When we head out to buy a pair of great-looking sneakers, we’re looking for something that can work in a variety of different situations. The ability to wear our favorite pieces of footwear to the gym, the supermarket, the bar, and the workplace is something of a necessity. But if there’s one area where sneakers have historically struggled to fit in, it’s within the professional environment.
As guys, we know better than anyone that finding the perfect pair of sneakers is a rough gig, and even more so when we’re looking for examples that we can wear to the office. Luckily, a handful of the industry’s leading companies know that we spend the majority of our lives in the workplace; and, as such, they’ve catered their flagship offerings to a more professional medium. Below, we’ll run through a number of our personal favorites — from iconic classics like the Converse Jack Purcell, all the way to high-end offerings like the Moncler Montpellier and FEIT Low Latex.
Converse Jack Purcell Classic Low Top
Converse’s Jack Purcell Classic Lowtop was crafted to dominate badminton’s most prolific courts, and over time, it’s transitioned into the realm of timeless fashion. While the minimalistic shoe has been in circulation since 1935, its modern-day iteration doesn’t stray far in terms of design and aesthetic, offering wearers a traditional leather upper, multilayered cushioning for comfortable, all-day wear, and a grippy rubber sole with herringbone detailing. If you’re looking for the perfect middle-ground between refined style and purposeful function, the Purcell Classic is the shoe for you.
SeaVees Army Issue Low
SeaVee’s Army Issue Low might not be used by the actual armed forces, but they’re inspired by all of the most popular sporting footwear of the 1960s, offering wearers a timeless silhouette that doesn’t fall short when it comes to stylish representation. This sleek shoe features a burnished leather upper, toe cap, and flat eyelets for a decidedly nostalgic look, while a classic lace-to-toe design keeps things true to the era. Inside, you’ll find a comfortable perforated footbed that’s been contoured to provide adequate support throughout the day, keeping your feet protected and stable as you head to and from meetings.
COS Thick-Soled Leather
COS’ Thick-Soled Leather sneaker is aa attractive shoe that relishes its ability to keep things simple. Despite its minimalistic exterior, the shoe remains undeniably attractive, offering a mixture of leather, waxed laces, and contrast-colored linings to appease the eyes of onlookers. The centerpiece of COS’ sneaker is a high-profile rubber sole, which weighs perfectly against its sleek leather upper.
Cole Haan GrandPrø
Cole Haan’s GrandPrø is a classic sneaker, in its own right, and thanks to a modern design that still pays homage to the icons, it’s become even more revered within today’s footwear community. This tennis-inspired example boasts a custom lace ox, a burnished, hand-stained leather upper, and tasteful tonal stitching to set it apart from the competitors. An EVA outsole, outfitted with supportive Grand.ØS technology, and a textile-covered footbed bring the perfect finishing touches to this timeless shoe, ensuring a stint of comfortable, capable wear.
Axel Arigato Cap-Toe
Axel Arigato’s Cap-Toe sneaker is a sleek example that doesn’t shy away from simplicity. But, it’s thanks to this simplicity that the shoe has earnt its place on more than a few of our top sneaker lists. Not only is the Cap-Toe an attractive variant that boasts one of the most tasteful designs around, but it also incorporates style cues from a handful of the industry’s mainstays, giving it a plethora of strengths, and hardly any weaknesses. It features a premium suede leather upper, matte leather toe-cap, and a cushioned footbed to keep you looking stylish and suave, while a subtle black exterior and gold branding help to keep things professional.
Greats’ Royale sneaker is an Italian masterpiece that’s been handcrafted by some of the country’s most talented shoemakers. Thanks to its premium leather upper, liner, and accents, it exudes an undeniable aura of class, allowing it to straddle the line between casual footwear and professional offerings. Each example is built with durability, style, and taste in mind, offering wearers a quintessential sneaker that’ll fit right in at the workplace.
Vince Leather Fenton
Vince’s Leather Fenton sneaker is a refined variant of the brand’s flagship, offering wearers an illustrious take on the modern slip-on. Since it’s traded in its canvas upper for a premium, elastic-trimmed leather upper, the shoe has entered an entirely new avenue of wear. Pair that with the Fenton’s comfortable orientation and grippy rubber sole, and you’ve found the perfect recipe for everyday office use.
Filling Pieces Low Mondo Ripple
Filling Pieces’ Low Mondo Ripple sneaker thrives off of its ability to achieve more, with less. This stripped-back style piece places a strict focus on simplicity, combining a perforated suede upper, Nappa leather heel tab, and waxed cotton laces with a tame silhouette that isn’t overbearing, or flashy. You’ll find a smooth leather lining, comfortable footbed, and embossed text throughout, pairing perfectly with the shoe’s in-house designed ripple sole, which offers wearers exceptional support, grip, and cushioning as they traverse the workspace.
Zespa 4 HGH LEATHER
Zespa’s 4 HGH LEATHER sneaker is yet another addition to the company’s reputable catalog. It’s lauded as an essential piece of footwear for any fashion-forward guy and features a Portuguese premium leather upper, elevated rubber tooling, and a monochromatic aesthetic that helps it to mesh perfectly with any professional atmosphere. The HGH is comprised of a high-end leather upper and lining, giving light to the shoe’s tasteful gold-foil branding, and sleek rubber outsole.
A.P.C.’s Hide sneaker hails from the shores of Spain, and as such, it’s well-versed in premium aesthetic. It features a sleek Spanish leather calfskin upper, rounded toe, and five-hole lacing structure, paying homage to the simplistic silhouette stylizations set forth by a handful of classic sneakers. A smooth leather interior and reinforced insole keep the shoe comfortable and capable, even under intense scrutiny, while a ridged rubber outsole comprised of linear detailing provides the ultimate in stability and traction.
Acne Studios Perey
Acne Studios’ Perey is a dual-velcro variant that transcends the realm of stylish wear. It’s the only shoe on this list that sports a velcro closure, and thanks to its commitment to minimalism, it offers an iconic look into the realm of vintage sneakers. Aside from the shoe’s stylish design and contrasting linings, there’s no much left to say about the unique shoe; but if you’re looking for something that’s outside of the box, and is sure to turn a few heads, the Perey is hard to beat.
Common Projects Original Achilles
Common Projects’ Original Achilles is a classic sneaker that’s been transported into the contemporary realm, offering wearers a modern example that clings to the characteristics set forth by history’s most prolific shoes. Thanks to is minimalistic exterior, simplified lines, and durable construction, the Achilles has amassed vast followership from around the world. Each pair is constructed with a sleek, luxurious leather upper, liner, and gold foil accents, contributing to its attractive orientation. Like all of Common Projects’ footwear, the Achilles boasts unique coding on its exterior, demarcating the color, size, and number associated with each specific model.
Moncler’s Montpellier is an urban shoe that feels right at home in the city, and equally as relaxed in the workplace. It features a classy silhouette that blurs the lines between casual and professional wear, offering a bold canvas upper, tasteful front lacing, and a dominant Moncler logo on its tongue. Whether you’re heading to an important business meeting or wearing it for a night out on the town, the Montpellier instills an air of confidence in anyone who’s willing to wear the stylish shoe.
No.One’s Charlie is a distinctive take on the timeless basketball sneaker, but that doesn’t mean that it’s out of its element when it comes to the professional environment. The company has re-engineered the shoe to take on a handful of tasteful traits, like a textured, Italian vegetable-tanned leather upper, waxed laces, and a plongé lambskin lining on its interior. The result? A lavish example that encompasses the best qualities of Italian shoemaking, while coming from the talented hands of one of Los Angeles’ most renowned footwear manufacturers.
FEIT Low Latex
FEIT’s Low Latex sneaker was introduced for a life on the basketball court, but over time, it’s transitioned into the realm of competent workwear. It boasts a simplistic exterior that’s defined by raw, unlined accents, natural materials, and exposed stitching, shedding light on the hand-made qualities of each pair. The Low Latex also features a 100% hand-stitched Goodyear construction, tasteful design cues, and a premium Cordovan leather that’s been nourished with natural oils and shaved. If you’re searching for a pair of sneakers that exude an aura of pure professionalism, style, and refinement, look no further than these fashionable footwear staples.
The Ultimate Guide To Business Casual
If you’re still a bit foggy on the garments and accessories that are fit for the workplace, head over to our ultimate guide to business casual, where we decipher what it is that takes casual outfits to the next level.