In the dynamic world of men’s shoes, traditional boundaries are fading, making way for fresh, versatile styles. The latest standout in this trend is the dress sneaker.

Marrying the comfort of sneakers with the elegance previously reserved only for formal shoes, dress sneakers have quickly risen to the top. No longer confined to the gym or a casual day out, dress sneakers are making their presence known in the office, at formal events, and even at some weddings.

In the following guide, we’ll highlight some of the most popular dress sneaker styles that embody this trend’s essence. We’ll also discuss their meteoric rise and what sets them apart in a crowded shoe market.

Whether you’re a seasoned sneakerhead or a gentleman who’s just getting started, this guide’s insights will elevate your sartorial game.

See Our Dress Shoe Reviews

Read Now

What Are Dress Sneakers?

There’s no doubt that you’re already familiar with sneakers; you’ve likely been wearing them all your life! Yet, you may have never tried to sport them to more formal affairs as they simply wouldn’t “fit” or marry with a typical dressy ensemble.

However, some specific characteristics indeed help elevate sneakers to the extent that they can be worn in a more formal ensemble. We cover them below.

Materials

Unlike typical canvas or synthetic sneakers, dress sneakers are often crafted from premium materials, notably leather or suede.

Cutting Upper Leather For Beckett Simonon Shoes

Italian leather, recognized for its superior quality and finish, is a favored choice, offering a supple texture and unparalleled durability.

Likewise, Margom rubber soles, synonymous with high-end footwear, provide excellent support and resilience, proving that these shoes aren’t just about aesthetics; they’re built to last.

Craftmanship & Construction

The high-end craftsmanship behind dress sneakers can also be detected in the intricate stitching that ensures the shoe maintains its form and function over time. The hand-finished details—whether it be the burnishing of the leather, meticulous perforations, or precision in embossed patterns—speak volumes about the artisanal skill employed in a dress sneakers’ creation.

The interior construction of a dress sneaker also plays a pivotal role in amplifying the luxury of this shoe style. Soft leather linings, cushioned insoles, and arch support systems are frequently found in these elevated sneakers, showcasing a commitment to comfort as much as flair.

Design (Aesthetics)

As you may already know, the silhouette of a dress sneaker leans more toward elegance than its athletic counterpart.

Sleek profiles, minimalistic designs, and often an absence of flashy logos or branding are common characteristics that set them apart. Moreover, while bold colorways might dominate casual sneakers, dress sneakers often adopt neutral or muted palettes, allowing them to blend seamlessly with more formal outfits.

Subtle detailing also plays a pivotal role. From delicate broguing to understated stitching patterns, these details are incorporated not just for aesthetics but to echo the sartorial cues of formal footwear.

Finally, the shape and contour of dress sneakers tend to be crafted to align with classic formal shoes.

For one, the toe box is often more refined, avoiding the bulky appearance commonly found in athletic sneakers. The lacing system, too, is thoughtfully integrated—sometimes hidden or designed to mimic the lacing of traditional oxfords or derbies.

Versatility

Dress sneakers have become, without a doubt, one of the most versatile footwear options in a man’s wardrobe. Bridging the gap between casual and formal, these shoes are designed to adapt to most settings.

For those days when the line between business casual and smart casual becomes blurred, dress sneakers stand as a safe and stylish choice. Most conveniently, they eliminate the need for you to carry an extra pair of shoes when transitioning from a day at the office to a night out.

Furthermore, their versatility extends beyond just outfits. Dress sneakers are also seasonally adaptable. Whether it’s the crisp air of autumn or the warm breeze of summer, there’s a dress sneaker to suit the mood.

Materials like leather and suede not only provide options for varying climates but also introduce different textures and finishes, enhancing the shoe’s adaptability.

In times when minimalism and capsule wardrobes are gaining traction, the role of versatile pieces like dress sneakers becomes essential. Investing in a quality pair means having a reliable go-to shoe that melds with multiple outfits and keeps you looking dapper no matter the setting.

Are Dress Sneakers Appropriate For The Office?

Dress sneakers in the office pose somewhat of a dilemma. It’s undoubtedly true that dress sneakers are making significant inroads into office attire, but their appropriateness is still up in the air.

At its core, the dress code at your workplace will determine whether you should embrace wearing dressy sneakers. While understated designs might work in business casual settings, you must familiarize yourself with specific workplace guidelines before integrating them into daily wear.

If you’re on the fence, it’s always wise to play it safe. The place of dress sneakers can differ across industries and even within individual offices in the same sector.

For instance, the laid-back atmosphere of a tech startup might welcome such footwear with open arms. This contrasts sharply with the rigid formality in professions like law or banking.

The Best Men’s Dress Sneakers

Now that we’ve covered the major defining characteristics and nuances of dress sneakers, we’ll present a list of models that exemplify the essence of this growing footwear trend.

We’ve categorized these shoes into five distinct types, and within each category, we highlight both a luxury choice and a more affordable alternative. They are as follows:

Continue scrolling to browse them all, or use the links above to skip to a specific one.

1. The Minimalist Dress Sneaker

As champions of simplicity, minimalist dress sneakers have garnered a devoted following for their understated charm and versatility.

Stripped of any unnecessary adornments or flashy logos, these sneakers let their materials and craftsmanship do the talking. Clean lines, a refined silhouette, and quality leather come together to create shoes that are versatile in appearance, pairing just as well with jeans as with a tailored suit.

Common Projects Original Achilles

Common Projects Achilles Dress Sneakers In Black Leather large

The Achilles by Common Projects has become the gold standard in the minimalist sneaker game. Their recognizable gold numeric print, superb Italian leather quality, and sleek silhouette make them a cult favorite among both sneaker and luxury dress shoe enthusiasts.

Shop The Achilles By Common Projects

Oliver Cabell Low 1

Oliver Cabell Low 1 Sneakers In Gray

A commendable alternative that offers a balance of quality and value, Oliver Cabell’s Low 1 mirrors the aesthetic of high-end minimalist sneakers but at a fraction of the price. These Low 1s testify that luxury can be affordable without compromising on craftsmanship.

Moreover, the sheer number of leather varieties in which they’re crafted makes it much easier to find the color (or colors) that best fit your needs.

Shop The Low 1 By Oliver Cabell

2. The Luxury Dress Sneaker

Countless brands craft luxury leather sneakers in a plethora of different designs. However, constant across all of them is the fact that luxurious materials and exquisite construction are the priority.

Simply put, these dress sneakers are the pinnacle of indulgence in casual footwear.

Crown Northampton Harlestone Hand Stitch Derby

Crown Northampton HARLESTONE HAND STITCH DERBY

Handcrafted in England, the Harlestone Derby showcases Crown Northampton’s meticulous British shoe-making legacy. With hand-stitched detailing and superior leather, they’re a testament to age-old artistry meeting modern design.

Shop Handmade Sneakers By Crown Northampton

Grant Stone Coast Sneakers

Grant Stone Coast Dress Sneakers In Tobacco Calf

Offering impeccable leather quality and craftsmanship, the Coast Sneaker from Grant Stone presents a more budget-friendly entry into luxury dress sneakers without cutting corners on quality or style.

Shop Coast Sneaker By Grant Stone

3. The German Army Trainer (GAT)

Inspired by the German military trainers of the past, this style combines athletic aesthetics with luxe materials. It’s a blend of history and modern fashion.

Maison Margiela Replica Sneakers

Maison Margiela Replica Dress Sneakers

An iconic reinterpretation of the German army trainer, the Replica Sneakers are a statement of Maison Margiela’s commitment to avant-garde design and luxury.

Shop The Replica By Maison Margiela

Beckett Simonon Morgen Trainers

Beckett Simonon Morgen Classic Sneakers GAT Shoes

Embracing the GAT design, the Morgen Trainers from Beckett Simonon deliver the classic look with top-notch materials, all at a more accessible price point.

Shop The Morgen Trainer By Beckett Simonon

4. The Hybrid Dress Sneaker

Marked by their athletic soles integrated into premium leather uppers, the hybrid dress sneaker is where the formal meets the laid-back.

Blending cues from both worlds, these sneakers are the closest you’ll get to your granddad’s oxfords without the painful hassle of breaking in a traditional leather sole.

Wolf & Shepherd Crossover Collection

Wolf-Shepherd-Crossover-Wingtip-Black-Leather-Gray-Trousers

As the name suggests, this collection seamlessly bridges the gap between formal and casual, offering the elegance of a dress shoe and the comfort of a sneaker.

Shop The Crossover By Wolf & Shepherd

Amberjack The Original

Amberjack The Original Shoes

A worthy competitor in the hybrid category, Amberjack’s Original brings together comfort, style, and affordability in a neat package, perfect for those who want the best of both worlds without breaking the bank.

Shop The Original By Amberjack

5. The Custom Dress Sneaker

If the sneakers we’ve featured so far aren’t quite cutting it, or if you’re simply looking for a personalized touch, these custom dress sneakers offer an unparalleled experience of luxury and individuality.

Idrese Custom Sneakers

Idrese Custom Black Leather Sneakers

Letting you dictate every aspect, from the material to the design nuances, Idrese ensures that your footwear is a reflection of your unique style and preferences.

Shop Custom Sneakers By Idrese

Hockerty Custom Sneakers

Customized Sneakers by Hockerty in Suede Leather

Already established as an ideal source of custom men’s suits at increasingly competitive prices, Hockerty now presents the same service in the sneaker space.

With seven different shoe designs to choose from and countless leather and color options, Hockerty’s custom dress sneakers ensure every man can have a pair of sneakers tailor-made to his liking.

Shop Custom Sneakers By Hockerty
"I've been searching for the right pair of dress sneakers for some time now. This guide has been incredibly helpful in narrowing down my choices from the countless options available online!"
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

What Next?

Now that you’ve discovered some of the best dress sneakers available on the web today, considered browsing some of our other popular shoe guides below:

Shoe Content

Shoe-Homepage Shoe-Style-Guides Shoe-Color-Coordination Shoe-Care-Button Shoe-Reviews