8 Business Casual Shoes for Men: From the Office to the Bar

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by  Karlton Miko Tyack | Last Updated: 
business casual shoes for men - Allen Edmonds Men's Strandmok Oxford, Thursday Boots Statesman & business icon

Balancing the two sides of business casual can be tricky. You might end up going too formal or too relaxed.

While choosing the right footwear is a matter of striking a balance with your outfit, the eight  shoes listed here work with most, if not any, business casual outfit and dress code. Check let’s take a closer look.

Best Overall
  • Broguing and slim profile effectively balance lively details with classic sleekness
  • Premium construction includes impact-resistant rubber outsole, 360-welt construction, and full-grain leather
  • Allen Edmonds will recraft your sole when it wears out
Best on a Budget
  • Knit construction updates the old school wingtip with a unique athletic vibe
  • Doesn’t need any breaking in
  • Antimicrobial lining controls odors
Great Value
  • Combines work boot and dress shoe features so you can style it like either
  • Strong and resilient leather upper
  • Insoles absorb shock while midsoles conform to your feet, providing support and cushioning
Most Versatile
  • Design is simultaneously cool and youthful, as well as sophisticated and refined
  • Wide range of sizes and widths
  • Smooth and durable calfskin leather upper
Most Comfortable
  • Comfort features include work-boot-level heel support and sneaker-level flexibility
  • Sheepskin lining is extra soft and resilient
  • Heat-activated arch support midsole conforms to your exact foot shape
Best for Happy Hour
  • A chic but unstuffy take on the traditional chelsea boot
  • Goodyear welted construction and high level of hand craftsmanship offer a compelling value proposition
  • Exceptionally water resistant and durable
Best Derby
  • Beckett Simonon partners with LWG gold-rated tanneries for sustainability
  • Steel shank and Blake-stitched construction provide supportive balance and flex
  • Round toe box provides a rugged look as well as extra room and breathability
Best Loafer
  • Several colorways available, providing a level of customization
  • Repello suede is extra water-repellant and vivid in color
  • Effortlessly elegant penny loafer design

It seems business casual is fast becoming the most important dress code in everyday life.

If it isn’t already, that is.

Fashion has gotten more casual in the past few decades. But how you dress is still important when it comes to making good impressions and, frankly, when it comes to looking like a well-adjusted adult.

So strike a balance between business and casual in your everyday life. It’s the safest bet. You never know who you’ll run into or where the day will lead.

As quality footwear is our focus here, these eight best business casual shoes are a surefire way to do this.

How Did I Come Up With My List?

I’ve worked in the commercial art industry for over ten years, and if there’s one prevailing dress code for footwear in this world, it’s business casual. Why?

Well, it’s an industry where I spend as much time in boardrooms and my office as I do on cement floors supervising workers who operate electric lifts during exhibition set-ups.

That being the case, I’ve worn more business casual shoes than any category of shoes. I used that experience as a foundation for the past few weeks while researching current models. 

I dug deep, trying on several of them, consulting shoe experts, colleagues, fashion industry people, and other professionals who often have to dress in business casual attire.

Of course, I also scoured the internet for reviews. No two pairs of feet are made alike after all, and I wanted to be sure to represent all priorities in my findings.

The Best Business Casual Shoes for Men 

Best Overall: Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford with Dainite Rubber Sole

The Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford effectively balances lively character with timeless class exactly what you want from a business casual shoe.

It’s highly brogued, even flaunting a decorative medallion on the cap toe. However, instead of having a clunky or thick body the way classic brogues do, Allen Edmonds uses their popular 65 last. This means it has a gracefully narrow figure, providing a sleek look that tempers all the fun details.

This shoe is also functional and comfortable. The sole looks like it’s stacked wood and leather but has a Dainite outsole, which is high-traction and naturally impact-resistant. If you’re looking for a dress shoe to do a lot of walking in, this is your guy.

Unlike so many rubber-soled hybrid shoes, the Strandmok is 360-bench welted. It’s durable, water-resistant, and resoleable. Allen Edmonds will even recraft the rubber cup sole when it wears out.

What I Like

  • The broguing combined with the slim, narrow silhouette perfectly balances character with classic elegance, making this shoe pair beautifully with dress trousers or jeans.
  • The Dainite outsole has a stacked appearance, giving traditional dress shoe looks with a practical, grippy, and durable rubber construction.
  • This shoe boasts a premium build, using exquisitely napped suede, full grain leather, and a strong and water-resistant 360-welt construction despite the rubber outsole. Plus, Allen Edmonds will recraft your shoe when the time comes.

What I Don’t Like

  • Once you’ve broken it in, this shoe is wildly comfortable. However, the sturdy bench-welting also means a substantial break-in period, which is especially jarring since this isn’t usually the case with a rubber-soled shoe.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers love the bold yet classy look. Many claim it’s their go-to casual Friday model since it’s fun but still safe for basically any work environment.

There are complaints about the break-in period. Some mention it took two weeks to get perfectly comfortable, while others even report almost a full month.

Fortunately, once that phase is complete, the leather lined interior and cork insole offer a custom level of comfort, making standing and walking in this shoe especially easy since it also has rubber outsoles.

Also, reviewers with high arches say that the narrow silhouette provides plenty of support.

The Verdict

The Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford is our top overall choice because it combines best practices from the casual brogue shoe template, and more formal looking traditional oxfords.

It’s detailed yet slim and can be worn professionally and casually.

It’s also highly functional thanks to its rubber cup outsole. Once it’s broken in, the Strandmok accommodates your exact foot contours, while the rubber outsole offers traction and impact resistance.

Best Overall
Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford with Dainite Rubber Sole

The Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford features an ornate brogued design and a fitted body, making it versatile and well-balanced. It’s sturdily built, with a welted construction and an impact-resistant rubber outsole.

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Best on a Budget: Johnston & Murphy Upton Knit Wingtip Shoe

The Johnston & Murphy Upton Knit Wingtip exhibits a distinct mix of modern and classic styling, giving it a unique personality. It’s shaped like an on-template wingtip, but the knit construction infuses it with a contemporary sneaker look akin to an Allbirds runner.

You can basically wear this with any outfit if the dress code allows.

It essentially wears just like an athletic sneaker, with a flexible and lightweight body. The EVA outsole ups the agility factor, making this shoe easy to run in, and administering the support and drive needed for quick direction changes.

And if you do find yourself running around in this shoe a lot, the leather and mesh lining is antimicrobial, keeping odors at bay.

What I Like

  • The knit construction updates the old school wingtip look with a modern athletic shoe style, resulting in a truly unique design.
  • This shoe is flexible and lightweight right out of the box, and doesn’t need any breaking in.
  • The EVA outsole makes this shoe wear just like a comfortable sneaker.

What I Don’t Like

  • While the cemented construction isn’t offensive at this price point, and with this shoe style, it still won’t last as long as a welted model would.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers mention how airy the knit upper is, adding to its functionality as a borderline athletic shoe.

Many love the molded memory foam insole. Still, it’s removable in case you need to replace it with something more orthotic.

The Verdict

The Johnston & Murphy Upton isn’t just perfect for you if you’re on a budget, but perfect for anyone looking for a stylish update of an old classic.

It’s easy for this kind of hybrid to look overly trendy, but the knit sneaker look and wingtip design balance each other out just enough that it’s both unique and familiar.

Best on a Budget
Johnston & Murphy Upton Knit Wingtip Shoe

The Johnston & Murphy Upton updates the old school wingtip shoe with a modern athletic knit construction. It’s unique yet classic enough and wears as flexibly as a sneaker.

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Great Value: Thursday Boots Statesman

At this point, I’m no longer surprised when Thursday Boots serves up a piece of footwear that’s tough-looking and durable, but also suit-friendly. It’s their MO. While so many business casual hybrid shoes combine sneaker and dress shoe qualities, the Thursday Statesman infuses work boot brawn with a moderate derby formality. 

Strong features like the solid eyelets, the wide toe, and lugged outsole go well with casual workwear. However, the shoe is low-profile enough to go with a blazer.

Relatedly, the upper is made with Thursday’s Rugged & Resilient leather, which is work-boot-level durable. Sturdy parts of the cattle hide are specifically sourced to make this leather, ensuring it can take a beating without needing constant maintenance.

It also looks supple, yet matte, which aligns with the visual balancing act this shoe so thoughtfully achieves.

What I Like

  • The Statesman has a dressed-up utilitarian vibe, allowing you to style it like a casual dress shoe or a sleek work boot.
  • Its special leather upper is matte, supple, and strong enough so that it doesn’t need constant upkeep.
  • The antimicrobial cork midsole is comfortable and odor-resistant.

What I Don’t Like

  • The insole isn’t removable. This isn’t an insurmountable barrier if you want to replace it, but I just find it mildly inconvenient to have to rip out a factory insole.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Many reviewers are men who work in industries that require them to be office-appropriate and hard hat appropriate. Some are construction supervisors who spend as much time on the work site as they do taking client meetings. Others work in traditional office environments, but handle the physical operations side of the business.

These reviewers appreciate how this shoe allows them to seamlessly go from the manual part of their job to the office part.

Many report that this shoe is also more comfortable than a typical work boot, though you may experience a longer break-in period if you have wide feet.

The Verdict

The Thursday Statesman combines work boot qualities with dress shoe qualities. It has a moderately low silhouette, but a strong, easy-maintenance upper and a grippy, treaded outsole.

If you’re looking for a shoe that partners with workwear as naturally as it does with a blazer, or a shoe that can take you from the construction site to the office, go for the Statesman.

Great Value
Thursday Statesman

The Thursday Statesmen are especially rugged derbies, thanks to their durable and matte leather surface, as well as their grippy and athletic rubber outsoles. They’re comfortable and dependably enduring, making them a middle ground between a work shoe and dress shoe.

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Most Versatile: Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford Sneaker

This Allen Edmonds Oxford is the sneaker version of their perennial classic, the Park Avenue. The standard Park Ave may be one of the most iconic oxford dress shoes on the market. But, their oxford sneaker is a youthful take on that famous model, boasting loads of cool factor, while maintaining the refined and classic vibe of the original.

Because of this, the Park Ave Sneaker fits a wide range of personal styles, adding class to trendy streetwear and relevant modernity to traditional outfits.

This versatility is rooted in the fact this model is undeniably premium. The upper is full-grain calfskin leather, which is lush, tight, and durable. It’s also impeccably waxed, bringing out its natural luster and smoothness.

Meanwhile, the leather-lined interior is secure and cushy, but offers slightly more room and breathability than the traditional version. The insole has a dense, open-cell foam that allows air to flow while still supporting your foot and absorbing shock.

What I Like

  • The combination of a sleek oxford upper and relaxed sneaker outsole allows this shoe to fit in seamlessly with a wide range of personal styles.
  • Its upper is a premium calfskin leather, which is tight, strong, and supple.
  • The dense open-cell insole is supportive and breathable.

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s definitely one of the most versatile hybrid sneakers on the market, but let’s be real. You can’t wear any hybrid to a traditionally formal professional event, so always check the dress code before going for this shoe.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers praise this shoe for its ability to blend in with both smart casual and completely casual outfits. Many also mention that it develops a beautiful patina over time.

On the practical front, several reviewers say this shoe requires zero break in. That was definitely my experience with it.

Though the calfskin upper starts out a touch stiff, the flexible outsoles help with wearing it in.

The Verdict

The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Dress Sneaker combines the cool factor with classic elegance. It’s made from the highest quality materials, including a dapper calfskin upper that patinates attractively as it ages, and a practical rubber outsole and open-cell insole.

Most Versatile
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Dress Sneaker

The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Dress Sneaker features the brand’s classic, chic, well-stitched oxford upper and a comfortable sneaker outsole, for a cool yet classy overall look. The rubber cap sole is even recraftable.

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Most Comfortable: Amberjack Original Dress Shoe

The Amberjack Original Dress Shoe is a derby infused with a sneaker. It’s equipped with several comfort features working together, allowing it to achieve three important things.

First, it’s immediately comfortable right out of the box. Second, it’s a great shoe for arch support, providing comfort and softness, and making it easy to stand in for hours at a time. And finally, despite all of the layers, it’s impressively breathable. This makes it a perfect shoe for long walks.

The sheepskin lining is lush and has stayed that way for the years I’ve been wearing it. It feels great with or without socks, especially since the ankle is so well-padded.

If you look at the heel portion of the insole, you’ll notice that it’s three times thicker than regular memory foam. It then wanes towards the toe area, providing the kind of heel support you’d get in a work boot, but the overall flexibility of a sneaker.

Relatedly, the outsole is made out of a custom TPU blend that uses athletic technology in the front and hiking boot material in the back, perfectly matching the composition of the insole.

The heat-activated arch support in the midsole allows the shoe to conform to your foot exactly, while the perforation on the top helps with a bit of airflow. I’ve stomped around in this shoe for hours in 80-degree weather and never got overheated.

What I Like

  • The thick insole cushions your foot while holding it securely, combining the heel support of a work boot with the toe flexibility of an athletic shoe.
  • The sheepskin lining is soft and stays that way even after long-term wear.
  • The entire shoe feels broken in right out of the box and gets even more comfortable as the midsole conforms to your foot and provides custom support and padding.

What I Don’t Like

  • From sizes 13 and up, half sizes aren’t available. If you have an extra large foot, you’ll have to size down, which usually comes with a slight break-in period.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers agree that this shoe provides highly developed comfort.

They also enjoy the fun, hybrid style. It’s not just a dress shoe with a sneaker sole slapped on. The Derby upper is perforated, hat-tipping to the athletic soles, while the soles are smooth and minimalist, matching the dressy upper.

The Verdict

The Amberjack Original perfectly balances support and comfort, featuring several sophisticated technologies that allow you to easily walk and stand for hours at a time. It’s also immediately comfortable and will conform to you as you wear it.

The derby-sneaker style is the perfect business casual aesthetic, with the dress components and athletic components blending well together instead of looking Frankensteined.

Most Comfortable
Amberjack Original Dress Shoe

The Amberjack Original Dress Shoe provides boot-like support and sneaker-like comfort, making it remarkably effective for walking and standing. Additionally, this Derby-sneaker hybrid will conform to your exact foot shape.

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Best for Happy Hour: Thursday Boots Duke Chelsea Boot

Going business casual is a safe bet for most happy hours. When it comes to footwear, you want something stylish but effortless—something like a chelsea boot.

The Thursday Boots Duke brings a rugged aesthetic to the standard chelsea, while still maintaining its adaptable and minimalist character. I like to think of it as a work boot that’s been to finishing school.

The silhouette tapers, but it isn’t overly sharp, and the heel is attractively well-defined, just like an Italian dress shoe. Whether in a blazer and jeans or a full suit, this boot can take you from pub to bar to lounge, regardless of the dress code.

And since this is Thursday, you know this boot has plenty of function. All the variations have durable uppers. This includes the suede versions, which are treated with a special mix of hydrophobic compounds to ensure the upper is as waterproof as it is supple and soft.

What I Like

  • Between the moderate taper and defined heel, this boot is chic but not stuffy.
  • This high-value shoe is Goodyear-welted for longevity and boasts a high level of hand craftsmanship, giving it an artisanal factor.
  • All the variations have strong, supple uppers, including the lush suede colorways, which have been treated for weather resistance.

What I Don’t Like

  • The heel is a bit stiff prior to break-in.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers are impressed with the quality for the price of this boot. Getting both Goodyear welting and premium leather at this price point is truly remarkable.

Many also highlight the colorways. The four options are expressive enough, especially with the different texture offerings, but also neutral enough to pair with any other color.

The Verdict

The Thursday Boots Duke is a slick yet adaptable chelsea boot due to its mixed characteristics, including its dressy heel and sole, sturdy overall build, and clean but slightly rounded edges.

It’s built to last, and is Goodyear-welted, water-repellant, and made of full-grain leather.

Best for Happy Hour
Thursday Boots Duke Chelsea Boot

The Thursday Boots Duke is a minimalist chelsea that’s sleek but not overly sharp. Between its moderate look and strong build, it’s the perfect after-work boot.

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Best Derby: Beckett Simonon Dunham Derbies

These days, many derbies are designed to wear like oxfords, many brands tempering the topographical upper with a sharper toe or an extra low profile. The Beckett Simonon Dunham, on the other hand, isn’t afraid of its naturally robust look, giving it a confident business casual aesthetic.

The rounded toe (which makes this shoe great for wide-footed gents), raw eyelets, and matte quality give the design a relaxed energy. Meanwhile, the premium materials ensure a level of class that’s plain to see.

This shoe seems tailor-made for a classy pair of dark selvedge denim pants. However, the stacked heel and flawless leather is sophisticated enough for any suit.

What I Like

  • This full-grain leather shoe is handmade by artisans that work with eco-conscious tanneries.
  • Between its steel shank and Blake-stitched construction, and even the foot-adapting leather-lined insole, this shoe provides both supportive balance and flexible comfort.
  • The round toe box provides a rugged and effortless look as well as extra room and breathability.

What I Don’t Like

  • Beckett Simonon’s small-batch made-to-order business model often results in long, unpredictable wait times.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

I love how diverse the reviewers of this shoe are. From ranch workers to city slickers, this boot has a lot of cross-market appeal.

Of course, many reviewers appreciate that Beckett Simonon partners with Italian tanneries that are gold-rated by the Leather Working Group for their sustainable practices.

The Verdict

The Beckett Simonon Dunham is a genuine derby shoe. And as an authentic derby does, it’s equal parts rugged and relaxed, yet still wears naturally with a pair of suit trousers.

It’s also well-built, with its full-grain leather upper, a stabilizing steel shank, and resoleable yet flexible Blake-stitched construction.

Best Derby
Beckett Simonon Dunham Derbies

The Dunham Derbies by Beckett Simonon, are open-laced, comfortable dress shoes that target those of us who want to look good but expect reliability and durability from our dress shoes. They look great in the suit you’re wearing all week and smart jeans for a more casual look.

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Best Loafer: Carmina Penny Loafers

The handmade Carmina Penny Loafer is classically elegant and gracefully tapered. You can choose between a svelte, flawlessly oiled calfskin upper or a beautifully napped suede. 

However, the beefrolls on the side of the saddle and the traditional toe shape make this design the quintessential business casual shoe.

It’s a true piece of luxury. Each shoe is handmade in Mallorca, and it comes in stunning colorways. Of course, there are different shades of brown and classic black. Beyond that, the Tan Varik is vivid with yellow undertones, while both Burgundy Variks display strikingly beautiful red tones.

What I Like

  • There are several colorways, from more neutral browns and blacks to more expressive yellow-toned tans and deep red hues.
  • The Repello suede is highly durable but still velvety and lush, while the full-grain calf leather is tightly grained and beautifully waxed.
  • The tried-and-true penny loafer design is the quintessential smart casual shoe.

What I Don’t Like

  • While a Blake-stitched construction is resoleable, I’d love a more water-resistant Goodyear welting at this price point.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Reviewers love the wide range of color options, as well as the wide range of sizes.

Many even praise the company for their easy return policy. One reviewer wanted a color exchange, and Carmina facilitated this request, no questions asked.

The Verdict

One of the best shoe options for business casual is the loafer. With its on-template, regular-fit design, this Carmina model is an authentic example of a true penny loafer, right down to the beefrolls.

It’s also made of high-end leather and comes in plenty of beautiful colorways.

Best Loafer
Carmina Penny Loafers

The Carmina Penny Loafer is a true classic, featuring traditional saddle and beefrolls. This smart casual design is elevated by the fact it’s handmade in Mallorca using supple calfskin or buttery suede, with a range of exquisite colorways available.

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How to Choose The Right Business Casual Footwear

Consult Your Company’s Official Dress Code

Remember, one company’s casual Friday might mean something different than another company’s. Always follow the relevant dress code, even if the event is taking place outside of the office—just to be safe.

Consider Your Industry

Related to different office cultures, whole industries tend to have their own sartorial language. For the West Coast tech industry, it seems every day is casual Friday. Banking on Wall Street? Not so much.

Don’t forget what your industry standards are when you’re offered an opportunity to go business casual. 

Check Out What Other Employees Are Wearing

And, when you’re completely unsure, just follow the crowd. 

Check out how your colleagues dress during business casual occasions, particularly those who have been there longer than you.

When I first started in the art industry, I had to wear a full black suit and tie when attending major auctions. I noticed my boss wore a red tie, so I decided I could do that, too.

I was immediately asked to change.

The moral of the story? It’s best to follow the dress code of your peers. Your bosses might be able to take liberties that won’t sit well if you tried it. 

What Shoes Count as Business Casual Footwear?

Here are a few common business casual shoe models.

Dress Sneakers

Dress sneakers, like the Park Avenue Sneakers we highlight here, are a fun, relaxed, and balanced option for business casual. Plus, they’re often as comfortable as athletic trainers but blend in with professional outfits more.

Dress Shoes (and Boots)

Dress shoes and dress boots are best for full-on professional dress codes, but you can wear them in business casual situations as well. Remember, it’s all about balance.

So, if you want to wear dark, fitted jeans with your dress shirt and blazer, anchor the look with dress shoes or dress boots.

Smart Casual Boots

Smart casual boots, like the Thursday Duke Chelsea (or any chelsea), pair naturally with chinos, a go-to smart casual pant style. Leather chukkas are also a good option for smart casual boots. 

Again, it’s all about balance, and any leather-soled boot can work like a smart casual boot when styled appropriately.

(Some) Sneakers

Thursday Sneakers 16

In today’s era of casual fashion, you can pull off certain sneaker styles in a business casual setting. Again, make sure to refer to the dress code when doing this.

Minimal sneakers are an excellent option since they’re more understated than high tops. Make sure they’re leather and that they’re perfectly clean and polished.

Perfect for Work and Play

Thanks to its slim profile and lively details, the Allen Edmonds Strandmok is our best overall business casual shoe. If you’re on a budget, check out the Johnston & Murphy Upton Knit Wingtip.

The Thursday Statesman has a resilient leather upper and unique workboot vibe, making it an excellent value option, while the Allen Edmonds Park Ave Sneaker is the most versatile.

Is comfort your main priority? The Amberjack Original Dress Shoe flaunts loads of comfort and support features. 

I love the Thursday Duke Chelsea Boot for nights out because it’s effortlessly dapper and adaptable. If you’re more of a derby guy, the Beckett Simonon Dunham is an authentic take on that classic style.

And finally, the Carminas have a functional and elegant design, making them the best business casual loafer.

Our Top Pick
Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford with Dainite Rubber Sole

The Allen Edmonds Strandmok Cap-toe Oxford features an ornate brogued design and a fitted body, making it versatile and well-balanced. It’s sturdily built, with a welted construction and an impact-resistant rubber outsole.

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Can you wear sneakers with business casual?

Yes, though. It may depend on your company’s dress code or the event you’re attending, but you can usually style a smart casual outfit with leather sneakers that is appropriate for the situation. Even if sneakers are allowed, it’s best to go for low-profile, understated styles.

What is considered business casual shoes?

Business casual shoes are those that balance formality and practicality. Examples include an oxford with a rubber outsole, or loafers over lace-ups.

Do business casual shoes have to be closed toe?

Yes. For men, business casual shoes are usually closed-toe. This may differ in parts of the world that are particularly hot, but it’s safest to avoid sandals.

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