What To Wear Brown Shoes

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

Although they’re not the most common colour, brown shoes can be an excellent way to bring some detail to your formal look. Whether you want a pair of lightweight loafers or some smarter brogues, there’s something for everyone. 


Black is always the safest bet for these occasions. But what happens when that black staple doesn’t always work with that navy suit you were planning to wear? Choosing a brown shoe as an alternative can be tricky. Depending on the occasion, sticking to the right shade of brown can make that style headache disappear.

The best way to decide on which colour of shoe to wear is to look at the colours in your outfit. Whilst darker colours tend to match better with black, if you’re sporting some Earth tones it’s always best to opt for brown shoes. Navy is trickier as it can go both ways. A simple option is to choose the same colour shoes as the trousers you’re wearing, but if you’re looking to buck the trend, then we’ve got you covered.

The Smart Look

Black Suit

The endless debate about whether black can be worn with brown will always rage on. Typically, it’s best to avoid brown with black. However, with a smart black suit and some brown suede shoes, you can make a classic look that is a bit more interesting. The best tip for wearing brown with black is to keep the shade dark and avoid lighter tan shades. You don’t want those brown shoes taking too much attention away from what should be the main point of interest – your suit.

Navy Suit

Brown shoes go really well with a navy suit. It can be tricky, but it’s all about sticking to the right shade of brown and how you accessorise. Teaming your suit with a light blue or pink shirt and some medium tan shoes can help you pull off an effortless look.

Darker shades will often compliment a navy suit. If you’re wearing a lighter shade of blue then a pair of tan loafers or brogues can work really well. However, sticking to dark brown.

Grey Suit

Grey suits traditionally tend to work better with black footwear. However, if you have a charcoal grey suit, dark brown shades can work. Mid grey suits are a better match for brown, again stick to darker shades or even ox-blood shoes for a more statement look. The general rule with grey is to avoid tan shades.

The Office

These looks can be taken into the office too. The full suit might be too smart for some of our professional lives, but it can work with a more relaxed, smart look. Try teaming grey and blue tones to those medium tan shoes as well. Navy trousers work really well with a classic grey jumper.

Of course, if you’re wearing brown it’s obvious to team it with some brown shoes for great colour coordination. Team a brown suit with a patterned shirt and some suede shoes, for an extra touch of class.

Keeping it Casual

The advantage to brown shoes is that they can be worn with almost anything, from jeans to corduroy and tweed. Unlike black, brown comes in an endless variety of shades and allows you to create a distinguished shoe collection that is unique.

For a relaxed, minimalist look that can be worn on weekends, stick with the basics. Opt for a white t-shirt, dark trousers and classy tan shoes. Heading out for a lunch with your pals? Stick to brown or green tones. A brown Chelsea boot with a rolled-up skinny jeans is a great look that can take you from day to night. Add a camel overcoat to really tie the look together. Wearing cropped trousers and exposing your ankles can create a super stylish look.

What to Wear with Brown Shoes

  • Try wearing some brown shoes with a black suit to add some extra detail to a classic look.
  • Brown shoes arguably go best with a navy suit to create a great summer outfit.
  • A grey suit with brown shoes is an excellent way to mix up your formal wardrobe.
  • Wear some brown suede Chelsea boots for a more casual style.

On That Note

Whether you’re looking for to complete your work outfit or just need some smart footwear, brown shoes are an excellent choice. The unusual colour adds an element of unique detail to even the most boring of looks. Although you have to be careful to not clash colours, if worn with the right thing, brown shoes can look extremely stylish.

Feature image from Pinterest

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