Welcome to Planet Sneaker, where the dress sneaker sits at the head table. 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 list of 15 Best Men’s Dress Sneakers will get you on the right path.
UPDATE – This post was updated June 21, 2018. The list is presented in no particular order…we think all of ’em would be great additions to your wardrobe.
Men’s Dress Sneakers: A Definition
Men’s dress sneakers are super comfortable and very cool. More importantly, they’re versatile and indispensable. They’ve become 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? It may have started 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. It may have started as a niche’y fad, but the fad grew into a thing and that thing is huge now. Sneakerheads spread their passion through social media and gatherings like Sneaker Con, a huge convention that takes place several times a year in cities worldwide.
The passion for sneakers found its way into the streets and, then, into the closets of celebrities. A major move forward came from 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.
Dress Sneakers for Men: A Versatile Shoe
Dress sneakers aren’t just dinner out and wearing a pair of Chucks. (Although that works.) Dress sneakers aren’t just expensive, high fashion kicks like these $700 Gucci croc sneaks. (But they can be.) Dress sneakers are a pair of shoes you can wear casual or nice. They work with shorts, jeans, chinos or a tux (when done right).
It’d be easy to hit you with fifteen 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 15 Best Men’s Dress Sneakers 2018.
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 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 Grand 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 white leather, but there are several other options, including a smooth finish in an all-black and a plaid version. 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: $49.97 and up (depending on size/color selected)
3. Mark Nason Los Angeles Men’s Bradmoor 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 Bradmoor.
The obvious calling card of this shoe is the contrast between the lightweight breathable knit upper and the smooth leather heel and tongue panel overlays. While the shoe is a sneaker, it is oxford design inspired. The contrasting white sole, with color in the midsole, is another thing that sets the shoe apart.
If the navy colorway as shown (yes, they call that “navy”) isn’t your thing, the shoe comes in four different colors. 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, which looks a lot like the cousin of Stan Smith.
Price: $45.10 and up (depending on size/color selected)
4. ECCO Men’s Eisner Retro Oxford Sneaker
ECCO’s home office in Denmark has been turning out classic Scandinavian design since the 1970s. The Men’s Eisner 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. The shoe is shown in “moon rock/lion perforated” color and it’s available in four additional colors.
Comfort-check: the textile lining keeps the shoes cool, and the insoles are removable. While I don’t own any ECCO dress sneakers, I do have a pair of ECCO sandals and a pair of ECCO boots that I bought more than 20 years ago and they are both still a vital pair of staples in my closet. I wholeheartedly believe in ECCO’s construction and looks.
Price: $85.47 and up (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, 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.)
In all, there are 12 different colors available. 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: $40.68 and up (depending on size/color selected)
6. Steve Madden Men’s Ringwald Fashion Sneaker
Bold red leather here, so the Steve Madden Men’s Ringwald Fashion Sneaker is gonna make a statement no matter what you wear them with. Not that you’ll be going black tie in these (not that you won’t), but to get a great feel for high fashion sneaks, 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 red’s not your game, the sneak is also offered in white (and, occasionally, other colors, but the availability on Amazon is sporadic). As one Ringwald reviewer notes, the shoes “match everything,” so this is a great entry point into the dress sneakers world.
Price: $67.58 and up (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 color options besides the off-white: black (green stripe) and dark blue (red stripe), but the dark blue is only available sporadically.
Price: $114.94 and up (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 herringbone,” 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 six available colors.
Price: $39.28 and up (depending on size/color selected)
9. Magnanni Men’s Caden Fashion Sneaker
Yes, 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 heel segment. For another fashionable high top at a much lower price point, the Marc New York by Andrew Marc Men’s Wythe Sneaker is quite similar to the Magnanni, although it is a synthetic material.
Price: $219.43 and up (depending on size/color selected)
10. Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Vaughn Lace-Up Sneaker
We’re posting the Polo — an O.G. brand, if there was one — because it’s 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.
Originally, the featured shoe was partially leather, but it’s sometimes too tough to find on Amazon, so we’re referring now to the canvas. Not only for availability, but because the Vaughn is offered in 25 different colors, so you’ve got lots of versatility here. The shoe we’re showing is 70 percent viscose, 30 percent wool. It’s got a padded collar, leather laces and the logo is embossed on the tongue and the side.
Price: $29.25 and up (depending on size/color selected)
11. Cole Haan Men’s Grand Horizon Oxford II Sneaker
What I like about this sneaker is you can be kinda sneaky with it: you can say, with full authority, that it is, in fact, a sneaker. (If you’re asked.) I’m talking about the hybrid presentation with this dress sneaker for men. It’s right there in the name of the shoe: Cole Haan Grand Horizon Oxford II Sneaker. For their part, Cole Haan simply says “Grand Horizon is a luxurious sneaker hybrid that combines and athletic feel with a fashionable look.” True enough.
It is shown in suede, which is another thing that leans the shoes much more toward the “fashionable look” with just a wink and nod toward “athletic feel.” The pattern, stitching and front of the shoe all say “Oxford.” Of the seven colors available, four are in suede, three are smooth leather. (We highly recommend protecting your investment with Scotchgard, which will set you back just about eight bucks.) There aren’t a ton of customer reviews, but what buyers have been saying is extremely favorable: the reviews average a 4.7 on a 5-star rating scale.
Price: $109.99 and up (depending on size/color selected)
12. Hugo Boss Stillnes Men’s Leather Sneaker Shoes
These dress sneakers for men are a low-profile, soft and supple leather from Hugo Boss. The “Stillnes” is designed with echoes of actual tennis shoes in mind (they look like Adidas’ Rod Lavers) but they are definitely in the corner of fashion. The upper is leather and the lining of the shoe is leather as well. The insole is “lightly cushioned,” according to Boss. The midsole is a contrasting white while the outsole is a gum colored rubber. and the outsole is a contrasting white. The Hugo Boss/Boss logo is somewhat discreetly positioned on the side of the shoe in a single stripe formed by the tonal stitching. Boss also makes a “low profile mix materials” sneaker, which starts at a bit lower price point.
Price: $158.64 and up (depending on size/color selected)
13. Reef Men’s Ridge Fashion Sneaker
Reef’s surfer aesthetic runs through all its products, and these men’s dress sneakers are a great example of that. The color — in this case, grey — gives them versatility for some dress up, but they are decidedly low top sneakers and they’re done in a heavy gauge canvas and suede upper.
The shoe features stitched stripes on the sides and the padded collar shows an interesting cross-hatched design element. They’re available in eight colors. The shoe gets solid reviews, with a 4 out of 5-star rating average.
Price: $24.99 and up (depending on size/color selected)
14. Clarks Men’s Calderon Limit Wingtip Oxford
The fashion sneaker industry has been on a trend toward hybrid for a couple years now, and this entry from Clarks is a great example of that: dress sneakers that look like dress shoes. The Calderon Limit is a true wingtip Oxford, with the very same brogue detailing, cut and pattern that you’ll see on any classic pair of men’s wingtips.
Of course, the construction of the shoe above the vamp leans the shoe back toward being in the dress sneakers category. Mostly, though, it’s the wide midsole in white that says “I am a sneaker.” Available in either black or tan, the shoe’s upper is all leather and the midsole and outsole are rubber. The lining is breathable textile while the footbed is made with Clarks’ proprietary “Cushion Plus with Ortholite” for comfort. (Side note: I have a pair of Clarks — not the Calderon — that I recently wore all over the place in London and they are amazingly comfortable.)
As Clarks puts it: “When is a sneaker not a sneaker? When it’s the dashing Calderon Limit.” But it’s still a sneaker. A more sneakery sneaker from Clarks is the Lander Cap, which starts at a much lower price point and is features a textile/synthetic upper.
Price: $69.90 and up (depending on size/color selected)
15. Timberland Men’s Groveton CH Fashion Sneaker
Timberland is an extremely popular street wear brand that is mostly famous for its boots. That said, these dress sneakers for men depart significantly from anything else Timberland includes in its usual offerings.
The Groveton CH Fashion Sneaker is a high top, but it’s closer to a 3/4 high top than a full high top. Timberland says it’s a chukka-inspired fashion sneaker, and you can certainly see that in the shoe’s profile.
The upper is leather and textile, with the vamp in leather and the quarter in textile. The heel is also in leather, as are some elements of detailing on the padded tongue and the heel. The shoe features metal eyelets and a “gripstick rubber” outsole that is made with 34 percent recycled rubber. Available in wheat (shown) or black, the Groveton gets great reviews, with more than 260 reviews and a 4.3 out of 5-star rating average.
Price: $50.99 and up (depending on size/color selected)
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