Home Men's Fashion What Shoes To Wear With Chinos – The Ultimate Guide In 2023

What Shoes To Wear With Chinos – The Ultimate Guide In 2023

by Jamie Wilson

Hello, fashion enthusiasts! Navigating the vast world of fashion can sometimes feel like deciphering a complex puzzle. One of those timeless puzzles we’ve all pondered at some point is the harmonious pairing of chinos with the proper footwear. Ah, chinos! It is the perfect middle ground between casual jeans and formal trousers. But which shoes do they gel with? Slip-ons or lace-ups? Loafers or sneakers? This post promises to be your ultimate guide to demystifying this footwear conundrum. By the end of this read, you’ll have a clear sense of which shoes to sport with your chinos and grasp the why behind each choice, ensuring you step out with confidence, style, and a touch of expertise. Dive in, and let’s unravel this sartorial mystery together.

The Perfect Fit: Crafting Your Chino Look

suit with Chinos
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/7262788-Santoni-Loafers-Eleventy-Blazer-J-Crew-Chinos

Getting your chino game on point starts with the fit. I once bought a pair online that looked amazing but arrived tighter than my yoga pants. Lesson learned.

Color? Important. But, let me tell you, fit is king. Slim and straight-leg styles will be your best friends. They create that sleek, polished appearance without making you look like you’re trying too hard. As for the length, recall my ‘too-long’ tragedy and avoid it. Opt for cuffed or slightly cropped chinos for a neat and chic vibe.

Chino Chronicles: Where to Wear Them

Chino Chronicles
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/8038100-H&M-Grey-Suit-Blazer-Camel-Colored-Chinos-Brown

The versatile chinos lie between the realms of casual jeans and dapper dress pants. I remember wearing mine to a beach wedding paired with a breezy shirt. Was it a hit? You bet!

Pair them with your favorite tee and those worn-in sneakers for casual days. Going to a more formal event? No worries, chinos have got your back. Just toss on a crisp button-down and those classy Oxfords. Their adaptability makes them your trusty companion for smart casual, semi-formal, or even cocktail soirées.

Navigating Event Dress Codes with Chinos

chinos and shoes
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/5013702-Shirtsimilar-Here-Clubmaster-Men-In-Cities-Braided
  • Brilliant Casual Dos and Don’ts I’ve sported chinos for many a brunch. And the secret? Keep it breezy and sharp. Ditch those beach flip-flops and shiny dress shoes. Stick to clean sneakers or loafers. You’re golden with a casual tee paired with a blazer or perhaps a short-sleeved shirt.
  •  The Semi-Formal Aesthetic Pulling off chinos at a semi-formal event can feel like walking a tightrope. But with the right pair of polished dress shoes, say Oxfords or classy Derbys, you’re set. Team it up with a button-down, a blazer, or a suit jacket, and voila! A tie and pocket square? The cherry on top.
  •  Cocktail Hour in Chinos: I’ve been the rebel who ditched the conventional suit for chinos at cocktail parties. For footwear? Loafers were my go-to, both leather and suede. You’re cocktail-ready with a crisp shirt, sharp blazer, and the right attitude. And yes, embrace your unique style with colors and patterns.

The Ultimate Footwear Guide for Chinos

Let’s face it: shoes can make or break an outfit. With chinos, the world is your oyster. Each pairing tells a unique story, from boots to brogues, sneakers to loafers. Remember the event and the vibe you’re going for, and trust your instincts. Need specifics? That’s a deep dive for another day (stay tuned!).

Boot Up with Chinos

boots with chinos
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/5362902-Jacket-All-Saints-Hoodie-Gray-Chinos-Similar

Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, chinos and boots are like that unexpected couple everyone loves. My go-to? I like the evergreen Chelsea boots, especially when I want to add that touch of flair to an otherwise casual outfit. However, try chukka boots if you’re leaning more towards intelligent casual or semi-formal. It’s all about experimenting!

The Laid-back Elegance of Loafers

chinos with Loafers
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/7878648-Tommy-Hilfiger-Navy-Blazer-Boglioli-Cotton-Chinos

When in doubt, loafers it out! This duo has been my lifesaver on countless occasions. Perfect for that smart casual brunch or an upscale cocktail event. Want to up the game? Try going sockless and give those pants a little pin roll. A flash of the ankle can work wonders!

Weekend Vibes with Sneakers

chinos with Sneakers
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/5184740-Apc-Tshirt-Marc-By-Jacobs-Blazer-Zara-Chinos

Ah, the classic weekend look! Chinos paired with neat sneakers (think minimalistic white or black) are an easy win. Throw in a comfy tee and jacket; you’re all set. Got an impromptu dinner? Swap that tee for a shirt and the jacket for a blazer, and you’re evening-ready.

Boat Shoes: Channeling the Preppy Look

chinos with Boat Shoes
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/4874577-Similar-Here-Shirt-Glasses-Trousers-Vans-Boat

Now, boat shoes might be the underdogs in the shoe world, but combined with chinos, they pack a preppy punch. It is ideal for yacht outings or even a relaxed day at a café. My favorite look? Crisp white chinos, boat shoes, a breezy button-up, and a linen blazer. A touch of the Hamptons right in your city!

Lace-Up and Show-Up

Navigating Event Dress Codes with Chinos
Image credit: https://lookbook.nu/look/5437578-Allen-Edmonds-Shoes-Rayban-Sunglasses-J-Crew

Looking to dial up the formality a notch? Enter lace-up shoes. I remember pairing my navy chinos with black leather Oxfords for a semi-formal event, and let’s say compliments flowed! Depending on your vibe, Derby shoes (both leather and suede) can add that sophisticated touch without being overly formal. Pro-tip: Play around with colors. Darker shoes elevate the look, while lighter shades keep it relaxed.

Chinos + Shoes: The Ultimate Pairing Guide

  • Intelligent Casual or Casual: Sneakers or loafers are your best bet. Keep it stylish and effortless.
  •  Semi-Formal Events: Think lace-up shoes. Trust me, they changed the game!
  •  Feeling Adventurous? Step into boots or boat shoes. Perfect for when you want to stand out.
  •  The Golden Rule: Both leather and suede can be your allies. It’s all about the mood you’re in.

What Are Some Specific Shoe Styles and Brands That Pair Well With Chinos?

Delving into specific shoe styles and brands can certainly guide you to make informed fashion choices that align with your chinos. Here’s a curated list that pairs exceptionally well:


  • Gucci: Their leather loafers with the iconic horsebit detail lend a sophisticated edge.
  • Tod’s: Known for comfortable driving loafers, perfect for a smart casual look.


  • Clarks Desert Boot: A suede option that’s timeless and versatile.
  • Dr. Martens Chelsea Boot: For an edgier look with chinos, especially for casual outings.


  • Adidas Stan Smith: A classic white sneaker with a clean, contemporary look.
  • Common Projects Original Achilles: Minimalist and luxurious, perfect for elevating casual chino outfits.

Boat Shoes

  • Sperry Top-Sider: The original creator of boat shoes, their classic style is preppy perfection.

Lace-Up Shoes

  • Allen Edmonds Strand Oxford: For a semi-formal touch with leather elegance.
  • Grenson Archie Brogues: Offers that unique blend of traditional and modern aesthetics.

Versatile Options

  • New Balance 990: Casual sportiness that pairs well with chinos for an everyday look.
  • Church’s range of loafers and lace-ups, renowned for quality, adds an impeccable finish to semi-formal and cocktail attires.

Tips and Considerations:

  • Match the Occasion: More formal brands like Church’s suit semi-formal events, while Adidas and New Balance offer more relaxed styles.
  • Think of the Color Palette: Consider the color of your chinos and shoes. Brands like Common Projects provide a wide array of neutral shades that ease the pairing.
  • Invest in Quality: While luxury brands often come with higher price tags, a timeless pair from renowned brands like Gucci or Allen Edmonds can provide a lasting style statement.

In conclusion, blending the chino’s flexibility with these brands’ specific style and flair allows for a wardrobe that’s not only on-trend but also uniquely you.

A Simple Guide To Maintaining & Caring for Chinos

1. Read the Label:

First and foremost, always check the care label inside your chinos. Different brands and chino fabrics might have specific care instructions.

2. Washing:

  • Temperature: It’s generally best to wash chinos in cold water to prevent them from shrinking and to help maintain their color.
  • Inside Out: Turn your chinos inside out before washing. This helps reduce the friction that can cause fading and wear.
  • Gentle Cycle: If your machine has a setting for delicate items, use that. It’s gentler on the fabric.
  • Avoid Bleach: Never use bleach on colored chinos, as it can discolor and weaken the fabric. If necessary for white chinos, use it sparingly.

3. Drying:

  • Air Dry: Whenever possible, allow your chinos to air dry. This prevents shrinkage and reduces wear and tear.
  • Avoid High Heat: If you must machine dry, use a low or medium setting. High heat can cause chinos to shrink and can weaken the fabric.
  • Hang Them Properly: To prevent wrinkles, hang your chinos by the waistband on a trouser hanger.

4. Ironing:

  • Test First: Before ironing, test a small, inconspicuous area to ensure the iron’s heat doesn’t damage the fabric.
  • Steam: If your iron has a steam function, use it. Steam helps remove wrinkles without pressing too hard on the fabric.
  • Iron Inside Out: Like with washing, turn your chinos inside out to iron. This can help prevent any shine or changes in color on the outer fabric.

5. Storage:

  • Space: Ensure your chinos have enough space in the wardrobe and aren’t squashed. This helps prevent unwanted creases.
  • Avoid Clips: If using hangers, use those with a full clamp or a soft grip rather than metal clips, which can leave marks on the fabric.

6. Stains:

  • Quick Action: If your chinos get stained, act quickly! Dab the stain (don’t rub) with a damp cloth or use a mild stain remover.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Stick to mild stain removers. Strong chemicals can discolor the fabric.

7. Periodic Rest:

Give your chinos a break every few wears. Constant wear can lead to quicker deterioration of the fabric.

By following these care guidelines, your chinos will not only maintain their color and structure but will be a trusty component of your wardrobe for years to come. Happy styling! ????


In wrapping up fashion enthusiasts, navigating the world of chinos and shoes can initially seem like venturing into uncharted territory. However, with the right pairings, the journey becomes an exhilarating style adventure. Remember, it’s all about finding balance – the relaxed elegance of loafers, the weekend charm of sneakers, or the bold statement of boots. There’s no one-size-fits-all; what works for a beach outing might not suit a semi-formal dinner. There’s a tad risk of a fashion misstep, but with our guide and a dash of your flair, you’re more equipped than ever. So, embrace the chino-shoe challenge, experiment confidently, and let your style speak volumes. Here’s to stepping out in unmatched style and making every pavement your runway!

Feature image by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

You may also like