Style Advice: What Shoes to Wear With jeans

What shoes should you wear with jeans? That seems like a no- brainer, right?

Wrong. Sure, you probably wear jeans whenever you’re not working.

They’re your go-to casual pants. You slip them on and grab whatever ratty sneakers you have lying around and you’re good to go.

In today’s style climate, your jeans shouldn’t just be for your lazy outfits. Jeans are high-fashion. Jeans can impress just as much as a well put together suit. You can dress them up or down. And what really pulls the outfit together is your footwear.

We’re going to break it down for you into three situations: Casual, Semi-casual, and formal. Yes. Jeans can be considered formal now. So sit back, and get ready to toss out your shoe collection. We’ll start with the easy stuff.

Casual Shoes With Jeans

First of all, let’s separate casual from lazy. Casual is your lunch/coffee date outfit. Lazy is your “hungover, running to the grocery store” outfit. If you can’t spate those two, then you have bigger problems than footwear.

An important move is to match the shoe bulk to your jeans. Tiny trainers will look awful with baggier jeans. For the most part, we suggest slimming everything down, but for casual wear, loose is still OK.

Pair your jeans with some low profile canvas or leather sneakers for a simple look. You can also go sleek and stylish with a pair of chelsea boots or a little more rugged with workboots.

If you go this route, make sure your top half matches. Workboots with a slim cut, pink oxford would look out of place.

Smart Casual Shoes and Jeans Combinations

Once your shoes get more embellished than simple sneakers, it’s time to step up into smart casual. We’ve written about this style before, and the key is riding the line between formal and informal.

This is where pairing your jeans with a solid pair of shoes gets more confusing. Your jeans still have some flexibility color-wise, but if you haven’t already slimmed up the cut of your jeans, it’s a must for this look.

For blue jeans, the only firm taboos are super light wash, true blue, and anything distressed. Light blues and some mild fading are OK, and dark indigo works in any situation. For either of these shades, desert boots should be your go-to.

Go for a brown pair, dark for your indigos, and anything down into tan for your lighter shades. Desert boots stride the line perfectly and should be a smart casual staple. You can also whip out those brogues once your style heads this direction.

For black jeans, it can be a little harder to not drift into formal. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re going for a laid back style, it can be frustrating. To avoid that, pair your black jeans with brown shoes.

If you do go with black shoes, you have more freedom with your upper half. Ankle boots, from brogues to Chelseas are a fantastic option. They are a little less formal than your standard dress shoes.

For smart casual, avoid trainers (even Yeezys), workboots, or anything too beat up. This is supposed to be a diverse style style, and your dirty white Vans will not make the cut in many scenarios. In addition, if your top half leans towards the casual side, your shoes should as well. You can pull of brogues with jeans and plaid button up, but not with a Henley.

Formal Ways To Wear Jeans and Shoes

Incorporating jeans into your formal wear is hard enough without considering the shoes. Your top half should be typical coat and tie. Keep it slim cut. Gray or blue are your best bets for the blazer.

Four your jeans, the color options are severely limited. Stick with either dark indigo or black. The fit should be slim to skinny, and they have to hit your shoes in the same way dress pants would. Leave a little bit of ankle showing.

Now that we have that out of the way, what shoes are you going to slip on? A lot of people would suggest brown penny loafers or desert boots. Unfortunately, you run the risk of slipping backwards into smart casual. Penny loafers are very business casual, and desert boots are too rugged.

Your best bet is going to be a low top pair of brogues or derbies. For blue jeans these should be brown. Black can work, but it often looks like someone that doesn’t know how to dress put on their fanciest shoes and thinks that means fashionable.

For black jeans, keep it black. Since black on black won’t pop like brown on blue, you have a little bit of leeway. Black Chelsea boots will give you a sleek silhouette, but having your socks pop out above a nice pair of brogues can have a more fashionable appeal.