How to wear brown shoes

Brown two tone brogues

Samuel Windsor Brown Brogues with Tweed!
Image source: Samuel Windsor brogues

Bored of black? Well it’s time to enrich your shoe rack with a pair of quality brown shoes. This versatile colour will update your style and inject some warmth and colour into your winter wardrobe.

With so many differing opinions surrounding this wonderful shade, it can be tricky to know how to wear brown shoes. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the rules and created a mini style guide, so you can be the best brown wearer in town.

The golden rules to wearing brown shoes

You’ve probably heard that black and brown is a colour combination to avoid like the plague. The reason for this thinking is that the contrast between the two shades isn’t different enough, so it just looks like a mismatch.

As black suits are popular with many men, brown shoes are often unfairly avoided. But don’t discount the colour combination entirely. Brown shoes go well with many different coloured clothes. They look stylish with blue, grey, green and stone outfits. And even with black clothes, brown shoes can be a great way to make an outfit more casual if you know how.


Brown over black

These dark brown Oxfords would look great with a navy suit.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Black is often the go-to colour for formal events. Of course, if you’re attending a white or black tie occasion, you’ll need to wear a polished pair of black Oxfords. But not all formal events require a black suit or dinner jacket. If you don’t limit yourself to black clothing you’ll open up a whole range of footwear options that allow you to inject a little personality into your ensemble.

Often overlooked, brown suits have a certain retro charm and look great paired with classic brown shoes. Alternatively, charcoal grey or midnight blue suits look good teamed with a pair of dark brown shoes.

And if you’ve opted for a traditional sports jacket or blazer rather than a full suit, you’ll definitely want a shiny pair of brown leather shoes or smartly polished brogues to set it off.

Smart casual


Brown shoes work beautifully with this heritage style tweed jacket.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Coordinated separates is the simple answer to smart casual events. The popular heritage look works well – try teaming a traditional check tweed jacket with a pair of mid-toned brown brogues.

Brown Chelsea boots are another great option for the smart casual heritage look. Wear with plain moleskin trousers and a check 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 and lighter browns lean towards the more casual.


This is where the golden rules can be broken. For a truly casual look, even with black jeans or trousers, brown shoes are ideal.

Loafers are a classic example. If you’re wondering how to wear loafers, try matching a brown pair with black trousers. You may want to match your belt with your shoes, to make clear your colour choice was intentional!

A pair of sturdy leather boots is a practical choice for the winter, and looks stylish teamed with a pair of chinos.

And for the summer months, a pair of brown deck shoes goes well with chino shorts. A tucked in shirt and a belt will finish things off nicely.

What to wear with brown shoes

  • Don’t wear brown shoes for formal black tie or white tie events.
  • Dark brown shoes look great with blue and grey suits.
  • Heritage suits, like tweed, are ideal with brown brogues.
  • Brown boots work exceptionally well with cords or jeans.
  • As a rule, the lighter the brown, the more casual the look.

So if you’re a devotee of black shoes then hopefully you’ve been persuaded to consider brown. And if you’re a stickler for rules, then we can only apologise for the loafer suggestion, but we just think it looks good!

Posted in How To - Shoes.

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