14 Business Casual Sneakers That Are Totally Office-Appropriate

Business casual sneakers have found their place in the American office thanks to a post-pandemic culture that demands comfort. People have seen the light; many grew accustomed to the ease of working from home in their favorite joggers, cozy hoodies, and footwear of their choosing. But when it came time to head back into the real world, they were less than excited to button things up, and rightfully so — who wants to feel restricted?

Thankfully, dress codes are skewing lax as companies learn of the possibilities of presenting professionally through carefully planned outfits. This doesn’t mean sweats and slippers, but many guys are trading in their khaki pants for a pair of well-fitting jeans and unbuttoning their dress shirts in favor of comfortable polos or even crisp, slim-fit t-shirts that layer nicely under a blazer. But one of the earliest items cut from the roster in favor of comfort was the dress shoe.

What Are Business Casual Shoes?

Though men’s dress shoes are often powerfully stunning and men’s boots will work on occasion, neither comes close to the all-day comfort and shock absorbency sneakers can provide, especially for guys who work on their feet. But there’s a very fine line as to what makes a sneaker appropriate for business casual attire and what’s better suited for everyday life. Consider these four things when shopping for sneakers to wear at the office:

  • Style: The best office sneakers will have a slim silhouette without a lot of chunkiness and an overall low profile. Sneakers like this don’t make feet look small or oversized but somewhere in between. Slip-on sneakers tend to look too casual. Running shoes are an immediate “No.”
  • Material: Leather and suede are going to be the best materials for business casual sneakers. That’s not to say canvas can’t sometimes work, but anything fabric-based will make an outfit look even more casual.

  • Color: Men’s office sneakers should stay in the neutral color lane. That means black, brown, white, and gray. Subtle pops are also acceptable, like navy blue, oxblood, or forest green. Colorful office sneakers, though dependent on the work environment, are best worn on a limited basis or as part of a larger rotation of shoes. Avoid anything that’s too bright unless it’s spirit week.

  • Your Outfit: It’s a balancing act. If you’re still required to wear a suit and tie, opt for a slim-fit and add a sharp-looking sneaker or sneaker-soled dress shoe that allows the pants to drape properly. Better yet, tailor the pants right to the ankle. Former NFL tight end, Rob Gronkowski, always pulls this off as a sports personality. Otherwise, if you’re in a chino or jeans-wearing office that has all but denounced the necktie, the sky’s the limit on sneakers.

How Much Should You Pay for Business Casual Sneakers?

The price of business casual sneakers ranges — widely. While popular designers like Saint Laurent or Salvatore Ferragamo offer beautifully handcrafted sneakers at a very premium price, smaller brands, like Ace Marks and Taft, have started to emerge with special business models that allow them to cut out the middle-man and charge a fraction of the cost for similar-caliber products.

For the best business casual sneakers, considering quality, materials, and longevity, feel comfortable spending between $150-$250. In this price range, you can find Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese-made shoes that are just as incredible as higher-end designers (if not already manufactured in the same factory). Even if they’re not hand-made, many shoes in this range are of exceptional quality.

For sneakers outside this range, still, consider them. Many brands, like Cole Haan, Cariuma, and Todd Snyder still pay a considerable amount of attention to design, comfort, and usefulness.

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The Best Business Casual Sneakers of 2024

Cole Haan GrandPro Crossover Sneakers, $170

Courtesy of Cole Haan

For more than a decade, Cole Haan has drawn inspiration from some of the most popular sneakers and has made them classier. Back when Nike owned the brand, it combined the Lunar running sole with a wingtip dress shoe, resulting in a style similar to today’s OriginalGrand. Now, the Cole Haan’s latest craze is the GrandPro Crossover. This business casual sneaker is modeled after an OG basketball shoe, kind of like an Air Force 1. The cooler colorways have a mixed media design with some combination of leather and suede that make them pop, but the brand also has classic white and brown as well. It sits on a beefy foam sole with plenty of bounce that’s comfortable enough to get through a grueling day of city walking. Round out the look with a pair of cuffed classic chinos.

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Nike Killshot 2, $90

Courtesy of Nordstrom

A reissue of a ’70s style made for, of all things, racquetball and squash, the Killshot 2 wasn’t supposed to be as cool as it’s become. It was brought back from the dead like Frankenstein’s monster just over a decade ago at J.Crew during a brand partnership with Nike. There, guys made them a preppy icon, using their subtle splash of color to balance out khaki- and gingham-filled getups. This is the best business casual sneaker for everyday wear because they go with everything. The sneaker’s off-white leather upper is more subdued than a stark white shoe so it blends in better. It’s texturized with suede accents and an immediately recognizable gum sole. J.Crew’s iconic navy swoosh was the spark that ignited the fire, but the variety of colors available today makes them even more versatile.

Get It at Nordstrom
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Johnston & Murphy Upton Plain Toe Derby, $155

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Dress sneakers qualify as business casual shoes. Styles like the Johnston & Murphy Upton combine the class of a traditional dress shoe with the comfort and bounce of a sneaker sole to form a hybrid that looks like it belongs with a suit just as much as it does a pair of jeans. This pair from the legendary footwear brand is one of the best dress sneakers you can get right now. It features an oiled leather plain-toe upper with a sort of matte finish and a burnished toe that offers subdued visual intrigue. It’s double-stitched on top of a lightweight foam sole and has some traction thanks to rubber inlays on the heel and toe. The color of the sole matters, too. You’ll often see dress sneakers with bright white soles—stay clear. The white gets dirty over time and detracts from the sleekness of the top. Opt for something darker, like the dark brown seen here. 

Get It at Nordstrom
Get It at Zappos

Adidas Gazelle, $100

Courtesy of Nordstrom

The Adidas Gazelle has been going viral alongside its companion, the Samba, over the last 12 months. This shoe is not new; it’s got a vast and thoroughly decorated history that spans nearly 60 years. But this former training shoe is hitting the streets in 2024 just as it did in the ’90s—as a lifestyle icon. Today, this type of sneaker fits in almost every social circle, including the office. What you get by choosing the Gazelle as your business casual sneaker is the opportunity to express yourself through color. This sneaker is made in dozens of colors, some bolder than others, and helps tell a style story on your feet. We’d still lean toward a muted color, like the navy seen here. But if green or red are calling your name, there are great options for you to choose from.

Get It at Nordstrom
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Vans SK8-Hi, $75

Courtesy of Zappos

On occasion, high-tops make great business casual sneakers. And while there’s a case to be made for select pairs of Jordans, it’s too often that the sharp and loud color combos take them out of the professional conversation. Despite also sometimes having crazy prints, the Vans SK8-Hi is a compact high-top sneaker that’s usually offered in basic but versatile colors that work perfectly with the office vibe. This pair in light brown suede is a great option to wear with any outfit filled with earthy colors like brown, green, and orange. You could also color block using these and a pair of dark wash jeans.

Get It at Zappos

Greats The Royale 2.0, $189

Courtesy of Greats

The Greats Royale OG sneaker took off like a bat out of hell when it launched in Brooklyn about a decade ago. It was a very handsome Italian-made basic sneaker that rivaled Saint Laurent for a fraction of the price. The OG has undergone some changes since then, but the newly-released Royale 2.0, now made in Portugal, is a well-executed update that features a gold foil embellishment. Even with added flexibility and reduced weight, the 2.0 still offers a structured feeling thanks to high-quality leather and a sturdy rubber sole that can handle tougher street surfaces. The new lineup consists of 12 mostly office-appropriate colorways.

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Cole Haan GrandPro Tennis Sneakers, $150

Courtesy of Cole Haan

Men’s business casual sneakers started to catch on with the rise of the Common Projects Achilles, which is expensive, just shy of designer pricing. But when Cole Haan dropped the GrandPro Tennis, it was game-changing—an affordable leather office sneaker in excellent neutral colors that’s well-cushioned, offers some traction, and is astoundingly lightweight. For nearly a decade, this has been the choice of many guys to wear with slim suits, jeans and a sweater, or anything else. The brand has expanded on the GrandPro line, but this one is the “it” shoe.

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Cariuma OCA Low (Black Canvas), $85

Courtesy of Cariuma

This is the best canvas office sneaker to wear because, with the right outfit, it strikes a nice chord between playful and professional. The Cariuma OCA Low is a very low-profile sneaker that’s built with a memory foam and cork insole and, speaking from experience, is far more comfortable than one would originally expect. It’s well-cushioned for all-day comfort and even has some tread on the sole for city commuters. My go-to outfit for this shoe, specifically in black canvas, combines one of The Tie Bar’s popular knit polos with the Dockers Workday Khaki, tucked in, and a black leather belt. It’s a home run every single time that’s easy for anyone to recreate.

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Ace Marks Travel Sneaker, $235

Courtesy of Ave Marks

Designed to sit in first class, the Ace Marks Travel Sneaker is the best business casual shoe for those who frequently fly for work. This sneaker does everything you’d expect it to with regard to versatility and comfort, but the brand specifically designed it for the hassles of packing. If you opt not to wear the Travel Sneaker on your flight, it is completely collapsible, as demonstrated on the brand’s website. The heel cup folds forward and the sides lay flat on top of it. Not only do they look amazing and feel great in real life, but I can personally attest that these sneakers pack into a single shoe bag and store neatly in the zippered half of a carry-on suitcase. They really do save a ton of space. If you’re down to wait a little for a made-to-order pair, you’ll be glad you did. Get them in brown.

Get It at Ace Marks

Taft The Sneaker, $225

Courtesy of Amazon

The name might elicit a Who’s On First response, but The Sneaker by Taft is one of the brand’s best business casual shoes. Known for their Spanish-made men’s boots, dress shoes, and sneakers that are simply different (in the best way), Taft’s rendition of The Sneaker in “Multi-Color Jacquard” hosts both flare and sophistication in chocolate brown leather with a very neutral, multi-colored woven metallic upper. The sneaker pops on its own, but when the look is completed with some dark slim-fit jeans, a plain T-shirt, and a knit blazer, like this chore coat from Buck Mason, that’s when the compliments start to roll in. The Sneaker is also available in an incredible black or brown leather weave and multi-colored chevron stripe — each of which is wicked cool.

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Get It at Nordstrom

Madewell Kickoff Trainer Sneakers, $71 (was $98)

Courtesy of Madewell

Big tech pushed business casual culture into the 21st century — but had Steve Jobs favored fashion over firmware, he may have opted for Madewell’s Kickoff Trainer Sneakers instead of his now-immortalized New Balance 992. More office-appropriate than the often-dubbed “dad shoe,” the Kickoff Trainer is a retro-inspired runner that’s been modernized with mixed-media materials and a neutral color palette. Madewell baked in their special sneaker cushioning system that, combined with the wide toe box, means long-lasting comfort. They’re bulkier than the average men’s office sneaker, but for any tech job, they’re a sure bet.

Get It at Madewell

Wolf & Shepherd Swiftknit Lace-Up Derby, $179

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Rob Gronkowski might be a member of Wolf & Shepherd’s “Wolf Pack” of brand ambassadors, but it’s hard not to believe that he actually loves the shoes. His eagle-eyed Instagram followers have probably noticed him wearing many of the brand’s business casual sneakers while suited up as a sports personality, when mini golfing, and when (previously) heading into the locker room. The most comfortable of these has to be the Swiftknit Derby, seen on Gronk in all white. This sporty business casual sneaker has a flexible knit upper that doesn’t restrict the contours of a foot but still looks sharp enough to wear with office attire. It’s built atop the brand’s signature thick sole and comes in several colors, including this classic black.

Get It at Nordstrom

Rothy’s The RS01 Sneaker, $179

Courtesy of Rothy's

City commuters know how quickly shoes can get ruined from the daily grind. The convenient thing about Rothy’s shoes is that once they get dirty, you can chuck them in the washing machine and get them looking brand new in no time. That’s why they’re the best business casual sneaker for commuters. Not only are they cool looking, this one boasting oxblood accents around the ankle, but they’re also soft, thanks to their fabric upper, and supportive with their contoured footbed and thick rubber outsole. The RS01 comes in 13 colors, each of which is a great sneaker for an office environment.

Get It at Rothy's

Todd Snyder Tuscan Court Shoe, $498

Courtesy of Todd Snyder

Combining his love for old-school basketball and tennis shoes, Todd Snyder’s Tuscan Court Shoe is the latest drop from the New York-based designer and the very first sneaker bearing his name. The Tuscan Court Shoe is a low-profile, Italian-made sneaker featuring suede and nubuck uppers, brogue detailing, and a cork footbed. As a business casual sneaker, it doesn’t get much cooler than this, with Snyder considering even the smallest of details, like opting for a speckled rubber sole over plain gum. Wear this shoe to the office with one of Todd’s newest suede jackets and his popular classic fit selvedge jeans.

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