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A Guide to Men’s shoe colour combinations

By November 10, 2020July 30th, 2021No Comments

A popular question asked by many people looking to buy their first pair of fine leather shoes is, ‘should I get brown or black ones?’ This is a simple question but the answer is not. There are many variables that have to be factored in so one can pick a colour: Are you going for a casual look? Is this shoe for work? Are they perhaps for a wedding or a funeral? Let’s dive in and discuss these different factors and get you one step closer to getting your new leather shoes.

First of all here are a few rules for a coloured shoe novice:

  1. Black shoes are always smarter than anything multi-coloured
  2. If you are wearing bright coloured shoes anchor them with neutral colours elsewhere
  3. Generally darker tones are smarter than light
  4. Trainers and smart shoes obey different laws. A pair of white trainers will go with almost anything in your wardrobe. But a pair of white oxfords may be questionable

Brown leather shoes

If it’s a casual look you’re after then I thoroughly recommended brown calf leather or suede shoes. Brown ranges from dark brown to a light tan so versatility with these colours is great. These shoes can range from oxford and derby brogues to a comfortable slip on loafer. Pairing these colours with an outfit is where it begins it get tricky. It is a well-known rule that brown shoes should never be worn with black trousers or black suit, especially a tux. Then again, rules are meant to be broken, just don’t say we didn’t warn you. Instead we recommend pairing your coloured shoes with a navy or grey suit or brown trousers that compliment your shoes. A neat trick is to compliment these colours is to pair your lighter coloured shoes with a darker coloured suit.

Black leather shoes

Traditionally a pair of black leather shoes is the safest option for smart footwear. “A pair of black Oxfords is probably the most dressed-up shoe you can have in your wardrobe” says Luke McDonald at men’s online styling service Thread. Black should be your go to for something black tie or a formal work shoe. When it comes to pairing black with more casual wear it gets trickier, but not impossible. If you are going to wear brown trousers such as chinos, my advice to you is to stick to a less formal style. A derby is a slightly chunkier and more relaxed shoe compared to an oxford. If you insist on black shoes with dark denim however, then your best option is a black Chelsea boot. If you’re someone who loves their brightly coloured clothes than I suggest lace-less shoes i.e. loafers and to lose the socks for the most relaxed look. Finally, you should probably save the look of shorts and black shoes for the kids at school.


In the end though style is all about preference! Have a look at our whole range of black and coloured shoes on our website and find what’s right for you.

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