An office with a strict dress code may be a bore, but at least you know where you stand with it. An office with a business casual dress code, on the other hand, can strike fear into the hearts of even the most style-savvy. Is your choice of outfit too formal? Maybe you've gone too far in the other direction? Are you going to risk the ire of your boss by wearing jeans, or is it ok providing you team them with a blazer? While we can't help you with your outfit conundrum, what we can help you with is your choice of footwear. A business casual sneaker might sound like a contradiction in terms, but believe it or not, there's no shortage of options on the market. If you're in desperate need of some inspiration, look no further than our round-up of the ten best business casual sneakers on the market.
1. Oliver Cabell Low 1 Sneakers
As bespokeunit.com notes, Oliver Cabell is a brand that's well-known for its premium rated sneakers. Of all its offerings, its flagship model, Low 1, is perhaps its best known. And make no mistake, it's a beauty. Crafted from full-grain leather and sat on an incredibly durable Margom sole, this is a sneaker that smacks of world-class craftsmanship, premium materials, and a commitment to quality. With its clean lines and understated profile, it's got that elusive combination of slick glamour and low key style that suits business casual wear perfectly.
2. Crocs Men's Santa Cruz Playa Lace Sneakers
The Santa Cruz Playa Lace Sneaker from Crocs straddles the divide between formal and casual perfectly. A lace-up boat shoe with a superb level of comfort, a custom fit, and a sleek, modern silhouette, these little gems will take you from the office to the bar with aplomb. The canvas fabric upper offers excellent breathability, while the easy on and off style is perfect for those days when you've no time to waste.
3. Cole Haan Men’s GrandRally Pro Laser Sneakers
Described by entrepreneur.com as a 'more comfortable alternative to the classic brown leather oxfords,' the Cole Haan Men’s GrandRally Pro Laser Sneaker could easily pass muster in almost any environment. Superbly lightweight and as flexible as a dream, they feature a range of innovative details to keep your feet supported and comfortable from dawn to dusk. A foam lining adds outstanding comfort, perforations along the upper afford excellent breathability, and the durable rubber sole ensures great durability and traction. Priced at around $150, they're not necessarily the cheapest sneaker on the market. However, considering they'll see you through almost any occasion and event you care to mention, they still represent an excellent investment.
4. Via Spiga Marlow Suede Sneakers
Women traditionally have a tougher time of pulling off the business casual look. Heels are too formal, while most sandals are too casual. The trick is to look for a luxurious style that could easily pass for a more formal shoe, but that still retains all the comfort and versatility of a sneaker. Via Spiga Marlow Suede Sneakers are an excellent example of the kind of sneaker that's guaranteed not to inspire any withering comment, no matter how strict or lax the dress code. Demure enough to blend in, yet stylish enough not to be boring, they're a comfortable, versatile shoe that pulls of the business casual look perfectly.
5. Adidas Originals Stan Smith Leather Sneakers
The Adidas Originals Stan Smith Leather Sneaker is a classic sneaker that looks just as great dressed up as it does down. As suitable for women as it is for men (simply switch the jeans and blazer for a long dress or sleek suit), it's a sneaker that manages to bridge the gap between casual and formal wear perfectly. Iconic, suited to just about any style or outfit, and affordable to boot, the Stan Smith is a sneaker that no footwear collection can afford to be without.
6. Beckett Simonon Morgen Sneakers
Beckett Simonon is a brand known for its gorgeously crafted dress shoes. But if you thought they were for formal wear only, you're missing a trick. Delve deep enough into their collection, and you'll find no end of expertly made sneakers, many of which fulfill the requirements of a business casual sneaker perfectly. Take the Beckett Simonon Morgen Sneaker as an example. Whether you dress them up or dress them down, this is a sneaker that is going to look good whatever the occasion. If you want an amazingly versatile pair of sneakers at a surprisingly affordable price point, you'll struggle to find much better.
7. Nike Air Force 1 Sage Low Sneakers
Nike might not be the first name that springs to mind when you think business casual, but you'd be surprised at how many of their sneakers fulfill the brief. Just look at the Nike Air Force 1 Sage Low for one. Recommended by elitedaily.com as one of the ten best pairs of sneakers that you can wear to work regardless of the dress code, the clean, simple style of these black leather sneakers is just the thing for a business-casual environment. As you'd expect from Nike, the comfort level is excellent.
8. Clergerie Vicolek Raffia Wedge Sneakers
If you want a pair of sneakers that will see you through just about any conceivable occasion, look no further than the Clergerie Vicolek Raffia Wedge Sneakers. With their French sense of style, their high fashion appeal, and their superbly comfortable, lightweight feel, these sneaker/ wedge hybrids combine the comfort of a sneaker with the style of a heel... what could be more suiting to a business casual environment than that?
9. Toms Men’s Carlo Sneakers
One of the best pairs of sneakers around, the Carlo is a low profile sneaker that will take you from the office to the gym and back again. Ultralight, flexible, and with a level of comfort guaranteed to leave your feet feeling like they're walking on clouds, these are a superbly versatile pair of sneakers that ticks all the boxes. The breathable upper offers all-day comfort, while the ortholite insole guarantees first-rate cushioning and support. Finishing off the design is a herringbone tread patterned sole that affords outstanding traction.
10. Ace Marks The Duke Sneakers
With their distinctive Italian flair, luxe choice of material, and gorgeous hand-dyed and hand-burnished finish, the Duke Sneaker from Ace Marks is truly the all-weather friend that will take you through just about any occasion you care to attend. They're not necessarily the most understated of sneakers, but thanks to the quality of their make, they're guaranteed not to ruffle any feathers at the office.... and if they do, it's only because everyone is jealous of your gorgeous kicks.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker