Matching Dress Shoes With Pants - Our Guide For 2023
- by Off The Cuff
- August 18, 2023
- 4 min read
No bespoke suit look is complete without a pair of properly-shined dress shoes.
You’ll want some top-notch accessories—for example, sunglasses and watches. However, nothing goes better with a well-fitted suit than classy shoes.
But what color shoes should you be getting? What shoes pair well with your suit color?
Matching dress shoes with pants can be tough for those newer to men’s style. We’ll do the heavy lifting for you: We’ll provide five different suit pants colors and the shoe color to pair them with. But first, let’s touch on the different colors of dress shoes available to you.
What Dress Shoe Colors Exist?
Many colors of dress shoes exist. However, we’ll be sticking to the classics.
In general, you’ll find three dress shoe colors for menswear:
With these color options in mind, let’s dive into what color suit pants each option works best with.
Matching Dress Shoes With Pants
You have so many suit color options available to you—all of which create a large spectrum of formality ranging from black tie down to casual dinner parties.
For this guide, we’ll cover the five most popular pants colors:
- Navy Blue
Black is the first color we consider when we think of a well-dressed man in a suit—it’s a classy, timeless option for stylish men.
It’s also the least versatile option, and this characteristic translates to the shoe options available to you.
Black suits should only be worn in the most formal settings, such as formal business settings, funerals, or black-tie events. With a pair of black pants, the only color shoes you should be wearing are black shoes.
Opting for brown or oxblood-colored shoes with a black suit is a fashion faux pas for stylish men. Black on black is your only viable option, unfortunately.
Gray suits can come in many different shades—here, we’ve separated lighter and medium gray suits from their darker, charcoal counterparts.
If you want a slightly more casual, versatile option, gray suits are the answer. Although less formal than navy blue, gray suits are still an incredible option for nearly any setting outside of the most formal of events.
Pairing shoes with gray suit pants is easy: All three colors work!
If you choose black shoes, you’ll combine a formal option with a slightly more casual suit option. This helps elevate your gray suit and makes you look a little more proper, though we would recommend saving black shoes for medium or darker gray suits.
Brown and oxblood shoes are versatile options that complement the more casual nature of a gray suit. Paired with a lighter gray shade, these shoes offer a great opportunity to show off some personality with your look.
Navy Blue Pants
We believe that navy blue suits are the gold standard for men’s suiting—it’s the most popular color worldwide for a reason!
You can think of navy blue in the same light as gray: It’s a versatile option we recommend as the first color a man should buy for their suit collection. However, the primary difference between the two colors is formality—a navy blue suit is slightly more formal than a gray suit.
Again, with navy blue pants, you can wear all three of the dress shoe colors. Black will provide you with a put-together, formal look. Oxblood or burgundy helps add a level of casual sophistication to your style. Brown sits somewhere in the middle—in fact, the combination of a navy blue suit with brown dress shoes is a timeless look that we love. Add a matching brown leather watch and you’re set!
Charcoal suits are versatile in their application—they work in just about any setting, from business settings to casual events and beyond.
They’re also an incredible option for appearing more mature. A charcoal suit can make a young man appear older and more mature.
With charcoal pants, our recommendation is to stick with black shoes. A classy pair of well-shined, black leather dress shoes pair best with your charcoal suit and help you complete a timeless, sophisticated look.
You can go with an oxblood or burgundy color—with the caveat that they must be a darker shade. Avoid brown shoes with charcoal gray pants, though. Lighter brown shades simply do not pair well with charcoal.
The last suit color is slightly more outside the box: A brown suit.
The truth is that brown suits used to be one of the most popular suit colors before being overtaken by today’s classics, such as navy blue and gray. They tend to be a better option for men with a darker complexion, and they’re also a more casual choice than the others listed here.
When wearing brown pants, you’re fairly limited in your shoe color options. It may sound strange, but you’ll actually want to pair brown with brown!
Here’s the catch: Make sure your shades of brown are different from each other. You don’t want your shoes to perfectly match your pants. Because of this, you can opt for burgundy or oxblood-colored shoes, too. Just be sure to avoid black shoes—they’re not a good option for a brown suit.
Looking For The Perfect Suit?
You can’t pick the perfect shoe color for your suit pants without the suit itself!
The Joseph Abboud Bespoke Suiting process will get you started with a stylish suit that you’ll never want to take off. We’ll take your exact measurements, let you choose the aspects of the suit you like, and set you up with your dream suit.
Or, if you prefer, you can go with made-to-measure pieces and explore ready-to-wear styles—the choice is yours!
Ready to suit up? Learn more about how Joseph Abboud’s bespoke suit process takes your style game to the next level.