How to wear men’s brown shoes

A pair of brown leather brogues.

Brown leather brogues are a versatile addition to any man’s wardrobe
Image source: Classic Cheltenham brogues from Samuel Windsor

Bored of black? Perhaps it’s time to consider adding some quality brown shoes to your wardrobe. Ever more acceptable for wear in smart settings, brown leather shoes continue to grow in popularity. And brown can be so incredibly stylish too. Just think of how well a blue suit goes with contrasting brown leather Oxfords – it’s a look that’s been around for a long time, but never loses its sense of daring.

Brown brogues have a natural affinity for tweed. Derbys or loafers wear well with chinos. Brown leather chukkas suit moleskins, cords or denim. There really is a brown shoe for every occasion. Here are some of our favourite classic brown leather shoes with quick tips on how to wear them.

When can I wear brown shoes?

A pair of brown loafers.

Brown loafers are suitable for many occasions, other than the most formal
Image source: Classic Penny loafers in brown suede from Samuel Windsor

You should continue to wear black for the most formal occasions – think funerals, job interviews, Remembrance Sunday parades. But other than that, provided you choose the right colour combinations, brown will work.

Have you heard of the colour wheel? It’s a circular diagram showing the progression of shades through the primary colours. It’s set out in a way that shows you, at a glance, which colours will work together and which won’t. A colour’s complement is the hue that offers the most contrast and, in the case of brown, that’s blue. That’s why your blue suit, brown shoe combo is so dazzling.

How to wear brown shoes in formal settings

A dark brown Oxford, seen from above.

Dark brown Oxfords look great with a navy suit
Image source: Classic Oxford shoe in brown leather from Samuel Windsor

If you’re attending a white or black tie occasion, you’ll need to wear a pair of polished black Oxfords. But, for other occasions, if the dress code allows it and you don’t limit yourself to charcoal or black suits, you’ll open up a whole range of footwear options. Brown shoes come in so many shades there’s almost always a pair that will look fantastic with your choice of outfit.

We love brown suits. They offer the sort of soft retro charm that look great paired with classic brown shoes. For summer events, consider lighter colours. A natural summer linen suit, for example, looks great with loafers. Go for a tan pair – the orange tinge will lift the neutral fabric and add interest.

If you’re opting for a traditional sports jacket, blazer, or even a tweed suit, you’ll definitely want a shiny pair of brown leather shoes or smartly polished brogues to set it off. Derbys or brogues look just right in this setting.

How to wear brown shoes for smart casual occasions

A brown leather brogue seen from above.

Brown leather brogues add a little flair to a smart casual outfit
Image source: Prestige Bartlett Brogue from Samuel Windsor

Coordinated separates offer the perfect menswear solution for smart casual events. Just think of how good your tweed jacket, checked Tattersall shirt and coffee-coloured chinos look with a pair of mid-tone brown brogues.

Brown Chelsea boots are another great option for the smart casual heritage vibe. Wear with plain moleskin trousers and a checked shirt. And if you like a traditional style shoe, try a pair of brown Derbys in suede. As a rule, darker browns tend to have a more formal appearance while tan leather shoes and lighter browns lean towards the more casual.

How to wear brown shoes for casual occasions

A single brown loafer, seen from above.

Brown leather loafers are a relaxed option for weekend wear
Image source: Prestige Penny loafers in tan leather

Whether you go for loafers, brogues, moccasins, Chelsea boots, or chukkas, brown is your go-to choice for casual wear. Brown brogues look great with jeans, cords or moleskins.  Loafers also suit denim. And if you’re wearing shorts, brown deck shoes are the perfect option. Experiment with different style combinations and see how they look.

For summer wear, do include suede in your footwear wardrobe. Lightweight suede brogues are a smart option, but for dressing down, you’ll love suede desert boots. Born in the Cairo Bazaar during WW2, these boots go well with chinos and jeans.

During the winter months, opt for a pair of sturdy leather boots in brown. A practical choice for the winter, dark brown boots look stylish and smart while lighter browns and tans have a more casual feel.

What to wear with brown shoes

A pair of brown deck shoes.

Brown deck shoes are ideal with shorts
Image source: Prestige leather deck shoes from Samuel Windsor

  • Never wear brown shoes to formal black tie events.
  • Dark brown shoes look great with navy chinos and suits.
  • Wear brown leather brogues with heritage tweed.
  • Brown boots work exceptionally well with cords or jeans.
  • Try brown leather deck shoes with shorts and chinos.
  • As a rule, the lighter the brown, the more casual the look.

If you tend to stick to black shoes, hopefully you’ve read enough to convince you to give brown a try. Tell us about your favourite pair of brown shoes. Head over to our Facebook page and share your style tips.

Posted in How To - Shoes.

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