Business Casual Sneakers: How to Rock Cool Kicks with Your Casual Dress Shirt

Business Casual Sneakers: How to Rock Cool Kicks with Your Casual Dress Shirt

Want a look that's buttoned-up without sacrificing personality? Find out how to rock business casual sneakers.
Keyword(s): business casual sneakers


These days, professionals don’t want to visit the office every day dressed to the nines. While there are days that call for the suit-and-tie, most professionals want to wear relaxing and casual wear on their easy work days.

While most jobs allow this, one in 10 professionals still needs to wear a suit every day to work. If you’re one of these people, you probably wonder how much you can express while at the office. Sneakers are a perfect example.

If you love your kicks, can you pull them off at work? Here’s your guide to business casual sneakers and how to wear them to work.

Sneaker Types

Before knowing how to wear your sneakers to work, you should understand the different types of sneakers available. These include:

Basic Sneakers

Basic sneakers are the most common sneakers on the market. These include brands such as Vans and Converse. They can be worn for some sports, such as skateboarding, but they’re mainly worn for fashion and comfort.

Sports Sneakers

These sneakers are worn for performance. While many sneaker aficionados keep these shoes in their collection, these sneakers are designed to assist athletes. Classic examples include the Reebok Pump and Nike Air Max 90.

Luxury Sneakers

Luxury sneakers combine the styles of basic and sports sneakers with a more elegant touch. The two main factors that separate luxury sneakers from traditional sneakers are brand names and material.

Luxury designers such as Lanvin, Tom Ford, and Saint Laurent embed their names on these high-end sneakers. In addition, they will use the finest materials such as leather and suede to give the sneakers a more elegant touch.

High-End Fashion Sneakers

On the same note as luxury sneakers are high-end fashion sneakers. These sneakers combine high-end designer quality while still worn for casual purposes.

These sneakers are famous for looking loud and eccentric, compared to classic luxury sneakers.

Some examples of high-end designer sneakers include ones made by Christian Louboutin, Givenchy, Diemme, Maison Martin Margiela, and Giuseppe Zanotti.

Fashion Sports Sneakers

While many sports sneakers are made for athletic performance, major sneaker brands such as Adidas and Nike also make athletic sneakers that can work for casual wear.

High Tech

This isn’t a well-known sneaker type but it’s becoming more prevalent. These are stylish sneakers combined with advanced technology.

Some of these shoes include auto-lacing and advanced anti-slip technology. In addition, high tech sneakers are paving the way for more ergonomic and foot protection standards.

Basic Rules When Wearing Sneakers to the Office

We’ll go on about wearing the different types of sneakers to the office. Until then, follow these general rules.

Don’t Go Too Casual

Are you able to pull off sports sneakers in the office? Perfect! Just don’t go too casual, even for a business casual dress code.

Sneakers are versatile; they offer more comfort than dress shoes and certain styles look as formal as dress shoes. But the wrong style can make your business outfit look tacky.

If you’re ever unsure, show a picture of the sneakers to your boss. For certain industries, such as law and banking, stick to luxury sneakers.

Only Buy Sneakers That Suit Your Work Wardrobe

While the new Yeezys may be hot, will they look good with your suit? If not, save your money for a pair of designer sneakers.

Only keeping a high-end sneaker wardrobe will ensure you have nice shoes to wear that fit both the office and other occasions, such as a casual night with friends and a more formal event such as a wedding.

This means you may not be able to buy the trendiest sneakers. But you’ll know the office will approve of your sneaker choices.

Clean Them

Last but not least, keep them clean. It doesn’t matter how expensive the shoes are or who designed them — if the shoes are dirty, they’re not office-friendly.

Regularly take a wet washcloth and wipe the top and bottom of the shoes, even getting into the shoelaces. In addition, eliminate odors by spritzing them with Febreeze every day.

Getting the Best Look for Each Sneaker Type

If you don’t know how to integrate each sneaker style into your wardrobe, your efforts will fail. We covered the basic rules about wearing your sneakers to the office. Here are the specific wardrobe rules for each sneaker type.

Classic Sneakers

Classic sneakers, such as Chuck Taylors and Vans, are notorious for looking modern and casual. That doesn’t mean they have to only serve as weekend shoes.

First and foremost, know which styles to buy. Instead of choosing bright-colored sneakers, opt for a classic black.

From here, match the sneaker to your outfit. Let’s say you’re wearing a white suit. Match your suit with a clean pair of all-white casual sneakers. You won’t even notice they’re classic shoes.

Sports Sneakers

These sneakers are actually the most difficult to wear to the office. Sports sneakers are designed with certain style elements such as intricate designs and bright colors.

This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a trending sports sneaker to the office.

Sports sneakers are best worn to business casual offices. But make sure the rest of your outfit is polished.

Sport a nice blazer, high-end denim (without rips or holes), and a clean pair of sports sneakers. It’s still best to avoid bright-colored sneakers or any sneakers that are too loud.

Luxury Sneakers

These sneakers are the best to wear to the office. They offer the comfort of sports sneakers while featuring minimalist design and high-quality materials. They’re also easy to match with any suit.

Start with the classic suit. Choose a high-quality suit jacket, a nice undershirt, and a solid pair of trousers. Then, choose a pair of luxury sneakers that compliments the outfit.

Try and match your shoes by color. For example, if your suit is black, don’t wear white sneakers.

Keep in mind, luxury sneakers are bulkier than traditional dress shoes. Try and keep your sneakers as subtle as possible by opting for trousers with a little bit of flare.

In addition, wear the same color socks as your trousers and sneakers to hide the bulkiness.

High-Fashion Designer Sneakers

Like all fashion trends, sneaker trends come and go for each season. The key to sporting fashion sneakers with your work outfit is by sticking to the trends.

Regardless of the trends, there are some specific rules to follow. Basic colors, such as white and gray, are better options than loud colors. Keep them clean.

Make sure the rest of your outfit is groomed; if your office allows business casual, still choose high-end work outfits such as a suit jacket and trousers.

Fashion Sports Sneakers

As mentioned previously, sports sneakers are the hardest to style for the office. If you’re not careful, your efforts can fail.

The same advice goes for other types of sneakers — wear basic colors such as white and gray. Always match your sneakers to your outfits.

Fortunately, this advice shouldn’t be too strict for business casual offices.

But your outfit will look better if you match. For example, let’s say you’re wearing a white dress shirt with beige dress pants. Wear white sports sneakers to match the outfit.

High Tech

If you’re the shoe-by who’s getting on the high tech sneaker trend, there are limited options available for the office. It’s best to stick to a basic color, such as black. Wear shoes with a pair of black trousers and a black blazer.

Best Sneaker Styles to Buy

Now that you know the general types of sneakers, it’s best to filter the sneaker styles to know what works for the office. Here are sneakers that always look great with work outfits.

Leather Tops

If you’re unsure which sneakers to buy for work, stick to leather. Leather is always stylish and office-appropriate. They’re great for any season and match every formal business outfit.

Basic Colors

This has been mentioned several times and that’s because it’s essential — always choose basic colors.

This includes white, black, and gray. These colors are simple but crisp enough to look good with a suit. In addition, they’re always stylish and trending.

Colored Sneakers

Proceed this style with caution. If your office is more on the casual style, colored sneakers can be an amazing finish to your outfit. But only if the dress code allows for it.

Your colored sneakers should at least be a basic color, such as red. A unique color such as lime green will look too loud.

Name Brand Sneakers

From Converse to Nikes, many sneaker connoisseurs can’t deny name brands. This is why the name brand sneakers always work.

Keep in mind, some brand sneakers are more casual than others. You won’t want to wear a pair of Vans to your suit and tie job. These shoes are still best for business casual offices.

Sneakers for Each Season

If you live in an area where you’re a slave to the weather, different office sneaker looks depend on the season.

For autumn and winter, you’ll likely need specific shoes. Choose a warm pair of designer sneakers. Since this season calls for snow, ice, and rain, buy a pair of high tech shoes with innovative anti-slip technology.

Summer is when you can get the most creative. But your sneakers should still have a sleek and professional feel. Try not to go too crazy with colors — if you want to spice things up, choose a more polished color such as blue.

Work Outfit Ideas With Sneakers

This list wouldn’t be complete without some outfit advice. Rock these outfits to the office and add in some fresh kicks!

High-Tops With a Blazer

This work outfit is perfect for the winter months. Choose a heavy blazer such as leather and pair it with skinny black trousers. Finish the look with leather high-tops. Be a little bold and choose a nontraditional color such as brown.

Denim Fridays Outfit

Many offices host denim Fridays where you can wear your favorite pair of jeans to the office. Don’t be afraid to spice up your sneakers by wearing unique-colored sneakers such as silver. Silver and gray sneakers blend in perfectly with denim.

Office Comfort

Let’s face it — we love sneakers because they’re comfortable. Do you find yourself running around the office all day? Choose a pair of ergonomic sneakers. Even performance sport sneakers will prevent terrible foot pains.

You can also choose a comfortable work outfit for all-day comfort. Examples include a button-down shirt with slightly baggy slacks.

The Luxurious CEO

Sneakers can easily be worn by the head of the office.

For ultimate luxury, choose a solid-colored designer sneaker, such as white sneakers. Pair the sneakers with a gray suit jacket and trousers. If you’re the CEO, you can get away with wearing some nice jeans with your favorite sneakers.

Casual Business Outfit

On the flip note, casual professionals should also plan their office outfits. Instead of wearing a traditional blazer, wear a nice jacket or cardigan.

Don’t be afraid to wear a casual top under, such as a striped shirt or a polo. Make sure your sneakers match your shirt — it’s still best to choose a basic-colored shoe. Finish the outfit with a nice pair of slacks in a neutral color such as gray.

The Swag Professional

Is casual office wear too basic for you? Don’t worry — we have some style advice for swag professionals. Get out that blazer and tie.

For chilly days, wear a pullover over your button-down top. If the office is casual, who said you can’t rock a suit jacket with a pair of Converse?

Are You on the Lookout for Business Casual Sneakers?

From casual Fridays to the suit and tie job, it’s always unclear which shoes to wear to the office.

More professionals are choosing business casual sneakers for comfort as well as the style impact. But are you having difficulty choosing the best shoes for the office?

We offer all dress shoes, from classic formal shoes to luxury sneakers. Shop with us today.


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