Formal sneakers – an Underrated Choice in a Formal Environment

Formal sneakers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for men’s footwear. And with the price tags attached to some sneakers, it’s no surprise that they’ve become a status symbol on par with certain women’s designer shoes. Traditional men’s formal shoes can be incredibly uncomfortable. Oxfords and wingtips tend to pinch at the toes and any pair that isn’t well broken in is likely to give the wearer blisters.

Unlike traditional sports sneakers, which are noted for their vibrant colorways and dramatic cushioned soles, formal sneakers tend to have a more muted color palette and don’t have elaborate air pockets or foam soles. These shoes can be paired with nearly any level of clothing – from jeans and a T-shirt to a tuxedo, and still look cool. They can take a basic look and elevate it or make a stuffy suit look fresh.

The most popular materials for formal sneakers are suede and classic leather. A low cut is also far more popular for a formal sneaker than a high top. This is understandable, since a higher cut can interfere with how a trouser leg hangs. If you’re looking for an all-purpose formal sneaker rather than one to go with a specific suit, consider either a white or black pair, as these are the most versatile and easiest to match.

Here are our top suggestions for formal situations and environments that are perfect for wearing formal sneakers. So, ditch the monk straps and lace up!

At the casino

The days of having to wear black tie to the casino are far in the past but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun by dressing up a bit more than you would day to day. Today, most of the major casinos don’t have dress codes on the casino floor in the daytime. Some might encourage more formal dress in the evenings but formal sneakers are a perfect fit for this more relaxed style of formal wear.

Like weddings, casinos are another location where you’re going to be on your feet for extended periods of time. This is especially true if you’re visiting a gambling destination like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, and want to walk from casino to casino and explore a bit. 

One thing to keep in mind is that even if a casino doesn’t have a dress code, some of the bars and clubs inside of the venue will have one. The Mohegan Sun, for example, doesn’t have a dress code on the floor of any of their casinos. However, the entertainment venues, upscale restaurants and clubs all have dress requirements. A classy pair of formal sneakers is usually exempt from the no athletic wear rule.

Whether you’re looking to bet in person or online, your footwear can play a big part in your comfort. The Mohegan Sun casino bonus code offered here lets you take advantage of the best that their casinos have to offer without having to worry about what you’re wearing.


Whether you’re a guest, a groomsman or the groom, formal sneakers are a great look at a wedding. If it’s a casual wedding then they don’t look overly fussy and if it’s a dressier event, they allow you to express a bit more of your personality than plain black Oxfords. They could even make a cool gift for your groomsmen.

The other plus of wearing sneakers to a wedding instead of traditional formal footwear is that they are much more comfortable. If you’re in the wedding party, there’s a good chance that you’ll be on your feet for most of the day. Having comfortable shoes can make a huge difference to how much you can enjoy the night. Also, dancing is so much easier in sneakers.


In the last few years, we have seen formal sneakers take center stage at some of the biggest events in the United States. When Kamala Harris’ nephew wore a pair of Dior x Air Jordan 1 Retros to the presidential inauguration in January 2021, it sparked some discussion over how appropriate it was to wear sneakers to such an important event.

While the political world may have been struggling to accept them, the fashion world has embraced formal sneakers. At the 2022 Met Gala, one of fashion’s biggest events of the year, formal sneakers were a hot trend. Kieran Culkin, Sebastian Stan, Brooklyn Beckham and Odell Beckham Jr. all paired their looks with formal sneakers.

While you should always be respectful of your host’s dress code requests, if formal sneakers are good enough for major national events and red carpets, they’re probably appropriate for any event you might find yourself at.

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