Wearing the Proper Shoes for the Occasion/Environment: Men’s Professional Style Tips

Casual working outfit - grey suit, tee and loafers

Tip #22: Keep the runners and gym shoes out of the office. 

You always hear the term “dress for success”, but if you don’t know the simple style rules that come along with that, it doesn’t really mean anything. In the past 3 weeks we have talked about colors, fit, fabrics and how to build properly, but what about shoes? Let’s go over a few shoe choices and when to wear them. Whether it is a dress boot or a stylish dress shoe, here is how to wear each shoe.


Runners Don’t Cut It 

If your boss is wearing runners, it doesn’t mean you have to or should. I have found most guys don’t really know what to wear or how to dress, believe it or not, your boss may not be a style icon or even confident in the way he dresses. If you are trying to match him and he isn’t confident in his choices, he will in turn look at you the same way he looks at himself when it comes to fashion. With that said, we suggest wearing proper dress shoes to the office, in client meetings and in scenarios where you want to look professional. 

Alternatives to Runners 

There are several alternatives to runners that are much better suited for a professional setting. Here are a few examples: 

Chelsea Boots: A classic style that is both stylish and versatile. Chelsea boots are a great choice for any professional setting and can be worn with a variety of outfits, from suits to jeans and a polo. 

Chukka Boots: Another classic style that is perfect for the office. Chukka boots are versatile and comfortable, and a personal favorite of mine. When you are wearing Chelsea or chukka boots, make sure your pants hem works with them otherwise there will be excess bunching in your dress pants. Usually, you can open up the bottom a little bit to still allow for a taper without causing bunching. 

Loafers: A timeless style that is always appropriate for the office. Loafers come in a variety of styles and colors, making it easy to find the perfect pair to complement your outfit. Loafers can also work with a tuxedo but like above, watch the hem of your pants when wearing loafers, you don’t want to see the pants bunching on them. 

Some Sneakers: While runners are not ideal for the office or professional settings, there are some sneakers that are. Look for solid-colored or simple-patterned sneakers that are not too casual or scuffed. 

Of course, the best shoes for a professional setting are dress shoes like derbies, oxfords, and monk straps. These styles are formal, sophisticated, and always appropriate for the office. 

Blue suit for wedding


Choosing the right shoes for the office is essential for making a good first impression and presenting a polished, professional image. If you are currently wearing runners to the office, it's time to upgrade your footwear. Consider investing in a pair of Chelsea boots, Chukka boots, loafers, or simple sneakers to ensure you are dressed appropriately for the office. Just remember to keep your shoes clean and polished, and you'll be sure to make the right impression every time. 


Derek Burbidge - Owner/Founder of Cardero Clothing

In 2014, Derek rented a suit for his wedding only to later discover the advice he received was terrible and the fit of the rentals was way off. After travelling to Thailand and Europe soon after his wedding he was introduced to bespoke clothing and various timeless styles. As a lover of all things men's fashion, he started Cardero Clothing to keep men from making the same mistakes he did.


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