Matching Shoes With Pants: Which Color Trousers with Which Leather Shoes?

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Matching your shoes with your pants: Is there a right and a wrong way to do it? What trouser colors go best with black leather shoes? What about brown leather shoes? In this article, we cover how to match your leather shoes and dress trousers so you can easily get dressed in the morning.

So let’s assume we’re trying to pick out a pair of pants, and we have only two pairs of shoes in our closet: Brown leather shoes and black leather shoes.

(See all our posts in the Back To Basics series here)

Side note: If you can only own two pairs of shoes, let it be these, or some similar variation, they will go with practically everything.

If you ask me, when choosing between brown or black leather shoes, 99% of the time, I wear some type of brown leather shoe.

Brown is richer and more interesting than black lace-ups. That’s just my opinion, and I know black is appropriate in most of these situations. I just like brown better because looks more interesting.

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Should I Wear Black or Brown Leather Shoes? A Visual Guide

Brown or Black? A visual guide
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A.) Black pants.

B.) Grey suiting – Brown warms up the palette, but black works if you must.

C.) Dark, inky denim – The safest, most appropriate variation of denim for all situations. Brown looks best. Yes! Exception? If you’re wearing a black sport coat, or a black button-up. (Brown shoes can work with a black button-up, but you have to accent it with large amounts of swagger.)

D.) Navy suiting – Brown ideally. Black will work, but brown is more interesting (especially with a suit)

E.) Dark Khaki / Olive Chinos – Brown (this seems like an obvious choice)

F.) Medium Khaki Chinos – Brown (also an obvious choice?)

G.) Cream Trousers, Chinos – Brown, because it plays nicely with the off-white hue

H.) White Denim – Brown, exceptions: Black upstairs

This is by no means a hard-and-fast reference or guide, simply a place to start. Just because I endorse one color, DOESN’T mean the opposite can’t work.

In theory, either color shoe can go with any of these pant colors, but it also depends on what shirt you’re wearing (also: what type of shoe, what type of pants, how cool you are, etc.)

Try this: If you typically play it safe (i.e. black lace-ups with dark denim and a black button-up), try out your pair of brown wingtips with a lavender shirt.

Or swap out that black button up for a dark red / white bengal stripe shirt. Or swap the dark denim for an olive gingham. Lots of options pair nicely with brown, and you owe it to yourself to try them out.

Socks also play a role, but we wrote an article about that already.

Match Shoes with Pants: The Main Takeaway

Start with this visual guide, but don’t constrain yourself to it. Be experimental with your colors, and don’t be afraid to clash a little once you’ve mastered the basics.

I mash up colors all the time, and I like to wear patterns, colors, and textures that you wouldn’t normally think to put together.

Try it out!

Check back soon for more in the Back to Basics series. For now, how about you follow me on Instagram for some random color and style inspiration?