Remember when the rules of footwear, particularly with athletic shoes, meant that sneakers were only acceptable to be worn when playing sports or heading for a workout? How the times have changed. Thanks to the thriving athleisure trend that started with brands like lululemon cornering wearing leggings to work and the endless array of sneaker options on the market, your favorite sneakers are no longer just relegated to the gym. But can guys really wear a suit with sneakers? Suit-and-tie guys have suffered long enough with sore, tired feet from wearing dress shoes to the office day in, and day out, but are we at the point yet where it’s acceptable to wear runners to a business meeting?

It may come as a surprise but this concept isn’t brand new. Celebrities like David Beckham and Will Smith have toyed with the suit and the stylish sneaker pairings for some time now with great success, but without a celebrity stylist to supervise your daily dressing, the results can be a disaster for the average guy. You work your butt off to get that promotion, but one step in the office looking like a mess and you could be taking a step backwards in your career aspiritions.

Check the Length and Cut of Your Pants

The most important thing when wearing a suit with a sneaker is the cut of the pant. Most stylists recommend wearing your pants shorter, anywhere from ½ inch to 1 ½ inches above the top of the shoe so that you don’t have a break in your pants. In addition, it’s recommended that you wear a taper pant, which lends itself well to a shorter hem. While you don’t necessarily want your sneaker to grab all the attention, the right proportions in your pants can make them a welcome focal point that complements your choice of formal clothing.

Dress To Impress

When it comes to wearing sneakers with your suit, the trick is making it look intentional. You should never look like you just threw on some old runners on your way out the door to work.

“The most important thing is the choice of suit,” says Chad Helm – owner of The Helm Clothing in Edmonton. “It needs to be a contemporary, slim fitting suit with a soft shoulder. We think a blue suit looks best, but anything with a minimal pattern should work. We also suggest choosing a jacket with patch pockets rather than the typical flap pockets to look less dressy. The pants should be cropped shorter than normal so that they’re just barely touching the top of the sneaker.”

The next big consideration is of course the shoe. They should contrast the suit, so a light colour is usually best. Pure white is always a safe choice. They also need to be clean and in good condition. We can’t stress that enough.

No Tie Needed

When it comes to sporting a suit and sneaker combo, don’t assume your only option is to wear a button-down and tie. Some popular alternative include slim-fit polos, lightweight sweaters, and basic T-shirts, too.A mock-neck or turtleneck can give the look a more casual feel. In a business casual work environment or cool cocktail event, these less traditional alternatives provide a nice contrast to your sharply-tailored suiting for effortlessly cool style. Brands like New Balance have a Lifestyle category that offer a classic simple look and the comfort to take you on your commute. Check out the new 997H style for something that will easily transition from office to the gym.

Follow these helpful tips for sporting a suit with sneakers and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to pull off this cool and comfortable trend. Need some help getting started? New Balance has a wide selection of suit-friendly styles in a variety of colors available now on their site.