Loafers are out, sneakers are in: Office fashion isn’t going back

Offices are getting more casual — from head to toe.

It feels like everyone is wearing sneakers lately.

Blue running sneakers with gray and orange trim on a black, orange, and blue wavy background.

And we mean everyone: The sporty footwear is being worn in workplaces from Congress to the Oval Office. (The political kicks did not go unnoticed, and the internet had a lot to say.)

It all begs the question: Are sneakers work-appropriate now?

According to the Senate, the answer might still be no — a unanimous vote recently reversed relaxations and codified a dress code.

But, for the rest of us, the numbers alone suggest change is afoot:

  • The global sneaker industry generated $131.1B in 2021 and is expected to reach $215.6B by 2031.

And, per Bloomberg, improved materials, luxury fashion collaborations, and proprietary tech have elevated the humble sneaker into a shoe fit for the boardroom.

Even as sneaker trends lean brighter and sportier, they are still being accepted professionally.

This trend covers more than just our feet

What workers wear from head to toe is changing as corporate America skews more casual:

  • According to a 2023 study, the percentage of job postings mentioning “casual” dress codes has jumped ~80%.

Even Wall Street, once home to power suits and stilettos, is embracing khakis and arch supports.

Much of the change…

… is likely thanks to generational shifts in the office.

Millennials and Gen Zers are known to prioritize work-life balance and individuality, two attributes often reflected in our attire.

The last frontier for office shoes…

… might just be Crocs. The brand is benefitting from the casual footwear takeover, reporting $1B in Q2 revenue, up 12% from the year prior.

But how will we know if we’ve gone too far? When a co-worker shows up in cowboy boot Crocs.

Topics: Fashion

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