In this Millennial Gentleman article we will discuss how to wear men’s dress sneakers in a classy manner. It can be difficult to pull off dress sneakers without looking sloppy so in this article you’ll learn how to rock the dress sneaker look with confidence and panache.

What are Dress Sneakers for Men?

Men’s dress sneakers combine the formal style of traditional dress shoes with the comfort and laid-back aesthetic of sneakers. They are typically made of high-quality materials, such as leather or suede, and have a sleek, minimalist design that is appropriate for formal events. Dress sneakers are more refined and can be worn with formal attire such as suits and dress pants, in contrast to traditional sneakers, which frequently feature sporty or casual design elements. They are a popular option for men who want to add a touch of informality to their formal attire or who desire a comfortable and fashionable alternative to traditional dress shoes.

Can Athletic Shoes be Worn as Dress Sneakers?

As a rule, it is not acceptable to wear athletic shoes as dress sneakers. Athletic shoes, also known as sneakers or trainers, are intended for physical activity and typically feature sporty or casual design elements that make them more compatible with casual or athletic attire. Although it is possible to dress down formal attire with a pair of dress sneakers, wearing athletic shoes with formal attire can make one appear unprofessional or sloppy. If you must wear athletic shoes as formal attire, you should pair them with jeans and a sports jacket to create a business casual look. The athletic shoes should ideally be white as well.

If you want to add a casual touch to your formal attire, it is best to select a pair of dress sneakers designed for formal occasions. These shoes typically have a sleek, minimalist design and are constructed from high-quality materials such as leather or suede, making them more appropriate for formal occasions. Although athletic shoes may be practical and comfortable, they are not generally considered appropriate for formal occasions.

Guidelines for Wearing Dress Sneakers

Here are some general rules to follow when selecting dress sneakers and deciding when to wear them.

Choose the appropriate sneakers for the occasion

When it comes to fashion, not all sneakers are created equal. Choose a pair with a sleek, minimalist design and a clean, uncluttered silhouette. When wearing formal attire, avoid sneakers with excessively sporty or aggressive details. These sneakers can appear out of place. Also, consider the color of your sneakers; black, white, and grey hues tend to be the most versatile and easiest to dress up.

Pair dress sneakers with the appropriate outfit

When it comes to accessorizing your sneakers, balance is key. Avoid pairing your sneakers with items that are excessively casual, such as sweatpants or shorts. Choose instead tailored, refined pieces such as dress pants or chinos, and complete the look with a button-down shirt or sport coat. This will elevate your ensemble and give it a polished, put-together appearance.

Choose the correct size of dress sneakers

Fit is crucial to successfully achieving the dress sneaker look. Without being too tight or too loose, your sneakers should fit snugly and comfortably. Avoid wearing sneakers that are excessively bulky or cumbersome, as they can make your outfit appear sloppy. Instead, choose a sleek silhouette that complements your ensemble. When purchasing dress sneakers and seeking an excellent and comfortable fit for your feet it is essential to select a brand with a reputation for producing high-quality, well-constructed footwear. Purchase shoes made of durable materials such as leather or suede to ensure a proper fit.

Accessorize intelligently

When it comes to embellishing your sneakers with accessories, less is more. Effortlessly accessorize with a watch and a pair of understated socks. Avoid bulky or excessively bold accessories, as they can detract from your overall appearance.

Best Affordable Dress Sneakers Brands to Buy

There are numerous manufacturers of high-quality dress sneakers appropriate for formal occasions. Popular brands include:

Allen Edmonds is renowned for its classic, fashionable footwear and offers a variety of dress sneakers in various materials and hues.

Clarks is a well-known British footwear brand that offers a variety of dress sneakers in classic and contemporary designs.

Bruno Marc is renowned for its fashionable, high-quality footwear and offers a variety of dress sneakers in various materials and hues.

Johnston & Murphy is a well-known American footwear brand that offers a variety of dress sneakers in a variety of materials and hues.


You will be able to confidently rock the dress sneaker look and add a touch of casual flair to your formal attire if you follow our advice. You will be well on your way to looking classy and fashionable in your dress sneakers if you remember to choose the right sneakers, pair them with the right outfit, pay attention to the fit and accessorize wisely.


Carey Martell is Editor in Chief for The Millennial Gentleman. A thirty something modern man who is politically independent, non-religious but a firm believer in ideals of chivalry and traditional family values. Carey lives his life as a vagabond digital nomad traveling and living life to the fullest while managing his businesses remotely with a laptop and internet hotspot connection.