Welcome to Planet Sneaker, where it’s all about the best shoe in the universe. The world of men’s sneakers is populated with many sneaker species, so let’s bust it down to a category that will bring some serious updating to your closet. Whether you’re already on board with men’s dress sneakers or you’re new to dress sneaks and you’re finally ready to kick your game up, this Top 10 Best Men’s Dress Sneakers is your guiding star.
UPDATE – This post was updated January 12, 2018. The selections remain consistent with the original post, but some prices have shifted (some up…some down).
Men’s Dress Sneakers: A Definition
Men’s dress sneakers are super comfortable, very cool and indispensable. They’re a necessity for the man who wants the complete wardrobe. This category of kicks has been racing up the list of “must haves” for a few years now, and the trend continues to grow.
So just how did men’s sneakers not-so-sneakily move from the sports side to the stylish side? The general answer is that our culture has evolved and, therefore, fashion has evolved with it. A more specific answer may be with a certain type of consumer: the sneakerhead. Sneakerheads are the people who, back in the 80s, camped outside shoe stores for the latest Air Jordans drop. If it was a fad, so be it. The fad grew into a thing and that thing is huge now.
The fact is that as pro sports endorsements, and celebrity sneaker-wearing-sightings grew, sneaker-love evolved into a serious thing that has been, and continues to be, a strong current in fashion culture. Sneakerheads have been around a long time and they continue to spread their passion through social media and gatherings like Sneaker Con, a huge convention that takes place several times a year in cities worldwide. Add to all of this the rap music industry. Rappers have a commanding cultural presence — in music, fashion and much more — and sneakers have been part of that niche for a long time (anyone remember Run DMC’s Adidas Superstars?). The entire category started strong and continues to be white hot. Take a look at this video from The Wall Street Journal as they discuss the trend.
Men’s Dress Sneakers: Check Out The White Wave
While our list here is comprised of kicks in a variety of colors, the white sneaker is one that almost always can be worn dressy. We do include some white sneakers in our list here, but there are more for you: take a look at our list of the Top 10 Best White Shoes for Men. It does include several sneakers, but it also brings in some non-sneaker styles.
Men’s Dress Sneakers: A Versatile Shoe
Dress sneakers aren’t just dinner out and wearing a pair of Chucks (vintage khaki style offered here on Amazon). Although they can be. Dress sneakers aren’t just expensive, high fashion kicks like these $900 Gucci croc sneaks (Amazon). But they can be. Dress sneakers are simply a sort of hybrid of comfort shoes and technical (truly athletic) shoes, with a great look that works with anything you wear. It’d be easy to hit you with ten really expensive sneaks so the money makes it look like you’re buying magic. But, instead, we’re going with a variety of great looks at a variety of price points. Ready to take a spin around the dress sneakers globe? Then it’s game on with our list of the Top 10 Best Men’s Dress Sneakers.
1. Allen Edmonds Men’s Classic Sneaker Fashion Sneakers
We’re starting with white because it’s the most popular color for men’s sneakers and because, frankly, it goes with anything. The Allen Edmonds Men’s Classic Sneaker features a classic (indeed!), low tennis shoe profile. The all-leather upper is perforated, as is the all leather lining, which means it keeps drier and delivers more comfort. This Edmonds harkens to perhaps the most iconic tennis shoe of all, the Stan Smith by adidas, seen here in one of its many iterations on Amazon. While the Stan Smith is enormously popular, the Allen Edmonds Men’s Classic Sneaker has the edge because of its simplicity — minimal logo treatment — and pure elegance. But don’t let that simplicity fool you: this sneak — like all Allen Edmonds shoes — is crafted with a 212-step process in the company’s Wisconsin HQ. In fact, it was originally listed at $245 on the company’s website. And in case any of you are fire-walkers out there, note the Vibram sole. If you had to set up shop with just one pair of dress sneakers for men, this is your gig.
Price: $97 (60 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Allen Edmonds Men’s Classic Sneaker here.
2. Cole Haan Men’s Crosscourt II
Also in the no-logo but tons-of-class category, we’re notching this beautiful brown Cole Haan high on the list because it’s another very versatile entry. This men’s dress sneaker is a “sport inspired” oxford, according to CH, which is another example of its suitability to be worn with suits, evening wear or any other great ensemble. The all-leather upper here is seen in suede brown color, but there are several other options, including a smooth finish in an all-black and an all-white. The added-bonus with these dress sneakers is Cole Haan’s “Grand O.S.,” which is the company’s operating system focused on flexibility, lightness and cushion. In other words, you’ll look good and feel good.
Price: $52.95-$150 (depending on size/color selected)
3. Mark Nason Los Angeles Men’s Sycamore Fashion Sneaker
Mark Nason got his start making boots and accessories in Italy. Good for you that he created the Mark Nason Los Angeles line, which includes men’s dress sneakers like the Sycamore Fashion Sneaker. If the navy colorway as shown (yes, they call that “navy”) isn’t your thing, opt for the grey, which is a few shades lighter. Both pairs feature the wrap-around contrasting tipping midsole, as well as the simple — and we think cool — logo treatment on the tongue and the sole heel. As an alternate Mark Nason, and something that’s super popular right now, check Amazon for Nason’s knitted-look Bryson Fashion Sneaker.
Price: $30.98-$83.99 (depending on size/color selected)
4. ECCO Men’s Retro Sneaker
ECCO’s home office in Denmark has been turning out classic Scandinavian design since the 1970s. The Men’s Retro Sneaker is certainly another ECCO classic and it’s a dress sneaker you’ll be able to wear with anything. The all-leather upper features details that any sneakerhead will love: the heel cap backstay in contrasting, smooth leather (check out the stitching here), the contrasting tab at the throatline (toward the bottom of the tongue) and the squared leather laces. Comfort-check: the textile lining keeps the shoes cool, and the insoles are removable.
Price: $54.64-$230 (depending on size/color selected)
5. Kenneth Cole New York Men’s Kam Sneaker
Kenneth Cole New York calls itself the “thinking man’s brand.” Well we think these dress sneakers are a genius addition to a wardrobe. The color here is “rust,” but there are several other options, including “wine,” and, seen here on Amazon, the “Pride Kam” which features Pride Flag detailing on the heel cap. (In fact, each Kam model has a great heel cap stripe in contrasting and vibrant color and texture.) Of all the great reviews on these kicks, this one summarizes the appeal of the men’s dress sneakers category: “You can wear it with a suit but if you have to run to catch a bus, it will really help!” Part of the comfort factor is because of Kenneth Cole New York’s “Silver Technology Gel Pod.” Put another way, it’s a cushioned section of the insole and the comfort of these dress sneakers is mentioned in several reviews.
Price: $23.95-$125 (depending on size/color selected)
6. Steve Madden Men’s Ringwald Fashion Sneaker
Bold black on white here, so the Steve Madden Men’s Ringwald Fashion Sneaker is gonna make a statement no matter what you wear the kicks with. Not that you’ll be going black tie in these (not that you won’t), but to get a great feel for the style, check out this photo on the NYTimes of a few celebs sporting tuxes with B&W men’s dress sneakers (they’re not Maddens, but you get the idea). If the black’s not your game, the sneak is also offered in red, blue, tan and white. As one Ringwald reviewer notes, the shoes “match everything,” so this is a great entry point into the men’s dress sneakers world.
Price: $89.99-$95 (depending on size/color selected)
7. Lacoste Men’s Alisos 20 Fashion Sneaker
Not only do these Lacoste Men’s Alisos 20s say “dress sneaker,” they practically hoist a French flag. Very European looking and elegant and there are several details to point out here. First, it’s the five color tones in varying materials. The bulk of the upper is textured leather in one shade, and then it’s got the suede overlays: in this case, brown on the toe cap, tan on the heel cap and lace guard and, finally, the solo stripe in black. Another great color touch is the shoe’s collar, which is a beautiful caramel (and lightly padded). For logo-hounds, three points of interest here: the leather tongue and leather back heel are both stamped with “Lacoste” and, of course, the iconic alligator logo conspicuously (but not too big) rides the side. If you are a lover of Lacoste’s entries in the men’s dress sneakers category, take a look on Amazon at the Lacoste Mocara in tonal, smooth black. If you’re sticking with the Alisos, you have two options besides the off-white: black (green stripe) and dark blue (red stripe).
Price: $103.31-$150 (depending on size/color selected)
8. Skechers USA Men’s Porter Meteno Oxford
Skechers needs no introduction, and for good reason: the company’s wide range of products work. We’ve included this entry largely because the material presents a significantly different look — maybe a bit more rugged — while still falling under the men’s dress sneakers category. We think the Porter Meteno Oxfords are a great buy — my size 13 is $49.56. The model we’re showing is simply “dark brown,” but it’s got a few different tones: the upper, the sole, the lace guard and the laces themselves. If rocking a different color is your thing, the Skechers USA Men’s Porter Meteno Oxford has you covered with light gray, black or navy.
Price: $40-$89 (depending on size/color selected)
9. Magnanni Men’s Caden Fashion Sneaker
Yep. High tops. While every other entry in the list is low-cut, this Magnanni Men’s Caden Fashion Sneaker tags in more as a boot. Magnanni is a third generation, family owned company based in Almansa, Spain. The company’s website here is chock full of high-end luxury items, including the 22 different men’s dress sneakers they offer. The Caden Fashion Sneaker is no less luxurious, constructed of high quality leather and hand painted to create what the company calls a one-of-a-kind patina. The shoes are also made with the Bologna Construction technique, which is a unique way of stitching the upper directly to the sole. Regardless, the Cadens are great looking in red or the alternate mid-brown, both featuring the understated company name on the rubber soled heel segment.
Price: $239.40-$399 (depending on size/color selected)
10. Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn Fashion Sneaker
We’re posting the Polo — an O.G. brand, if you will — in at number 10 because it’s a great way to finish off the category: something very solid, dependable and great looking. The Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Vaughn Fashion Sneaker is one of just a handful of men’s dress sneakers from the company. The port leather upper sits on a rubber sole they’re calling “nicotine” colored. Other than the sole, the color treatment is tonal throughout the shoe, which features the classic “Polo” spelled-out logo on both the heel tab and the tongue. Options other than port include black, snuff and olive. Each color features an insole in the same colorway, as well as a sole in traditional gum.
Price: $58.79-$78.65 (depending on size/color selected)
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