The term business casual is probably one of the trickiest terms you can encounter in this world. That is because it just does not have a single exact definition. It only has a parameter somewhere between less than all-out formal but not too casual. Think of wanting to appear smart while still looking and feeling relaxed at the same time. For clothing, it means smarter than your casual shirts but less buttoned-up than your trouser suit shirts. Of course, this would require you to set aside your edgy sneakers for more appropriate shoes for business casual.
There is a wide variety of shoes for business casual meetings that you can find on the market. However, you can narrow your selection with the following categories.
1. Derby or Blutchers
3. Chukka Boots
4. Minimalist Sneakers
5. Chelsea Boots
6. Oxford Boots
8. Monk Straps
9. Dress Boots
Learning how to dress appropriately for any kind of affair is essential to appear put-together and relaxed. That way, you can avoid the situation of potential embarrassments like awkward walking, tripping, or slipping. In a casual business meeting, composure means everything; that is why you should not take selecting your shoes lightly.
What do you need to look for in a pair of shoes for business casual meetings?
Aiming for a certain dress code entails considering the type of formality of the environment. This applies as well in selecting the shoes you are to go to. Aside from the level of formality, you should also care about how you will look and how comfortable you are.
Style covers the design of the item as well as its color. You have to make sure that they will match the specifics of your work event in question. Look as moderately sharp if you are meeting people from different companies or your superiors. Naturally, it is because you will need the look to gain the respect of the people in the meeting. When meeting with colleagues, on the other hand, you can be more laid back than that.
Overall, safe style options would include closed-toe in neutral or smart colors. These colors are browns, blacks, grays, blues, and white. You may also pick those with ornamentations but only minimal.
Once you get your purchase, you may want to keep it well-maintained upon usage. Scuffs on the toes or worn heels will affect the style you are targeting for. Thus, keep cleaning and polishing, or take your footwear to a cobbler relatively often as possible.
Not because you are aiming for a specific style will you sacrifice your comfort already. You need to relieve your feet of too much strain as your events naturally will take up so much of your brain. At least your entire body is not suffering.
To acquire comfort, you should fit your work footwear well. Otherwise, you may suffer from discomfort and more serious issues in health. According to studies, footwear plays a significant role in maintaining the vigor of the lower extremities. These include the lower back, hips, legs, and knees. Moreover, those that are characteristically too tight for your feet will disrupt your blood circulation.
As a tip, remember that it is better if your footwear is slightly on the larger end. This will prevent your feet from swelling at the end of the day. Besides, secure your footbed with a pad as it provides stability and cushion for enhanced comfort.
Best Business Casual Shoes
There is no denying how an outfit affects people’s impression of you. And when you are at a meeting, the impression is greatly valuable. Whether it is among your peers or superiors, you need to give off the vibe of a knowledgeable person. Therefore, from top to bottom, you should not take dressing up lightly. This includes careful thinking upon choosing the best shoes for business casual. Thus, here are rounded-up selections for your reference.
Derby or Blutchers
A derby can be one of the ideal shoes for business casual to more formal occasions. It is like a cousin to the more sleek Oxfords. It’s just that, and it is usually defined by its eyelets that are sewn on the vamp’s top. It also features an open lacing construction. Generally, its design is minimal and timeless that can last you long and with any new fashion trends. Its versatility covers as well the wide range of clothing that can go with it. These are some of the bluchers that you would want in your wardrobe.
Beams + Dr. Martens Leather 1461
It is safe to say that a pair of Dr. Martens and Beams derby is cross between sleek and playful. It is a preferable choice if you want a bit of your funky personality in your daily hustle. The greatest thing about it is that it is not too flaring so that you can stay as smart as necessary. Pair it with a clean pair of trousers to look as dapper as possible. Or else, pair it with prints. It is a neat neutral anyway that goes with just about anything.
The Tod’s Suede can tone down the formality of any attire. This is just precisely what you should aim for. However, to maintain a level of dressiness that is commensurate with your preferred dress code, pick a classic color. For example, dark chocolate screams class and chic. It will be the touch of proper in your plain shirts. But it can also be a touch of laid back to your ceremonial suits. This tells you how great of an investment it is for its versatility.
As you would think, loafers are those classic laceless slip-ons. They are just a couple of effortless foot attire that can dress either up or down your entire look. Because of this, it holds the title of an essential in any person’s wardrobe – capsule or extensive. You can rock a pair of loafers with unfussy jeans, and it will make your appearance still put together. You can rock it as well with trousers or chinos all year round so that it can serve you its purpose well. Normally, they are made of suede and leather. You can wear them with socks or without; it does not matter.
Cole Haan Pinch Grand Horsebit
If you want a particular quintessential laid back and easy shoe alternative, the Pinch Grand is the one for you. Just because it is easy does not mean it is informal, though. It’s just that, in a smart casual setting, it is suitably relaxed and dials down your whole look. At the same time, you still appear as dressed up as the occasion obliges you. It comes in a dainty brown color that can go along with any clothing combination. You can imagine wearing it to a cocktail party by the beach. You can pair it with either slacks or more modest jeans.
Gucci Jordaan Bit
As high the reputation of its brand is how much it will cost you to acquire a Gucci Jordaan Bit. For this reason, some people consider it as not exactly a choice by default. However, if you go ahead and invest in it, it will surprise you by the dividends it pays. For one, you can flaunt your pair in any weather condition – sunny or rainy. It is made of a waterproof material so that you can dry it immediately with a soft, dry cloth or brush. It is easy to store as well as you would expect. You only need to fill it with tissue paper, which will help absorb humidity and maintain the shoe shape.
Unlike the previous two shoe types, chukka boots rarely fit suit-and-tie ceremonies. But it can look just as dressy as you would like depending on the shoe model. You just need to examine the appropriate silhouette, materials, and details. Characteristically, a chukka reaches up to the ankle, has open lacing, and a couple of pairs of eyelets. Often, its material is either suede or leather. And depending on the model, you can wear a chukka to the office with dressy jeans, chinos or slacks.
Thursday Boots Scout
The Thursday Boots line made a name on the market by making several shoes for business casual. Among their variety is the Scout chukka boots that will complete your chino look. Its creation is of a weather-safe suede with a stitch-out construction. Its interior is fully lined with supple glove leather for enhanced durability. It protects your shoes from elements and odor at the end of the day. This is as its insole contains antimicrobial and shock-absorbing properties. Makers of these boots handcrafted the products to accommodate your all-day needs.
Clarks Originals Desert Boot
The Clark Originals Desert boot is just the right kind of polished that you will ever want. A desert boot is a type of chukka boot that features unstructured uppers as well as crepe soles. Usually, it is not formal enough for more structured affairs, but enough for smart casual. However, if you feel adequately confident, you can have fun over champagne with a pair of Clarks.
Sneakers have been growing more in popularity nowadays. Even your favorite TV hosts may be wearing them with their three-piece suits. However, their formality level only ranges from smart casual to very casual. But if you are in no doubt about the neatness of the ones you have, you can go ahead and call it a day. You would want it to be neat all-white or black, though. Also, try those with little to no decoration or branding.
Perhaps, it is the best footwear for business casual meetings you can get. It is made of an all-white leather and is very put-together. Because of these basic characteristics, it is also probably top in flexibility. Button-up traditional gatherings are not always in the calendar anyway.
Koio Capri Onyx
This is also a pair of sneakers but elevated over your mainstream models. Its color is neat black, and its construction is of leather material. It looks professional enough to pair with your collared tops. But you know, it is still a sneaker. So, you would not have to worry about worn-out feet at sunset.
The intensity of dressiness for Chelsea boots depends on the silhouette, materials, as well as details. It is not typically the first pick for the traditional white-collared affairs, but it has an adequate class for smart casual. Its height rises over the ankles. Moreover, it has elastic side panels and no lacing design. In the boot arena alone, Chelsea is on the dressier classification. Thus, they are a practical choice if you are a person in the business industry but with a decent social life.
True to what they market brand them for, the Allsaints Reiner can hit various intensities of casualness for your liking. At the same time, it can also hit several formality levels, enough so you can flair them in the office. Also, know just how much this laceless suede can elevate significantly plain jean-wearing settings.
Boss Portland Mid
If the suede Allsaints Reiner is too untailored for your taste, the Boss Portland Mid Chelsea boot is for you. Its tailoring entails a black leather material as an alternative to lesser polished-looking suede. This one should be a staple in any gender’s shoe rack.
A pair of Oxfords is probably the most formal among everything on this list. The boot design features limited stitching. You can observe it only across the toe cap, or sometimes through the eyelets horizontally. Its material is leather and covers up your feet up to the ankles. For a perfectly versatile piece, opt for the Oxfords with a heavy round toe shape. This can aid you for an up to date styling. Then, pair it with an equally hard-wearing set of wool trousers during the brisk cold seasons.
Among all the Oxfords on the market, the Beckett Simonon tops the rank in terms of value. Its design is the usual simple Oxford, which makes its contribution to your get-up very subtle. Its material is authentic black leather which is easy to clean and maintain.
You can spot brogues by the typical ornamental patterns that perforate and line the leather of the footwear. This ornamentation gives off a rather overwrought fanciness, but just enough for you to walk it around the company building. Its contrasting rubber sole provides the necessary balance as well as the much-needed comfort.
The Florsheim would almost camouflage to old house floors with its dainty brown color. Some of its defining characteristics compared to other brogues are its lower heels and a quite affordable cost.
Monk straps emerged as an adaptation of the sandal of the holy men, you know. Its goal is to protect the toes during the taxing manual labor. Moreover, the footwear has a pointed toe, made in polished leather, and is a slip-on style. With a monk strap in your collection, you can flex versatility by changing from traditional to trending outfits.
A pair of Remy monk straps is a good steal for its sleekness and its fairly low price. You can just imagine your toddler shoes without the laces, but an adult version. It has a refined leather finish and a sophisticated brown shade.
Dress boots are dress shoes but a little less formal. They are frequently in an Oxford or derby construction and rise above the ankles. They are very flexible so that you can wear them all year. They can act as an alternative to dress shoes during spring or winter. If you want a more polished pair so you can wear it in elegant ceremonies, you can skip the chunky and matte finish.
Thomas & Vine
The Thomas & Vine dress boots are more on the cheaper side of the dress boot scale. In black leather, you will feel like you are just wearing your combat shoes but less chunky and more put-together.
What should not wear in a business casual meeting?
You would never want a fashion faux pas in your business affairs. Therefore, you should try to avoid wearing shoes for sports, like running shoes as well as sandals or flip flops. You know it. They are very comfortable but reserve them for when you are running other errands. Also, you should not wear espadrilles, work boots, boat shoes, and some patent leather shoes. You can work with some work boots but always mind the silhouette, material, and details.
How high is an appropriate heel for business casual settings?
As a rule of thumb, heels need to be at most three inches high so that you can consider it a good option. Anything above it will look less appropriate for the business environments. You might only come off as if you are flaring like a pageant queen, and your feet will only suffer the whole day. Smarter options would be leather loafers such that they provide top-notch comfort over stilettos.