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Best Dress Sneakers for Men: 10 Comfortable, Stylish Options

Best dress sneakers
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Updated February 29, 2024

While many of us would prefer to live in sneakers, the fact is, every now and again we’re faced with an occasion that requires more formal footwear. If the occasion is a serious one—say, a funeral, or a court appearance (and especially if, God forbid, the two are connected)—then, yes, it’s time to bust out the dress shoes. But for formal yet fun situations, sometimes, a smart pair of dress sneakers is not only appropriate, it actually elevates your outfit more than a traditional pair of shoes would. To help you figure out your feet, we’ve rounded up the very best dress sneakers for men.

What to consider when buying dress sneakers

Material

“The top priority when shopping for dress sneakers should be material, as this will determine how they’re styled and when they can be worn,” says Roger LaGrone, founder of Alexander Noel. “Dress sneakers, as the name suggests, are meant to add a dressier flair to the traditional trainer style. Using materials such as vegan leather, linen, and intricate stitching can make them look more sophisticated.”

Price

As ever, you don’t want to pay for more than you actually need, so pay attention to what you’re getting for that price tag. “There are a lot of great companies out there making great quality shoes—some are awesome, but come with a crazy price,” warns Patrick Burch, co-owner of Cave + Post Trading Co. men’s boutique. “If you buy something like Gucci, or Golden Goose, you’re going to be paying for the name. But there are great companies like Oliver Cabell, who are making amazing sneakers in Italy, but at a fraction of the price—great leather, great designs, and comfortable fits. Don’t overpay for the name unless you just love the designer brand showing on your clothing.”

Style

Naturally, you’re going to want to think about how you’ll be wearing them, as this will inform your decision. “Consider the style as well, as there are both high-top and low-top dress sneakers, as well as lace-ups and slip-ons,” says LaGrone. “High tops are great for chino pants and cuffed jeans, whereas slip-on low tops have the dual function of pairing well with shorts.”

Balance

Wearing sneakers—even fancy ones—with a smart or more formal outfit is already something of a style risk, so be sure that you’ve got the right balance of casual cool and stylistically appropriate. “Typically, those looking for dress sneakers are looking for something both fashionable and comfortable to go with their nicer outfits,” says Dimitry Loiseau, founder and chief editor of REGARD magazine. “Finding that perfect balance is key in picking a pair that doesn’t come off as too formal, but doesn’t scream too casual, either.”

Color

Another very important consideration is color. “Ask yourself, are these dress sneakers a statement piece meant to stand out in every outfit, or do they need to be versatile, everyday shoes that can take you from the office to dinner?” says LaGrone. “This will help you decide between opting for a bold, fun-colored sneaker or a neutral-tone classic style.”

Our top picks for best dress sneakers for men

Best comfortable dress sneakers for men: Koio Mello

Best comfortable dress sneakers for men
Koio Mello

Koio Mello

While most of us mixing sneakers with formal wear tell ourselves we’re doing it as a style statement, it can’t be denied that comfort is definitely a factor (who wants to spend a night standing and dancing in formal shoes when we can just wear comfy kicks?) For an easy-to-wear yet still elegant option, Loiseau suggests checking out the Mello sneaker from Koio, which he describes as, “Extremely comfortable and with amazing quality.” They also come in three classic, neutral colors, so you can pair them with just about anything.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 13
  • Materials: Full grain leather
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Color: Summit white, onyx black, Castagna brown
  • Price on Publish: $316

The bottom line:

An understated, elegant, and comfortable dress sneaker for making any formal outfit more wearable.

Get it here: Koio Mello


Best affordable dress sneakers for men: Hood Rubber 1967 Rocket Oxford Sneakers

Best affordable dress sneakers for men
Hood Rubber 1967 Rocket Oxford Sneakers

Hood Rubber 1967 Rocket Oxford Sneakers

Formal wear is already expensive, so if you’re going casual from the ankles down anyway, why not use the occasion to save yourself a little cash? “The Hood Rubber 1967 Rocket Oxfords are awesome!” enthuses Burch. “They’re super comfy right out of the box, and have a very cool historic story to go with them [the brand was founded in 1896]. They look great with both jeans or chinos, and are only around $70.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 14 (half sizes up to 11.5)
  • Materials: Canvas, rubber
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: White, black
  • Price on Publish: $70

The bottom line:

A classically styled pair of sneakers with enough individuality and history to claim a place in your formal–or at the very least, business-casual–wardrobe.

Get it here: Hood Rubber 1967 Rocket Oxford Sneakers


Best leather dress sneakers for men: Oliver Cabell Low 1 Yale

Best leather dress sneakers for men
Oliver Cabell Low 1 Yale

Oliver Cabell Low 1 Yale

“Oliver Cabell has been making awesome leather sneakers in Italy for a number of years,” says Burch. “They have killer distressed styling, like that seen in shoes from Golden Goose, but at a fraction of the price. They also have amazing monochrome options if that’s your thing. They’re incredibly comfortable after one or two wears and are built to last.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 6 - 15
  • Materials: Full grain nubuck leather, rubber
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: Blue
  • Price on Publish: $239.99

The bottom line:

A distressed-look sneaker that’s still clearly high-end enough to hang with your formal duds.

Get it here: Oliver Cabell Low 1 Yale


Best white dress sneakers for men: Diadora B.Elite H Italia Sport

Best white dress sneakers for men
Diadora B.Elite H Italia Sport

Diadora B.Elite H Italia Sport

For a truly classic pair of high-end white sneakers, Burch recommends the Diadora B.Elite H Italia Sport. “This was the Bjorn Borg sneaker, first designed in 1978, so you’re buying something with a cool story,” he points out. “They’re also from a long-time, family run Italian company who is still in business today.” Made from premium kangaroo leather with pigskin detailing, they’re the perfect eye-catching but reputable-looking white sneaker.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 5.5 - 12
  • Materials: Kangaroo leather
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: White/gold
  • Price on Publish: $300

The bottom line:

A stone-cold classic white sneaker with enough style and history to earn its place in your formal wardrobe.

Get it here: Diadora B.Elite H Italia Sport


Best dress sneakers for work for men: Vince Fulton Leather Sneaker

Best dress sneakers for work for men
Fulton Leather Sneaker, Black, Size 7.5 Vince

Fulton Leather Sneaker, Black, Size 7.5 Vince

If you’re mixing casual and formal for work, it’s a good idea to at least start with something smart and inoffensive (but, of course, stylish). Loiseau recommends the Fulton leather sneaker from Vince, saying that, “You cannot go wrong with black leather sneakers, and Vince provides an overall clean look that can be dressed up or down.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 13 (half sizes up to 11.5)
  • Materials: Leather
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: Black
  • Price on Publish: $225

The bottom line:

A straightforward, clean, and high-end sneaker for pairing with more office-friendly attire.

Get it here: Vince Fulton Leather Sneaker


Best business-casual dress sneakers for men: Cole Haan Men's Grandprø Crossover Sneaker

Best business-casual dress sneakers for men
Cole Haan Men's Grandprø Crossover Sneaker

Cole Haan Men's Grandprø Crossover Sneaker

The phrase “business-casual” can cause panic in even the most style-savvy of men, since of all the dress codes, it has the most YMMV potential for going awry. At least feel confident in your footwear with Cole Haan’s Grandprø Crossover Sneaker, which Loiseau describes as, “Casual but luxurious—they are classics and ready for a range of occasions.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 3 - 16 (half sizes up to 11.5)
  • Materials: Full grain leather, foam midsole, rubber outsole
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: 7
  • Price on Publish: $170

The bottom line:

A versatile sneaker that will work with most outfits, including the dreaded business-casual.

Get it here: Cole Haan Men's Grandprø Crossover Sneaker


Best high-top dress sneakers for men: Magnanni Rubio Hi-Top Sneakers

Best high-top dress sneakers for men
Magnanni Rubio Hi-Top Sneakers

Magnanni Rubio Hi-Top Sneakers

Even as someone whose shoe collection is at least 80% high-tops, my Magnanni Rubio hi-tops are at the top of the (sometimes literal) pile. Made from beautifully soft, supple calfskin leather and suede, these are hand-painted and shockingly comfortable from the very first wear. My preference is the burgundy pair, but the classic Torba-brown also elevates just about any outfit.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 8 - 13 (half sizes up to 11.5)
  • Materials: Calfskin, suede
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: Torba, burgundy, navy
  • Price on Publish: $475

The bottom line:

A high-end leather hi-top with an admittedly high price tag, but one that will make almost any outfit look better.

Get it here: Magnanni Rubio Hi-Top Sneakers


Best minimalist dress sneakers for men: Koio Capri

Best minimalist dress sneakers for men
Koio Capri

Koio Capri

For straightforward elegance without the fripperies, Loiseau advises trying the Capri from Koio, saying that, “This is a great, classic sneaker that is simple and elevated.” Available in a mind-boggling 29 different color choices—from plain, all-white, to studious truffle or moss, to attention-grabbing amber or goji—there’s something here for any outfit.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 16
  • Materials: Full grain leather, rubber
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: 29
  • Price on Publish: $236

The bottom line:

A sleek, straightforward sneaker in 29 different color variations.

Get it here: Koio Capri


Best slip-on dress sneakers for men: Vince Fletcher Leather Sneaker

Best slip-on dress sneakers for men
Fletcher Leather Sneaker, Black, Size 13 Vince

Fletcher Leather Sneaker, Black, Size 13 Vince

If you’re really going casual with the footwear, then go all the way and ditch the laces, too. Anyone looking for an elevated pair of slip-ons should consider this Vince pair suggested by Loiseau, which feature a minimalist profile with a more considered and elegant perforated leather upper.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 13 (half sizes up to 11.5)
  • Materials: Leather
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: Black
  • Price on Publish: $225

The bottom line:

An elegant slip-on for that added bit of luxurious comfort at work.

Get it here: Vince Fletcher Leather Sneaker


Most versatile dress sneakers for men: Oliver Cabell Low 1 Phantom

Most versatile dress sneakers for men
Oliver Cabell Low 1 Phantom

Oliver Cabell Low 1 Phantom

“The Low 1 Phantom from Oliver Cabell is an awesome choice,” says Burch, when asked for his pick for a versatile dress sneaker. “It’s a monochrome black with a slight leather pop on the back. You can wear these with nice chinos or just a pair of worn-in denim. You can also wear these with some no-shows and a pair of joggers, or even nice shorts and a button down. They pretty much look good with anything!”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 5 - 15
  • Materials: Full grain tumbled leather, rubber
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: Black
  • Price on Publish: $239.99

The bottom line:

A versatile and comfortable sneaker for pairing with pretty much anything you like!

Get it here: Oliver Cabell Low 1 Phantom


How to maintain and clean dress sneakers

According to LaGrone, how you maintain your dress sneakers is dependent on what material they are.

Leather

Since real leather needs protecting from moisture, LaGrone advises using a leather conditioner and waterproofing cream prior to wearing, which will help maintain the shoe's integrity through all seasons.

Vegan leather

“Vegan leather has a bit more leeway,” says LaGrone. He says you should ensure you wipe all dirt and stains immediately to keep the shoes from deteriorating, but avoid using too much moisture and too much product, as the less dense material won't withstand it well over time. “Simply wiping the material with a damp cloth and drying it should be enough to keep it in mint condition in most cases,” he says.

Linen or knitted sneakers

“For linen or knitted sneakers, having a soft brush on hand and a shoe tree will help the shoes hold up better over time,” says LaGrone. “Dusting them off after each wear and placing the shoe tree inside will help them hold their shape.” For linen shoes, he adds, you should avoid using oils or conditioners, as these can stain the material. Instead, he suggests using a damp sponge to remove stains.

How to select the right size for a comfortable fit

“Measure your foot and look at size charts of the particular style you’re interested in,” says LaGrone. “Different shoe styles and manufacturers can range a bit in size, so your sneaker size may be slightly different each time. However, the sneaker tends to be one of the most 'true-to-size' shoes, so whatever your standard measured size is, it should be pretty accurate.”

“Make sure you’re trying them on with the socks you’ll be wearing with them!” adds Loiseau. “Socks range from thick to thin so this is key for making sure the sneakers fit your foot with socks perfectly.”

Styling tips and outfit ideas

“Guys are dressing more casual across the board, so sneakers are always welcome,” says Burch. “Most guys don’t veer too far off of the monochrome path of all white, black, or brown, which is fine, but I’d recommend going with something more fun and hip. Get a good pair of selvedge denim and cuff or roll it (you can do this with a cool pair of chinos as well). Then, add a pair of sneakers with some character: Oliver Cabell does some great details and distressing that says to the observer that you care about your fashion and are willing to take some risks, and own your style. The Low 1 Wheat is a great choice for this.”

“If you’re set on the monochrome style, do one with a little bit of flair, like the Low 1 Phantom,” he adds. “It’s an all black option with just a touch of detail that sets it apart. These options also look great with no socks (or no-shows) and a pair of joggers.”

“I also think that even a pair of great canvas shoes can look rad with a business casual look,” he concludes. “A pair of historic Hood Rubber shoes with a nice pair of denim or chinos is a great look. Try the 1967 Rocket Oxford with a nice pair of chinos and a polo, and you are styling! There’s a white version as well that looks amazing even with a nice pair of shorts and a button down shirt–it’s a great look for dressing down on Friday or even a dinner party in the summer.”

How we selected the best dress sneakers

All of our selections were made through consulting with our expert stylists, to ensure each pair listed is versatile, good value for money, and reliably well-made. I also drew on my own personal experience in writing about (and buying too many) shoes, as well as checking customer reviews to ensure all our picks made their purchasers happy.

If you found this guide useful, you may also like our guides to the best shoes for standing all day, the best walking shoes, and the best running shoes for men.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which sneakers are best for formal wear?

“Formal wear can vary–for men, when we think of formal wear, we think of a nice pair of slacks and either a blazer or a full-length button-down on top,” says LaGrone. “If you’re accessorizing with a leather belt, having leather sneakers can be an excellent way to tie a formal outfit together. In general, I would recommend leather dress sneakers over linen for more formal attire.”

Alternatively, “If you’re going to go sneakers with formal wear, you can almost get away with anything because you’re making a statement, so my motto is, go bold,” says Burch.

What sneakers go best with dress shirts?

“This is personal preference as you can dress, dress shirts both up or down,” says Loiseau. “Your choice in sneakers can play into this–fabric sneakers like cotton and wool will be more casual and leather sneakers will look more dressed up.”

Can you wear dress sneakers with a suit?

“If the pants are properly tailored and fitted instead of wide in the leg, you can absolutely style a pair of well-made dress sneakers with a suit,” says LaGrone. “I would say a sports jacket and slacks combo, with no tie, would be the ideal 'suit' style. However, depending on the sneaker, you could get away with styling a three-piece traditional suit. If you’re looking to make a statement with your suit, pairing the outfit with white leather sneakers is a classic ensemble.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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