The shoe’s on the other foot. Your foot, that is! Nike sold $4.7 billion worth of Air Jordans between June 2020 and May 2021.

This statistic accounts for just a fraction of footwear sales in that time period. One reason why shoe sales are so high is that casual footwear is so popular. You may need stylish footwear for a lot of occasions, and there are many shoes you can buy.

So which types of shoes should you examine? What exactly is casual footwear? How can you match your good footwear to your clothes?

Answer these questions and you can develop your shoe style in no time. Here is your quick guide.

Pick a Few Types of Shoes

Good footwear can mean a few different things. You should err on the side of caution and buy several different pairs of shoes so you can dress appropriately for all occasions.

Athletic Shoes

Sneakers are good all-around athletic shoes. If you play a few sports, you can wear sneakers every time you are in a game.

However, you should try to find shoes that are specifically for the sports you play. Running shoes offer support for your feet in ways that tennis and basketball shoes cannot.

If you don’t like sneakers, you can try cross-training shoes. The toes are flexible, allowing you to run and land on surfaces without throwing off your balance. They also offer side-to-side support so you can play tennis and perform aerobics.

Minimalist shoes allow you to feel like you’re running barefoot. But they are made with very thin materials, and you can sustain injuries or strains easily. Try to find minimalist shoes with thick heels so you have a little bit of support.

You can find many websites online that sell athletic shoes. You should visit and other retailers and compare their products with each other.

Don’t just select the cheapest shoes you find. Pick ones that you are comfortable with and that complement your outfits well.


Slip-on shoes are laceless shoes you can wear around the house or while performing errands. Some offices allow you to wear slip-on shoes with formal attire, though they should be clean.

Loafers are basic shoes. They do not have exciting designs, and they are made with cheap materials like cotton and wool.

Boat shoes tend to be a little fancier, with stitched toes and laces that stretch around the sides of the shoes. They can seem preppy, so they work well for business casual environments.

Smart Shoes

Smart shoes have laces and high-end materials like leather. They complement suits and professional attire well, but you can wear a pair of them with jeans.

You can find shoes with short points or rounded toes. The rounded toes tend to work better with professional outfits, and they can allow your toes to spread out.

If you want to wear a pair around the house, you can buy shoes with rubber soles. Make sure the soles can grip the ground and won’t slip when surfaces are wet or hilly.

You can choose any color of shoes you want, but brown tends to be more versatile. Black shoes can be a little boring to look at and hard to see from a distance.

Test out your pair before you buy it. You should see if your feet are comfortable in your shoes and that you can tie the laces correctly.

Distinguish Between Dress Codes

Casual dress codes can be hard to navigate. Business casual means combining casual clothes with “smart” features. You may wear smart shoes or slip-ons, as long as they conceal your feet and give you room to move.

Smart casual may mean the same thing as business casual. However, you may have more room to experiment with colors and lighter fabrics. You can select a pair of smart shoes, especially ones made of leather.

An undress code sets an upper limit to how well you can dress. You can wear whatever shoes you want, including minimalist shoes and sneakers.

Informal wear refers to dress clothes, not casual ones. You should wear shoes with laces that cover all parts of your feet. You should not draw attention to yourself, so your shoes should have minimalist designs and high-quality materials.

When in doubt, ask the organizer of the event you are going to what shoes are allowed. You can rent a pair from a shoe store or ask your friends for shoes you can borrow.

Match Shoes to Your Accessories

Your shoes should match the rest of your outfit without creating significant clashes. A good way to make your shoes match is to pair them with your accessories.

You should wear a watch in the same color as your shoes. If you don’t have a watch that’s the same color, you should pick one with a similar hue.

If you’re wearing leather shoes, you should wear a leather belt as well. You should match the colors of your leather clothes, as a brown belt can form an unseemly clash with black shoes.

Develop Your Casual Footwear

Casual footwear is more than meets the eye. Athletic shoes, slip-ons, and smart shoes all count as casual.

When you’re wearing shoes around the house, you can pull on loafers or boat shoes. When you’re going to an event, you may want smart shoes. Get a sense of the dress code expectations before you head out.

Coordinate your outfit so the colors of your shoes match other things. For formal occasions, your shoes should be identical to your belt and watch.

Fashion will only get more complicated over time. Read more fashion guides by following our coverage.