Good shoes take you to good places. Ever heard of that saying before?
Dressing for success certainly has an impact on your career, especially when making first impressions. Your shoes may just be a small part of your business casual attire, but they have a massive effect on your outfit. Therefore, it's essential to find suitable shoes that not only look great with your clothes but also match the dress code. Before we go on, let's take a closer look at what business casual involves.
What Are Business Casual Shoes?
Business casual is stuck in a grey area. This dress code may not share the strict formality of business professional, yet we can't simply label it as casual either. To put it short - business casual is the idea of looking smart and professional, without having to wear a tie and a suit. There are a great deal of shoes that could fit into that category, such as oxfords, loafers, derby, monk strap, chelsea, chukka and certain dress boots. However, we need to also consider the material and color of the shoes. Make sure to find shoes made of quality materials, such as leather or suede. As for the color, neutrals such as beige, brown, navy or black are always a safe choice for a professional look. If you really want to spice things up, you could try going for an oxblood red color - just remember, it's a risky move. For that reason, it's important to match the color to the appropriate clothing items. We will be discussing that too in this blog post.
Still unsure which shoes fall into the business casual category? Check out our list of shoes to be avoided in a business casual setting:
Shoes To Avoid When Going Business Casual:
- Flip flops
- Boat shoes
5 Types of Business Casual Shoes
Main Features: Open lacing, round toe, stitched leather sole
Derby shoes are a timeless and minimalistic clothing item. These classy shoes are easily combined with most outfits and not to mention, a much more comfortable option than a pair of oxfords. Through their open lacing they offer more freedom of movement, allowing your feet to catch a break during your busy work day.
Check out: Oxford vs Derby - What is the Difference?
Main features: Laceless, slip-on, sole separated from the upper part.
If you're a man of class and comfort, you're likely to own a pair of loafers. These laceless shoes offer flexibility in styling and come in leather or suede. If you find yourself in a situation where your outfit seems too formal for a business casual dress code, go with suede loafers. On the other hand, if you feel underdressed, we recommend a shiny pair of leather loafers. They will dress up your look.
3. Monk Strap Shoes
Main features: slip-on, single or double strapped, laceless.
Monk strap shoes have the vamp of an oxford and the slip-on function of a loafer, creating a hybrid of both. Although double strapped monks's are more common, they are also available with a single strap. If you can't decide between the number of straps, just remember this rule: Subtlety equals formality. Since a single strap offers more simplicity, it is better suited for a formal setting than a double strap.
4. Chelsea Boots
Main features: Laceless, elastic side panel, low heels.
Are you surprised to see chelsea boots on the list? They may seem like a casual option, however they also belong into the busines casual dress code. Afterall, these boots are effortlessly stylish and incredibly comfortable. They are easy to slip on and are a versatile must-have for the wardrobe. However, chelsea boots can weigh heavy on the casual scale, for that reason, it's best to go for a leather material to add a touch of sophistication to them. Can't find any suitable leather chelsea's? Check out our stylish chealsea boots collection.
5. Chukka Boots
Main features: Ankle height, lacing, round toe
Chukka boots often fall into the casual category, due to their comfotable design. Nevertheless, they can elevate your look to the next level and are a much more formal choice than sneakers. To turn your chukka boots into a business casual outfit, we recommend combining a dark colored pair with a sharp garment, such as a blazer or a pair of fitted trousers.
Questions About Business Casual Footwear:
Can You Wear Sneakers with Business Casual?
Believe it or not, sneakers are an acceptable footwear for business casual. Don't be too excited though - only few sneakers make it to the fit. We advise going for a shiny leather material for a clean look. As for the model, lace-up , low top or slip on sneakers would do well. Avoid shoes with high plattforms, as these create more of a playful look. Always remember, sneakers dress down formal wear, so if you're thinking of combining your outfit with them, it's best to opt for a slightly more formal business casual outfit. In fact, it's best to combine sneakers with more fitted clothes, as an oversized attire will only emphasise the casualness of the shoes.
What Colored Shoes to Wear in Business Casual?
Previously, we talked about going for neutral colors, such as brown, black, beige, navy or grey. Out of these, brown and black are the most popular and most convenient options. They easily match with other colors, such as blue indigo, navy, black and grey. Not to mention, black and brown combine well with most dress slacks, such as denim, chinos and khakis. Want to make a statement? Try going for an oxblood red or navy blue shoes. Just consider that these special colors require special treatment. For instance, if you choose to wear eye-catching red shoes, make sure to balance them out with neutrals. Avoid white clothing items, as this will create a sharp contrast and strongly enhance the red hue. Navy blue on the other hand, combines with most colors, except black. Black pants are a definite no-go when combining them with navy shoes, as there is no contrast and so the shoes will look flat. You want to make sure that two tones of blue contrast each other, for a more flattering look.
How Many Pairs of Shoes Should I Own?
This really depends on your lifestyle. If you're a man who spends most of his time at work, it may be wise to mostly own formal wear. Contrarily, if you're an outdoors guy, you'd probably focus on having a collection of boots, sneakers, and trainers. On average, most men own around 10-20 pairs of shoes. If you're a minimalist, you can keep it down to 5 pairs. Just remember, it's important to invest in a qualitative variety of shoes that are suitable for most seasons and occasions. Here is an example of what your collection could include:
- 1 formal footwear: Oxford/derby
- 1 semi-casual: Loafers/monks/derby
- 2 casual: Sneakers/boat shoes/slip on
- 1 outdoor: Boots/trainers
Custom Shoes at Hockerty
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That's why we created an easy 3D customizer that allows you to create your own custom shoe. From choosing the fabric, and the fit to choosing the material and color - at Hockerty you have the complete freedom to express yourself.
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