Many blogs like ours are dedicated to tailored menswear, and the lion’s share of our focus is certainly on that subject. We also pride ourselves on having a real-world sensibility, and in the real world, men wear jeans frequently. They’re ubiquitous, often inexpensive, sometimes comically expensive, and here to stay. Icons of Men’s Style has an entire chapter dedicated to denim.
As men can often wear these to the office nowadays, it’s important to know how to pair shoes with them. For the purposes of this article, we are referring to blue jeans: that range of washes ranging from light to dark, but still blue. There are many other colors on the market and we’d be happy to answer any questions you leave in the comments section below.
NOTE: 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 Jeans With Different Shoes
Best Shoe Matches
During the summertime, one of my favorite personal combinations is a pair of medium-light jeans with suede beige bluchers (the color is referred to as “milkshake”). This looks particularly good with no-show socks and a simple shirt.
If you’re going to wear black shoes with jeans, we recommend that the jeans be dark. Light denim will take to black shoes, but a lighter-colored shoe will work better. Also, keep this combination to the evening hours.
If we’re talking about burgundy dress shoes, keep the denim dark. If we’re talking about a more casual shoe, you can wear a lighter shade of blue jean. Either way, this color combination is extremely handsome.
Follow the same rule as above with burgundy shoes. Dark brown shoes function similarly and offer the same level of refinement.
Green shoes are available in dress lasts and casual lasts. If your denim is well-tailored and dark, feel free to put on some loden green dressier shoes. If it’s lighter and more casual, throw on some green drivers in a lighter shade.
Grey shoes look gorgeous with darker denim. It gets a little washed out with lighter denim, though, so be selective about the jeans you pick.
Jeans with light brown shoes is one of my personal favorite things to wear. It works best in warmer weather, especially if it’s a more casual shoe. With that said, light brown dress shoes absolutely shine with darker denim.
If it’s a burnt orange or sienna, they’ll work similarly to light brown shoes with jeans. If it’s a brighter orange, make it a casual shoe and keep the rest of the outfit reasonably simple in terms of color.
Purple shoes with jeans is a great combination. It works particularly well with a lighter-colored denim, but dark jeans can take well to deeper purples. You’d be wise to throw a purple accessory or two in there for some continuity.
Red shoes will be inherently casual, think boat shoes, drivers, and the like. Keep the jeans casual by selecting a lighter wash, and don’t overdress on top. Driving shoes with ties are not necessarily bad, but it’s easy to miss the mark.
Like many of these colorful combinations, white shoes are for warm weather only. They will pop like crazy against dark denim (a fun look) and provide an unorthodox backdrop for lighter jeans.
That said, don’t wear white “dad” sneakers, even if you’re an actual dad.
Acceptable Shoe Matches
Navy shoes are the one color you need to really be careful about with jeans. Dark blue shoes require a lighter denim to truly work, so keep that in mind when making your selections.
No-Go Shoe Matches
Nothing is off limits with jeans as far as we’re concerned.
Links To Other Shoe & Trouser Coordination Resources
Shoe & Trouser Master Coordination Matrix – FREE Download