Dark brown is a very popular color choice for shoes and extremely versatile to wear with different trousers. However, it may not be as intuitive as you might expect!

Therefore, you will learn how to match your dark brown shoes with trousers thanks to this guide broken down via the following headers:

You can either scroll down to read it all or use the links above to jump ahead. Furthermore, use the menu below to discover our other color coordination guides.

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How To Match Your Brown Shoes With Trouser Colors

Shoe Coordination Guides
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Beige | Burgundy | Green | Grey | Navy | Orange | Purple | Red | White
Trouser Coordination Guides
Click the trouser color to see its best shoe matches:
Navy | Grey | Jeans
Beige | Black |Blue | Brown | Light Grey | Olive | Tan | Red | White

Go back to trouser coordination main page.

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Matching Dark Brown Shoes With Trousers Overview

brown wholecut shoes with blue trousersThere are some eternal debates that are difficult to settle. Beatles or Stones? Paper or plastic? Liberal or conservative?

Perhaps most importantly, black or brown shoes?

While there’s space in any well-stocked closet for both, we at Bespoke Unit are strongly in the brown shoe camp. Sure, black shoes offer formality, sobriety, and sleekness. But brown shoes can offer similar formality with superior style.

brown allen edmonds broguesIf we think about this in terms of color theory, we understand that brown is the combination of all the colors on the spectrum, whereas black is the absence of light. As color is always more interesting than its absence, brown shoes will enhance nearly any trouser it’s paired with in a way that black ones don’t.

Brown shoes also take on a wonderful set of highs and lows in the leather, and a patina forms over time that lends richness and character. Black shoes simply can’t compete in this department.

As you will see below, brown shoes are much more versatile than you might think. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on dark brown shoes, meaning anything from a tobacco color and darker.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the shade of brown shoe similar to the shade of trouser you’re wearing, with one ironic exception. Keep dark navy with dark brown, light grey with light brown, etc.

Dark-Brown-Shoes-Coordination-GraphicNOTE: There are exceptions to every rule.
Use your good judgement, and feel free to leave us a comment if you have questions!

Read on for full explanations and reasoning of the above coordination suggestions. Or, click here to go see our Ultimate Shoe & Trouser Color Coordination Matrix showcasing how to match any color shoes with any color trousers.

How To Coordinate Dark Brown Shoes With Different Trousers

Best Trouser Matches


Dark brown shoes with navy trousers is one of the best combinations in the history of combining things. You can truly see the blue of the trouser come out, and the highs and lows in the leather begin to shine. Dark brown suede shoes can also be a lovely option here.

Dark Grey

While it’s common to pair charcoal grey trousers with black shoes, a smarter way to go is with a dark brown. Your charcoal trousers will come to life in a way that you wouldn’t expect, and you’ll stand out in a positive way.


Dark Brown Monkstrap Shoe With Herringbone Trouser

Olive trousers are Earth-toned, so dark brown shoes are your best complement. This holds particularly true in a business setting, but you can also have some fun like you see in the picture above. Purple socks and monk straps will jazz up any ensemble!


Tan is really just a light shade of brown, so it stands to reason that you would want to wear brown shoes with them. Choosing dark brown shoes will provide you with a nice level of contrast while keeping you in the same color family.


Brown Quarter Brogues With jeans

A pair of dark, sleek jeans is a smash hit with some beautiful dark brown shoes. Wear something like this out to dinner with friends or on a date. A bright pair of socks won’t hurt, either.

Acceptable Trouser Matches

These combinations will work but may be better enhanced with a different shade of brown.

Light Grey

While we’d typically opt for a light brown shoe with a light grey trouser, a dark brown shoe will work.


Again, we would more often opt for a light brown shoe here. Dark brown is still acceptable, however.


Hockerty Coat, Jeans & Custom Indochino WaistcoatA medium blue trouser and a dark brown shoe never hurt anyone. That said, darker blue (like navy) would be a better pairing with dark brown shoes.


While a light tan is a more harmonious complement, dark brown shoes can work with a pair of Nantucket reds.


Unless you’re a miracle worker or a UPS employee, don’t make these color combinations. No offense to UPS employees, we understand it’s a dress code thing.


Dark brown shoes pair as well with black pants as Honey Nut Cheerios pair with, say, buffalo sauce. Neither make sense, and both will make your stomach turn.


Interestingly, we don’t want to wear dark brown shoes with dark brown trousers. There’s not enough color contrast to be interesting, and we suggest wearing a lighter brown or tan shoe instead to break up the look.

Free Printable Download For Reference At Home

We’ve made this free printout of our color coordination matrix available so you can save it for use at home. Feel free to download it via the links below:

Download PDF | Download JPEG


What Next?

Now that you have read about the how to match trousers with dark brown shoes, check out some related guides below:

Dark Brown Shoe & Trouser Color Coordination Guide
Reviewed by Armin S., on .
"Thanks for making such a useful guide. I've just got a bunch of inspiration on how to pair my dark brown monk straps."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

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