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The Definitive Guide to the Best Shoes to Wear With a Suit

Elevate your style with the perfect shoes for your suit. From classic oxfords to derbies, our recommendations offer elegance and impeccable craftsmanship. Step out in confidence and leave a lasting impression. Discover the best shoes to complete your sophisticated look today.

The Definitive Guide to the Best Shoes to Wear With a Suit

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Every man knows that a perfectly tailored suit can make all the difference in the world. But, have you ever considered the impact of the shoes you pair with that suit?

The right pair of shoes can elevate your entire look, while the wrong pair can diminish your overall appearance.

In this blog post, we will explore the definitive guide to the best shoes to wear with a suit, considering factors such as color, style, and occasion. Get ready to step up your style game!

How This Article Can Help You

  • This guide provides an overview of essential suit shoe types, color coordination and occasion-specific combinations to help you choose the best shoes.
  • Oxford, Derby & Monk Strap Shoes are all made of leather for more formal attire. Color Coordination should be taken into account when pairing shoes with suits.
  • Accessorizing with socks, ties & belts is recommended while top brands such as Allen Edmonds offer quality dress shoes that require proper maintenance and care for longevity.

With detailed and rigorous research, we provide our readers with the finest recommendations. Our recommendations are our opinions. Our cause is backed by reader support- for every click made through one of our affiliates links, a commission may be earned at no extra expense to you! As an Amazon Associate, Reviewsopedia may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you and enjoy!

Choosing the Right Shoes for Your Suit: A Comprehensive Guide

The right pair of shoes can elevate your suit, boosting your confidence, while the wrong pair can detract from your overall look. The selection of shoes should take into account elements such as color, style, and the occasion.

For instance, dark brown shoes work well with navy or grey suits, while black shoes are the optimal choice for a black suit. But, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

To make the process easier, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on essential types of suit shoes, such as Oxford shoes, Derby shoes, and Monk Strap shoes. We will also delve into color coordination, matching shoe colors with suit hues, and occasion-specific suit and shoe combinations.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to choose the best shoes to wear with your suit, ensuring you make a lasting impression at any event.

Essential Types of Suit Shoes

A man wearing a light grey suit and black dress shoes

A well-rounded men’s wardrobe should include key types of suit shoes, such as Oxford, Derby, and Monk Strap shoes. These dress shoes are typically made of leather and are designed for more formal attire, such as loafers, lace-up Oxfords, and Derbies.

For a classic dinner suit, black Oxfords are an elegant and sophisticated choice, while a pair of black Derbies is a versatile staple for any suit color. Plain-toe dress shoes are another option, offering a simple, unembellished aesthetic.

However, if you’re looking to add a unique flair to your ensemble, brogues can be incorporated into a suit to create a focal point for the footwear.

Oxford Shoes

Oxford shoes are renowned for their classic design and ability to enhance formal attire, adding a touch of sophistication and elegance to men’s styles. The most typical variations of Oxford shoes are whole-cut and plain-toe, while the cap-toe has a slightly less formal appearance.

These timeless, adaptable shoes are ideal for both formal occasions and professional settings. For example, Oxfords are suitable for both black or white-tie weddings and dressy casual occasions.

When it comes to quality, Allen Edmonds Oxfords are highly recommended and can be expected to last for at least a decade.

Derby Shoes

Derby shoes are dress shoes featuring an open lacing system and a less formal design than Oxfords. They are a more casual take on Oxfords, suitable for a variety of occasions, from cocktail attire to more relaxed settings. Brown Derby shoes are a classic choice for various occasions, from the workplace to formal events.

If you’re looking for custom-made Derbies at an affordable rate, Beckett Simonon is an ideal choice. Their Dunham Derbies come in a variety of colors and cost significantly less than one would expect for a high-quality, custom-made suit shoe.

Monk Strap Shoes

Monk Strap shoes feature a distinctive design with a strap over the top of the shoe, which is secured with either a single or double buckle, in lieu of laces. These sophisticated and fashionable shoes can enhance any business attire.

For a cost-effective option that still offers superior quality, Florsheim is an ideal choice. You can acquire a top-notch pair of Monk Strap shoes for less than $150.

When styling Monk Strap shoes for a formal event, creating a simple and streamlined outfit can provide a polished and cohesive look.

Color Coordination: Matching Shoe Colors with Suit Hues

A man wearing a navy suit and brown dress shoes

Harmonizing shoe colors with suit hues can create a cohesive and fashionable look. Adhering to the fundamental principle, it is recommended that a darker suit be complemented with a darker shoe.

The subsequent discussion will cover how to pair shoes with navy, gray, and black suits to achieve a balanced and visually pleasing ensemble.

Pairing Shoes with Navy Suits

When it comes to navy suits, the ideal choice of footwear is brown shoes, as they can complement or harmoniously contrast with the suit color. Black dress shoes can also be worn with a navy suit if you have the confidence to pull off the look.

Dark burgundy leather, light grey suede, or subtle white sneakers or off-white canvas shoes can also be coordinated with a navy suit for alternative shoe colors. Ultimately, the choice of footwear for a navy suit should complement the occasion and your personal style.

Pairing Shoes with Gray Suits

Gray suits offer versatility in terms of footwear options. Suitable formal shoes for a gray suit include:

  • Black shoes: ideal for nighttime occasions and date nights
  • Brown shoes: recommended for daytime and wedding events
  • Burgundy shoes: another suitable option for a gray suit

The ideal footwear choice for a charcoal suit, particularly a gray one, is contingent upon the shade of gray and the event.

When it comes to accessorizing, pastel shades coordinate well with a light grey suit or a blue suit, particularly during the summer season. The key is to experiment with different shoe colors and styles to find the perfect combination that complements your suit and the occasion.

Pairing Shoes with Black Suits

A man wearing a black suit and black dress shoes with a black tie

Black suits call for black shoes, as they are the most suitable option for a cohesive and polished look. However, if you’re looking to make a statement with a black suit, you can opt for gray dress shoes instead of black ones, while keeping the shirt and tie on the lighter side.

Although black shoes, especially black leather shoes, are the optimal choice for a black suit, it is possible to coordinate brown shoes with a black suit as well, creating a unique and stylish appearance. The key is to find the right balance between the suit, shoe colors, and the occasion to create a harmonious and visually appealing ensemble, even when considering brown suit shoes as an alternative option.

Occasion-Specific Suit and Shoe Combinations

A man wearing a light grey suit and black dress shoes

The right suit and shoe combination is key for various events, from black-tie affairs and cocktail parties to business meetings. For more formal events like black tie affairs, black Oxfords are the recommended choice of footwear. However, for cocktail parties, you have several options for shoes, including:

  • Oxford
  • Monk strap
  • Derby
  • Brogue

All of these shoe styles are acceptable for cocktail parties.

In business meetings and professional settings, adhering to the dress code and selecting suitable and stylish suit and shoe combinations is vital. In these situations, classic dress shoes such as Oxfords, Derbies, and Monk Straps are ideal choices. The key is to find the right balance between formality and personal style, ensuring that you make a lasting impression at any event.

The Art of Accessorizing: Socks, Ties, and Belts

The correct choice of socks, ties, and belts to accessorize your suit and shoes can lead to a refined and unified look. When selecting materials for suit accessories, personal preference and the occasion should be taken into consideration. However, some of the more common materials recommended are silk for ties, leather for belts, and materials like cotton, wool, and silk for socks.

When it comes to matching socks with suits and shoes, it is suggested to match the socks to the trousers, selecting shades that are slightly lighter or darker than the pants for a cohesive look. Matching the socks to the shoes should be avoided.

As for belts, it is imperative that the belt matches the color, leather finish, and texture of the suit and shoes to create a harmonious and put-together appearance.

Top Brands for Quality Suit Shoes

Quality pairs of suite shoes

Securing the ideal pair of suit shoes is a must for any fashion-conscious man, and patronizing quality brands can greatly impact the lifespan and aesthetics of the shoes. Some of the leading brands for quality suit shoes are Allen Edmonds, Beckett Simonon, and Cole Haan.

Allen Edmonds suit shoes are known for their combination of classic dress shoe sophistication and distinct details exclusive to the brand, with popular styles such as the Men’s Park Avenue Dress Shoe.

Beckett Simonon is renowned for its superior materials and craftsmanship, offering a diverse selection of contemporary designs, including Oxfords, Loafers, and a variety of boot styles, all expertly crafted with full-grain leather and praised for their ethical manufacturing practices.

Tips for Maintaining and Caring for Your Dress Shoes

The longevity and pristine appearance of your dress shoes rely on proper maintenance and care. As a general rule, dress shoes should be polished every four to six weeks, depending on the frequency of wear. However, some professionals suggest polishing them on a weekly basis for optimal upkeep. To clean your dress shoes, consider using products like Saphir Médaille d’Or cream polish, Cadillac Select Premium Leather Cleaner, or Jason Markk Shoe Cleaning Essentials Kit.

When storing your dress shoes, it’s important to follow these steps to prevent damage:

  1. Clean and brush the shoes before storing them.
  2. Utilize flannel or cotton shoe bags instead of plastic bags to allow the shoes to breathe.
  3. Store the shoes in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight.
  4. Avoid storing the shoes in areas with excessive heat or humidity.
  5. Consider using individual shoe bags for each shoe before placing them in a shoe storage container.
  6. Clean and condition leather shoes before storing them to maintain their quality.


In conclusion, choosing the right shoes to wear with a suit is essential for creating a polished and cohesive look. By considering factors such as color, style, and occasion, and following our comprehensive guide on essential types of suit shoes, color coordination, and occasion-specific suit and shoe combinations, you’ll be well-equipped to make a lasting impression at any event. Remember to accessorize with the right socks, ties, and belts, invest in quality brands, and maintain and care for your dress shoes to ensure they last and look their best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to wear brown or black shoes with a suit?

For a polished and professional look, black shoes are the best choice when wearing a suit. For less formal occasions, consider lighter browns like caramel or walnut for a sophisticated effect.

What do you wear on your feet with a suit?

When wearing a suit, socks are essential and should be matched to the rest of the outfit. They act as a barrier between feet and shoes while also adding color and visual elements.

Can casual shoes be worn with a suit?

When styled with intentionality, sneakers can be a stylish addition to any suit. Choose minimalistic leather or suede sneakers and use the look for more casual occasions, such as smart-casual or business-casual dress codes. However, be aware that the look should never replace dress shoes for more traditional settings.

What type of shoes can be worn with a suit?

For a formal look, Oxfords, Derby, Monk Straps, and Brogues are the best option to pair with a suit. Loafers, Chelsea boots, and sneakers can be worn for a more casual look.

What are the essential types of suit shoes every man should own?

Every man should have Oxford, Derby and Monk Strap shoes as part of their wardrobe for a complete look.

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