If you can't bear to throw out your old sneakers and insist on wearing them far past the point of both usability and respectability, then you're in good company. The truth is, not all sneakers are intended to be fresh; men also need shoes for mucking about at low tide and stomping in the woods on a muddy evening. The most important trait of this sort of knock-around shoe is that it needs to be disposable. If you don't have the time or inclination to wear a nice pair into the ground, then go out and get a pair designed to be disposable.
We recommend sneakers that cost about as much as a few movie tickets – the right ones can be bought with the same cavalier purposefulness as sunscreen or bug spray.
These Old Navy canvas sneakers fit the bill perfectly. They're surprisingly comfortable and well made, with a cotton upper, a cushioned footbed, and a rubber outsole. They come in a range of all-American colors and don't look dumb. A pretty decent interpretation of the Vans classic, they won't attract much attention. Perfect. [$22; oldnavy.gap.com]