Ariat Hilo Vs. Hey Dude: Which Casual Shoe is Best for You?

Casual shoes have become a staple in most people’s wardrobes these days. Ditching formal leather shoes in favor of more comfortable and laidback footwear when you’re not at work or a formal event is a common choice. Two popular casual shoe brands, Ariat Hilo and Hey Dude, are both great options if you’re looking for shoes that combine comfort, style, and versatility.

But with so many similarities between the two brands, how do you choose which one is right for you? There are some key differences between Ariat Hilo and Hey Dude shoes that can help guide your decision.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Hilo and Hey Dude shoes side-by-side, going over the pros and cons of each to help you determine the better pick for your needs and preferences.

Ariat Hilo Vs. Hey Dude Comparison Table

FeatureAriat HiloHey Dude
Type of ShoeLoaferLoafer/Slip-On
MaterialsLeather, textileCanvas, microfiber
TractionRubber outsoleRubber outsole
CushioningEVA midsoleMemory foam insole
Water resistanceWeatherproofNot waterproof
Style VarietyFewer optionsMany colors/patterns
Width SizingMedium, wideMen’s standard only

Now that we’ve looked at an overview, let’s dive into the details on each brand.

All About Ariat Hilo Shoes

Ariat is a footwear brand best known for its equestrian-inspired boots and riding shoes. But in recent years, they’ve expanded their casual shoe lineup to include options like the Hilo.

The Hilo is a suede loafer style that comes in a few different colors like tan, dark brown, and black. The upper is made from water-resistant suede that can stand up to wet conditions. Inside is an EVA midsole that provides cushioning and shock absorption. The outsole is made of durable rubber that grips well on most surfaces.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of Ariat Hilo shoes:

Ariat Hilo Shoes
Ariat Hilo Shoes


  • Waterproof suede upper
  • EVA midsole for cushioning
  • Good traction rubber outsole
  • Classic loafer style
  • Medium and wide width options
  • Good quality materials and construction


  • Expensive (around $100+ per pair)
  • Limited style and color options
  • Runs narrow even in wide sizes
  • Break-in period can be uncomfortable

The Hilo is a good choice if you want a water-resistant casual shoe that can hold up to the elements. They offer decent cushioning and support, though some wearers find them overly rigid at first until broken in. They come in classic loafer silhouettes that work well for casual business attire.

Also Read: Comparison Between Australia Luxe And UGG.

All About Hey Dude Shoes

California-based Hey Dude makes casual slip-on shoes and loafers from canvas, microfiber, and other materials. They’re known for their lightweight, flexible, and comfortable designs.

Hey Dude shoes utilize memory foam insoles and flexible outsoles. The uppers come in lots of colorful patterns and prints, with some solid color options too. They have a laidback, beachy vibe that works great for casual settings.

Here are the main pros and cons of Hey Dude shoes:


Hey Dude
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Memory foam insole is very cushioned
  • Fun, colorful patterns and prints
  • Machine washable
  • Very affordable (around $40-60 per pair)
  • Variety of slip-on and lace-up styles


  • Durability issues with some styles
  • Not waterproof or weatherproof
  • Runs narrow with no wide sizes
  • Limited support
  • Can show dirt easily

Hey Dude shoes are ideal for wearing when you want maximum comfort and a super lightweight feel. They offer fun style you can’t get from most other brands. Just keep in mind sizing can run narrow and they aren’t suited for excessive walking or rugged use.

Ariat Hilo Vs. Hey Dude: Direct Comparison

Now that we’ve covered the basics on both shoe brands, let’s do a direct side-by-side comparison of some of the major factors you should consider when choosing between Ariat Hilo and Hey Dude.

Comfort and cushioning

  • The EVA midsole in Ariat Hilo shoes provides decent cushioning, though some find it feels stiff and rigid at first.
  • Hey Dude shoes win for soft, pillowy comfort right out of the box thanks to their memory foam insole.

Style and aesthetics

  • Hilo shoes only come in a few classic loafer color options.
  • Hey Dude offers tons of fun prints and colors for maximum style.

Durability and construction

  • Ariat uses quality leather and suede uppers and durable rubber soles.
  • Some Hey Dude shoes suffer from quality issues that lead to tearing or sole separation.

Traction and grip

  • The outsoles on both Hilo and Hey Dude provide similar non-slip traction on most surfaces.

Water and weather resistance

  • The suede upper on Hilo shoes is specially treated to resist water.
  • Hey Dude shoes are prone to water damage and stains.

Sizing and fit

  • Both brands tend to run narrow, but Ariat Hilo comes in medium and wide widths.
  • Hey Dude only comes in standard men’s widths.


  • Ariat Hilo shoes cost around $100 or more per pair.
  • Hey Dude shoes are very affordable, ranging from $40-60 per pair.

Best uses

  • Ariat Hilo – Casual wear, business casual settings, light outdoor activity
  • Hey Dude – Indoor lounging and casual wear, beach/pool/boat shoes

Also Read: Differences Between Hey Dude And Wally Sox.

Which is Better: Ariat Hilo or Hey Dude?

Based on this comparison, is Ariat Hilo or Hey Dude the better casual shoe choice overall?

It really comes down to your personal needs and preferences:

For shoppers who want…

  • A comfortable shoe out of the box – Hey Dude is likely the better choice with its soft memory foam insole.
  • Fun colors and styles – Hey Dude wins again with its huge variety of colorful patterns and prints.
  • A budget-friendly price – Hands down, Hey Dude is the winner on price.
  • Waterproof, rugged shoes – Ariat Hilo’s weatherproof suede upper beats Hey Dude’s canvas materials.
  • A classic loafer look – Ariat Hilo offers sleeker loafer silhouettes than Hey Dude’s casual vibe.
  • Wide size options – Ariat Hilo comes in more width sizes.

For most shoppers, it comes down to: Do you want a cushier, lightweight, laidback style? Or a durable, supportive, weatherproof look? Think about where and when you plan to wear your new casual shoes most to decide which brand offers the better fit for your lifestyle.

Both Ariat Hilo and Hey Dude make great quality shoes. Ariat is the better brand for ruggedness and comfort over time, while Hey Dude prioritizes instant cushioning and fun style. Consider sizing and fit, intended use, and your budget to choose the right one for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is better than hey dudes?

While Hey Dude makes quality comfortable shoes, there are some brands that excel beyond them in certain areas:
Support: Brands like New Balance, Brooks, and Asics beat Hey Dude in arch support and cushioning for extended wear.
Outdoor traction: Merrell, Keen, and Solomon offer better grip and traction if you’ll be wearing shoes outside on hikes or rough terrain.
Weatherproofing: Sperry, Blundstone, and Timberland have models that can withstand moisture better than Hey Dude’s fabrics.
Work and safety: Brands like Skechers, Reebok, and Dr. Martens have options better suited for jobs where you’re on your feet all day.
Style variety: Vans, Converse, and Toms offer many more prints, colors, and silhouettes than Hey Dude’s selection.
So while Hey Dude excels at plush comfort in casual settings, other brands do edge them out in certain performance categories or offer a wider range of style choices.

What makes hey dudes unique?

Here are some key things that make Hey Dude shoes unique:
Ultra lightweight design – Hey Dude shoes are known for being incredibly lightweight, which makes them very comfortable for all-day wear. The average pair weighs less than 12 ounces.
Memory foam insoles – All Hey Dude shoes feature a memory foam footbed that molds to the shape of your foot for customized comfort and support.
Fun and colorful styles – Hey Dude offers their shoes in a huge variety of bright, funky colors and prints that you won’t find from most comfort shoe brands.
Machine washable – Many Hey Dude shoes can be tossed right in the washing machine to keep them looking and smelling fresh.
Wearable right out of the box – The flexible canvas and foam construction means you don’t have to break them in for comfort.
Affordable price point – For the level of comfort they provide, Hey Dude shoes are very budget-friendly compared to other brands.
So in summary, the lightweight and ultra-cushioned feel combined with the colorful, carefree styling makes Hey Dudes stand out from typical comfort footwear.

Are Hey Dude shoes popular?

Yes, Hey Dude shoes have become quite popular in recent years. Here are some signs of their growing popularity:
Expanding market presence – Hey Dude has rapidly expanded their distribution both online and to major retail chains like DSW, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack.
Increased sales – From 2020 to 2021, Hey Dude sales rocketed up 95% to over $450 million as they tapped into the casual comfort footwear trend.
Media and celebrity attention – Hey Dude shoes have been featured in magazines and worn by celebrities, helping boost their profile.
Strong social media presence – Hey Dude has over 330,000 Instagram followers and counting, showing their appeal to fashion-forward audiences.
Customer reviews – Reviews for Hey Dude shoes are overwhelmingly positive across retailers, with wearers praising their comfort and style.
Growth of parent company – The success of Hey Dude shoes helped its parent company, Caleres, return to profitability after pandemic losses.
So while Hey Dude is still gaining awareness, their rising sales, media coverage, satisfied customer base, and parent company success shows they are becoming a popular choice for comfortable and stylish shoes. Their laidback, fun vibe fits right in with casual footwear trends.

Also Read: Is Adidas Samba Better Than Samoa?


When it comes to choosing between Ariat Hilo and Hey Dude shoes, there are good reasons to consider either brand. Both make quality, comfortable casual shoes using materials like leather and memory foam.

Ariat Hilo excels at providing waterproof, rugged shoes that can handle the elements and hard wear. They offer great traction and good arch support in a sleek loafer package. However, they lack the wide range of widths and fun colors you can get from Hey Dude.

For those who want instant cushioning and softness out of the box, Hey Dude is the clear winner. Their laidback styling and variety of prints let you show off your personality. But their shoes may lack the support and durability needed for extended outdoor wear.

Ultimately, it depends on your priorities – performance and classically handsome looks with Ariat Hilo, or easygoing comfort and style with Hey Dude. Consider sizing, intended use, and budget to make the smartest decision for your needs. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy slipping on these comfortable, casual shoe options.

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