There’s a growing trend amongst men to wear bold sneakers wherever they go. Whether it’s matched with denim or shorts, it seems the brighter and wilder the sneakers are, the better. However, many men don’t wear sneakers with their suit. Of course, for decades, men have been told to wear proper leather shoes with our suits, and hence we’ve been conditioned to stay away from pairing sneakers with suits.
Luckily, this is starting to change. In the last two seasons, we’ve seen menswear designers like Valentino shake up the suit and creatively pair them with colourful sneakers. On paper, it doesn’t seem to work, but in reality, it can be an effortless to change up your suit – if you know how to properly wear your sneakers with your suit.
How to Wear Sneakers With Suits
When you look at any successful suit/sneaker combination, you’ll find that there are several underlying factors that make it work. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but the below are general ‘how tos’ to pair the right sneakers with the right suit.
1) Your sneakers should be an extension of your suit
Notice how we’ve always said wear your sneakers with your suit. The suit is ultimately the main focus, so your sneakers should be an extension of your suit, never the other way around. It’s the same principle with any other shoe – you wouldn’t choose your suit based on your leather shoes, so why would sneakers be an exception?
If you look at the below photo, it shows that the slim look of the sneakers were chosen to match the slim tailoring of the suit. Even though the colours clash, the outfit still feels cohesive and deliberate.
2) Colour match your sneaker with your suit
If you’re starting off, the best way to wear sneakers with your suit is to look for similar colours. For example, don’t pair a grey suit with red sneakers unless you know you can pull it off. Instead, wear basic colour sneakers like white, dark grey or black.
To see how this works in reality, see how Valentino has done masterfully. Whilst the sneakers are camouflage print, it still compliments the colour of the suit pants.
3) When it doubt, wear white sneakers
The easiest way to wear to wear sneakers with your suit is to choose white sneakers. Clean, white sneakers that is. White sneakers always give a crisp and clean-cut look and even when you pair them with something formal, it still works. It’s also important to point out that the sneakers’ laces should be white, since this keeps the look cohesive.
4) Watch out for Suit Cutting
One big mistake men make when matching sneakers to their suit is they randomly choose a suit to wear and decide to throw in a a pair of sneakers. The cutting of the suit is critical (we’ve talked about that here and here before) and in this instance, the suit pants must show off the footwear. There’s no point in wearing sneakers if the pants are too long and the hem rolls over them.
If your sneakers are low-cut, try pairing them with cuffed suit pants. This means you get to reveal a suitable amount of ankle so your sneakers don’t look out of place. You should go sans-socks to complete the look.
Final Words on How to Wear Sneakers with Your Suit
For an easy way to break up a formal suit or to experiment with your summer wear, pairing sneakers with your suit is a surprisingly easy way, if you know how. Although this is mostly a Summer look, it can easily be adapted for colder months. Instead of cuffed suit pants, the pants would be regular length. The sneakers could be changed from low-cut to high-tops. In this instance, the suit pants should roll slightly over the sneakers so your ankles are kept warm.