How To Wear Sneakers To Work (And Get Away With It)

With more people resorting to sneakers for comfy chic office attire, it's not uncommon to see athletic sneakers paired with the most sophisticated tailored looks.

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Dressing for the job you want has become a lot more comfortable, thanks to entrepreneurs and prodigies like Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Gebbia, and Sean Parker who have been known to wear their sneakers to work. Even women's sneaker sales jumped 37% last year, while the sales of high heels dropped by 11%, according to NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service. With more people resorting to sneakers for comfy chic office attire, it’s not uncommon to see athletic sneakers paired with the most sophisticated tailored looks. Whether your office dress code is law-firm buttoned-up (think suits, pencil skirts, and, well, button-ups) or tech startup laidback, you can still fit in a pair of sneakers in your ensemble in a way that’s both polished and professional. Here’s the 101:

1. THINK WITH YOUR FEET When choosing the pair of sneakers you’re sporting to work today, think of the impression it would leave if you randomly ran into your biggest client down the hallway. Are you wearing worn-down All-Stars, or do you have your Balenciaga’s on?

2. REMEMBER, THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE POSH Just polished is fine. Professional situations require the cleanest, crispest, and perfectly polished pairs. So next time you reach out for your skater shoes, just make sure they’re clean, crisp, and looking brand new.

3. YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG WITH BLACK. All black fashion is the ultimate fashion move for both men and women. You can never go wrong with black on black. Whether you’re pairing your black sneakers with black jeans and a light knit, or black slip-ons with a pencil skirt, monochrome looks are the best way to don sneakers at the office while flattering your figure at the same time.

4. YOUR SNEAKERS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR $1000 BAG. A lot of people pay attention to their coats, their suitcases, their merino wool sweaters, but often forego the importance of having a nice pair of sneakers. Don’t be afraid to spend on a pair of sneakers that you could wear to work every day. Make sure you invest in a pair that looks stylish and comfy at the same time.

5. MAKE A STATEMENT (BUT ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE TO) If your company is hosting a Casual Thursday event, feel free to pull out your Multicolor Air Jordans. Otherwise, leave your statement shoes for after-work company meetups.

Related: Dress For Success: A Guide To Getting The Business Casual Look Right

May Rostom

Written By

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.