Sneakers have evolved from something you wore only to gym class. There are walking sneakers known as dad shoes and specialized sneakers for every sport. Black sneakers and white sneakers have been elevated to date night. And then there are men’s dress sneakers. What are they? They’re sneakers you can wear to work without breaking any dress codes.
Our favorite men’s dress sneakers are sneaky; they have the sneaker outsole and sneaker cushioning, but the upper looks like a dress shoe. You get the best of both worlds with a men’s dress sneaker — comfort and looks.
We hunted around for the most handsome men’s dress sneakers for the summer and found 20 pairs you can use for work, date night and more.
1.Amberjack The Original
We’re spilling the deets on men’s footwear best-kept secrets. Amberjack is a premium shoe brand whose sole reason for existing is to create the most comfortable shoes on the planet. Coming from Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds and Adidas, they struck out on their own. Based in Brooklyn, with manufacturing in Portugal, they source their leather from an ISO-certified sustainable tannery.
Now let’s talk about the shoe. It’s the perfect hybrid between dress shoe and sneaker. The perforated lace-up upper comes in suede or leather. And it sits on a marvel of tech. The arch support’s heat activated; it has a dual-density outsole and a super soft sheepskin lining. There’s a good chance you’ll say, “Ahh,” when you step into them. They’re spiffy enough to pair with a suit and look great on the weekend.
2. Thursday Boot Co. Premier Low Top Dress Sneakers
If you ask us, the best dress sneakers come in an all-white colorway, which is why we’re currently obsessing over these low-top dress sneakers from Thursday Boot Co. Made with the company’s fine craftmanship and leather, these classy dress shoes are perfect for the office. They also come in nine other colors if you like stocking up on the style.
3. Gola Vegan Gola Classics Tennis Mark Wash Sneakers
How popular is U.K.-based Gola? They’ve got a big banner on their website that, due to “unprecedented demand,” it can take a week before sneakers get sent out. That’s popular. Gola’s vegan sneakers are registered with the Vegan Society as 100% animal-free. This sneaker is the updated vegan version of their tennis shoe that debuted in 1975. The tonal canvas sneaker has subtle tonal stripes that elevate the style. They’d look good with chinos or jeans.
4. Cariuma All Black Suede OCA Low
They’ll plant two trees when you buy a pair of sneakers from Cariuma. This is a good deal that helps the environment. Not only are the sneakers designed for comfort and longevity, but this B Corporation footwear company’s mission is to ensure they have a small carbon footprint. This low-rise suede lace-up sneaker, with its matching sidewalls, gives the appearance of an oxford shoe. Because of that, they’re easy to wear to the office.
5. Nike Blazer Low ’77 Vintage
The famous Nike Blazer sneakers may be pushing the limits of what can be considered dress sneakers. Still, as more workplaces adopt looser and more casual dress codes, we think these white sneakers will be work-appropriate for most guys. We featured the high-top version of these shoes in our guide to the best white sneakers of the year, but the low-top version is better for the office. If your Nike Killshot 2 leather sneakers need to be replaced, trade them in for these classic Blazer sneakers. They’ll pair perfectly with jeans, chinos and slacks.
6. Florsheim Heist Moc Toe Lace-Up Sneaker
BEST SUEDE COMBO
The Heist is from Florsheim’s new fall line of dress sneakers masquerading as dress shoes. And boy, are they spiffy. The mix of suede and leather makes this men’s dress sneaker visually appealing. And while they’re cool looking on the outside, they’re even cooler on the inside. When Florsheim designs their shoes, they understand that most men are in constant motion. And while many dress shoes are handsome looking, they suck when creating a comfortable fit. Florsheim shoes are built around a comfortech footbed made with Ortholite rebound foam. They also used an EVA midsole for additional cushioning and a rubber sole.
7. Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
BEST FOR MINIMALISTS
While pricey, Common Projects sneakers sell out quickly. It’s a sleekly designed sneaker that quietly exudes luxury. Designed for guys who eschew labels, this is their dress sneaker. For a while, this brand was like a secret only certain fashionistas shared. Via gushing articles in various magazines, the secret’s out. Which probably explains why they keep selling out!
Enthusiasts tend to collect them in every color. The Original Achilles comes in 11 different colors. This dark olive is a neutral dress sneaker that goes with any color. They’ll look great with dress pants and shorts.
8. Wolverine BLVD Low Sneaker
When Wolverine debuted their heavily anticipated dress sneakers in May 2021, we were excited to cover the launch. Over a year later, we’re still just as excited by these suede sneakers. These men’s dress sneakers have appeared in many of our footwear roundups because they’re so damn stylish (and comfortable). Since they’re Wolverine, you know they’ll keep their good looks, fit and comfort for close to a thousand miles.
9. Cole Haan ZERØGRAND Wingtip Oxford
Cole Haan is one of the vanguards of the men’s dress sneaker trend, and although the famous Zerogrand Wingtip Oxfords aren’t as exciting as they used to be, they’re still some of the most stylish dress sneakers for men. Long before anyone produced the shoe, they took sneaker technology and applied it to dress shoes. This isn’t simply a men’s dress sneaker; this is a men’s dress shoe that has been transformed into something unique.
The Cole Haan Zerogrand’s serious-looking wingtip has an EVA midsole and the brand’s Grandføam multi-layer cushioned footbed. The shoe was constructed to be flexible and move with the foot, and the rubber outsole is just like a sneaker’s outsole. Pair them with dark rinse jeans and a crew neck sweater when you’re off duty.
10. Allen Edmonds Strand Oxford Men’s Dress Sneakers
BEST FORMAL SNEAKERS
Allen Edmonds really “gets” what guys need when hunting for men’s dress shoes or sneakers. We’ve previously named the suede version of these shoes one of the best sneakers for winter, and for this year, we’re doubling down on how awesome they are. Allen Edmonds based this sneaker on their dress shoe of the same name. They’re Oxford dress shoes with the soul (and sole) of sneakers.
11. Allen Edmonds Strand Oxford Men’s Dress Sneakers In Color
Yes, you’re seeing double. If you want the style of a dress shoe, the comfort of a sneaker and a wild color, well, Allen Edmonds does it all. Designed just like the above Strand Oxford Sneaker, this version comes in bright orange (shown), lavender, cherry red and a wild array of two-tone options. If you want dress shoes that really and truly pop, look at their well over 15 color choices.
12. Bruno Marc Rivera Oxford Sneakers
This faux leather and fabric men’s dress sneaker has racked up over six thousand five-star reviews on Amazon. The lace-up upper is half faux leather and half fabric. It has a leather-covered insole, rubber outsole and is fabric lined. If you visit the Amazon page, you can watch videos of guys unboxing the dress sneakers, strolling around in them and commenting on the fit and feel. They do come in four other color combinations.
13. TravisMatthew the Phenom Leather Sneaker
TravisMatthew makes casual clothing that looks good on and off the links. Their line of sneakers run from mesh to wool, leather to suede. Their leather lace-up men’s dress sneakers have perforated sides to add visual interest. These men’s dress sneakers have a layered footbed for support and comfort, and the outsole has rubber inserts for traction, stability and added durability.
14. Olukai Lae‘ahi Li ‘Ili Convertible Low Top Sneaker
Hawaiian-based OluKai is a certified B Corp.; every pair sold gives back to the Ama Olukai Foundation, which preserves Hawaiian heritage. Their men’s dress sneaker is also a men’s mule. The back of the sneaker can be folded down for a more casual look. The full-grain leather upper is lined in microfiber for additional comfort, and the removable footbed is a thick gel insert that cushions and coddles your feet. The outsole has a “wet grip rubber” for traction during the worst storms.
15. Vionic Lucas Lace-Up Sneaker
Designed in part by a podiatrist, Vionic shoes and sneakers go through lots of research before they create them. Made to alleviate over-pronation, their sneakers and shoes also provide orthotic support, and stability, and help re-align feet back to their original position. This dress sneaker comes in both medium and wide widths. It has a back heel tab, and reviewers rave about how comfortable and stylish they are. The Lucas comes in five colors: from deep black to fashionable olive green, to classic white.
16. Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
If you prefer the style and comfort you get with athletic shoes, pair Adidas’s famous Stan Smith tennis shoes with jeans or chinos and a matching dress shirt the next time you’re heading into the office. These leather tennis shoes are instantly recognizable (in a good way) and won’t break your budget.
17. Banana Republic Sneakers
BEST UNDER $100
Banana Republic’s your go-to for classic work wear, but not boring. Their footwear carries the same aesthetic. You can’t go wrong with a classically designed sneaker whose subtle design gives you the freedom to pair it with jeans, shorts or dress pants. On sale, this faux leather sneaker also comes in black, brown and dark brown.
18. Vince Camuto Ehen Oxford
BEST AFFORDABLE DESIGNER
The leather upper looks like a classic lace-up oxford, and the sneaker outsole is a stylish take on a running sneaker. The result is a dress sneaker that can quickly go from work to the weekend. It has a rounded toe, removable cushioned insole, foam molded midsole and a leather and fabric lining.
19. John Lobb Burnished Leather Low Top Sneakers
BEST HERITAGE BRAND
John Lobb, originally known as “John Lobb Bootmaker,” has been creating footwear since 1849. This British brand still operates its original bespoke shop on St. James Street in London and is still a family-operated company.
For shoe lovers, Lobb is uttered in a hushed breath. This gorgeously designed sneaker has a cap toe, and leather lining, and is done in a burnished hue that’s a handsome mix of brown and burgundy, but the shoemaker designates it as plum. Made in Italy, this lace-up leather dress shoe sneaker combo sits on a black rubber outsole.
20. Nike Air Force ’01 Leather Sneakers
BEST BLACK NIKES
Is it me, or does it seem that Nike has a sneaker for every mood and every occasion? This low-top is based on their 2007 version of the Air Force ’01.It’s perforated over the toe box, has a tonal swoosh on the side and laces up. While stylish looking, it keeps to its comfy roots by having the signature midsoles designed for court use. That means that they’ll cradle the foot all day long.
What To Wear With Brown or Black Dress Shoes
Wearing sneakers may seem like it’s a no-brainer; you wear them with jeans, chinos or shorts. When it comes to brown dress shoes, black dress shoes and dress sneakers, things start to get a tad confusing. This trope “Barney Banker Black” and “Barney Banker Blue” referenced dressing conservatively for work. Specifically for professions that traditionally have zero leeway for fashion. Times have changed. Between a loosening up of what’s considered a professional-looking outfit and working remotely, guys have more fashion options than ever.
Let’s look at brown and black shoes. Somewhere buried in the mists of time, someone decreed that black shoes were professional and brown shoes were casual. However, a dark brown or burgundy brogue shoe was considered professional looking. Yes, it’s a head-scratcher. That color code lent itself to Oxford, Derby, monk strap and any men’s shoe with a toe cap (stitching over the vamp dividing the toe from the rest of the upper).
When wearing a suit, black suits went with black shoes. Navy suits would be worn with black shoes. If one felt frisky, one could wear plaid or houndstooth suit pants with brown or burgundy dress shoes. Fast forward to today, many men pair brown dress shoes with navy or other colored suits.
Now, more and more footwear designers are taking the upper of a dress shoe and matching it with a sneaker bottom. It’s a comfortable dress shoe, or is it a dressy sneaker? Either way, they’re popular. Honestly, this isn’t as much a fashion minefield as some people think because the rules have been relaxed.
Look at the above photo. It’s a guy wearing black sneakers with cargo pants. The outfit would be just as cool if he substituted black sneakers with any other colored sneaker.