Is the Dress Sneaker Just Another T-Shirt Dress?


Doing some research into the viability of wearing sneakers in place of dress shoes led to an interesting discovery. Shoe brands are now tapping into a new market for dress sneakers. It would appear as though they are trying to make a shoe as comfortable as a pair of sneakers but still refined enough to wear in formal settings.

The concept is intriguing. It might even end up being a big money maker. Still, one cannot help but wonder if the dress sneaker is just another T-shirt dress. If that doesn’t make sense to you, read on. You are about to learn one of the unspoken truths about fashion and clothing design.

  • A Dress That’s Not a Shirt

Our culture has long understood the difference between a shirt and a dress. In the past, there were not any questions about what a woman was wearing. People just used their eyes. They either saw a T-shirt or a dress. It wasn’t that hard to figure out. But then the fashion industry came along and changed everything.

A few years ago, they introduced what is known as the T-shirt dress. Is it a shirt? Maybe. Is it a dress? Perhaps. No one really knows. And by the way, that’s not because we can’t tell the difference between shirts and dresses. No one knows because of the name.

Designers decided to call this new item a T-shirt dress solely because the material used to make it is the same material used to make T-shirts. That is certainly convenient. No need to come up with a creative name when something as easy as ‘T-shirt dress’ is staring you in the face. But let us be clear about something. The T-shirt dress is not a T-shirt. It is still a dress no matter what anyone decides to call it.

  • Shoes That Are Still Sneakers

That brings us back around to the topic of dress sneakers. In fairness, dress sneakers are a lot more like dress shoes than T-shirt dresses are like T-shirts. We have to give shoe designers credit for trying to pull off designs that look good enough to wear with a formal suit. But do they really look professional?

Historically speaking, sneakers have always been athletic shoes. In fact, what we now consider the modern sneaker has its roots in the leisure wear worn by wealthy vacationers in the late 1800s. First-generation sneakers were quickly associated with tennis and croquet because they were the footwear of choice when people played either sport.

Today’s dress sneakers run the gamut in terms of design. There is one particular oxford model that looks identical to a standard oxford dress shoe with the exception of the rubber sole. If you weren’t paying attention, you might miss that fact. They look good enough that you would want to protect them with a pair of GC Tech waterproof shoe covers.

On the other end of the scale are dress sneakers that still look like sneakers. They have just been dolled up a bit with a few aesthetic features. Keep them clean and there is no reason you couldn’t wear them with a business suit.

  • Whatever Works for You

When all is said and done, dress sneakers are still sneakers. They are still made of synthetic materials and boast a rubber sole that offers the quiet comfort sneakers are known for. If you consider them dressy enough to wear with a business suit, no one’s going to stop you from wearing them. Whatever works for you is fine. Just remember the dress sneakers are a lot like the T-shirt dress.

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