7 Best Business Casual Sneakers for Men

sneakers on man wearing business casual

Written by Ben Chuang

In the dynamic landscape of modern workplaces, the intersection of style and professionalism has given rise to the popularity of business casual attire. For men navigating this sartorial realm, footwear becomes a pivotal element in striking the perfect balance between comfort and sophistication. Enter the realm of business casual sneakers—an innovative fusion of contemporary design that may even improve your performance in the workplace.

In this exploration of work sneakers, we delve into the realm of men's fashion, curating a list of the best business casual sneakers that seamlessly blend comfort and style, redefining the conventional boundaries of workplace footwear with options that not only embrace the demands of a busy day but also make a distinctive statement in the professional arena. Whether you're navigating a boardroom meeting or casual Friday, these sneakers promise to be your reliable companions, elevating your ensemble while maintaining a sharp and polished look.

Business Casual Dress Code Defined

Business casual attire is a dress code that strikes a balance between the formality of traditional business wear and the comfort of casual clothing. It is a style commonly adopted in professional environments that do not require employees to wear full suits. For men, business casual typically includes dress shirts, polo shirts, khakis, chinos, or dress trousers.

business casual outfit inspiration

Ties are often optional, and blazers or sport coats can be worn for a polished look. Footwear choices can range from dress shoe to more casual shoe such as sneakers. Women's business casual attire may include blouses, sweaters, dress pants, skirts, and conservative dresses.

The key is to maintain a professional appearance while incorporating elements of comfort and contemporary style, allowing individuals to feel both polished and at ease in the workplace. It's important to note that the specific expectations for business casual attire can vary among different industries and companies.

Are Sneakers Business Casual?

The acceptability of sneakers in a business casual setting can vary depending on the workplace and the specific dress code policies in place. In traditional business casual environments, sneakers are generally not considered appropriate footwear, as they are often associated with more casual or athletic settings.

However, workplace dress codes have evolved over time, and some companies now embrace a more relaxed approach to business casual attire. In these settings, certain types of sneakers may be deemed acceptable, particularly if they are clean, well-maintained, and have a sleek or minimalist design. Fashion-forward or designer sneakers that convey a more polished and professional appearance may be more suitable in these cases.

business casual with sneakers outfit example

It's essential to consider the culture and expectations of your specific workplace. If you're unsure whether sneakers are appropriate in your business casual setting, it's advisable to err on the side of caution and opt for more traditional business casual footwear, such as loafers, oxfords, or other dress shoes. If you observe colleagues or higher-ups wearing sneakers and jeans without issue, you may consider incorporating them into your wardrobe, but always prioritize maintaining a neat and professional appearance.

How to Choose the Right Sneakers for Business Casual Clothes

Selecting the appropriate sneakers for business casual occasions involves finding a balance between comfort and style while ensuring they align with the overall professional aesthetic. First and foremost, eliminate overly casual options such as flip flops, opting instead for sneakers that exude a more polished look.

Consider leather sneakers as they seamlessly bridge the gap between casual shoes and dress shoes, offering a refined touch suitable for business settings. Pay attention to the design, favoring clean lines and neutral colors that complement rather than clash with business casual attire.

Remember that sneakers belong to the more casual end of the spectrum, so it's essential to gauge the formality of the office – reserve them for environments where dress codes lean towards the relaxed side.

sneakers and jeans at the office

By choosing high-quality leather and sneakers and pairing them with an appropriate button-up shirt, you can confidently navigate business casual occasions with comfort and style, without compromising the professional tone of the overall ensemble.

Our 7 Favorite Sneakers: Business Casual Edition

1. Steve Madden Men's Fenta Fashion Sneaker

steve madden fenta

The Steve Madden Men's Low Top Sneaker stands out as a commendable choice in the realm of business casual sneakers for several compelling reasons. Its sleek design, characterized by a combination of fabric and synthetic materials, effortlessly merges contemporary style with professional elegance.

The neutral color palette enhances its versatility, allowing it to seamlessly complement a variety of business casual outfits. The attention to detail, from the clean lines to the minimalist branding, contributes to an overall polished appearance suitable for diverse professional settings.

Moreover, the comfort provided by the padded collar and insole ensures that the wearer can navigate the demands of the workplace with ease. As an embodiment of both fashion and functionality, the Steve Madden Fenta Fashion Sneaker emerges as a standout option in the pursuit of the best business casual footwear for men.

2. Cole Haan Men's Grand Series Jensen Sneaker

cole haan

The Cole Haan Men's Grand Crosscourt II Sneaker is a noteworthy addition to the realm of men's footwear, particularly for those seeking refined white leather sneakers. Its design exudes a timeless elegance, combining a classic silhouette with modern details.

The use of high-quality white leather not only adds a touch of sophistication but also ensures durability and easy maintenance. These leather sneakers seamlessly navigate the intersection of style and versatility, making them a versatile choice for business casual settings when paired with a light blue dress shirt.

The clean lines, subtle branding, and contrasting soles contribute to a polished aesthetic that pairs well with a range of outfits. Additionally, the incorporation of Cole Haan's Grand.OS technology ensures superior comfort, making the Grand Crosscourt II an excellent option for professionals who prioritize both style and functionality in their everyday footwear.

Whether in the office or during off-duty moments, these sneakers make a compelling statement in the world of white leather footwear for men.

3. Converse Men's Platform Sneakers

converse platform sneakers amazon

The Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor All-Star Street Sneaker introduces a bold and contemporary twist to the world of men's footwear with its distinctive platform sneaker design. This sneaker not only pays homage to the iconic Chuck Taylor silhouette but elevates it to new heights, quite literally.

The platform sole adds a fashionable edge, making it a standout choice for those looking to infuse a modern and trend-forward element into their casual or street-inspired ensembles. The classic canvas upper, coupled with the timeless Converse logo, maintains a sense of authenticity while embracing a bold aesthetic.

Ideal for individuals who appreciate both comfort and style, the Chuck Taylor All-Star Street Sneaker transcends traditional sneaker boundaries, providing a unique and fashion-forward option in the diverse landscape of men's platform sneakers.

4. Vans Unisex Old Skool Classic Slip-On Sneakers

vans slip ons amazon

The Vans Unisex Classic Slip-On Sneakers exemplify timeless style and effortlessly cool, earning their place as a classic within men's footwear. Renowned for their iconic no-lace design, these slip-on sneakers are not just a pair of shoes; they're a cultural symbol synonymous with casual comfort and urban flair.

The all-black canvas upper provides a sleek and versatile aesthetic, easily integrating into a variety of wardrobes. The absence of laces not only enhances the slip-on convenience but also contributes to a clean and minimalist look.

Whether for a laid-back day at the office or a weekend outing, these slip-on sneakers offer a perfect blend of comfort and style, embodying the Vans legacy that has resonated with fashion enthusiasts for decades.

With their understated yet distinctive design, the Vans Classic Slip-On Sneakers continue to make a bold statement in the world of casual footwear, because not all sneakers are created equal.

5. Converse Unisex High Top Sneakers

converse all stars amazon

The Converse Chuck Taylor High Top Sneakers stand as an enduring symbol of casual coolness, embodying a timeless style that transcends generations. Renowned for their versatile design, these Chuck Taylor lace-up sneakers are an iconic representation of laid-back authenticity.

The classic canvas upper, available in various color options, exudes a sense of effortless style while providing a canvas for individual expression. The unmistakable rubber toe cap and sole not only contribute to the sneaker's distinctive aesthetic but also ensure durability.

Suitable for a range of occasions, from casual outings to creative workspaces, the Chuck Taylor Low Tops offer a perfect fusion of comfort and classic design, making them a steadfast choice for those who appreciate the enduring appeal of a true footwear icon.

6. Rockport Men's High-Quality Leather Sneaker

rockport leather sneakers amazon

The Rockport Men's Colle Lace to Toe Sneaker exemplifies a harmonious fusion of style and comfort, making it a noteworthy choice in the realm of men's footwear.

Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, these full-grain leather sneakers boast a sleek lace-to-toe design that adds a contemporary edge to the classic sneaker silhouette. The rich leather upper exudes sophistication when paired with a checked button-up shirt.

Rockport's renowned technology, such as truTECH for lightweight shock absorption and an EVA footbed for cushioning, prioritizes comfort without compromising on style.

Versatile enough for both casual and business professional occasions, this high-quality leather sneaker effortlessly complements a range of outfits, making it an ideal option for individuals seeking a perfect balance between trendsetting style and all-day wearability.

7. Nike Men's Killshot 2

nike mens sneaker amazon

The Nike x J.Crew Killshot 2 Leather Sneaker seamlessly marries athletic prowess with stylish versatility, presenting an ideal choice for those navigating the intersection of fashion and functionality.

These sneakers effortlessly bridge the gap between athletic shoes and casual wear, making them suitable for a myriad of occasions. Designed with the comfort of running shoes, the Killshot 2 features a leather upper that not only enhances durability but also adds a touch of sophistication to its sporty aesthetic.

The blend of athletic functionality and casual style makes them suitable for various activities, from wearing sneakers for a morning run to pairing them with smart casual clothes for a laid-back yet polished look. Whether you're embracing an active lifestyle or seeking the perfect complement to your business casual wardrobe, these sneakers offer a versatile and on-trend solution that effortlessly fuses athletic performance with everyday fashion.

Frequently asked questions about the best business casual sneakers for men

Is it OK to wear sneakers for business casual?

Yes, it is increasingly acceptable to wear sneakers in smart casual attire. The evolving norms of workplace fashion acknowledge the importance of comfort and style, and many companies now embrace a more relaxed dress code that includes well-chosen, clean sneakers.

Opt for sleek and understated designs to ensure a polished appearance that aligns with the business casual aesthetic.

What shoes are in style for business casual?

The style of shoes for business casual can vary, but popular choices include loafers, derbies, brogues, and chukka boots. These footwear options strike a balance between formal and casual, making them versatile for a range of professional settings.

Pay attention to materials and colors, opting for leather or suede in classic tones like a brown leather, black, or navy to ensure your shoes complement your business casual wardrobe.

Does sneakers count as smart-casual?

Yes, sneakers can be considered part of the smart-casual spectrum when chosen thoughtfully. Opt for clean, minimalist designs with neutral colors to elevate the sneakers' appearance.

Pairing them with tailored trousers, a button-down shirt, or a blazer can transform sneakers into a smart-casual ensemble suitable for a variety more formal attire and of semi-formal occasions.

Can you wear white sneakers for business?

White sneakers can be appropriate for a business casual setting, provided they are kept clean and well-maintained. It's crucial to consider the overall look and formality of your outfit; pairing white sneakers with chinos or khakis and a neatly pressed shirt can create a fresh and stylish business casual look.

However, it's advisable to avoid overly casual or worn-out white sneakers for a professional setting.