For as long as I can remember, men have been programmed to believe that wearing shoes is pretty much the only way one can look truly presentable. Through the years, I would often question whether the best dress sneakers for men could be a suitable alternative? Ha, forget it pal.
As a student of a British high school, I remember being forced to wear my trusty black Kickers when all I wanted to do was show off my collection of shiny new sneakers. Later in life, nightclubs would refuse entry if I tried to walk in with my favorite kicks. Torture.
However, thanks to a more forgiving society that is now as open as they have ever been, our breadth of smart footwear choices has expanded considerably. Nowadays, a pair of dress sneakers are seen as a perfectly viable (and far more comfortable) option for a whole range of semi-formal occasions.
So, where do you secure yourself some killer dress sneakers for men? Keep reading for a lowdown on the finest on the market—all culled from the best brands and retailers found via the click of a button or the swipe of a screen.
You don’t have to be a certified sneakerhead to love your footwear. The ever-growing penchant for a more relaxed way of dressing has found men of all sartorial preferences continuously looking for the best dress sneakers for men.
To save you some scrolling and help get straight to the good stuff, I’ll outline every single dress sneaker style worth your time. From high tops by Hugo Boss to an eco-friendly option by Loci, you’ll find something for every occasion and budget.
Size range: 7-14 | Material: 100% Suede | Colors: 5
Not just a modern wardrobe staple, men’s dress sneakers are the ideal choice for the guy who refuses to compromise on comfort. And why should he? Perfectly blending form and function, the best dress sneakers for men give you the best of both worlds.
Axel Arigato is no stranger to fancy footwear, so it’ll come as no surprise to see them at the top of this list of the best dress sneakers for men. I struggled to pick out a single pair, but the Clean 90 has got to be my favorite.
Handmade from premium suede, the minimalist silhouette is the kind that’ll help you dress for any scenario. You could team them with a suit and T-shirt for a relaxed take on tailoring, but I like to wear mine at the weekend with slim-fitting denim and a crew neck sweater.
.Size range: UK 3-14 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 10+
Earlier I mentioned how my high school insisted on all students wearing shoes, leaving me with no choice but to wear something that could only be described as the lovechild of the Oxford and some winkle pickers (oh, the shame). But as I grew older and wiser, my friends and I discovered that we could get away with wearing black sneakers. Genius, right?
Introducing your alternative to shoes, the Harlestone Derby is Crown Northampton’s answer to the perfect dress sneakers for men. Handmade in Northampton, England, they’re cut from Horween Shell Cordovan—a type of luxury leather made by a world-famous tannery based in Chicago, Illinois.
As durable as they are stylish, they’ll be your go-to for work events, weddings, and everything in between. I think they look particularly great with some tailored slacks and a plain white tee.
Size range: 40-46 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 1
Every guy should own a pair of white sneakers; they’re the one style of shoes you’ll turn to more than any other in your closet. Why? They can be worn with absolutely everything. Versatile, easy to style, and never out of fashion, the year-round staple is your fast-track ticket to sneaker stardom.
This pair from Closed are some of the best in the business. They’re made in Italy from soft leather with tonal laces and a soft inner sole for ultimate comfort. You could wear them casually with sweatpants and a hoodie or dress them up with dark denim and your favorite button-down shirt.
Size range: 7-14 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 10+
The best dress sneakers for men have a rather impressive knack for fitting seamlessly into any outfit, casual or formal. You don’t have to be in your finest garms to rock a pair. Whether you’re lunching with friends or popping out for some groceries, some casual dress sneakers will ensure you’re stepping out in style.
But who should you trust with your sartorial success? I put my faith in Uniform Standard. Combining a minimalist design aesthetic with the finest quality Italian leathers, their sneakers are the kind to be on the receiving end of some serious compliments. My favorite pair is the Series 1 in brown. Built on a recycled rubber cup sole with a leather upper, they’ll pair perfectly with a wide variety of pants—from sweats to khakis and jeans.
Size range: 7-13 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 5
Buying the best dress sneakers for men can come at a cost, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Not everyone can afford to drop a week’s rent on the newest sneaker release, so it’s good to know there are plenty of wallet-friendly options out there that won’t leave you broke.
This pair from
Size range: 7.5-9.5 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 1
A global pandemic has caused us to spend so long with our boxsets and bathrobes that we’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to put on our best shoes. But now we’re back to a new normal, it’s time to fix up and look sharp once more. This includes rocking a new pair of dress sneakers, of course.
Grenson’s navy pair provides you with a plethora of outfit options. Style them with jeans, khakis, and shorts, or take things up a notch with your favorite suiting. Not just a pretty face, the nubuck uppers are set on contrasting white rubber soles that’ll take pleasure in pounding the pavement.
Size range: 7-12 | Material: 100% Suede | Colors: 4
When it comes to practicality, leather trumps suede—that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. However, once the drenched depths of fall and winter pass, the latter starts to really show its worth. Effortlessly cool and suitable for any occasion, suede dress sneakers are a must-have for every wardrobe.
The Series 2 from Uniform Standard deserves pride of place in your footwear collection. With their sleek silhouette and soft Italian leather construction, they’re the kind you just won’t want to take off. They look particularly great with tailored shorts and linen shirts, but they’ll feel right at home with everything from slim-fitting denim to cargo pants and slacks.
Size range: 5-14 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 10+
Of all the things to consider when looking for the best dress sneakers for men, versatility should be one of the most important. As the list of things you can wear with your new footwear grows, so do the opportunities to wear them. Sure those bougie Balenciagas you nabbed in the summer sale are awesome, but something a little more sleek and minimal is going to be far more practical.
Size range: 4.5-13 | Material: 100% Recycled Materials | Colors: 10+
There are few things I love more than a good pair of dress sneakers for men. Suitable for casual days at the office, exploring the city, or drinks with friends, they’ll be your go-to for pretty much every occasion. So how do you make them better? Using eco-friendly materials, of course.
LØCI was launched with a mission to disrupt the status quo and refuse to put profit before the planet. They only use materials created from ocean-recycled plastic and work closely with grassroots charities in the fight against the global decimation of wildlife.
The LØCI NINE is the label’s most sustainable sneaker to date. Made from 100% recycled materials, it has a water-resistant upper with a custom-made cork insole that’s squishy soft. Wear it with slacks, jeans, shorts, or khakis—the opportunities are endless.
Size range: 6-16 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 4
If your boss hasn’t quite come around to the idea of wearing sneakers in the office, don’t lose all hope of a more comfortable commute. There’s no need to hand your notice in either; it’s simply time to start thinking smarter.
The ZERØGRAND Wingtip Oxfords from Cole Haan are the ultimate mashup of your favorite shoes and sneakers—pleasing the powers above and your feet. Admittedly it resembles the former more than the latter, but they’ll be as pleasant to wear as any pair of kicks you own. You won’t want to be wearing casual clothing here, it’s strictly formal wear only.
Size range: M 6-15, W 8-17 | Material: 100% Recycled Polyester | Colors: 10
There’s nothing worse than finally getting your hands on a new pair of sneakers only to find out they’re about as comfortable as a pair of wooden clogs. Which is why it pays to focus your attention on what’s underneath the hood. What are they made from? Do they have adequate cushioning?
If you’re the kind of guy who likes to leave such research to others, let me recommend Wolf & Shepherd’s knit Derby sneakers. The hybrid style is a combination of a dress shoe and sneaker, offering a versatile option for day or night. It’s lightweight, breathable, and super stretchy—plus, it comes with the added benefit of requiring no breaking-in period.
Size range: EU 38-46 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 1
If you’re looking for an Italian-made, minimalist sneaker, not only are you clearly very particular with your footwear choices, but you’re definitely in the market for a new pair of Achilles. Crafted from luxury leather with a slightly elongated profile, they’ve been a crucial part of the modern man’s wardrobe since Common Projects burst onto the scene in 2004.
As suitable for first dates as they are for lunch with clients, this all-black pair of best dress sneakers for men will be your go-to for seasons to come. They’re a match made in heaven for some ankle-grazing slacks but look just as good with slim-fitting denim. If you’re worried about longevity, the durable rubber soles will soon put your mind at ease.
Size range: EU 40.5-46 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 1
If you’ve got a lot of money to blow, I can’t think of many better ways to spend it than on some designer sneakers. A city break would be nice, and maybe a supercar, but you’re still going to need some new treads to wear.
Few things in life give you the kind of satisfaction you get from putting on a pair of $700 kicks, and I can only imagine the feeling of elation as you try on the Urano from Bruno Cucinelli. Suitable for summer vacations, parties, and weddings, they’ll soon become an essential staple in your week-to-weekend wardrobe. They’re made from luxuriously soft nubuck and sit on comfortable rubber soles.
Size range: 6-13 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 2
It’s believed that one of the first high-top sneakers appeared back in 1917 with Converse’s release of the Chuck Taylor All Star. Today, it’s an essential footwear option that can complement any style. Perfectly marrying function and fashion, you can easily dress it up or down—making it possibly one of the easiest shoes to add to your rotation.
Hugo Boss’ version is a dress sneaker mainstay. Just as suitable for the office as they are for drinks in town, you’d be a fool not to give these some serious thought. They’re made from rich-grained leather and feature the label’s signature logo patch to let everyone know exactly who you’re repping.
Size range: 8-12 | Material: 100% Leather | Colors: 1
I’ve already spoken a lot about versatility, and for good reason. There’s no point spending your hard-earned cash on something that’s just going to sit in its box collecting dust. Be wise with your investment and choose some sneakers you can turn to time and time again.
Reiss has created an impressive pair that you’ll definitely want to show off. Made from smooth leather with contrasting white soles, the Finley is the label’s luxurious take on a sportswear-inspired shoe. Ready to clock up some serious mileage, they’ll take you from family weddings to yard parties and work events. These are definitely up there with the best dress sneakers for men.
What To Look For In The Best Men’s Dress Sneakers
Choosing the right material is as much about durability as it is for convenience, versatility, and style. Leather is the perfect all-rounder, as it’ll easily cope with day-to-day use and requires little effort to keep clean and fresh. Suede is great for the summer months but come winter, you could easily run into a few weather-related problems.
Unless you have money to burn, there’s no sense in buying a pair of dress sneakers you can’t wear the majority of the time. Look for the kind of versatility that allows you to get optimum usage. You should take into consideration the style and shape of the shoe, plus what it’s made from. Plain leather sneakers are going to give you the most
As much as we all love to look good, comfort should never be pushed aside. It’s hard to tell how comfortable a sneaker is without trying it on, but there are a few things that will help you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Look for soft leathers and cushioned inner soles while also remembering to give new shoes the chance to properly break in.
By now, you’ll understand that dress sneakers for men are a must-have addition to your closet. It’s clear to see what styles like
Thanks to the ever-blurring lines between smart and casual, dressing up your sneakers has never been easier. You can team them with tailoring and a crew neck T-shirt or some dark denim and a fine knit sweater. Just remember to treat them like a pair of shoes and keep them clean at all times.
Wearing dress sneakers is far easier than you may realize. Not only can you use them as an alternative to shoes, but they can also be an excellent option for every day. They’ll look just as good with sweatpants and an oversized tee as they would with tailored slacks and a smart shirt.
Keep it simple. Dress socks are the ideal option; sports socks should be saved for the gym. During warm weather, you could opt for some invisible socks to give off the impression you’re wearing none at all.
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