Can You Wear Brown Shoes with Black Pants




can you wear brown shoes with black pants

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When you think of professional attire, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t wearing brown shoes with black pants. However, many men don’t know if it’s acceptable and just hope they’ll get okay in society. This article discusses the history and modern-day applications of the much-debated question: Can you wear brown shoes with black pants.

can you wear brown shoes with black pants

Can You Wear Brown Shoes With Black Pants?

The short answer is yes; you can wear brown shoes with black pants. There are multiple situations where this is acceptable and situations where it isn’t. If you’re unsure, here’s what to do:

If the pants are a lighter shade of black (light-grey, white, etc.), avoid wearing brown shoes. If the pants are a darker shade of black (charcoal, navy) and it’s not your day-to-day wear, then you can get away with wearing brown shoes.

Here’s How to Combine Brown Shoes with Black Pants.

Keep It Casual

Don’t wear the combination if you’re going out to a formal event, even if the pants are dark. If you’re hanging out with friends or going for a walk around town, then it’s okay as long as it isn’t your everyday attire.

Contrast is Key

The trick of wearing brown shoes with black pants is to make sure the two colors contrast each other. You can do this by making sure your shoe and pant color are exact opposites (i.e., black and white, grey and tan), or you can get more creative and wear a pair of dark green boots with navy blue dress pants for a bold look.

If You Want to be More Stylish

If you want to take your style up a notch, then consider wearing brown shoes with black pants as part of it. Just remember, there are situations where this outfit combination won’t fly, so know the rules before taking the risk. Please don’t overdo it either, as not every article of clothing has to be precisely opposite colors.

Match Your Shoes to Other Items

If you’re wearing the outfit as a whole, then make sure to match your brown shoes to items such as your belt, watchband, or scarf. While this will go unnoticed by some people, those with a keen eye for details will notice and appreciate it!

Standards for Combining Black Pants and Brown Shoes

Avoid the Near-Match Clash of Dark Brown Shoes.

The main issue with matching dark brown shoes with black pants is that it’s a near-black match and usually not even close. This reeks of tackiness and makes the person wearing the outfit look like they just threw on any piece of clothing they found first or had lying around in their closet.

Match Your Shoes to Your Belt.

As we’ve mentioned before, one of the best ways to combine your clothes is to match them as much as possible. If you wear black pants, make sure that your shoes and belt are a close color match. The leanest way to do it is to use a brown belt with brown shoes, but a black belt will suffice if you don’t have that.

Go with a Subtle Shade of Brown Shoes.

If you wear brown shoes, then make sure they aren’t a ridiculously bright color such as red or yellow. These colors tend to attract too much attention and usually don’t work well with anything other than casual outfits. You can go the safe route and wear a brown shoe that matches other elements in your outfit, but if you want to get adventurous, go for something slightly brighter than usual, such as tan.

What can you not wear brown shoes with

Combine Black Pants With Brown Shoes – Top 3 Hit or Miss Combinations

The following will provide perspective on wearing black pants with brown shoes through pictures of three different outfits. The first outfit has a hit, the second has a miss, and the third is debatable.

Black Pants with Light Brown Shoes (Hit)

This combination is excellent; it’s an exact color matchmaking it works nicely together. The critical factor in pulling this off is to make your belt dark enough to go with the shoes, so it isn’t an exact match.

Black Pants with Tan Shoes (Hit)

The contrast is good here as well, making this another solid outfit combination. The only thing you can improve is to make sure that your belt color goes better with your shoes than the brown pants.

Black Pants with Brown Shoes (Miss)

Here’s an example of how not to do the combination; however, you might be able to pull it off depending on what you’re wearing with them. If this is an everyday outfit for you, then that’s fine, but if this is your nice casual outfit, you should avoid pairing brown shoes with black pants. Even though it isn’t an exact color match, it’ll still work better with a belt that goes more with the shoes.

FAQs About Brown Shoes With Black Suit 

Can you wear brown shoes with a black suit?

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about wearing brown shoes with a black suit, but it is considered unacceptable in most cases. Brown shoes are often relegated to casual outfits, and in most formal situations, acceptable attire includes a classic black shoe with no color accents. Colored leather options are out, especially if they are anything but black.

Can I wear brown shoes with a grey suit?

A typical fashion question is whether or not you can wear brown shoes with a grey suit. The answer is yes, providing that your pair of shoes are in the same color family as your suit. Different shades of brown are all considered acceptable options, so long as they are not too different from the color of your suit.

Can you wear brown shoes with a navy blue suit?

Yes, but there are some things to keep in mind before you choose this option. For starters, the shade of brown should be pretty close to that of your suit. Also, keep in mind that brown shoes can clash with a dark navy suit. If you want to avoid any potential fashion disasters, stick with lighter shades of brown such as tan or light espresso (also know as cappuccino).

Can you wear black pants with brown shoes?

As long as your belt is dark enough, this combination will look great together. However, it’s also possible to wear white pants with brown shoes. If you go this route, make sure that your trousers don’t match your shoes perfectly; the key is contrast.


Although brown shoes are acceptable with black pants, it is often best to avoid doing so. Brown shoes should be reserved for casual outfits unless you’re wearing a light-colored suit that doesn’t have a matching pair of dress shoes available. Otherwise, you will have just given away the fact that you don’t know how to match formal attire.

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