The Suit Sneaker

For generations wearing dress shoes with suits has been a pillar of men’s fashion. Some rules are made to be broken. Deep down, every man has known the day would come when sneakers would be socially acceptable footwear for your suit. Wait no longer: The era of the suit sneaker is upon us.

Although the suit sneaker might not get you excommunicated from the fashion community anymore, unless you follow a few guidelines you will rue the day you wore your Air-Jordans with an Armani suit--just because you can pair a fine beer with your a star meal instead of wine, that does not mean you should swig moonshine, too.

Especially if you are a man who does not wear a suit every day, you might get more economy out of your wardrobe by making your sneakers work with your suit. Here are a few tips for those daring enough to diversify their wardrobe with the suit sneaker.

  1. Give the collar a rest.
    As long as you are wearing sneakers with your suit, you might as well leave those dress shirts in the closet. Prefer a sweater, or even a solid colored t-shirt.
  2. Take it easy.
    If you must wear a button down, feel free to give those patterned shirts some playing time. Save your Hawaiian shirts for the Luau, but argyle or paisley shirts enhance your laid back look.
  3. Bread and butter.
    No matter what type of suit you are trying to pair, white sneakers with white laces are a safe bet, or at least as safe as you can be wearing sneakers with your suit.
  4. Pinstripe suit?
    Don’t do it! Don’t you break my heart. Every time you wear a pinstripe suit with sneakers, a humpback whale washes ashore.
  5. Ride low.
    High tops offer great ankle support. However, you are not wearing suit sneakers skateboarding or shooting hoops (or are you?). Lowtops look more elegant, especially without socks.
  6. Do the right thing.
    Obviously you would NOT wear suit sneakers to a funeral or an interview. Use your judgement, people.

Wearing sneakers with a suit can freshen any style. Especially if you walk to work, you should consider investing in the suit sneaker. Stock a pair of loafers under your desk if you have to--your arches will thank you for it. Alternatively, leather dress shoes, like wingtips, are also being made with sneaker soles. Be careful, sneaker-loafer hybrids can easily seduce you into inappropriate wardrobe choices. There no reason to live in fear of pairing sneakers with suits anymore, but throw caution to the wind at your own risk.