When it comes to business casual dress, it can be difficult to know whether more casual footwear such as Vans are appropriate. With such varied regulations in different workplaces, it can be challenging to know what is considered acceptable for business casual wear. So to try and establish whether you can wear this comfortable type of footwear to work each day, we’re going to look further into the question; are Vans considered business casual?
Ultimately, Vans can be a fantastic choice for business casual wear, but it’s all down to the style you choose. Vans are known for their skater-style shoes, and some of their patterns are certainly not appropriate for the office. However, as they’ve expanded their range, you’ll find Vans to complement any business casual outfit.
That said, some of the most popular Vans styles are certainly not a good choice for work and should be avoided unless you work in an incredibly relaxed environment. So you may be wondering, how do you differentiate between the options from Vans to wear to work?
Keep reading as we give you our top recommendations and advice for wearing Vans to work as part of your business casual attire!
What Is Considered Business Casual Wear?
There is no set definition for business casual wear, and generally, the regulations and requirements vary from company to company. However, most businesses stipulate that business casual excludes wearing t-shirts, jeans, sweatpants, or miniskirts. Many companies nowadays have a very relaxed dress code and allow these types of clothing. So if you are one of those lucky few people who can wear jeans to work, then Vans of all styles will most certainly be allowed!
When it comes to business casual footwear, most workers opt for a classic or plain shoe, such as a loafer or Oxfords. You’ll want to wear neutral colors, such as brown or black, and something that blends in well with your outfit. Ultimately, when it comes to business casual wear, you are looking for a professional outfit, and your shoes and accessories shouldn’t stick out or attract too much attention.
Vans: An Iconic Shoe Style
Established in 1966 in California, Vans are known for producing skateboarding shoes and apparel. You’ll often see the brand appear as a sponsor for various events in the industry, including surfing and snowboarding tournaments, and they even sponsor the Vans Warped Tour, a traveling rock festival. Over the years, Vans have expanded from their original Authentic model and even created shoes for the US Air Force in the 1970s.
In 2011, the company hit the 1 billion dollar sales mark, making it the first skateboarding brand to do so. Their popularity has never slowed down and even picked up again in 2016 with an online viral video entitled “Damn Daniel” pushing sales even higher again. While you may see plenty of knock-off shoes similar to Vans, the comfort and quality of the original shoes are praised by wearers, which is why individuals are so keen to wear them all the time, including to work.
Different Styles Of Vans
There are so many different Vans styles available nowadays that it can be incredibly overwhelming to compare models online or in a store. While the Authentic model features the slouchy and casual look Vans are most renowned for, some of the other additions to their collection offer a more business appropriate and professional look.
For anyone looking to replicate the appearance of a sneaker, the Vans Era sneaker is a great choice and is available in black, chocolate, and white. The white ones have the appearance of a tennis shoe, so you’ll need to be careful how you pair these shoes with your outfit to ensure you look workplace appropriate. With good maintenance, you’ll be able to enjoy clean and neat looking Vans Era sneakers for months of wear, and they offer a classic look that will be easy to match with jeans or slacks.
You may not know that Vans have also expanded to create boots, including the Desert Chukka and the Sahara Boot. No one in your workplace would know that these boots are from Vans, with minimal branding and no close resemblance to the typical Vans most people are familiar with. You’ll enjoy wearing both of these styles of boots, which come at a reasonable price and can be paired with jeans, chinos, or a suit.
Women will enjoy a few other models specifically designed for them, including the Vans Mid DX, which are a slip-on pair of mid-ankle shoes. Also, the Vans Fringe DX offer women a trendy pair of shoes in a pale pink color, which could go with almost any outfit. You’ll enjoy hours of comfort during busy days going between meetings while still wearing your statement dress or suit.
Top Vans For Business Casual Wear
Now that we’ve learned a little more about Vans and their offerings, the next question is, what type of Vans shall I wear to the office? These are some of our top choices for a comfortable pair of business casual Vans:
- For a pair of Vans that closely resemble sneakers – We recommend the Vans Era sneaker in chocolate. The chocolate-colored Eras are the closest in the range to a dress shoe, so they can be paired with a suit or chinos for a business casual look.
- For a boot – If you prefer the look and style of boots for work, choose the Vans Desert Chukka boots which would be ideal for wearing throughout the fall and winter. None of your colleagues would even know Vans created them, yet you’ll enjoy comfort throughout the day with their classic shoe construction. These boots would pair well with jeans, a casual business suit, and light or brown chinos.
- For women – Women can also enjoy wearing Vans to the office, thanks to options like the Vans Fringe DX. Their pale color pairs perfectly with any business casual suit or dress, and with the subtle fringe design, you’ll add a touch of style and flair to any outfit without attracting too much attention to your footwear.
Style Tips for Wearing Vans to Work
Vans can be paired with so many business casual outfits, and by choosing a neutral-colored pair of shoes, you’ll find that they can match with almost anything you already have in your wardrobe. When it comes to wearing Vans to work, only you know how strict your office is about clothing and footwear. If you are starting a new job at a more formal office, it may not be wise to push the rules on the first day if you think their dress code is incredibly strict! However, by choosing the right pair of shoes, no one will bat an eyelash or even realize you are wearing Vans.
As your Vans will likely be the most casual part of your outfit, try to dress up your top half with a casual suit or chinos for men, or a casual dress or power suit for women. The contrast with the sneakers will create an even stronger impression on your colleagues, and the sneakers can help to dress down an outfit that may typically be deemed too formal for your workplace. The best thing about wearing Vans to work is their all-day comfort, and you’ll particularly appreciate that if you are on your feet all day long or hosting events.
Vans And Workplace Safety
If you work in a warehouse or any form of manufacturers, Vans aren’t going to be appropriate for your needs, regardless of your company’s dress code. As they are generally made from soft material, such as canvas, they won’t provide any protection to your feet if something heavy was to land on your foot.
Many manual labor jobs require non-slip shoes, and so Vans would also not be appropriate in this situation. While they provide good grip on most surfaces and are extremely comfortable to wear when you’re on your feet all day long, they can’t be guaranteed to offer you the protection you need on slippery surfaces.
By choosing the correct model of Vans for your style and preference, you’ll be able to find a comfortable pair of shoes that you can enjoy regularly wearing to the office. Business casual wear has such a loose definition, and so many companies have become more relaxed in recent years about office workwear. With more of us opting to work from home, when we do return to the office, it’s unlikely regulations will be as strict as before.
If you are considering Vans for your next pair of workplace shoes, opt for one of the recommended styles listed above. You’ll still enjoy the benefits of the traditional Vans models while finding a pair of shoes that will pair well with your current work wardrobe.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ve found this article helpful and that we’ve inspired you to mix things up with your business casual wardrobe. For more insight into workplace attire and similar topics, make sure you subscribe to our email list. You’ll find other great discussions delivered straight to your inbox, which we hope will inspire you to make changes to your life for the better.