How to Dress Up Your Sneakers and Closed-Toe Shoes


Sneakers and closed-toe shoes are a staple in every shoe wardrobe. They have their place working out at the gym and stepping out for a quick errand or day of hitting the pavement shopping for your next outfit. However, while they lend a casual look overall, they can be dressed up easily to complement anything from sundresses to more classy athleisure wear. Not sure how to elevate these everyday shoes? Here’s how to dress up your sneakers and closed-toe shoes.

Choose a Form-Fitted Silhouette

When selecting a closed-toe shoe, aim for something that is form-fitting to define your silhouette and offer an elegant look. Ankle booties with a low wedge heel and a stretchable elastic fabric conform to your feet for a European style. Plus, the elastic fabric upper materials resist scuffs and feel oh-so-comfy for all-day wear. Usually, these types of washable shoes for women can be thrown right into the washing machine when they begin to look a little drab, too.

Pair Them with a Midi Skirt or Dress

Sneakers and closed-toe shoes can be dressed up with a more formal-looking attire like a dress or midi skirt. A flowing summer dress in practically any style can be toned down as you elevate your shoes to a whole new level. Choose simple white shoes to complement a dress or skirt with a busy pattern or bright color.

Loose and breezy slip-style dresses pair nicely with simple sneakers, too. While the sneakers can add visual weight to a slimming slip dress or skirt, it can be easily balanced out with a chunky wool sweater or blazer for date nights out in the city or a semi-formal day at work or trade show conference where you spend all day on your feet.   

Wear with Statement Pants or a Skirt

Dress up your basic sneakers with statement leggings, pants or even a skirt. This allows the statement piece to do all the talking and stand out front and center. By pairing casual sneakers and closed-toe shoes with an accent wardrobe piece, it simultaneously elevates the footwear and never distracts from the bottoms. Effortlessly cool and understated, sneakers and closed-toe shoes like loafers lend themselves to the statement clothing piece instead of clashing.

Whether it’s a flashy print like leopard spots, a multi-chrome stripe or a shimmering metallic, a bold print can dress up simple white Converse sneakers and closed-toe shoes in a flash. Of course, this eye-catching method works the opposite way, too! Alternatively, you could also choose a pair of statement shoes and pair it with a clean white outfit or elegant black ensemble for a striking accent and stunning outfit.

Wear with a Nice Pair of Denim

Denim jeans can totally change the look of a pair of sneakers or closed-toe shoes. Whether you choose tapered slim-fit skinny jeans with frayed hems or capris to show off a little skin, denim can elevate your casual mules, high-top sneakers or loafers into something really special.

It doesn’t have to be denim pants or capris either! A denim midi skirt lends a sweet, understated and elegant ensemble you can wear just about anywhere. Denim midi skirts also give a tomboyish or cottage-core flair.

Swap Out and Retie the Laces

If your shoes have laces, swap them out with something colorful and eye-catching. Laces can also be rearranged and woven into all sorts of styles, knots and more to create a more interesting look overall. It’s also just a fun way to show some flair for your favorite sports team, support a cause or simply reveal your unique personality. It can be a conversation piece to bring awareness or just make a new friend.

Slip on Some Fun Socks

Many stylists recommend wearing sneakers and closed-toe shoes without socks or at least no-show socks with a low profile. But what’s the fun in that? To really dress up your shoes, we invite you to wear a pair of fun socks instead.

This works especially well when pairing closed-toe shoes and long pants or jeans. With a small area between the hem of the bottoms and the top of loafers or slip-on booties, a cute pair of socks offer a peek of your unique personality. Even if you stick to a neutral color tone, there are all kinds of mesh or sheer socks that can lend a charming addition to sneakers and closed-toe shoes like mules and more.

Extra Tips for Sneakers and Closed-Toe Shoes

Don’t be afraid of flashy shoes. Unless you are hard-pressed on sticking to a capsule wardrobe, don’t shy away from sneakers and closed-toe shoes that beg for attention. As mentioned, an eye-catching shoe can be the statement piece of your whole look. When you choose a shoe with extra character that you absolutely adore and that screams you, you will undoubtedly find a way to wear it more frequently than you think. Even for minimalists with small wardrobes, it may wind up being your all-time favorite shoe.

Show some ankle. There’s a reason that midi skirts, capris and jeans work so well with sneakers and closed-toe shoes: They show a little skin! While you may not get to show off a pedicure, you can reveal your ankles and the shin area between the pants and shoes. For longer jeans, choose a length that stops an inch or so above the ankle bone or cuff them up a little.

Dress Up Your Everyday Sneakers and Closed-Toe Shoes

Sneakers are easy to style, once you get the hang of their casual aesthetic. Hopefully, these tips will offer some guidance on dressing up your sneakers and closed-toe shoes so you can step out in style. And best of all, whether it’s for work or for play, sneakers and closed-toe shoes offer all-day comfort and long-lasting support.

Try dressing up your sneakers and closed-toe shoes with an existing outfit to create a cute and stylish ensemble!

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.