Workplaces are more casual than ever, opening the door to wearing your most casual *but still stylish* sneakers to work. Of course, not every office will find sneakers appropriate, but if your dress code allows it, go for it!
The business casual dress code, which calls for more relaxed dress in the office, began gaining traction in the 1990s, and slowly employers all over the nation have adopted it. In one recent study, nearly 80% of employers now have a business casual or casual dress code, or no dress code at all.
These more relaxed dress codes often leave room for a wide range of appropriate dress, including wearing sneakers to work.
On top of that, COVID accelerated the casual dress trend faster and further. To encourage employees to come back to the office, employers are relaxing dress codes even more.
Employee and customer expectations have changed, and many workplaces have become more casual than ever before.
Regardless of your company’s dress code, presenting a clean, neat, and professional appearance is key. Always dress for your day – if you’re meeting clients, presenting to executives, or interviewing, consider a suit or dress.
Whether your workplace is all-the-time casual or just casual on Fridays, try out a pair of our favorite work-approved business casual sneakers for women.
It’s not what sneakers you wear; it’s how you wear them
There are a few important considerations before pulling out your sneakers for work.
- Sneakers need to be new(ish), clean, and not used for things like hiking or going to the gym. When going to work (even in the most relaxed work environments), dirty or smelly shoes are a hard no.
- Stick with a neutral color palate, resisting the urge to wear bright colors, over-designed or shiny sneakers.
- Avoid sneakers that look like gym shoes or are overly sporty.
- Look around and make sure others wear sneakers to your workplace. Don’t be the only one in sneakers.
With the basics covered, let’s get right to our favorite picks!
Business casual sneakers for women
Wedge sneakers are the easiest sneakers to pull off at work because they still look a bit dressed up while providing more comfort than traditional dress shoes.
If you have a day with a lot of running around, put on your stretchy dress pants or dark skinny jeans and one of these cute pairs of wedge sneakers.
There are so many cute classic sneakers – it was hard to pick just three! These sneakers are all so comfortable you can go strong all day long.
With classic sneakers, avoid anything that looks like you’ve just been to the gym. Retro sneakers are trendy right now, and there are so many color options.
Is there anything more comfortable than slip-on sneakers? I think not.
Our picks consider maximum comfort and ease of use. A couple of fun facts:
- The UGG Sammy Sneaker is made in a factor that supports women in the supply chain with the help of HERproject, a collaborative initiative that creates partnerships with brands to empower and educate women in the workplace.
- The Rothy’s sneakers are washable and made of recycled plastic bottles. Washable sneakers are everything!
You can’t go wrong with these cute and comfy slip-on sneakers:
High-top sneakers for women are certainly having a moment right now – allowing wearers to show off their personalities while providing maximum comfort and cool. Nonetheless, high-tops should be saved for only the most casual workplaces.
There are so many to choose from, but here are a few favorites:
Sneakers for Work
Sneakers can be stylish, comfortable, and work-appropriate. They can also encourage a more active lifestyle, including walking at lunch!
The good news: these picks can easily fit into your weekend wardrobe even if your workplace doesn’t allow sneakers.
I hope you found some great business casual sneakers for women! For more business casual inspiration, check out our posts on stretchy dress pants to boost business casual.