How To Match Your Suit Color To Your Shoes

Business dress is more relaxed now. Gone are the days when you had to wear black shoes.

But now you’ve got more options… you’ve also got more chances of screwing up.

Pairing your suit with the wrong color dress shoes can completely ruin your look. At best, you’ll look sloppy. At worst, you’ll look incompetent.

So what are the right combos? In this article, we show you how to perfectly match your dress shoes and suits.

What Color Shoes Match With A Navy Blue Suit?

Navy blue goes comfortably with black, brown, and burgundy. 

Blues, by nature, can convey trust, wisdom, and responsibility. They give off a tranquil, calming effect when people encounter you.

Any touches of black, brown, or burgundy tend to “blend in” well with a larger amount of blue – without being distracting.

That explains why companies incorporate some form of blue in their logo design. And interior designers often use a hint of blue in planning the layout of corporate offices. Blue seems to encourage productivity.

Since it’s easy to coordinate a navy blue suit with most leather shoes – it’s the safest option for attending a job interview. It’ll help you look confident and level-headed right off the bat.

The only thing to remember is there are subtle ways in which the leather color affects the “attitude” of the entire outfit:

  • Black = formal, “getting down to business”
  • Brown = more relaxed or flexible
  • Oxblood/burgundy = more playful or creative

What Color Shoes Match With A Gray Suit?

Gray suits are less formal than navy blue suits, but they’re equal in terms of flexibility. You can pair them effectively with all three shoe colors.

They’re not ideal for proper business wear (since they’re rather light). But they’re actually fine in office setups where suits are worn with a “relaxed” dress code.

Specifically, for medium-gray suits – black would be the best choice for your shoes while wearing a white dress shirt with a tie.

Brown and burgundy shoes turn it into a casual/social look – and work best when the shirt has some pattern.

And then we have light gray suits, which work really well for spring/summer wear. The lighter the shade, the easier it is to apply patterns (such as checks or herringbone) into the suit – since they’re more visible.

Light gray is also the most casual shade of gray – so you can use it to break up the monotony of the usual suit colors when you’re attending parties or events during the warmer months.

What Color Shoes Match With A Charcoal Suit?

Here’s the first “must avoid” to take note of – charcoal gray suits with brown shoes. The reason behind it isn’t that clear-cut.

Charcoal gray is a color that’s almost as versatile as navy blue – but it tends to add a little more maturity to the wearer (not “oldness” per se).

On the other hand, navy blue suits make a young man look even younger, giving him the freedom to choose among all three shoe colors.

It’s slightly different for charcoal gray suits. Brown leather shoes don’t match as well. It’s because brown is naturally less formal than the other two – and the contrast created between brown and charcoal gray (which is similar to black) is quite stark.

Plain black shoes are the best choice in this case. However, a deep burgundy also does a great job for a charcoal gray suit that’s “relaxed” but still classy overall.

What Color Shoes Match With A Brown Suit?

Brown suits go with most brown shoes.

You need a visible difference between the shades of the shoe and the suit. If both browns appear identical, the whole thing will look off.

In general – it’s better for the brown shoes to be darker than the brown suit (which helps keep the eye from being drawn downward).

But the single most important thing is a clear contrast. And that’s what oxblood or burgundy shoes provide more easily.

And as previously mentioned – brown is considered less formal than its darker counterparts. So if a charcoal gray suit wouldn’t go with brown shoes, neither would a brown suit go with black shoes. Those pairings “clash” a little too much (in terms of feel and perception).