While wearing a suit with sneakers was seen as something of a taboo just a few decades ago, nowadays, it’s become pretty popular. From job interviews to weddings, the smart-casual aesthetic has completely infiltrated menswear, but even though so many guys are doing it, it pains us to say that not many guys are actually doing it right.
When it comes to wearing a suit with sneakers, there’s a very fine line between looking sick and looking silly. So in this guide by Opumo, we’ll be running through who should do it, when you should do it, and of course, what the best trainers are to do it with.
Who can wear a suit with sneakers?
So, who can wear a suit with sneakers? Well, the simple answer is absolutely everyone, but it’s important to take note of the event and how formal it is. If you receive an invitation through the post and the dress code says black tie (or even the dreaded white tie), trainers and tuxes are a definite no-no.
Not only will you stick out like a sore thumb amongst the top hats and tailcoats, it can also be seen as outright disrespectful to the host, especially if it’s a wedding or a fancy ceremony or something like that. However, if the occasion is a friend’s dinner party or the dress code mentions cocktail, suits and sneakers are perfectly fine.
When can you wear a suit with sneakers?
If you’re a dude who likes to show off your own vibrant personality and going down the more traditional route just isn’t your thing, then wearing a suit with sneakers is something that you should definitely consider. If you’re attending a mate’s big day, you can definitely go for the more casual combo. However, if it’s your big day, you should probably stick with the Oxford shoes of Derbys instead. Trust us on this one.
In terms of job interviews, we would usually veer away from kicks. But if the role is a little more graphic designer and a little less big-shot banker, rocking up in trainers shouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure that they’re pristine and presentable – more on that later.
What are the best sneakers to wear with a suit?
Just because you can wear sneakers with your suit, it doesn’t mean you can just wear any old style or silhouette. If you’re looking for the perfect pair, try and steer clear from basketball shoes, running models, or anything that’s made mostly of mesh. Instead, go for something like a classic tennis trainer, painted in a white or black colourway and crafted predominantly from leather. Logos and graphics should be kept to a minimum, and while suede and nubuck constructions are okay, bear in mind that the fuzzy textures might not work well with the smoothness of your suit. If you’re still unsure, we’ve hand selected some brands that will look great no matter what.
Where to shop sneakers to wear with a suit?
Even though JAK has only been around for nine years, it’s done more in this short space of time than most footwear labels do in their entire histories. Known for its very clean and minimal designs, each and every pair is lovingly crafted in its factories in Portugal. If you’re looking for a shoe to rock with your suit, the Royal White is the one that we would recommend. The first model that JAK developed, it’s the perfect pair for both dressing up and dressing down.
While Velasca is known more for its formal shoes and boots, over the past couple of seasons, the Milanese brand’s sneakers have gained something of a cult following themselves. The Belèratt is a firm favourite of ours. Clean and elegant, it’s made in Montegranaro from smooth calfskin leather and is fitted with a plush rubber midsole that’s as comfortable as it gets. Another great model is the Amis, which is one of Velasca’s latest releases. It looks a little sportier in comparison, but it’ll still go very well with your smart blazers and trousers.
There’s just no way that you can talk about the best sneakers for suits without giving Oliver Cabell a special shoutout. Established in 2019, the British-born, American-run company is known worldwide for using only the finest of materials. While other brands might take advantage of this and markup their costs, Oliver Cabell keeps its pricing comparatively low and transparent. The Low 1 is a great trainer to rock with a more tailored ensemble. But if you’ve got the environment’s best interests in mind, the Vegan 481 is an awesome alternative.
Speaking of the environment, CLAE is another great name to explore if you’re searching for something that’s more animal-friendly. One of the oldest brands in this list, it was founded back in 2001 and has secured itself a very loyal fanbase since. The Malone Vegan is constructed from recycled materials and is lined with organic cotton. The Bradley Apple, on the other hand, is crafted from Appleskin, which is essentially a faux leather that’s made using the leftover pomace and peel from the fruit juice and compote industry. Pretty sweet, right?
Founded in Amsterdam, inspired by the Mediterranean, and made in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, Aurelien is a label that’s known far and wide. While its most popular items are its jackets, knitwear, and T-shirts, you just can’t overlook its footwear offerings. The Voyager, for example, is one of the best sneakers that you can wear with a suit. Crafted from supple nappa leather, the upper is stitched to the midsole using a very special technique. It also comes with a pair of waxed laces, a special dust bag for travelling, and a design that’s as timeless as it gets.
Next up is North-89. When it comes to quality footwear, this is a name that you just can’t ignore. Since 2016, the Scandinavian brand has been creating some of the greatest waterproof sneakers in the history of the universe, and it has recently transferred this expertise and experience into its limited edition hiker collections. Models like the Court will work wonders with a suit. Handmade in Portugal with innovative materials to combat the elements.
Searching for the quintessential tennis trainer to wear with your fancy fits? Then adidas should probably be one of the first places that you check out. The Stan Smith is a silhouette that just works with everything you throw on. With its simple yet sophisticated design, it’s available in hundreds of different colourways and hundreds of different materials. But if you want to wear it with a suit, let’s just stick with the all-white leather one, shall we?