Comfy shoes made for strutting around the office—and everywhere else.
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Once upon a time, wearing sneakers to the office was a big no-no. But now? In some workplaces, not wearing sneakers makes you the outlier.
This is partially due to the fact that many offices, whether they house hipster-y startups or established finance brands, are relaxing their dress codes, but also due to the fact that sneakers have gotten much more sleek, stylish, and professional-looking than they were in days of yore.
Still, no matter which shoes you wear to work, they shouldn’t be schlubby. These sneakers are all comfy, without sacrificing polish and style, so you can wear them to the office with ease.
I am rarely seen in any shoe other than my trusty white Superga Cotu Classics. I order a new pair of this Italian sneaker brand every other year, and wear them for traveling, gallivanting about the town in which I live, and, yes, going to work. I love their rubber soles and canvas uppers, which makes them easier to clean than some other brands (though Superga doesn’t recommend washing them in a machine, I’ve done so a few times with good results), and the fact that they look nice with jeans, skirts, and sundresses.
I’m not the only Superga loyalist out there.
“I have been wearing these shoes since 1993, and each pair has been fantastic,” writes one Zappos reviewer. “These are—hands down—the best styled, shaped, and looking sneakers I have ever bought!”
Superga 2750 Cotu Classics come in women’s sizes 5 to 11.5 and men’s sizes 3.5 to 15 and are true to size.
Remember that pair of checkered slip-on Vans you loved so much in middle school? Upgrade that look—but keep the comfort levels—with these slip-ons, which have the same cushy, waffle-print sole as classic Vans. But they also come with more grown-up uppers, like a solid black leather and muted herringbone knit, which help give the shoes a sophisticated feel and can easily help pull an outfit together.
“These sneakers are a minimal and elevated sneaker that don't counter a ‘put together’ outfit,” writes a Nordstrom reviewer. “They look as great with jeans as they do with a dress.”
Vans come in women’s sizes 5 to 11 and are true to size.
Earlier this year, we reviewed Rothy's, the cult-favorite flat brand you see everywhere on Instagram. This indestructible brand recently released a new offering to its catalog: a slide-on shoe with a Chelsea boot-style upper and springy rubber soles. This combination gives them the appearance of high-top sneakers, but without laces, so they’re streamlined enough to be office-friendly. As an added bonus, the shoe is made of recycled plastic bottles, and, like all Rothy’s offerings, is machine-washable.
“Rothy’s always has the perfect fit for me,” writes a reviewer. “Nice to have style and comfort all wrapped up in one great shoe.”
The Rothy’s Chelsea Boots come in women’s sizes 5 to 13 and are true to size.
Few brands do laidback workwear quite like Madewell, which makes their sneaker collection a great place for comfy-yet-corporate-friendly shoes. You can’t go wrong with any of Madewell’s sneaker offerings, but these black suede tennis shoes, with a glittery decal on the back and leopard print stripe down the side, offer a particularly glam way to put together a pantsuit or dress up some jeans. They’re also, according to reviewers, incredibly kind on the feet.
“I can't tell you how comfortable these shoes are,” writes a reviewer. “I work seven days a week, eight hours a day, and these did not fail me all day. No need to be broken in, they're fantastic.”
The Sidewalk Sneakers come in women’s sizes 5 to 11 and are true to size.
These mesh sneakers are refined enough to match up with cubicle-appropriate apparel, yet still have enough personality—and comfort—to help maintain individuality. Reviewers love that the shoes are lightweight and have a speedy-to-nonexistent break-in time.
“I was able to wear these sneakers all day the first day I wore them. I usually have to bring a back up pair of shoes when I have new ones to wear,” writes a reviewer. “I was on my feet for about 5 hours in a hospital and was able to wear them the entire time.”
The Naturalizer Morrison II Sneakers come in women’s sizes 4.5 to 11 and are true to size.
J.Crew is a well-known go-to for prim, stylish flats and sandals—but they also have a killer pair of prim, stylish sneakers. The shoes, made with a classic white leather, pink trim, and a pair of pink or white laces you can switch out, are ideal for heading to the office and the bar after work.
“Bought these as a ‘can wear with anything’ type sneaker and they have been great,” writes a reviewer. “Incredibly comfortable and cute enough to pair with a dress or skirt. Feels like nice quality leather and the color of the pink looks exactly like the pictures.”
The Saturday Sneakers come in women’s sizes 5 to 11 and run half a size large.
Feel most like yourself in running shoes or on a trail of some kind? If so, you’ll want these Altra sneakers to wear in your non-active time, whether that entails working in an office or not. They’ve got a sleek partially-hemp-made upper, which provides maximum softness, and follow the silhouette of a running shoe closely enough to keep feet comfortable—but not so closely that your coworkers think you forgot to change out of your gym shoes.
“What a great shoe for exploring, biking, walking around town, anything!” writes a reviewer. “It's light and stylish. I wear them without socks, very comfortable.”’
These two-tone TOMS have an old-school glamour rarely seen in sneakers, with subtle details on the upper that you might expect to see on a pair of loafers or oxfords. Customers say they are dressier than typical tennis shoes, but don’t sacrifice comfort for style.
“Wearing [the shoes] right now while I type this review,” writes a Nordstrom reviewer. “They are incredibly comfortable and versatile. I wear them with everything, dresses, shorts, jeans, etc., and constantly get compliments! They keep my feet feeling great even after walking eight miles.”
The TOMS Carmel Sneakers come in women’s sizes 5 to 12 and are true to size.
You’ve probably seen these shoes—or similar pairs—around your office or on well-dressed professionals on public transportation or corporate office parks. Their popularity is well-earned. The platform soles offer an elevated (literally) look to typical slide-on shoes, and the wide range of patterns available, from camouflage to snakeskin to classic black leather, ensure variety amongst the legions of people who wear the shoes.
“Perfect casual winter shoe when you don't want to wear booties,” writes a Nordstrom reviewer. “I loved so much I bought in both black and grey. The platform makes them so trendy and versatile! These can definitely be worn for any occasion.”
The Steve Madden Gills Slip-on Sneakers come in women’s sizes 5 to 11 and are true to size.
If you want the drama and leg-lengthening power of high heels, but the comfort and mobility of a pair of sneakers, try these wedge-heeled sneaks. They have an elastic band and zipper on the side that keeps them secure instead of laces, so you don’t have to futz around with tying them up, and a sculpted insole that offers more arch support than you would get in a typical pair of heels.
“I absolutely love these wedge sneakers,” writes a Zappos reviewer. “They are so comfortable and sporty, yet professional enough for my work. I can wear them all day and not have issues with my feet or legs hurting from being on my feet all day.”
The Linea Paolo Felicia Wedge Sneakers come in women’s sizes 4 to 13 and are true to size.
These Dockers offer the best of both worlds. This is to say they have the comfy soles, laces, and knitted, breathable upper you might expect on a pair of athletic shoes, but they also have leather pieces sewn onto the heels and around the laces, so, at first glance you might think they’re a pair of dress shoes—although they certainly don’t feel like it.
“Bought a pair for work two weeks ago and fell in love with this shoe, gives you the dress/casual look with all the comfort in the world,” one Zappos reviewer writes. “I had to order one color of each style.”
The Dockers Einstein Knit Dress Casual Oxford come in men’s sizes 7 to 13 and are true to size.
These leather Ecco lace-ups are unmistakably sneakers, but they have a distinguished look that helps them feel on par with a pair of dress shoes. Reviewers say they’re comfortable for taking long walks and sitting in an office, pair well with jeans and dress pants alike, and are durable enough to last for years.
“I tested several ‘dress sneakers’ from other premium brands and these are superior to the rest of the options out there,” one Nordstrom reviewer writes. “The upper leather is extremely comfortable and dresses up and down depending on your outfit selection.”
Eco Soft VII Lace-ups come in men’s sizes 5 to 16.5 and are true to size.
These Johnston & Murphy sneaks have the silhouette of a running shoe but the sleek leather upper of a sophisticated pair of brogues or loafers. Reviewers love that they are waterproof, durable, and comfortable enough to justify the price.
“Was a little unsure about buying and keeping them due to the price, however, after wearing them all week to work everyday, I am very satisfied and happy to have kept them,” writes a Zappos reviewer. “Very comfortable, and I like the style.”
Johnston & Murphy Waterproof Prentiss shoes come in men’s sizes 8 to 16 and are true to size.
Jack Purcell is a brand with legions of ardent lifelong fans—and, when you read the shoe’s reviews, it’s not hard to see why. As one Nordstrom reviewer explains: the shoes “are like Converse, but with more support,” an appropriate comparison, since the brand is owned by Converse.
The canvas shoes have a timeless, Nantucket-friendly look, but for a more polished and office-appropriate vibe, try the leather version. These sneakers have a removable insole, durable, tractioned soles, and reviewers say they are more durable than the canvas version, too.
Jack Purcell shoes come in men’s sizes 6 to 13 and run half a size large.
The Royale sneaker from disruptive footwear brand Greats is, well, a great way to gain Instagram-cool style cred while looking office-appropriate. The classic leather shoe has more than 1,000 perfect reviews on Greats’ site, in which customers praise their comfy OrthoLite soles, flexible, breathable leather, and ability to wear them anywhere.
“I wanted a pair of informal shoes that would actually dress up a casual outfit,” one reviewer writes. “These are perfect for the job. I've worn them with a suit and with dressy jeans, and they look great. They took a couple of days to break in, but they are quite comfortable and very good looking.
Greats Royale sneakers come in men’s sizes 7 to 15 and run half a size large.
These Nautica sneakers, made with a convincing synthetic leather upper and light, airy rubber soles, have all the style of a pair of Oxfords without the pinching feel. Putting them on gives the wearer an athletic-yet-polished look that should feel at home in any office. They also provide ample arch support, which reviewers love for walking around.
“I wear these shoes every day for work,” writes an Amazon reviewer. “Part of my day involves being on my feet and walking to many places. These shoes are night and day when it comes to the feeling of your feet after wearing normal dress shoes and walking around.”
The Nautica Men’s Wingdeck comes in men’s sizes 7 to 13.5 and are true to size.
It’s tempting for me to call the Cole Haan Zeroground sneakers the mullet of footwear—that is, business up top and a party on the sole—thanks to their leather oxford-style upper and running shoe-style rubber sole. But I will accede that “mullet of footwear,” as a tagline, needs workshopping, and these are much, much more flattering than a mullet haircut is on most people. Reviewers love that the athletic soles are subtle enough to blend in with the formal uppers, which makes them ideal for sneakily comfortable work footwear.
“Wore these to a four day conference,” writes one Amazon customer. “Look good with dress slacks. Best part is they didn’t need to be broken in. My feet felt great.”
The Zerogrands come in men’s sizes 7 to 13 and are true to size.
These classic slip-ons get a professional-friendly revamp in the form of perforated black leather. No one would mistake them for dress shoes, but they can easily be paired with a briefcase and some nice work pants. And, of course, you’ll feel good in the shoes, too—they have the same soft insole and tractioned sole as all Vans, so your feet will be in prime comfort in them.
“These are the shoes I have been searching for my entire life. Little did I know they were right under my nose,” writes one Zappos reviewer. “I’d always seen them and passed them up. The older I get, the lazier I get. No laces?! Sign me up!”
For a rugged look that still jives with the folks up in corporate, look to the OluKai Nohea Moku sneakers. They’re made of a quick-drying, water-friendly microfiber, so they’re ideal for rainy days when you don’t want to break out galoshes. They also have no-tie laces, which makes them easy to slide on and off.
“I've been wearing them every day all day for about three weeks,” writes one REI reviewer. “I wouldn't take them on a trail but for work and day-to-day they're perfect and they don't look like the same shoe everyone else is wearing.”
The OluKai Nohea Moku sneakers come in men’s sizes 8 to 13 and run half a size large for some people.
Stan Smiths are a favorite of many people (including Beyonce and Queer Eye style guru Tan France for a reason. They provide stellar support to the feet and are long-lasting, both in style and durability.
They also bear the unique ability to pair nicely with any item in your closet, which is perfect for when you want to make jeans look more dapper and a suit a little more relaxed.
“They are a versatile shoe that goes great with almost any pants,” writes one Nordstrom reviewer. “I love wearing them with chinos to work. They look dressy enough to wear to work but yet still provide a casual and comfortable look.”
Stan Smiths come in men’s sizes 6 to 14 and run half a size large.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.