What Color Shoes to Wear With Your Suit

What Color Shoes to Wear With Your Suit

Figuring out which suit to wear for a particular occasion is usually an easy decision. More formal events call for a darker suit; more casual or daytime events are well suited to lighter colors. We tend to choose our fine accessories according to the theme, the location, or our mood. 

But what about shoes? They're seemingly the most confounding of menswear staples. This really is a two-part question then: what color shoes to wear with your suit, and what shoes to wear with what color suits? 

So let’s get right to the heart of the matter, starting with the most-asked query: 

What Color Shoes With a Navy Suit?

Most every well-dressed gentleman has a good navy suit in his wardrobe. It’s sartorial versatility at its best! It’s suitable for daytime and evening events, is easily paired with just about any color story, and can stand alone when separated into a blazer and trousers. 

As will be a theme here, the color of your shoes ultimately depend on your preference. Generally speaking though, a brown shoe is the ideal partner to a navy suit, especially for daytime events and less formal affairs. 

Man wearing a navy suit with brown shoes

Tan, chestnut, mahogany – you cannot go wrong with really any shade of brown (or black - brown combination) shoe with a navy suit. Oxblood shoes with a blue suit of a different shade is also a sophisticated look.

Black holds equal footing here. A black shoe and navy suit (or blue suit) create an elegant pairing that favors evening and more formal events. 

What Color Shoes With a Gray Suit?

Whether you call it a gray suit or a grey suit, the shoe color recommendation is the same. The most traditional choice of shoes with a grey suit is black. The sharp contrast between the suit and black shoe creates a polished look – the top choice for business or formal occasions.

For a less formal look, consider a brown shoe with a gray suit. Lighter browns, like caramel and walnut, are especially sophisticated. 

Modern, creative gentlemen may opt for something a bit more eye-catching. Burgundys and blues make for especially fun shoe colors with a charcoal suit.

Man wearing a gray suit with brown shoes

What Color Shoes With a Brown Suit?

With black, navy and gray suits being the most common, a brown suit is already a bit of a statement. As such, various shades of brown shoes are usually paired with a brown suit.

The browns should complement each other – neither perfectly match nor clash. Lighter tones, like tan and cognac, are less formal, while darker ones are more formal. 

If you're feeling adventurous however, black shoes with a brown suit make for a fine alliance as well.

Man wearing a brown suit and trying on black shoes


What Color Shoes With a Black Suit?

Black shoes with a black suit: refined, sleek, classic.

The most formal combination yet – a black suit with a polished black leather shoe offers utmost elegance and sophistication.  

Man wearing a black suit with black shoes


Of course, a black suit is standard. If you are one to buck the system, a standard black shoe may be too ordinaire for you. In this case, consider a black shoe with colored laces or soles, two-tone black shoes with, for example, leather and suede, or even a shoe constructed with an interesting fabric, like a pattern or velour. 

If you stray from a black shoe with your black suit, just make sure you keep other accessories in check – you want to be respectable, not a spectacle. (Unless you’re all about sprezzatura, in which case the sky’s the limit!)

Man wearing a black suit and considering a light brown shoe

More Suit Styling Tips

Can You Wear Black Shoes With Any Suit?

Yes! When in doubt, black shoes are a safe bet. If you do have choices, though, consider the formality of the occasion and the color of your suit and select accordingly.

Musician wearing light green suit with black shoes

Should Shoes Match the Tie or Suit?

Trick question! The color of your shoes should complement your tie and suit, but they need not match – it’s your belt you should coordinate with your shoes.

A black belt is best with black shoes; brown belt with brown shoes. If you opt for a fabric belt, consider the color story on either side of the buckle as this is the portion most likely to be seen with your suit jacket on.

Socks or No Socks?

This is personal preference. Less formal occasions give you license to go sock free, but dress socks are expected for more formal events.

Have fun with your socks! Statement socks are oftentimes only seen by your seat mates, so be a rebel and go all out if you want to. Ideally, tie the main color of the sock to another accessory – your bow tie or necktie, for example. 

Man wearing statement socks with his dress shoes and suit


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