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The Best Men's Work Shoes (That Aren't Dorky)

We’ve got clogs for our line cook pals, Timbs for our outdoorsmen friends, and loafers for our banker bros.
Ian Burke
Brooklyn, US
September 13, 2021, 4:10pm
best men's work shoes
Composite by Vice Staff

You’re hip. You’re happening. You know this, we know this, your mom knows this. The only people who don’t know this? Everyone you work with, since your current work shoes are dorky AF, Brad. Now, “work shoes” means something different to everyone—after all, we’re not all office drones, laborers, or professional sex toy testers. (Actually, some of us are.) And just because you’re expected to look moderately professional and “less hungover than last week” doesn’t mean you can add some personal flair and style to your otherwise lame 9-5 footwear. 

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Despite our ivory towers of typing, aka our tiny railroad apartments, we like to think we understand the (footwear) plight of the worker, which is why we cobbled together this short list of some of our favorite men’s work shoes that aren’t ugly. We’ve got clogs for our line cook pals, Timbs for our outdoorsmen friends, and loafers for our banker bros. Whatever your workwear needs are, we’ve got you covered. 

You work at a startup

What the company lacks in vowels, they make up for in kegs in the office—and who needs healthcare? Look at all the snacks! These Allbirds are comfortable, durable, really easy on the planet, and fit perfectly with a business casual, “I might do crossfit later” aesthetic. You can dress them up or down, and your feet will thank you, especially since you’re going to be walking to that keg to cash in your liquid benefits a lot during your time there. 

Allbirds

Men's Wool Runners

For all the cooks 

We love you, you chain-smoking, Adderall-fueled, indispensable beauties. That’s why we want you to have the best footwear possible. This pair of Vans is from the Made For The Makers series, and features slip-resistant, vulcanized lugged outsoles as well as Vansguard leather uppers to repel liquids and dirt. Alternatively, you can rock these slip-on Crocs, but be warned: You’ll have to fend off hordes of suitors every time you wear them. (Also, every kitchen is different—make sure to check with your employer to make sure these are OK for work.) 

Vans

MADE FOR THE MAKERS 2.0 OLD SKOOL UC

Crocs

Crocs On-The-Clock Work Slip-On

You’re a park ranger

Deadass, you protect the shit out of those forests, B. Seriously, though, we love supporting our National Parks, as well as the people who protect them. And, besides cleaning up trails and being good stewards of the natural beauty of our land, there’s no better way to show you care than hooking up a park ranger with a crispy pair of sustainable Timbs. These feature a padded collar, anti-fatigue removable footbeds, and seam-sealed construction that helps keep your feet dry. 

Timberland

HERITAGE 6-INCH WATERPROOF WARM LINED BOOTS

To match the tweed suit that you own

Calling all adjunct professors and librarians: Fall is here, schools are back in session, and it’s your collective time to shine. (Or at least sparkle.) These durable Vivobarefoot Ra II Shoes will go great with whichever plaid or checkered shirt you decide to sport on the first day of school, and are made with light, flexible and breathable material. Disclaimer: Elbow pads not included. 

Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot Ra II Shoes

You’re corporate goth

Just because HR said you have to stop bringing in animals to sacrifice, doesn’t mean you can’t fly let everyone know you used to love My Chemical Romance through some choice footwear. These low-cut Docs are dressy enough for an office gig while suggesting that you might be interested in griping about the Tumblr porn ban on your lunch break. 

Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens Work Maltby Soft Toe SR

When you have a meeting at 11 a.m. and a soccer game at 1 p.m. 

Someone’s gotta make a few deals before torching the eighth graders during recess—it might as well be you. This blacked-out pair of Stan Smiths are polished enough to wear with a suit, but comfortable and sporty enough to hit the pitch after lunch. They’re also made with vegan alternatives to animal-derived ingredients or materials and Primegreen, “a series of high-performance recycled materials,” according to the product description.

Adidas

STAN SMITH SHOES

You’re a semi-reluctant banker

It’s not what you really want to be doing—you’d rather be in the Peace Corps, or galavanting around Europe—but Daddy named you Sterling, so it’s IPOs and power lunches until you have a nervous breakdown in your 30s. Thankfully, ASOS makes these sick and tight tassel loafers that will look great as you broker a deal or buy some stonks or whatever bankers do. Ring that bell, baby! 

ASOS DESIGN

Tassel Loafers in Tan Leather With Natural Sole

Converse-ly, you could always wear… statement shoes


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.