The term business casual in itself can cause confusion let alone when it comes to business casual shoes.
The dilemma is, how do you choose footwear that you can rock in a work environment and for the days when you want to kick back but also look smart?
The good news is many workplaces now have a less formal style of dress code than, say in the last decade. We are, however, not quite there yet for rocking our high-top Jordans in the corporate office.
Picking the right business casual shoes also means finding the right business casual outfit to work it with.
From your derby brogues to your monk straps, we have you covered.
Read on to find out the different styles of business casual shoes to choose from.
The derby shoe is definitely one to have in your arsenal for a business casual shoe, and it comes in two flavours, leather or suede. Both options work for the business environment and casual outings.
It’s worth noting that a Derby shoe looks very similar to an Oxford shoe. The difference is the lacing system. The derby has an open lacing system compared to the oxford’s closed system.
In the business setting, slip on a pair with some chinos, add an oxford button-up shirt and finish with an unstructured blazer.
In a casual setting wear the derby shoe with dark-coloured jeans and a polo shirt. Add the sweater of choice then you’re good to go.
A tan or brown shoe works well in both settings
Want a business casual shoe, but without laces, then the monk strap may fit the bill. Like the Oxford and Derby, the monk strap has a formal business appeal. It’s also an adaptable shoe in that it transitions effortlessly to be part of a casual outfit.
Wear the monk straps with a tailored suit and lightweight sweater in a business setting.
Opt for a tan leather shoe with a polished look.
The loafer as we know it today has its origins dating back to the 1800s. The loafer has a few different flavours. These include the penny loafer, the Gucci loafer and the tassel loafer.
The penny loafer is most recognisable with the diamond-shaped slit across the top of the shoe. The Gucci loafer is well known for the horse-bit-inspired metal strap across the shoe. The tassel-style loafer as its name suggests features those tassels on top of the shoe.
For a slip-on business casual shoe, it also has an elegant look and is suitable for work and social settings.
To style a business outfit with a loafer, pair with them with tailored chinos, a crisp oxford button-down shirt and an unstructured blazer. You’re all set.
An alternative causal look would be a pair of light jeans, and a polo shirt.
A tan or brown colour would be the choice to go for to compliment both outfit styles.
And remember, wear them with no socks.
Oxford shoes are the staple of the men’s formal shoe family. Very similar in look to the derby shoe. The difference is the lacing system. The oxfords have a closed system vs the open system on the derby.
Oxford shoes suit most formal outfits with ease. A caveat would be when wearing black trousers or chinos stick with black shoes.
For weekend wear or a casual setting, go with a tan or brown pair and wear them with dark navy chinos and a plain t-shirt. Add an unstructured blazer to complete the look.
Oxfords are classic shoes, invest in a good quality pair as they won’t be going out of style anytime soon.
The perfect companion to both the business and casual outfit, here we have the chukka boot. It should be an addition to every man’s shoe collection.
This ankle-high open-laced boot with a rounded toe comes in leather and suede.
A variation of the chukka boot is the desert boot. The difference being the desert boot has a crepe rubber sole and in most cases a suede upper.
Chose a brown pair for versatility, as they’ll add style to your casual outfit all year round.
The Chelsea boot rose to popularity in the swinging sixties era in London. It came by its name due to its association with King’s Road in Chelsea.
The boot is an iconic piece of footwear that is equally at home in an office environment as it is at a rock concert. Available in leather and suede options, the boot has no laces. The elastic side panel and loop enable the boot to slip on with ease.
Pair the boot with jeans, a suit or any chino. Go for a tapered trouser leg to compliment the shape and silhouette of the boot.
Wearing sneakers is becoming more acceptable in the workplace as business casual shoe.
A start-up tech company may be accepting of sneakers for those creative types. A corporate environment may only accept sneakers on dress-down Fridays.
Go for leather sneakers and a classic look in either tan or white. Wear them with a blazer and chinos for a smart look.
Pair with dark jeans and an oxford shirt for a more casual aesthetic. Keep them clean and you can’t go wrong.
Brogues are a style of shoe with perforations or decorations on the upper part of the shoe, known as broguing.
Most of us associate oxfords and derby shoes with brogues. The broguing adds that twist of style to the oxford or derby shoe.
Available in leather or suede, team your brogues in with jeans an oxford shirt and a blazer for a casual look. Opt for tan or brown for the casual look.
For more formal occasions stick to a black brogue in either oxford or derby shoes. Possibly the best business casual shoe to add to your collection.