Out of all the menswear essentials you might consider indispensable, there’s nothing quite like having a pair of affordable canvas sneakers in your rotation for summer.
You very well might know the sort of pair we mean: A set of lace-up high-top or low-top kicks made from durable cotton canvas, often without any flashy patterns or colors – about as classic as it gets. These are the sort of sneakers you can rock all summer long, with just about any Primer-approved outfit you can dream up. If you haven’t found your favorite pair yet – or if you could use a change of pace in your sneaker game – we’re here to help.
Why canvas sneakers? It’s simple, really. Leather sneakers can sometimes prove a bit too sleek for certain style situations, and you’re going to want to have options aside from traditional sandals or boat shoes – or, say, more formal loafers – at times, too.
They toe the line nicely between classy and casual, made for weekend road trips, BBQs and casual days about town, and that crucial component – price – means you should be looking to add a new set to your rotation to round out summer. After all, there’s still plenty of time to make the most of this sweltering season.
Look for the right blend of subtle, stylish looks, comfort and affordability, and then start dreaming of ways to rock ‘em for the weeks ahead. When styled the right way, the proper pair of canvas sneakers can even be worn into early fall (or beyond that, depending on where you live). Long story short: The best affordable canvas sneakers are calling your name. These are our favorites.
The Best Affordable Canvas Sneakers for Summer 2023
This silhouette pays homage to Vans' inaugural factory in Anaheim, California, and is part of the special ‘Anaheim' pack. What makes these sneakers stand out is the iconic checkerboard pattern that brings in a heavy dose of southern California skate nonchalance, working perfectly to tone down an otherwise preppy outfit.
Crafted with a sturdy canvas upper, these sneakers carry Vans' classic low profile, lending them to an array of outfit combinations. The collar is padded for comfort, while the elastic side accents allow for easy slip-on and slip-off, perfect for the spontaneous adventurer. The vulcanized construction and signature rubber waffle outsoles assure durability and excellent grip.
When we talk about indispensable style staples, there’s a good chance a timeless pair of canvas high-top sneakers like the famed Converse Chuck Taylor is very near the top of the list. The high-top design remains iconic and instantly recognizable, while this set has also been upgraded with modern insole technology for a smooth ride. Better still is the fact that these kicks are easy to wear with versatile outfits like a shirt jacket and chinos on breezy days. The Parchment color with more subdued white rubber soles than regular Chucks also makes this pair an ideal style pick with casual neutral ensembles, too.
SeaVees first started in the 1960s before going dormant for about four decades – until a set of kicks by the brand was quite literally rediscovered by CEO Steven Tiller in a Tokyo vintage shop.They were originally beloved by surfers and stylish SoCal guys, and now, you can add a bit of that fresh, easygoing style to your next look with the Baja Slip-ons. Slip-on canvas sneakers provide more coverage and durability than sandals, while still proving plenty easy to wear – you can slide ‘em on at a moment’s notice, after all. For your next backyard BBQ, consider teaming these with a classic, stylish pocket tee (it’s the only shirt you need for summer, after all).
If you prefer a more low-profile look compared to high-top sneakers from Converse, consider the equally classic, much loved Jack Purcell. The style has sporting roots in badminton, sure, but they’ve evolved into a modern style move thanks to the subtle design and goes-with-anything options – like an ever-versatile black colorway. Use these sneakers to anchor simple summer style ensembles, like drawstring chinos and a navy polo for a nice high-low blend.
When you come across a pair of affordable canvas sneakers that have stood the test of time – as the famed Vans Old Skool has done – it’s a wise bet to consider making a pair your own. Once (and still) beloved by skaters, the style adds some nice visual interest to summer-centric looks, thanks to the crisp striped design, while a simple colorway like black can act as a nice anchor to an outfit. Consider the classics – like olive chinos – when getting dressed, but feel free to throw in some pattern on your top half, since these sneakers are more straightforward.
The best affordable canvas sneakers are the pair you can put on and forget about – you don’t have to worry about ‘em getting a bit scuffed or scraped, and you don’t have to worry about ‘em breaking down on you. Such is the case with another fan favorite set of Vans sneakers, the simple Authentic lace-up. For when you need sneakers you can easily wear with everything from chino shorts to light wash denim, consider snagging this highly affordable pair. Recently featured in our guide to comfortable road trip style.
When it comes to rocking your canvas sneakers from day to night, you should be able to rest easy knowing it’s OK to get them just a bit dirty – from park strolls to BBQs, anything can happen. Sperry took that idea to heart with the laidback Striper Sneakers, which just so happen to be both durable and washable for an extra dash of summer-minded wearability. When you want to give your Sperry boat shoes a break back on dry land, get the Striper Sneakers.
Like plenty of our other favorite canvas sneaker brands, Pro Keds is rooted in sporting heritage and history, yet just as reliable for modern fashion moves these days. The Pro Keds Royal Lo adds a bit of retro appeal to any look, thanks to the pop of color via stripes on the side of the sole and the eye-catching cap toe detailing. We’d suggest wearing these for more casual pursuits – I.E. Patio beers on a hot day – particularly when paired up with linen drawstring shorts and a rugged short-sleeve henley.
Nothing New is yet another brand we here at Primer appreciate for a razor-sharp focus on sustainability (this pair is made from 100 percent sustainable materials), but beyond that, its crisp, aptly named Kicks are just a mighty fine pair of sneakers. Loooking for something less solid but still classic, these options are cool, fresh and easy to mix and match. Bonus points for the fact that you can feel good about wearing them: The production of each pair saves 160 gallons of water compared to your average pair of sneakers.
While it’s always wise to have a pair of fresh white kicks in your summer sneaker arsenal, the situation sometimes calls for a change of pace, like the ever-so-slightly more polished look of these dark grey New Republic sneakers. Think of them like a blank canvas from which to build an outfit that throws a bit more color and pattern into the mix – the world is your oyster with a neutral pair of sneakers. All of the technical specs are on point here, too, including a vulcanized rubber outsole for added traction and grip from day to night.
You’ve got plenty of options as you search for your new favorite pair of affordable canvas sneakers, including some that lean more modern – and, dare we say, somewhat futuristic. Cole Haan incorporates modern comfort technology and a super-sleek design into this sub-$50 pair of canvas sneakers, which call to mind classic court sneakers yet manage to look fresh enough to wear with, say, a super-lightweight, unlined suit and a breezy merino tee.
Shopping for affordable canvas sneakers brings up all kinds of considerations, to be sure, from styling potential to price and durability, but what about sustainability? It’s the name of the game these days across menswear categories of all sorts, and Cariuma takes a head-on approach to a better, more eco-conscious pair of sneakers, using premium natural materials and recycled packaging to deliver a low-profile pair that’s so comfortable, you just might want to snag more than one.