How to Pair Men’s Pants + Shoes

Hey men: Here’s how to pick which shoes to wear with your pants.

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes
55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

When it comes to selecting shoes to complement your pants, it’s anything but a one-size-fits-all decision. Certain colors and styles of shoes work better with different types of pants. I visited some of the best retailers of men’s pants + shoes at Mall of America® to find examples of great combinations for your wardrobe.

The Casual Look: Jeans + Brown Shoes

Perfect for casual Fridays or Friday nights out, jeans + brown dress shoes is a look I employ often. Lately I’ve been a big fan of flat-soled brown shoes—it’s a more modern style that I like. Here I’m wearing Cole Haan ØriginalGrand Wingtip Oxfords from DSW (Level 1, West) with denim from H&M (Level 1, West).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

Jeans also work well with brown suede. Here are the same jeans with the Rafaellos from ALDO (Level 1, North).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

The Versatile Look: Gray Pants + Options

Gray is my favorite color for slacks. Why? Because shoes of all different colors play well with gray dress pants. For a contemporary look, pair gray slacks with light brown shoes. Here I am wearing gray slacks and Mephisto ‘Orlando’ Plain Toe Derby shoes from Macy’s (SW Court).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

For a dressier look, wear black dress shoes with those same gray pants. I chose Magnanni Sergio shoes from Macy’s (SW Court).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

With gloomier weather on the way in autumn and winter, dress boots are also an important component of any shoe collection. These boots (in brown or black) from Steve Madden (Level 1, West) go great with dark gray dress pants from H&M (Level 1, West).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

The Dressy Looks: Black or Blue Dress Pants

My formal style depends on the suit I select for the occasion. Once I’ve made that decision, the shoes are the final touch.

When it comes to black dress pants, I’ll reiterate what you’ve heard before: don’t wear brown dress shoes and black pants. While some can pull it off, it’s difficult to do and most of the time it doesn’t work. The best option for black slacks is to simply pair them with black dress shoes.

Black dress shoes don’t have to be boring. Veer away from square-toed shoes and go for something with subtle flair instead. Those same Magnanni Sergio shoes from Macy’s (SW Court) I mentioned above work great with black slacks as well.

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

Blue slacks allow for a little more variance in shoe selection. Here I paired blue pants with Allen Edmonds ‘Strand’ Cap Toe Oxford in walnut from Macy’s (SW Court).

55425 Mall of America pairing pants and shoes

For any style, the right pants + shoes combination can make or break the outfit. Use these options to complete your look, and you’re golden.

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