15 Athleisure Outfit Ideas with Shoes

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At its core, athleisure is about adding leisure and comfort to your regular every day wear. Thus, the athleisure styles of shoes gravitate around the “sneaker” variety, or so you might think.

When donning an athleisure outfit, you might be tempted to add some glamour into it. And, why shouldn’t you? It’s 2017 and women’s fashion rules have been relaxed. So, if you want to wear heels with your yoga pants and go out for date-night then no one is stopping you!

The reality is that other than sneakers, there are many other types of shoes that are suitable with athleisure wear and following is a thorough low-down of everything you need to know about them.

The Sneakers

Sneakers are any feet’s best friend; they are the idyllic shoes for walking and they prevent blisters or sore toes (that many other shoes are wont to do). Thus, because they are so comfortable, no longer are they relegated to sports or the gym only. Today, they have become suitable in every setting (even at work sometimes).

The Adidas Stan Smith Craze

This white sneaker with its trademark Adidas insignia in the back was hugely popular in the 80s. It returned to notoriety this past decade and with the rising popularity of yoga pants at the time, this shoe became the symbol of athleisure. This versatile shoe can be paired equally well with pants as well as with dresses and skirts of any length.

rhianna puma shoesA similar sneaker that enjoys popularity amongst celebrities include the Puma sneakers of the same style. Rihanna and Kylie Jenner are known to flit about town in these shoes. Available in many more colors other than white, these sneakers are great when paired with dresses especially.

Hidden Wedge Sneakers

athleisure hidden wedgesThese shoes ooze coolness. The hidden wedge of this shoe adds a nice dimension to it, making it suitable with jogger pants, skinny jeans and yoga pants. Remember, a slim pant silhouette goads better for this style of shoe than wider-leg pants. Also, these shoes in suede are particularly in vogue currently, so you might want to add this to your wardrobe essential list.

Slip-on Sneakers

The TOMS craze has engulfed us all with their slip-on sneakers. These pair well with rolled-up wide leg pants and with mini or midi skater dresses. Mostly intended for casual settings, these shoes don’t have much universal appeal in other dressier settings because of their bare-bones structure, but are trendy and comfy – a win-win!

The High-Tops

athleisure high topsAnother entrant in the “super cool kicks” category, these shoes are great when paired with skinny denim and joggers. They also work well with midi or mini skirts and dresses. Tracing their origins from basketball, these shoes have come a long way to becoming a favorite among sneaker-heads.

Retro Sneakers

When I say, “retro sneakers,” I mean running sneakers from the late 80s and the early 90s. These shoes had characteristic colorful stripes on a white body. Or, they would be available in colorful bodies with even funkier neon-color-like stripes.

All the colors make these shoes a great addition to any whimsical outfit. They can also add a pop of color to a drab monochrome outfit.

The New Balance “Dad Shoes”

What was once uncool is now a trendy shoe style because of the phenomenon known as normcore. Normcore originated because the millennials of today rediscovered the white, drab shoes from the 90s (that was part of the official “mini-van driving dad” uniform) and started wearing them. These shoes have thus received a new elixir of life much like the granny-style Hush Puppies did back in the early 90s.

Unfortunately, these shoes are not very suitable for dressier outfits and are simply relegated as the “everyday chore” outfit and Steve Jobs Halloween costumes!

The Chuck Taylors

These shoes are from the iconic Converse brand of sneakers. Its customary red shoes or the white leather shoes and blue emblem in the back have been a staple throughout recent fashion history. They pair equally well with skinny tapered pants, dresses and skirts.

Although they might not be a hot trend right now, these shoes never quite go out of style and always circle back into popularity every few years. Why don’t you set the standard and bring these shoes back with your outfits?


On the list of the next most comfy set of shoes, sandals rank second. Hence, athleisure outfits would be incomplete with the sandal.

Birkenstock Sandals

This is another historic brand renowned for perfecting a singular style of shoe over the years. Its sandals have a wide opening with bulky, adjustable straps and they are usually available in dark, metallic shades. Designed for comfort, these pair great with all sorts of pants. You would want to fold your pants to showcase the sandals and that’s all, these shoes work with everything!


These sandals come with a closed-toe front and an open back. Currently regarded as the hottest shoe trend of this season, these shoes are a great combo with athleisure. Opting for embellished sandals as opposed to color block varieties, these shoes can add some edginess to an outfit whilst not skimping on comfort.


Check out my ultimate guide to loafers and boat shoes. Boat shoes are a versatile shoe that can be paired with jeans, dresses, short-shorts – you name it. You might be thinking that they may or may not have a suitable stake in the athleisure fashion spectrum since they do veer towards a more preppy look. However, some loafer varieties have found a home in athleisure outfits, discussed below:


athleisure wedges

A great summer-time staple, these shoes are highly porous because they are made with fabric. Their ballet flatform made from esparto rope also make them very flexible and easy on the feet. There is no “breaking in” to these shoes so I would propagate every woman to own a pair of these highly trendy shoes right now.

When pairing with athleisure, these shoes work great with jeans and bomber jacket combos. Note that the athleisure styles need to be concentrated to the top of your outfit with these shoes since they don’t work with jogger pants as well as they do with skinny jeans. They do however work with t-shirts, crop tops and sporty jackets.

Penny Loafers

The penny loafers are different than the sperrys because they don’t have the lace front. Their simplistic style make them a good alternative to the espadrilles and also more suitable for the workplace.


The ankle boot variety requires some level of pant folding to be worn with panache. Follow this guide for the ultimate guide to boot pairing with pants. As a natural progression from loafers, boots have also started making an entrant into the athleisure spectrum.



When Drake strutted his Tims and sweat pants outfit on “Hotline Bling,” both men and women welcomed the idea of incorporating these boots into their athleisure styles. These shoes had always been a staple for fringe styles such as the “rocker chick” or “grunge” styles, but with the recent slew of celebrities strutting around in yoga pants and Timberlands, these shoes are entering the mainstream psyche as well.

High Heels

And alas, we must end with our frenemies, the high heels. When pairing athleisure outfits with heels, you are “dressing up” your outfit and giving it a boost for more formal settings. Yes, that means you can pair your sweat pants with heels. Here’s how:

Kitten Heels

athleisure Kitten HeelsThese cute little heels are usually less than 2 inches in height thus are easier on the feet and more suitable for the workplace. If you want to start wearing athleisure to work then you can pair your outfit with these heels, and for a definitive guide to infusing athleisure to work, read this.

Block Heels

athleisure block heelsLike kitten heels, these shoes are also less than 2 inches in height and their “mod like” look with their boxy shapes and sometimes color block varieties, make these shoes a great addition to any fashionista’s wardrobe. They pair great with all sorts of athletic inspired pants.

Pointed Toe Pumps

You could argue that these shoes don’t belong on this list of athleisure friendly shoes, but alas the pointed toe pumps or even the stiletto with its abominable 5-inch heel height will forever be a part of every woman’s life.

That’s all for now, ladies. If you haven’t already gotten on the athleisure gravy boat then I advise that you to do so immediately. It is after all the hottest trend of the decade y’know!

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