Best Breathable Shoes Reviewed & Rated
No one likes to feel as if they’ve just walked miles through the ocean. No one likes to take their footwear off and instantly smell the pungent odor that is generally associated with overworked feet.
That being said, to have breathable shoes that provide adequate airflow is a must; this is simply not something that you can live without. Which is why this list has been created! Our guide to best breathable shoes is meant to rid you of the hassle that is searching for high-quality footwear with plenty of room for your feet to breathe. We hope that you will enjoy it and quickly find just the model that you're looking for. Good luck!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Continental Rubber Outsole
Allows Natural Movement
Urban Sporty Style
1. Adidas Ultraboost
Continental Rubber Outsole
Allows Natural Movement
Urban Sporty Style
Size Runs Large
It’s difficult to avoid including one of the best running designs currently on the market on this list of breathable shoes. The Ultraboost is not only everything you need if you are a neutral-type runner, but thanks to its sporty urban style, it can also serve as a great lifestyle option for you to pair with all of your favorite everyday outfits.
The Ultraboost is breathable thanks to its Primeknit upper that gently hugs the foot. It is a knit material, as its very name says, allowing for maximum airflow. This running option is best suited for long distances due to its lightweight and supportive structure. It has soft cushioning that is amazingly responsive - once you try out the Boost technology, you will never want to go back! The outsole of the Ultraboost is made from Continental rubber which flexes with your every movement.
The Adidas Ultraboost is unparalleled when it comes to performance, comfort, and even style. It is a sneaker everyone wants to have, whether it is for running or simply for completing their carefully curated wardrobe. When summer rolls around, you will have a hard time taking these off at the end of the day. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Ultraboosts!
2. APL Techloom Phantom
Sleek Stylish Design
If you’ve ever worn knit material then you will probably understand what it’s like to wear a pair of APL Techloom Phantoms. These are created with the ultimate comfort in mind; the material’s inherent breathability as well as its flexibility ensure an experience that goes beyond what you could ever imagine. The reason why these breathable shoes have been chosen for this list is that they combine an incredibly durable and stylish design with a knit upper that provides the utmost level of comfort.
Aside from the obvious comfort qualities that this model holds, it is also quite durable. The outsole of this model exposes the foam in the midsole but also makes use of blown rubber materials. Rubber reduces the chance of the outsole wearing down unevenly. On the same note, the design comes in multiple color options, and if purchased in a neutral color, can easily blend in with any wardrobe.
The upper of the APL Techloom is elegant. The fact that the model has an upper which incorporates knit materials allows it to look both stylish and chic. Another great thing about the weave design is that it provides ample airflow when in use. You will not regret reaching for these sporty, cute breathable shoes!
3. Allbirds Tree Runners
Eucalyptus Pulp Upper
Merino Wool Insole
Anatomical & Cushioned Outsole
Allbirds is a brand which is proud of its sourcing of natural, biodegradable materials. The Tree Runners are made from a material they call Tree, a mesh knit that comes from eucalyptus pulp which has been responsibly grown and harvested. This is precisely what provides the Tree Runners with their cooling, breathable effects.
The Tree Runners have laces made from 100% recycled materials, and their eyelets are bio-based TPU which is sturdier than other materials choices, but also environmentally friendly. In terms of comfort, this sneaker has a padded insole made from merino wool that is soft, moisture-wicking and resistant to odors. Finally, the outsole of the Tree Runners is a lightweight foam for a comfy, cushioned ride and anatomical flexibility.
We are in awe of the care and attention to detail that the Tree Runners from Allbirds is crafted with. If saving the planet is something you are focused on, then you should not pass over these sustainable, all-natural sneakers that keep your feet fresh and sweat-free regardless of how long you wear them.
4. Adidas Terrex CC Parley
Recycled Material Upper
The Adidas Terrex was a great product when it was initially released; now that it’s designed using recycled (almost knit) materials, it’s gotten even better. First off, the sneaker was redesigned using Parley and provides wearers with more airflow, as well as the ability to save the planet. The design features an upper with a sock-like opening; this means that both putting on and taking the sneaker off is a breeze. The design also features one of the coolest outsoles that you will probably ever see.
The outsole of the Terrex Parley is perforated. The perforations on the outsole of this product allow for relatively easy drainage of liquids and ensure that one receives ample airflow when wearing the sneaker. The design of the Terrex features recycled materials sewed throughout which are both comfortable and durable.
The durability associated with the material stems from the fact that the recycled design is tougher than traditional knit material; the comfort comes from the airflow and inherent flexibility of these sewn materials.
5. TOMS Avalon
Accommodating Elastic Panel
Removable Molded Insole
Dual-Density Foam Footbed
Slip-Resistant Rubber Outsole
May Cause Blisters
TOMS is a label known for its charity work, as well as for its breathable, lightweight summer designs. The Avalon fits this category perfectly, with a canvas upper you can find in multiple color options and a clean silhouette that you can wear to any casual and even semi-formal event. What makes the Avalon stand out even more is that it is completely vegan!
This pair of breathable shoes are a slip-on style, with a V-shaped elastic insert at the top for an accommodating fit. The insole is molded to the shape of the foot, providing you with unimaginable comfort. If you happen to require more space inside the Avalon, this insole is also removable. The footbed is made from dual-density foam for maximum cushioning, and the outsole is made from rubber that is slip-resistant.
If you’re looking for an easy choice for summer weather but are reluctant to expose your toes to the world, then the TOMS Avalon is a great solution. It is stylish and versatile, incredibly simple to wear and take care of, and you will love its positively addictive cushioning.
6. Converse Chuck Taylor
For All Casual Settings
Cool, Laid-Back Look
There is no way that you can go wrong with a pair of Chuck Taylors. This brand has been in style for decades, and it's no wonder why! Their styles provide a host of elements to make matching them with outfits a breeze. Converse also ensures that wearers can receive all that they need in terms of comfort. The comfort of these particular breathable shoes stems from the upper and the materials that the design is made from.
The upper of this low top Chuck Taylor features various perforations that provide just enough airflow. In this design, said perforations run the length of the style and can be found throughout the model.
A style designed from canvas will typically provide ample airflow. Canvas is a thin material and breathes relatively easily in a variety of environments. The Chuck Taylor’s use of this material complements the perforations and ensures that discomfort is a thing of the past in these cool, laid-back breathable shoes.
7. Vans Atwood
Vulcanized Rubber Outsole
To purchase a pair of Vans is to purchase a design that can be worn for various occasions. These breathable shoes are incredibly stylish and comfortable. The great thing about this particular pair is that they have a sleek cut and a sole unit with ample grip both on and off of the skateboard.
The outsole of Vans need to be incredibly durable; these breathable shoes are typically used for skateboarding. That being said, the outsole is made from vulcanized rubber and can handle a great variety of exposure. The sheer durability of the outsole is what ensures great value and that you won’t have to worry about continually having to replace these sneakers.
Another one of the great things about owning a pair of Vans is that they have a sleek design. Like many other skateboarding shoes on the market, Vans has a low cut silhouette and can be worn with various outfits. The design of these breathable shoes allows for a great deal of versatility and makes for a very cost-effective option for the price-conscious consumer.
8. Cole Haan Zerogrand Oxford
Durable Mesh Material
Nylon & Ripstop Upper
The Zerogrand from Cole Haan is an oxford that features an upper designed from a blend of nylon and ripstop materials. The use of both of these materials ensures maximum comfort and airflow. Surprisingly enough, these materials are what qualified it for this list as well. In addition to the unique upper, this pair of breathable shoes is also amazingly stylish and works well even on dressier occasions.
To have a style that incorporates ripstop materials throughout is to have incredibly durable shoes. A design that sports a blend of both ripstop and a breathable knit ensures the best of both airflow and longevity. The upper of the Zerogrand is designed to ensure the ultimate value.
These breathable shoes incorporate a modern look that is suitable for various environments. It can be worn at work, at a semi-formal dinner date, even when meeting your in-laws! The look of this sneaker is slim and it comes in various neutral colors. That means you don't have to worry about purchasing various models to match with various outfits.
9. Adidas Tubular Shadow
Thin Mesh Upper
Some Quality Issues
The Adidas Tubular Shadow is a design that has a stylish look and various comfort features incorporated into its construction. This sneaker has an upper designed from a thin mesh membrane that allows wearers to feel that air that surrounds their feet; it prevents the accumulation of sweat in the design. On that same token, these breathable shoes are stylish as well; it’s the best of both worlds.
Much like other breathable shoes on this list, the design of the Tubular Shadow is a stylish one. It's rather sleek and can double as both an athletic and casual piece of footwear; for a design to be able to do both is incredibly rare.
What makes the Tubular Shadow breathable is the thin cut of mesh that’s incorporated into its design. The mesh is a porous material which allows the air to circulate freely in and out of the sneaker. Additionally, the fact that the upper on this pair is relatively thin means that it doesn’t have too hard of a time bending to the will of one’s foot when in use.
10. Adidas Deerupt Runner
Unique Colorful Design
Full-Length Cushioned Midsole
The Adidas Deerupt will provide high levels of airflow to the wearer, while also throwing in a bit of a unique style to boot. This sneaker has a mesh upper but, and here’s the kicker, it has a webbed overlay that runs the model's entire length. To boost the comfort that these breathable shoes provide, this notorious brand also gave them full-length EVA midsoles.
The midsole of a sneaker can either make or break the entire design; this is why it’s a good thing that the Deerupt features an EVA midsole. EVA is a material which provides both comfort and stability. It conforms to the curves of the wearers’ foot and softens every blow. It also delivers bonus cushioning in the heel portion to increase the level of support.
Another great thing about the Deerupt Runner l is that it features a sock-liner. Sock-liners are meant to increase the level of comfort of the model and in some cases provide moisture-wicking properties. In these breathable shoes, the sock-liner enhances the level of airflow while also working in tandem with the mesh to provide superior comfort.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the first things that came to mind when reviewing breathable shoes was the actual design and layout of a specific shoe. Below we will discuss a few of the things that went into consideration regarding specific design characteristics.
Perforations: One of the more important things that a pair of breathable shoes must have are various perforations throughout their design. While there are styles on the market that provide breathability without having perforations throughout, having them only increases the chances of providing a comfortable overall experience.
Upper Density: The thickness of the upper is also a very important factor in its ability to provide adequate airflow. The introduction of various overlays and a multitude of layers may hinder the breathability of a design. For this very reason, the thickness of the model plays a very important part in ensuring that you receive what you need in terms of airflow and breathability. Look for thin, lightweight constructions if you can.
Material: Some materials are just not the best if you seek breathable shoes. These materials are typically the ones that have very few “natural” perforations. Of the list of materials that won’t provide adequate airflow, the most important to pay attention to (and avoid) would be synthetic leather, faux suede, and other thick materials.
Style is one of those characteristics that are important regardless of the shoes' intended purpose. No one wants to have breathable shoes that are unattractive. For this very reason, the designs on this list have been sorted for their stylishness, among other features.
Versatility: Versatility is the design's ability to be worn in various environments without any problems. We all like footwear that we can wear in different settings, from the workplace to a fun lunch with friends, to a dinner date with a significant other. When it comes to style, versatility is key for a good look.
Casual or Dressy: Due to the fact that most breathable shoes are made from mesh and canvas materials, they usually fall into the category of casual shoes, such as sneakers. However, you can also find dressy breathable shoes, an example of which is the Cole Haan Zerogrand Oxford. Just because you want to look more polished, doesn't mean you can't enjoy breathability!
Sport or Lifestyle: In our list of breathable shoes, you will find plenty of options to use at the gym. Similarly, there are designs which are meant only to be worn in everyday situations, not being the right choice for hard-hitting training. When you're shopping, consider the purpose of your breathable shoes and what you intend to use them for, and make a decision accordingly.
If you're seeking a pair of breathable shoes, you’re seeking a comfortable fit, correct? For this reason, things such as the cushioning and flexibility were considered the most important when compiling this list.
Cushioning: It was important to make sure that every single one of the breathable shoes on this list had adequate cushioning for the underfoot. While all of the brands on this list have different ways of approaching the issue of cushioning, they all provide the same thing. Cushioning helps in absorbing impact while you walk, and reduces the strain put on your joints, thus minimizing damage over time.
Flexibility: A full range of motion is incredibly important if you want to feel comfortable. On that note, the breathable shoes on this list all provide an easy, flexible wear. They don't constrict or limit your movements, and you can be sure that you will have a light, carefree ride in any of these options.
Breathability is arguably one of the most important qualities in footwear and that's obviously why we have dedicated an entire list to breathable shoes.
No one enjoys sweaty feet or bad odors. Not only is this uncomfortable and unhygienic, but also hot, damp environments with no proper airflow are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. They lead to foot infections, such as athlete’s foot, which cause itchiness and other unpleasant symptoms.
This is why the brands we focused on here make sure that their products have superior breathability. They outfit their designs with special footbeds with built-in ventilation, perforations which allow the air to pass through, as well as mesh materials. These fabrics are porous, and they are both gentle on the skin and allow for cooling of the feet, keeping them dry and comfortable all throughout the wear.
Obviously, the most breathable shoes will be the ones which keep most of the foot exposed. These are great for high temperatures, when you want to avoid sweat and want to feel light and breezy on your feet.
When you’re shopping for new breathable shoes, definitely keep in mind the season you’re shopping for. It would be best to avoid heavy, confining designs in the summer, and light, flimsy options in the winter. Always dress appropriately for the weather, as you don’t want to risk either overheating or catching a cold.
Another important criterion that we used when picking out products is the price tag. The truth is, we all know the price is important. When picking out footwear, we have a budget in mind and try to stay in-between a specific dollar amount.
However, when it comes to this type of evaluation, we are looking at something a bit different. Here, we focused on a way to ensure that, no matter what pair of breathable shoes you decide on, you receive your money’s worth for the purchase.
So, to start the buying guide, we first scanned the market and looked at what companies were charging. We paid very close attention to the highest-priced items and the lowest price. With this, we were able to draw some conclusions as to what perhaps may be an average price tag.
Then, we used this to our advantage when assessing each product. We carefully looked at each pair of breathable shoes and considered whether or not the price was fair, in accordance with the average price tag. From there, we were also able to draw conclusions as to whether or not the value it offered was fair.
If you want to look for the options which hold the most value, sort our list by this criterion and choose off the top!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Obviously if we have a pair of open shoes, ventilation won't be an issue when it's hot out and our feet sweat, but having a good pair of breathable closed footwear helps protect as well. Many athletic style shoes are now designed with this feature in mind, and showcase newer technologies for lightweight, breathable uppers. Look for materials such as mesh, canvas, or a combination of both.
Breathability isn't just a case of allowing cool air into your footwear, but it also involves the process of allowing trapped air to escape. In order to have the ideal temperature and ecosystem inside your shoe, make sure that hot air isn't being left behind.
Other Factors to Consider
Regardless of the activity, to have a pair of breathable shoes that doesn't cause your feet to sweat profusely is a must.
For that very reason, this list was composed; to ensure that you had access to a thoroughly researched list full of the best breathable shoes on the market right now.
These models were researched and sorted by very specific guidelines, just because we care that much about our readers. In addition to the information that one will find at the heading of this post, one will also find that if they read a little further, there is a plethora of information regarding the specific guidelines for this buying guide, as well as a few recurring questions that readers have been having.
Absorb all of this new knowledge, and use it to buy the best breathable shoes for yourself as soon as you can!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What does the breathability rating mean?
The breathability rating is basically the level of airflow that one you expect to gain from a type of fabric without sacrificing the protection that comes in the form of waterproofing. This rating shows how water-resistant and what level of submersion the breathable shoes can handle without succumbing to saturation.
q: What’s the best fabric for breathable shoes?
The best fabric that provides wearers with adequate breathability is probably tied between canvas and mesh. Both of these materials have “natural” perforations and don’t have much trouble delivering adequate airflow in breathable shoes.
q: Can breathable shoes be waterproof at the same time?
The first question on this list serves as an answer to this one. Yes, a pair of shoes can both have adequate breathability and be waterproof. If a pair of breathable shoes isn't waterproof right off the bat, there are sprays and solutions that can be purchased for aftermarket waterproofing.
q: What is breathability, exactly?
Breathability is a shoe's ability to provide you with what you need in terms of air circulation. It’s the comfort that comes along with adequate airflow which helps stave off the build-up of sweat and heat.
q: What’s the best brand for breathable shoes?
To be completely honest, there are various brands on the market who have breathable shoes that provide amazing levels of airflow. So, to name any one brand specifically wouldn’t do justice to any of the other top performers.