The 16 Best Work Sneakers to Wear All Day Long

Office-approved comfort awaits.

woman in a dress carrying a bag and wearing sneakers to work
(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

Office dress codes are more flexible than ever. Forget changing from white sneakers into slingback heels before sitting down at your desk. These days, wearing your best work sneakers for your full 9-to-5 is not only accepted, but encouraged.

"We've witnessed a massive shift in how we think about workwear over the last three years," stylist and fashion commentator Heather Newberger tells Marie Claire. "Gone are the days of your boss taking you aside to tell you your outfit doesn't cut the mustard. Instead, [the office has] become a place where personal style can reign supreme." This is especially true in the summer, when dress codes become a little more relaxed as the weather warms.

The best work sneakers do more than bring your sporty side to the office; they also provide all-day support and comfort. This isn't the go-ahead to wear your once-white, now-gray tennis shoes to your next team meeting, however. "Sneakers are now widely accepted on corporate floors, [but] there are still some basic guidelines one needs to abide by," Newberger says. Ahead, the stylist shares exactly how to wear sneakers to the office. Plus, podiatric surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Sutera weighs in on the key factors included in the most comfortable shoes for work.

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What to Look for in Work Sneakers

"For the office, you want to choose smart sneakers that reflect minimal flair," says Newberger. "Premium materials like vegan leather always signify status, while metallics, platform silhouettes, and hints of color bring in more personal style."

The stylist recommends paying close attention to your sneakers' soles. "You do want to avoid shoes with strong tread, as they signify you're ready for a more athletic experience than a work-oriented one." Bottom line: Faux leather low-tops are fair game. "But sporty shoes for a workout? Leave those at home," Newberger says.

How to Find Comfortable Work Sneakers

"Of course, style is up to you," New York City-based podiatric surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Sutera says, "but when looking for sneakers to wear to work, make sure they have foot-loving features." All of the best work sneakers take the following factors seriously.

  • Shape/Fit

"Sneakers should be wide enough so the toes are not jammed or crammed and must fit your foot well without having to be 'broken in," she explains. "They should also be able to accommodate any corn, callous, hammertoe, especially in the toe box."

  • Height

"Everyday shoes that are worn a lot and for long periods of standing and walking should have a thicker sole," Dr. Sutera says. "The sole should also, preferably, have a heel-to-toe drop, meaning that the heel and back part of the shoe are thicker than the front. Chunky sneakers, especially with a flat insole, should be worn for short periods of walking and standing."

  • Arch Support

Dr. Sutera can't stress the importance of arch support enough. "It can help set a more neutral foot, keep you from overpronating, and stabilize the foundation for the entire skeleton. And if the arch is abnormally flat or pronated, many problems—such as bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis, back, hip, knee pain, etc.—can occur or be made worse."

How to Keep Work Sneakers Clean

Your coworkers will see the sneakers you wear to the office. Make sure they're getting proper upkeep. "It's important that your work sneakers stay clean and clever. Invest in sneaker wipes; don't be afraid to use them," Newberger says. She also implores you to keep your "work" sneakers and "play" sneakers separate. Shoes you wear for dog walks and weekend trips can get as dirty as you want, but work sneakers should stay polished.

Storage also matters in sneaker cleanliness. "Invest in shoe boxes that will always keep dust away from your favorite sneakers," Newberger advises.

Meet the Fashion Experts

 Heather Newberger
Heather Newberger

Heather Newberger is a fashion stylist, author, and television commentator. Her mission is to help people find joy and self expression through clothing. An imaginative and discerning creative, Heather’s inspired point of view uniquely reflects her commitment to championing all genders, shapes, and sizes. She is devoted to creating inclusivity within the fashion industry. Heather’s first book "How to Date Your Wardrobe" is available for purchase wherever books are sold.

Jacqueline Sutera
Dr. Jacqueline Sutera

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera is a surgically trained doctor of podiatric medicine specializing in the prevention and treatment of foot pathology.  Dr. Sutera is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons. She is also a proud member of Vionic's Innovation Lab, spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association and the New York State Podiatric Medical Society. 

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes everything from trend reports to fashion featurettes and long-form profiles. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, writing shopping e-commerce guides, assisting with market for fashion photo shoots, and assigning and editing fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.