Shoes And Trousers Combination – The Ultimate Guide

It’s a lot of work. You measure yourself, check out the sizing on your favorite trousers, and order an elegant pair of dress trousers online. Then you realize something: you’re not sure what shoes to wear. If dress trousers are a new addition to your burgeoning wardrobe, there’s a chance you’ll feel uncomfortable wearing your usual choice of sneakers—and that’s fine. We’ve got the answers for matching the right shoes to make your dress trousers pop. Here’s your ultimate guide to a great shoes and trousers combination.

The Right Shoes And Trousers Combination

The phrase “dress trousers” is key here. You’re dressing up. To that end, you might want to reconsider wearing the usual sneakers or comfortable flip-flops you own.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice comfort, though. When finding the perfect shoes and trousers combination, you simply have to find a well-fitting pair of dress shoes that’s equally as “occasion-appropriate” as your dress pants. Here are a few ideas out of the gate:

  • has a great guide that will introduce you to the Oxford and other dress shoes. Suffice it to say, Oxfords are the quintessential “dress shoe” that will always fit well with an upscale pair of trousers.
  • The open lacing of Derby shoes provides a contrast to the Oxfords, making it more of a “Casual Friday” type of shoe if you work in an office where suits are expected every day.

You may notice that your local shoe outlet simply describes some shoes as “dress shoes” without going into detail about which type of dress shoes they are. That’s fine. So long as the colors match and your shoes show that you’re paying some attention to what’s on your feet, you’re already ahead of the game.

But what about those colors?

Matching Shoe Colors To Dress Trousers

Your shoes need to complement your dress trousers. That isn’t to say that they should precisely match them by being identical in color. Instead, they should provide an overall balance to your look that doesn’t distract.

Too abstract? Here are two practical color tips to keep in mind.

  • Black dress shoes pair well with black, charcoal, gray and navy, but clash with browns and mustard colors. The key with black dress shoes is to remember that these are likely your most formal. They’re a sign of respect when you attend funerals, high-powered business meetings, and major ceremonies like weddings. Especially if it’s your wedding. 
  • Brown dress shoes can be very formal as well, particularly if you’re wearing a full suit to pair with your dress trousers. But even if you’re wearing a button-down and a tie, brown shoes will do just fine, giving you a sharp look—just as long as the colors match.Brown dress shoes pair well with virtually anything—excluding black. They’ll do just fine complementing greens, navies, indigos, other browns, even gray/charcoal suits.

Shoes To Wear with Which Slacks by Style

Still confused? Don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of different types of men’s outfits and which slacks and shoes will be most appropriate at each level:

  • Casual: If you’re thinking T-shirt-and-jeans, then you won’t have to put too much thought int your choice. But you do have to remember not to wear shoes that would look out of place because they’re too formal. This is the time to go for basic comfort. If you’re wearing shorts or jeans, then you’ll want to make sure that your shoes are just as casual. Shoes to wear: Sneakers, sandals, boat shoes, moccasins.
  • Smart-Casual: Now you’re stepping it up a notch. Rather than jeans, perhaps you’re wearing chinos like our Charleston Khakis in Stretch Twill. Sure, you can still keep it a casual outfit if you want, but generally, you’ll want to make sure that everything else you’re wearing matches. That means polo shirts and button downs, for example. Shoes to wear: Penny loafers, boat shoes, Chukka boots, Buckingham shoes.
  • Dressed Up: If you’re a step below going with the full suit but still a step above your usual outfit game, we’ll call you “Dressed up.” You might be wearing a tie, but your jacket might not match your pants. There’s a little wiggle room here. As such, you’ll have plenty of options for your shoes. Shoes to wear: Cap toe shoes, Oxford wingtips, Bluchers.
  • Formal: Now you’re dressing to impress. Pairing a clothing option like our Stretch Black & White Houndstooth Check Flat Front pants is great for suiting—but you’ll need the shoes to pair with it. Shoes to wear: Dress shoes of all types, including cap toe and wingtips.

Shop Berle Today

    The right dress shoes combination comes down to three rules: matching the dressiness of the shoes with the dressiness of the trousers, matching the colors, and one last thing—finding a great pair of dress trousers in the first place. Shop Berle fine men’s trousers.