The 3 Rules of Wearing A Suit with Sneakers

Dec 19, 2016

Written By: Sergio Saucedo

Photo via: @ClubMonaco

As far as we’re concerned, wearing sneakers with a suit isn’t a fashion violation (well as long you nail it). Of course, that doesn’t mean that pairing a tailored suit with some sneakers is an easy ordeal. Since we have been seeing many celebrities and bloggers alike switching out their wingtips for a pair of sneakers, we thought it was fitting that we outline a few ground rules. Most go without saying, but even then we still see many people making simple mistakes that could have been avoided and quite frankly could have made their outfit look 10x times better had they stuck to our ground rules.

Ready to try the look for yourself? Here are the 3 rules of wearing a suit with sneakers.

Always Wear Complementary Colors

This rule is a piece of advice that can be universally applied no matter what you’re wearing. We all need to make sure that we stick to a color palette that complements every piece. For instance, pair a tailored navy suit with a pair of white patent leather sneakers or a charcoal grey suit with a pair of black low-top sneakers. Of course, you may attempt to add a splash of color to your outfit, which in most cases would be acceptable; however, word of the wise is to always make sure to “respect the suit”. A lot of time went into tailoring the perfect suit that complements your body shape, and to just ruin the whole outfit by pairing it with a pair of gaudy colored sneakers is just not acceptable.

I get it, all these fashion magazines and tabloids show your favorite celebrities wearing these bold red sneakers at the Grammys with their tuxedos and you think you can replicate their wardrobe. But word of the wise, leave those bold statements to the celebrities. Your average gent can’t complement bright red patent leather Buscemi sneakers on an average day, so they definitely shouldn’t try for an occasion that has stricter rules. If you do decide to add a little pop of color, make sure they complement the basic hues of your suits. An emerald green suede, for instance, is going to put a fresh spin on that light gray or steel blue sitting in your closet.

When in Doubt Always Go With White

Photo via: @Clubmonaco

When it comes to wearing sneakers with suits, a classic combination that for the most part never fails is pairing your tailor-made outfit with a pair of white sneakers. Most celebrities have opted for this option and I’m not surprised because white sneakers are always a great idea. A black and white outfit is classic and timeless. White shoes also have the added bonus of matching with everything, just like black—white is a great neutral color way that compliments other pieces in your outfit.

Not sure which pairs to buy in order to complete the look? Here are a few great minimalist options to help you get started: adidas Stan Smith, Common Projects Achilles sneaker, or some Vans original slip-ons. Any one of these low-top pairs of sneakers is great because they rest firmly along side your ankle and don’t scrunch the bottom hem of your trousers like stubborn high-tops.

Not All Sneakers Can Be Worn With All Suits

Photo via: @oh_anthonio

The last and final rule (and the most important) is just as the slogan says, not all sneakers can be worn with suits. I get it that sometimes you just want to wear your new pair of sneakers, but just because they are new doesn’t mean that they will compliment your sartorial ensemble. Next time you decide to replace your loafers with a pair of sneakers, opt for options that don’t have gaudy air pockets or superthick soles. This means don’t wear your Nike Airmax’s or anything with words “trainer” or “running” in the name. While a lot of your favorite shoes may be great options for a casual night out, they don’t make the cut when it comes to a more formal event.

Don’t believe me? Slip on your Italian tailored suit, and a pair of volt colored Nike ‘Air max 2016‘ running shoes and see how ludicrous you look. You might be the center of attention, but not for the reasons you may think.


Have you warmed up to the idea of wearing sneakers with a suite? By following these 3 easy tips, your next sartorial event will be one to remember.

What are your favorite shoes to wear with suits? How do you make a statement? Let me know in the comments below!

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