The Best Sneakers for Work That You Can Get Away With (For Men and Women)
With dress codes at work getting more and more relaxed, anybody these days could get away with wearing casual shoes at the office. If you want comfortable shoes to rotate with weekend loafers, sneakers are a fun option to dress down your professional look. Dress sneakers for work can be stylish business casual shoes - if you know how to pick the right pair that can make you look understatedly Forbes cover-worthy.
Tuesday Bote - December 17, 2020
Why Dress Sneakers Will Always Be a Business Casual Must
It's safe to say that workplace wear will never be the same, now that people are mostly homebound. What we got now is what The NY Times calls, "workleisure" outfits - a cross between your best comfy loungewear and what you'd put on as a plus one on a weekend wedding.
And there's no other casual shoe that can thread this fine line other than the classic sneaker. The usual men's oxfords or derbies (or women's mules and flats) can be overkill when you're just padding around in your home office. So when that zoom meeting rolls around, sneakers are still your best bet to look professional even at home.
The right kind of work sneaker offers more mileage in your closet; formal sneakers look good dressed up or down.
You'll have more time concentrating on the agenda, and less time worrying if you're making a good impression with how you look.
Rules for Wearing Sneakers at the OfficeOne thing's for sure, office sneakers will have to live up to their name. "Sneak" up in them without calling any attention to your feet, even if they're high-end luxury sneakers (You're not going clubbing). Here are some sneaker-style rules that stay within most dress code lanes:
1. If in doubt, check out what your boss wears.
Take your cue from how your boss usually dresses for Casual Fridays. Certain industries have different definitions of "business casual wear" so err side on side of overdressed if you're not sure. That being said, stay away from actual training gear or statement kicks.
2. Stick to neutrals.
Blacks, grays and blues, nudes, mocha, or brown sneakers are easier to mix and match with separates, so there's less guesswork.
Neutrals also give your wardrobe staples a polished look that's timeless. Save white sneakers for more casual moments, like hanging out with your crew after work.
3. Your shoes should match your OOTD's "seriousness" level.
Wear more formal colors if you're aiming for a business casual look that will blend in if you're hobnobbing with the higher ups . Your sneakers should be dressy enough to double as dress shoes (but don't push it for formal events ).
However, if you're going for more of a smart casual off duty look, you can wear low-key white sneakers to put a playful spin on any business outfit.
What Makes a Dress Sneaker Work-Appropriate
No casual shoes for work are created equal and sneakers are no exception. Here are foolproof criteria for selecting investment-worthy sneakers for business casual.
- minimalist details
No fuss, clean lines on your office sneakers means that it's you who's carrying off "the look" and not the other way around. You can switch to a gum sole or slightly thicker midsole if you want to add some oomph, when you're going for a more casual vibe. Think stylish CEO, not "dad golfing on a weekend".
- luxurious materials
Check out suede or leather sneakers which are universally accepted as the gold standard sneakers for work. Don't let the fancy names fool you - suede and leather sneakers last longer, and need minimal maintenance. Pair them with suits, and you've got a designer-inspired uniform that can take you anywhere from the boardroom, to the bar.
- uniform colorways
As per rule no. 2 mentioned above, you don't want any logos or multi-colored casual shoes. They're too distracting and would only violate most dress codes, the fashion police rulebook included. So keep it classy.
3 Chic Looks for Styling Women's Sneakers for Work
1. with the classic pantsuit
Nothing says power player than a well-fitted pantsuit topped off with classy women's sneakers for work. A bit on the dressy side, but still a necessary look for big zoom presentations and interviews. Just make sure you have a serious background to match, when you're on a video call.
2. with the sexy pencil skirt
If you're in your 20's, there's nothing wrong with billowy skirts and sneakers - but they come off more like "intern", rather than hardworking professional. Once you're hitting your career stride, switch over to slimming pencil skirts to get bumped up into hot boss territory.
3. with the mysterious monochromatic look
Channel your inner office savant wearing something all in one color. It's a go-to outfit that works and works well for a reason. Just think off all those low-key high fashion designers who come out at the end of every show looking just as elegant as their more avant-gardely dressed counterparts.
3 Cool Ways Men Can Wear Office Sneakers
There's never been a problem with getting guys to wear sneakers, in fact, if they could wear it to their own wedding they would. The thing is always how they pick clothes that go with said sneakers. Here are a few GQ approved standbys that can take any clueless guy from basic to business casual cool, stat.
1. with smart jackets or long fitted coats
You can't go wrong with smart jackets in navy blue. Anything you put under them instantly looks effortlessly dapper. And we won't even mention that blue signals a sense of authority (airline pilots or any men in uniform, hello).
2. with dress pants and chinos paired and with equally dressy polos
Take your pick from wool, cotton pants, or chinos. One in gray can easily be paired with either brown or more casual office shoes (If you have to wear a belt, make sure they match your shoes). Polos can give that added punch of color and help you look effortlessly put together. Use cotton polos under a blazer or wear knitted polos alone, to get some serious mojo going. Don't forget to button all the way up, for more formal settings.
3. with smart casual jeans
Jeans go on the more casual end of business casual, so only wear denim that closely resembles a dress pant in color and fit. Dark denim that's not too loose or too snug is slimming, making you look like a winner and a "player" at the same time.
The best sneakers for work can help give you that added boost of motivation - even if you're just calling the shots from your home office. Getting dressed for success gets your head in the game, so don't let sloppy win. Ever.