Guide to Colour Matching Your Shoes and Suits


Not everyone keeps up-to-date with all the major fashion trends, but knowing how to pair the right shoes with a suit can really help to step up your game. Here are our key tips on the best suits for shoes.

Check out the rest of our How To Wear It guides.

When pairing your shoes with a suit, one might think that the easiest and safest thing to do is to pair a simple black suit with black shoes. However, here at The Idle Man we tend to like to input a bit more colour and consideration into our wardrobes, and we’d imagine you like to follow suit. Knowing how to match colours is an important factor in making your outfit look good.

Everyone wants to experiment and look sharp, but pairing your suit with the correct shoes can be a little daunting for some. As with everything, there are rules to making it work.  If you want to nail the look check out the Idle HQ’s guide on the best suits for shoes.

Black Suits

Let’s start off simple. Black suit? Black shoes. There is no real leeway when it comes to pairing a leather shoe with a black suit. Brown or burgundy shoes just won’t look right with a black suit, they’re way too casual and spoil the simple elegance of the suit.

The colour black in menswear is a fairly restrictive one, and black shoes will always look best when worn with a suit of the same colour.

Of course this look is a wardrobe essential for a formal occasion such as a funeral. Things can get a little more difficult, however, for someone looking for a suit that can be adaptable for more than one social setting. This is why Idle HQ would suggest a grey or navy suit for more socially suitable wear.


Navy Blue Suit

A navy blue suit is definitely one of the more flexible choices when debating footwear, it’ll match well with black, brown and burgundy shoes. A blue suit is also easily paired with other colours and styles, as it is one of the most flexible fabric colours on the list.

Black shoes are the go-to choice for someone wanting to create a formal look, making it the perfect interview selection; while brown and especially burgundy are more suited for a social, evening look. By being a little more adventurous and opting for a burgundy shoe, the contrast with the navy will make it stand out giving you a winning look that will exude both style and sophistication.


Brown Suits


Brown suits will look their best when paired with a similar colour, therefore it’s better to partner them with either burgundy or brown shoes; for the most part, brown suits really shouldn’t be styled with black shoes.

Although they’ll look fine with almost any brown leather shoes, you need to be careful not to match the suit fabric and leather/suede shade of the shoes too closely. There has to be a clear contrast in the colours to avoid the pairing looking washed out. Matching a brown suit exactly with the leather of brown shoes will make for an incredibly drab look.

I suggest choosing a shoe leather which is darker than the suit material, as the opposite might draw too much attention to the shoes and risk making the whole look seem a bit off. Apart from black, brown tailoring is a great partner for most leather shoes, red would be a particularly striking choice and a great one for a social occasion.

Light and Medium Grey Suits

A medium grey suit shares the same flexibility as it’s navy counterpart and can therefore be paired comfortably with just about any colour leather shoe. When wearing a medium grey suit in a formal setting, I suggest paring it with black shoes, a white shirt and a tie.

A medium grey suit is still not quite the same as some serious black power-suiting, but it’s a safe, go-to smart option for a business look with a relaxed appeal. Here at Idle HQ, we would advise that you wear a brown or burgundy shoe in a more social environment, and to even wear a patterned shirt to compliment the look.


Charcoal Grey Suits


A charcoal grey suit will look it’s best with either black or burgundy shoes. Opting for dark brown shoes will ultimately throw off the depth of grey, and light brown would be too informal and draw the eyes immediately to your shoes for all the wrong reasons. Plain black, in my opinion, will work the best, or again try a burgundy shoe for a more social setting.

Final Note

So guys, by following these basic rules on colour pairing you should keep yourself looking suave and sophisticated while strutting your suited and booted getups. In short, to get the right look for a business suit keep it slick and classic with either black or brown shoes; for an evening look, be a little more daring and inject some colour into your look to strengthen your sartorial game.

This article originally appeared on The Idle Man.


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