best smart sneakers

The best smart sneakers for stepping back into the office

Whether you’re looking for a comfortable commute or a pair of trainers to transcend dress codes, these are the shoes for you

This is going to be difficult, isn’t it? Going back to work. And not for any of the reasons you may think. You’ve been saving up water cooler chat since Tiger King, so there’s plenty to catch up on there. You haven’t had a proper Monday morning coffee since the end of March, so the office espresso machine will be a sight for sore, uncaffeinated eyes. But your work wardrobe? That’s where the difficulties will kick in.

Because we haven’t been sticking to our office dress codes while working from home. We’ve not been ironing our shirts quite as crisply. We’ve stopped running the lint roller over our suit jackets. And we know that on every Zoom call, just out of shirt-and-tied view, we’re all still wearing pyjama bottoms and slippers.

But don’t worry. Returning to the office doesn’t mean sacrificing the comfort you’ve come to know and love during lockdown. With a good pair of smart sneakers, your footwear can remain firmly on the formal side — but keep your feet cushioned and comfy all working week long. Here are five of the best pairs…

For commuting in comfort, Rubirosa Joan 001 Asphalt

Trains and tubes; you have not been missed. Especially on those mornings when we still can’t get a seat on particularly packed carriages. Enter Rubirosa’s latest sneaker, the Joan 001. Thanks to the combination of a leather footbed, soft calf suede construction and sole with a spoiler for stability, these shoes are so ergonomic that they’ll carry you through your commute without a care in the world.

best smart sneakers rubirosa

Rubirosa Joan 001 Asphalt

£305

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For a smarter spin, Lanvin Cap Toe Sneakers

There’ll always be those who don’t see the sneaker as anything but a training shoe. And yet, offices around the world have adopted these sportier styles and made them a cornerstone of ‘business casual’. To ease the naysayers in, may we suggest these cap toe sneakers from Lanvin? With soft, black suede uppers, the toecaps are finished in a glossy patent leather — ideal for dipping your own toe into the dress code-spanning world of sneakers.

best smart sneakers lanvin

Lanvin Cap Toe Sneakers

£290

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For understated luxury, Aurélien Beige Suede Sneaker

There’s something approachable about these sneakers from Aurélien. They may be crafted from extremely, unfathomably soft leather, lined with calf leather and furnished with a padded insole — but they remain understated, unassuming and unobtrusive. True, they may be the only handmade pair of shoes you own, and they may be subtly stamped with the eminent Aurélien emblem, but there’s no arguing: they still work as workaday, working week sneaks.

best smart sneakers aurelien

Aurelien Beige Suede Sneaker

£160

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For September showers, North 89 No-1 Ebony Waterproof

Of course, now the sun of summer is setting, we’ve got the double whammy; bad weather and going back to work. But don’t let a few rainclouds cloud your mood. Instead, turn to Scandi sneaker brand North 89. Sitting on a rugged rubber cup sole, sporting hardy nylon laces and with uppers crafted from the finest weatherproof suede, these ‘Ebony’ kicks are the ideal antidote to any pernicious, wintry puddles.

best smart sneakers north 89

North 89 No-1 Ebony Waterproof

£199

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For true versatility, Uniform Standard Series 1

They really do have it all. There’s a hint of sportiness in there, thanks to the blue and white design. There’s the requisite touch of formality for your workplace, courtesy of a premium Italian suede upper. They’ve even got solid eco-credentials, with 100% recycled footbeds, 70% recycled rubber cupsoles and 100% recycled cellulose insole boards. But the best part? We’re yet to think of any everyday function, meeting or occasion that you couldn’t slip these sneakers on for. Can you?

best smart sneakers uniform standard

Uniform Standard Series 1

£140

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Want more sneaker education? These are the casual trainer brands you should know about…

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