweater & Dress Pants

For a sophisticated yet comfortable look, combine a sweater with dress pants and canvas shoes. Opt for a high-quality sweater in a versatile color, such as navy or burgundy. Pair it with well-tailored dress pants in a complementary shade, like gray or khaki. Complete the look with canvas shoes that add a casual touch. Consider adding a statement watch or a classic leather bracelet to enhance the overall look. This is an easy fit for guys who don’t love to dress up, but need to step it up for a business casual event.

Other Styling Tips & Tricks

We’ve covered a handful of outfits, but definitely not all of them. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when styling canvas shoes as a man.

Sockless Look

For a more casual and summery vibe, go sockless. This style works best with low-top canvas sneakers and gives your outfit just enough of the cool, relaxed vibe. However, make sure to maintain good foot hygiene and consider using no-show socks or foot powder to prevent any discomfort or odor.

Experiment with Laces

Don't be afraid to experiment with different lacing techniques to add some visual interest to your canvas shoes. Try lacing them in patterns like straight bar lacing, criss-cross lacing, or even the popular "checkerboard" style. This simple change can give your shoes a unique and eye-catching look.

Coordinate with Accessories

Your shoes can’t do all of the heavy lifting for your outfit. Match the color of your shoes with your belt, watch strap, or even a hat. This attention to detail will elevate your overall outfit and showcase your sense of style.

Mix and Match Textures

Canvas shoes can be paired with various textures to create interesting and dynamic outfits. Combine them with denim, corduroy, linen, or even leather to add depth and contrast to your look.

Keep Them Clean

Canvas shoes tend to attract stains, especially if you wear them every day. But they’re easy to clean, so you don’t need to stress about every puddle or speck of dirt. Even white pairs can be cleaned with a simple water and laundry detergent mixture. Allow them to air dry naturally and avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources.

Experiment with Colors and Patterns

While neutral colors like white, black, and gray are versatile options for canvas shoes, don't shy away from experimenting with different colors and patterns. Bold colors like red, blue, or even floral prints can add a pop of personality to your outfit, especially if you’re wearing all black, white, or even gray outfits.

Canvas shoes should be a staple of your wardrobe. They’re comfortable and adaptable for nearly any occasion, and we’ve just covered 10+ ways to style them. Once you find the right pair, you can experiment with different occasions, color combinations, and unique looks until you find the perfect one for you. Ready to start your search?