10 Sneakers You Can Actually Wear To Work — For Any Dress Code
In plenty of work environments, comfortable shoes, like sneakers, aren’t just allowed, they’re welcomed. While it can be a major work perk to don any footwear to the office, it’s not always the norm. There are just as many offices with strict dress codes like business casual, business formal, or even business professional as there are workplaces with no dress codes whatsoever.
In these formal work domains, a run-of-the-mill sneaker won’t go over well with the big boss. That being said, sneakers don’t have to be out of the picture all together. Hard to believe? Hear me out. Tons of brands are making luxury sneakers that can actually look the part for work thanks to sleek, clean designs and materials that rival leather loafers. Sure, there’s no denying that there are some cases where sneakers just won’t fly in the workplace, but ahead are some tips to walk through the workday feeling footloose and fancy free, no matter the dress code at hand.
Casual Work Environments
When it comes to sneaker game at work, casual work environments with little to no dress code are the easiest to navigate. Many startups, digital media companies, and creative professions fall in this category. The key here is not to take advantage of the free dress code. You’re still at work after all, so use discretion and go for clean-looking sneaks. While a favorite pair of old, beat-up sneakers may technically be OK, it’s a better look to leave your well-loved sneakers for the weekends. If all your sneakers fall under the well-loved category, there's no better excuse than to buy a new pair exclusively for work.
Converse JW Anderson Felt Chuck 70 Hi Sneaker in Stone Gray/Flame Orange
A great example of a sneaker that reigns supreme in a casual work environment are these Converse and J.W. Anderson high tops. This pair of sneakers looks upscale while maintaining its cool factor. In a work environment that loves sneakers, these are a great choice with some social clout.
Adidas Falcon Suede and Leather Lace Up Sneaker
If you happen to work in an environment that is super lax when it comes to dress code, go all in with a cool pair of sneakers that are extremely comfortable, too.
Commes Des Garçons Play Women’s Chuck Taylor 1970s Sneaker
CDG’s classic heart logo is both quirky and upscale. These are a great for-work sneaker in a casual, creative environment where people still look very put together.
Business casual is one of the most common dress codes (also sometimes called “executive casual”). Because of this, the scope of what business casual entails can vary from company to company. Business casual means you have to dress up for work, but you can still show off some of your personality in your clothes. In a business-casual environment it may feel tricky to incorporate sneakers, but sneakers are almost always doable. The key to rocking sneaks in a business casual environment is to make sure that they are are clean, sleek, don’t stand out as a bold fashion statement, and employ muted colors. As always, when in doubt, check in with HR if there are any questions.
Nike Air Force 1 Sage Low
Clean and simple, this black leather sneaker will look the part in a business-casual environment. Some office environments may call for something slightly less funky. If that’s the case, make sure to think about sneakers that employ luxe-looking materials, like leather.
Prada Logo-Embroidered Tech-Knit Sneakers
Prada’s sporty red logo is extremely on-trend. These sneakers are an investment piece worth your while since they are a sleek, trendy option that will bode well with work clothes and in a business-casual work environment.
Adidas by Raf Simons Detroit Runner
The Adidas by Raf Simons Detroit Runner is a sleek shoe that is good for the more low-key business-casual work environment. While this pair of sneakers employs pink and green (colors that could skew slightly loud in a formal work setting), the shoe’s sleek design still feels serious enough.
Business Professional and Business Formal
Business professional and business formal are the most formal workplace dress codes today. Clothing in these work environments is traditional and conservative. Due to the fact, wearing sneakers to work can be especially hard to navigate and may even feel off-limits, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sneaker solution available.
With such regimented dress codes, women are more often than not expected to wear heels, so the most viable way to sport sneakers is by way of luxe, hybrid sneakers that could pass as another shoe, like a loafer, but are as comfy as any other sneaker on the market. The key to wearing sneakers in a formal work environment is to think about your look holistically. If the outfit itself feels appropriate and the sneakers do not stand out, your sneakers shouldn’t ruffle any feathers.
Via Spiga Marlow Suede Sneakers
These luxe suede sneakers are demure, and one of the many options on the market that could work in a formal work setting so long as they are paired with the right outfit, like a super sleek suit.
Clergerie Vicolek Raffia Wedge Sneakers
These sneaker-meet-wedges are a super comfy option that can still look the part in a dressy workplace.
Vince Vero Leather Slip-Ons
These sumptuous leather slip ons are a hybrid between loafers and sneakers. Your co-workers might not even notice the fact that you have cozy sneakers on your feet.
Stuart Weitzman The SW-612 Sneaker
Stuart Weitzman is a favorite brand for their heels and boots. The brand also makes a killer upscale sneaker that will bode very well with power suits.