As we learned in our article on how to coordinate brown shoes with various trouser colors, brown is an incredibly versatile color that every man needs in his shoe collection. With that said, not all browns are created equal. Dark browns are great for conservative outfits, cold weather, and keeping your dressy factor up. So what’s a guy to do when he wants to be a bit more peacockish and maybe a touch more casual in the warm weather?
Throw on some light brown shoes and look in the mirror saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
It was good enough for Stuart Smalley, it’s good enough for you.
Seriously though, light brown shoes are a powerful weapon to have in your footwear arsenal. Whether caramel, British tan, or nutmeg, light brown shoes are a great starting point for the dapper man.
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 Light Brown Shoes With Different Trousers
Best Trouser Matches
These combinations are the sartorial equivalent of pairing Lagavulin 16 with a perfectly marbled Porterhouse steak: classic and classy.
There is no combination of colors so natty as light grey trousers with light brown shoes. Throw these on with a pink shirt in the springtime and you’ll be showered in compliments in a way that black or even dark brown shoes ever made happen.
Jeans are hugely versatile, and they take on a whole new life when paired with a set of light brown shoes. Try a dressy shoe with a dress shirt and sport coat, or go for a more casual shoe with a sweater. Either way, the combination is very smart.
This is an instance in which it’s extremely important to pay attention to the shade of light brown. If the color of the trouser and that of the shoe are too similar, your feet will get washed out. Try going for a couple shades darker in the shoe, but still stick to the light brown family. That’ll make it work well.
Similar to beige, tan trousers and light brown shoes can wash each other out if you’re not careful.
If your pants are a darker brown, light brown shoes are one of your only options. They’ll provide needed contrast while staying in the same color family, making for a very smart combination.
Light tan shoes with Nantucket red trousers are a beautiful combination. Perfect for a casual summer wedding (especially in New England), garden party, or just hanging out and looking good. Pair it with a white or blue shirt and you’re golden.
Medium blue trousers are gorgeous with light brown shoes. In fact, try British tan, an orangey-tan that pairs beautifully with blue as the colors are somewhat complementary.
White trousers. Tan shoes. Navy blazer. No socks. Blue shirt. Can’t miss.
Acceptable Trouser Combinations
These combinations will look good but may not be optimal depending factors such as the shade of color, seasonality, etc.
Trousers in an olive tone are generally best paired with deeper browns or even burgundy shoes, but a tan isn’t out of the question if the exact shades are right. Try a British tan, which has an orange-y tint to it.
Navy trousers will often look best with dark brown shoes. But hey, if the shade of navy is a bit lighter or if you just want some serious pop, throw on some tan shoes. This is a very popular combination and you’ll still look smart.
This is not an optimal combination, as charcoal grey is often a cold-weather color and light brown shoes are a warm-weather one. Typically we would recommend a chocolate or tobacco-colored shoe, but a walnut-colored shoe will pair nicely with dark grey trousers if you decide to go that route.
Paul and Michael (the author of this page) had a long, somewhat contentious, irrevocably relationship-changing conversation about this pairing. Though by no means a fan of the combination, Michael wanted to put it in the “acceptable” category, whereas Paul
demanded politely requested that it go in the “no-go” category. This professional spat is a microcosm of a longstanding debate about mixing black and tan. Being the boss of the operation, Paul put his foot down, which is why you see the combination as a “no-go.” Mike, though principled, also has a son to take care of and can’t piss off his boss for the sake of a shoe and trouser combo he wouldn’t wear anyway.
If Mike had had his druthers, this combination would have barely made it into the “acceptable” category. Typically he would not recommend pairing black with Earth tones, but light brown offers enough contrast that you could theoretically get away with it. Should you choose to make this combination, he submits that it’s best to keep the outfit simple in terms of color scheme: black trousers, black top, tan shoes and tan belt.
Links To Other Shoe & Trouser Coordination Resources
Shoe & Trouser Master Coordination Matrix – FREE Download