How to Wear Brown Shoes with Black Pants: Complete Guide

How to wear brown shoes with black pants - faverie

You may be wondering if you can wear brown shoes with black pants. This post is designed to answer that question with a resounding yes. At the same time, there are vital factors to keep in mind.

By reading this post, you will learn those secrets, including when it is appropriate to wear brown shoes with black pants. Then, we will take a deep dive into how to wear this look and make specific recommendations of what shoes look best with different styles of pants.

If you love the look of wearing brown shoes with black pants but are afraid that it will look like you accidentally grabbed the wrong pair of shoes, then by the time you read to the end of this post, that stress will be gone.

Black pants with brown shoes, is it a great idea?

Are you hesitant to wear brown shoes with black? Maybe, you have even heard somewhere that you should never wear brown shoes with black outfits.

While there are some specific times when wearing brown shoes with black outfits is not a good idea, there are other times when it is absolutely appropriate. 

Womens boots street

Come along as we learn more about this trend and cute outfits that you can put together using brown and black. You will love wearing them together once you conquer a few fashion rules.

Can you wear brown shoes with black pants?

There are many factors to consider, but you can generally wear brown shoes with black pants, except on very formal occasions. You should avoid wearing deep brown and black together as they will clash, but that still gives you plenty of freedom in what you wear.

The first thing to remember is that you should not wear browns that are almost black with brown shoes. They will not look good together. Instead, choose lighter brown or tan shoes. There definitely needs to be a contrast between your brown shoes and black pants. They also look great when worn to athletic events as a spectator.

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Your brown shoes should not be the only brown found in your outfit. At least 10% of your outfit should be brown. Like necklaces and watches, accessories are a great place to incorporate more brown into your wardrobe.

If you are going to a formal affair, leave the brown shoes in the closet. Black shoes are most appropriate for formal occasions, so skip your brown shoes. On the other hand, you can wear brown shoes with black to complete your daytime wedding attire, the office, and casual dates. In most cases, stick to the same shade of brown to help tie your outfit together.

What to consider?

While I have already covered this idea, do not wear brown shoes with black outfits to formal affairs. Additionally, keep in mind that the shade of brown matters tremendously. Wear brown shoes that create a great contrast with the black in your outfit. When the colors match too closely, they will not look good together.

You can wear brown shoes with black outfits for many occasions. For example, put on a black blazer and your brown shoes for a daytime wedding. Brown works well with black when worn with dress pants and a button-down shirt, but remember that it is always vital to consider the shade of brown.

When wearing brown shoes with black pants, keep your outfit’s top as monochromatic as possible. Simultaneously wearing too many colors makes an outfit look thrown together because someone forgot to do laundry, and you do not want that. Instead, choose a color like navy and a lighter blue for the rest of your outfit.

One excellent option is to wear medium-brown shoes with black pants, a white button-down shirt, and a blue pullover sweater. Remember that if you are mixing and matching colors, then 60% of your wardrobe should be one color, 30% another color, and 10% a third. You can increase the amount of brown you wear by choosing brown accessories, like a matching belt or carrying a matching tote bag. A matching brown watch can also make a great addition.

What to avoid?

Avoid anything too formal when wearing brown shoes with black pants. Therefore, you will not want to wear them with your formal tails or conservative business suit. On the other hand, brown shoes are perfect for wearing with chinos and jeans. Additionally, stick with more casual styles of shoes or wear boots.

Detail brown boots black pants
Source: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If you are invited to a formal affair, like a black-tie event, then do not wear brown shoes with your black pants. In that case, you will want to wear your black shoes. If you work for a conservative company where three-piece suits are the only accepted attire, avoid wearing black pants and brown shoes to work.

If you wear black pants, avoid brown shoes that are almost black. Instead, you should opt for medium-browns or lighter shades. Additionally, you should avoid brown shoes that are too light as they will not look good with black, so stay away from white shoes with a brown tint to them or tan boots.

If you do not feel good wearing brown shoes with black pants, avoid doing it. Your self-confidence will take a hit, and you will feel self-conscious while doing it. You should never wear something you do not think looks great on you.

Brown shoes should not be the only place that brown is found in your wardrobe. There are many great brown accessories that you can consider wearing. Additionally, you may want to wear a brown hat or carry a brown briefcase or tote bag.

What accessories can you wear with brown shoes and black pants?

There are many brown accessories that you can wear with your brown shoes and black pants. Anything that you add to your basic outfit is considered an accessory. Therefore, you have many different choices when picking out your outfit.

Leather bracelets and necklaces are one possibility. Consider choosing options that closely match the color of your shoes. These options are great because it helps spread the brown across your outfit.

Mans hand wrist wooden leather bracelets

More men are starting to wear fashion rings. You may consider wearing options with a brownstone, like a cat-eye opal or fire agate. Consider options that have a manly appearance.

There are many different styles of watches with brown in them. You may want to consider one with a brown face. Alternatively, consider a watch with a brown band, like a leather one. Choose a digital or an analog watch, depending on which style you like the most.

A pair of brown sunglasses is another fabulous choice to wear with brown shoes and black pants. Opt for alternatives that have brown lenses or choose brown frames. Protect your eyes by selecting brown sunglasses that completely cover your eyes, including the sides.

A brown hat is a great choice. You can choose between many styles depending on other items in your wardrobe. For instance, if you are wearing a blazer, then brown flat caps can be a great choice. Brown beanies look great with black jeans.

In the next chapter, I will discuss some more ideas on when you can wear brown shoes with black pants. Therefore, you will want to ensure that you keep reading. After all, this is a marvelous idea; when done correctly, that is sure to impress.

Tips to wear brown shoes with black pants without looking like an accident

Now that you know that brown shoes and black pants go together in casual environments let’s dive into where to wear this combination. Additionally, we will look at what shoes you should pick out and which ones you will want to leave in your closet.

While I will have more to say on the subject in the next chapter, we will also start putting together some fashionable outfits with brown shoes and black pants.

There are many great options in brown shoes. Therefore, you should wear them often. In this case, you will want to stick with your casual shoes, like boat shoes, loafers, and sneakers. 

Leave more formal brown shoes for other occasions. Likewise, when selecting brown shoes, please do not wear them on formal occasions. You can wear them to many informal events, like daytime weddings, meetings, most dining establishments, and on many dates.

Let’s explore this concept a little deeper by looking at 10 tips on where, when, and how to pair brown shoes with black pants.

Keep it casual

I have covered this many times, but the number one rule when wearing brown shoes with black pants is to create a casual outfit. Brown shoes are perfect for wearing with black jeans and chinos. 

They are also ideal for wearing with blazers and some sports coats as long as you keep the outfit casual. Sweaters are an excellent option for wearing with black pants and brown shoes on a cooler day. 

You can even wear a necktie underneath a blazer if you want. If you are like most people, you wear casual clothes about 90% of the time. Therefore, you can wear brown shoes and black pants with most of your wardrobe.

Focus on contrast

You do not want your shoes to look like part of your parts. Therefore, you should avoid choosing any brown shoes that are too close to being black. Generally, you can divide brown shoes into three large color groups. 

Some are deep brown, and these are generally the ones to avoid if you are wearing black pants because there is too little contrast. Then, there are medium shades of brown, like bronze, cognac, and light walnut. 

These often look ideal with other neutrals. The final group is those that have a red tint, like chili and Bordeaux. These shoes work well with greens.

Choose matching accessories

When wearing brown shoes with black pants, wear matching accessories. If your outfit requires a belt, make sure it matches your shoes exactly. Matching brown hats look ideal with brown shoes and black pants. Then, you can opt to wear other brown accessories, like necklaces and bracelets. 

Another great option is to wear a watch with a brown strap or a brown face. About 10% of your outfit should be the same shade of brown. Assuming that you keep the look casual, you can wear a brown necktie with this look.

Consider the occasion

Like I have said many times, wearing brown shoes with black pants should be reserved for casual affairs. Most formal affairs you attend will have a dress code, so if you see one listed, leave your brown shoes in the closet and opt for black ones instead. 

If you need to wear a tuxedo or a three-piece business suit, select black shoes. That still allows you to wear this combination to many places. If you are headed out to dine at a casual restaurant, this can be a great combination. 

It also works well for most occasions held during the daytime, like cocktail parties. Depending on the shoe style, you can also wear this combination when exercising, hiking, or biking.

Select the right shoes

Not all brown shoes are suitable for every occasion, even if you wear black pants. Therefore, you will want to ensure that you choose a pair of shoes designed for the activity that you will be doing. 

For example, brown boat shoes work well when participating in water activities, while brown hiking boots are ideal for an afternoon stroll. When headed to the office or out to dinner, consider brown oxfords or loafers. Moccasins are a great choice when lounging around the house. 

Detail feet hiker boots mountain

If you love to wear brown shoes, make sure to keep them clean and wear socks with them to avoid shoe odor. With so many great choices, you should never wear shoes that do not feel great on your feet.

Pick out no more than three colors

As I have discussed a couple of times, brown shoes work great with black pants and many other colors, but it is easy to combine too many colors into one outfit. If you think you may be guilty of this, then lay your outfit out and ask yourself if 60% of it is one color. 

If you are like many guys, that color will be black because your legs are long. Then, 30% of your outfit should be a different color. This can be brown if you want to wear a brown sweater and brown accessories. Then, 10% of your outfit should be a third color. 

Remember that the only ones that count are the ones that are visible when you are wearing the outfit, so if you are covering up most of your shirt with a sweater or another shirt, then this may be your 10%.

Avoid wearing too many shades of brown

Another pitfall that is easy to fall into is wearing too many different shades of brown. Generally, you should stick with one shade of brown. As I stated earlier, there are many fabulous choices to pick from but do not try to combine them with black pants in the same outfit. 

Instead, choose options that are the same shade of brown. You can opt for light browns, like tan, medium-browns, like burnished brown, or dark options as long as they still create a contrast with black.

Wear brown shoes with neutrals

Brown shoes and black pants look great when worn with other neutrals. Tans, golds, and beige are considered warm neutrals. And they look especially great when you add a pop of color from another warm color to your outfit.

Man posing looking camera

Warm options include reds, oranges, and yellows. Meanwhile, shades of white, gray, and silver are considered cool neutrals. Adding these colors to your outfit helps keep the casual look going. 

Whichever choice you make, I caution you again to avoid wearing more than three colors together, and the brown should be the same shade throughout your outfit.

I have so enjoyed teaching you about wearing brown shoes with black pants. In the next chapter, we will look at some particular outfit combinations that you can put together. Therefore, be sure that you keep reading to implement these ideas.

Outfit ideas

So far, we have looked at many ideas in detail, but if you are like some people, you have trouble applying those ideas to items in your wardrobe. You may also have difficulty deciding what you need to buy the next time you go clothes shopping.

Therefore, in this chapter, we will look at particular outfits where you can wear brown shoes with black pants. At the same time, I will give you enough flexibility to add your finishing touches because you want to feel great about what you are wearing.

Black pants are a staple in many wardrobes. That’s great news because you can wear them in many different ways with brown shoes to casual events. You may have chinos, jeans, corduroy pants, athletic pants, dress pants, and wool trousers in your wardrobe, and you can pair them with brown shoes and casual tops to create stunning outfits.

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If you are in a hurry to get dressed, this is an ideal choice because you already have two of the three essential items. Even on those days when you want to look sharp, however, black pants and brown shoes are an ideal choice.

Black chinos and brown shoes

These lightweight pants, usually made of a cotton blend, are super comfortable. While you can dress them up, keep the look casual when you wear black chinos and brown shoes together. 

They look great when you wear them with a t-shirt and your favorite brown sneakers. You can easily pair them with a button-down shirt and brown loafers for an appropriate look for most office environments. 

Wearing black chinos with brown dress boots is a great look for a casual date or dinner. They even work well with blazers, but I will have more to say about that in a moment.

Black jeans and brown shoes

All types of black jeans work well with brown shoes. Brown trainers are an excellent option for running errands around town when you pair them with a graphic tee. If the weather is cooler, wear a blazer or a flannel jacket over them. 

Seated man posing chair hands together

Brown boots also work super with black jeans. Chelsea brown boots are a fantastic choice when going out to eat or on a date. You can also pair your black jeans with hiking boots to create a more rugged appearance. You can easily pair brown penny loafers with black jeans and a sweater for a knockout casual outfit.

Black dress pants and brown shoes

Many types of brown shoes look super with black dress pants. An easy option is to wear your black dress pants with a button-down shirt and a pair of oxfords. You can also wear the same look with a pair of loafers to make the casual vibe even stronger. 

Another super casual look is to pair your black dress pants with a sweater and wear penny loafers. Brown boots are a fantastic option too, and they look super with a sports coat, but I will have more to say on that subject a little later.

Black suit and dark brown shoes

As long as your suit is not formal, you can wear a black suit and dark brown shoes. In this case, monk straps are a fantastic choice. If you have never tried them, you will be surprised at how comfortable they are to wear. Especially if you wear a black pinstripe suit, derby shoes can be a fantastic choice. 

Close up mans hands brown shoes

Keep the look casual by skipping any shoe with a high gloss because they will look too formal. When the weather is cooler, consider wearing a sweater under your suit coat to keep the look more casual.

Black pants, blazer and brown shoes

You can wear many shoes with black pants and a blazer. Create a more upscale look by wearing them with brown brogues or loafers. This look works great when worn with a button-down shirt. 

Alternatively, keep the look more casual by wearing the blazer and black pants with a tee shirt and your favorite brown sneakers. 

You can wear this look with almost any blazer color, except brown. You will never find one that matches the color of your shoes, and your outfit will end up looking like you grabbed the wrong pair of shoes in the dark.

Black pants, sports coat and brown shoes

An incredible number of brown shoes work with sports coats and black pants. Create a casual outfit by wearing them with chukkas or dress boots. In this case, consider wearing your black jeans and a t-shirt. You can increase the formality of the look a little while remaining casual by wearing brown leather loafers or double-monk-strap shoes. 

This look works well in most office environments when you wear the sports coat and shoes with an Oxford shirt. Avoid wearing sports coats with any brown shoe that is too glossy, as they will make your outfit look too formal.

Black joggers and brown shoes

There are over 18 different styles of joggers, and you will want to wear these comfortable casual pants often. Black twill joggers look great with loafers and sneakers. Knit joggers are perfect with brown leather sneakers on a lazy day when worn with your favorite hoodie. 

Black chino joggers are ideal for wearing with brown canvas sneakers. Create a hip-hop look by wearing hip-hop joggers with your fashion sneakers. Grab your brown ankle-high sneakers and a colorful t-shirt to wear with your black cargo joggers. Fleece joggers are ideal for wearing with your running shoes and a t-shirt.

Black cargo pants and brown shoes

Cargo pants look great with your favorite sneakers. They are also ideal for wearing with your favorite canvas sneakers, like brown Vans, Converse, or Toms. You can also wear black cargo pants with many styles of boots. 

Consider creating a grunge look by pairing your cargo pants with military-style boots. Make your cargo pants a little less casual by wearing them with your favorite leather slip-on shoes. 

Then, wear a button-down shirt and a brown matching belt. Cargo pants are also an excellent choice for wearing with chunky-heel boots and a blazer.

Black linen pants and brown shoes

If heading to a casual daytime event, like a barbecue, pair your black linen pants with a brown thong sandal. Alternatively, if you are going to the lake or a pool party, black linen pants look great with your brown boat shoes. 

Think about brown canvas sneakers if you want a closed-toe option for other casual days. Pair your linen pants with a sports jacket and leather tassel loafers for a terrific look to wear to the office. Consider pairing it with wingtips or brogues if you wear a linen suit.

Black cropped pants and brown shoes

Your cropped pants should end at least 3 inches above your shoes, and below mid-calf, so it is vital to choose the right shoes because they will plainly show. The key to pulling off this look is to select low-profile shoes. After all, what is the point of having your ankles show only to cover them up with socks or shoes? 

Man legs brown shoes
Source: Moughit Fawzi on Unsplash

Therefore, low-profile sneakers are a great choice. Lace-up sneakers make a great choice as long as they are low-profile. These pants look super with an untucked tee-shirt and a brown leather bomber. If that is your choice, then wear them with leather loafers.

With so many great choices, you will often want to wear black pants and brown shoes. Before you change into this marvelous look, keep reading to find some final advice.


I have enjoyed teaching you about the tremendous casual looks you can create by pairing your favorite brown shoes with your comfortable black pants. If you have any questions, then be sure to post them.

The next time you discuss this question with a friend, be sure to share this post with them. They will love knowing the information contained in it as much as you do.

Meanwhile, please consider reading our other fashion articles. You will love learning about the different topics.

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