“Shoes make the man” as the old adage goes. Yet what shoes fall under the business casual umbrella? Such a description may seem vague, but there’s no need to feel lost or intimidated. Read on for everything you need to know about the proper footwear for your business casual attire. Let’s talk about Men’s business casual shoes.
First and foremost, read the room when it comes to your definition of men’s business casual shoes. I made an entire article here if you want to take a look. What works for a laid-back, creative environment might not jibe with a Wall Street firm. Then again, there’s no need for ‘business’ in business casual if this is your style during your down-time. Be cognizant of the look you wish to project and where you will be showcasing your footwear style.
Let’s examine some foolproof solutions for men’s business casual shoes. Gentlemen, fear not if you don’t recognize these descriptions immediately. A quick Google search will show you the exact types of shoes to which I refer and you will instantly be familiar with them.
Timeless options include: oxford shoes, derby, loafers, monk strap, boots, and– wait for it– sneakers (more on them later).
When it comes to oxfords, the texture is key. Eschew the formality by avoiding patent. Pairing this style with more casual clothing takes it down a notch while still appearing polished. Derby and monk strap shoes work in a similar fashion. Textures, patterns, color, and the rest of the outfit all factor into the overall impression. Play it right and you can waltz from the office to happy hour to date night.
Shifting gears, now let’s talk boots.
Chelsea, chukka, and dress are the three major categories of boots. Remember when I mentioned an internet image inquiry if you aren’t a clothing connoisseur? You have seen all of these, I assure you. My personal advice to all of my fellow men reading this is to plan your outfit first. From there, you have the blueprint for the image you wish to project and can match your shoes accordingly. Keep in mind that our overall objective is polished as opposed to playful.
Saving the best for last, it’s time to analyze sneakers. Sneakers mean different things to different individuals. We’re not talking the scuffed up trainers you wear to the gym. Or your brand new Jordans. The versatility of sneakers has grown exponentially throughout the past two decades. It is entirely possible to wear sneakers to the workplace in a business casual format. Even off the clock, sneakers can still over a casual touch to an otherwise snazzy outfit.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll define sneakers as a laced shoe that is more casual in nature. No, this is not the athletic footwear you wear during your off time– though you certainly can dress them down with leisure outfits. Much like the aforementioned boots, texture makes the ensemble. Leather provides more panache than canvas in this situation. Do not wear prominently displayed logos on the sides of your sneakers. Looks towards mature, nuanced textures that are not too chunky.
And please, for the love of all that’s good and holy– keep your sneakers clean. Much like you wouldn’t wear raggedly suede loafers to the office, don’t wear sneakers that are more basketball court than the board room. Avoid frayed laces and invest in the proper cleaning solution for any pair you possess.
On a final note, be mindful of the texture of the sole of your shoes. Make sure you wear something that offers proper traction and support. Many shoes offer no-slip options or grooved soles to provide maximum grip potential. If shopping online, be sure to get a 360-degree view of the shoe to be certain you are business on top and function on the bottom.
As you can see, the possibilities are virtually unlimited. Put your own spin on style and let your shoes do the talking. Men’s business casual shoes have evolved with the times and the looks are yours for the taking, you dapper gent, you!