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Wearing Black Shoes: A Style Guide for Men
Last updated on October 8th, 2019 at 10:59 am
In this guide:
- Casual v dress: the two types of black shoes
- What are casual black shoes?
- Which outfits do casual black shoes go with?
- What are black dress shoes?
- Which outfits do black dress shoes go with?
While brown and navy shoes are becoming increasingly popular and trendy, black shoes remain a firm favourite with men – partly due to their versatility. But choosing the right pair of black shoes is far from easy, with so many styles available.
Find out more about how and when to wear black shoes – and which outfits to try them with:
Casual v dress: the two types of black shoes
Men’s shoes come in two categories: casual and dress. There are many variations within each category – let’s begin by looking at the different types of black shoes to choose from.
What are casual black shoes?
Casual black shoes tend to be informal and comfortable. There are four main types:
- Boat shoes. These slip on shoes have rubber soles and a rope detailing woven around the shape of the shoe. Originally designed for working on deck, they soon became a popular fashion item for men influenced by the popularity of the nautical aesthetic.
- Loafers.A comfortable slip on shoe, loafers have slits at either side of the tongue, and a rounded toe. These are made from leather and may include a buckle strap decoration.
- Moccasins. Similar to loafers, moccasins are another slip-on style. The key difference is that moccasins are made from a variety of materials, including suede, and can feature lace or tasseled designs. They also have a flat heel, whereas loafers can have a slightly raised heel.
- Trainers. Also known as sneakers, trainers are athletic shoes made from a wide range of materials, including leather, suede or canvas. Trainers often include laces and cushioned, comfortable soles built to absorb impact.
- Perfect for nights out, trips to the cinema and running everyday errands
Which outfits do casual black shoes go with?
Casual black shoes can be styled with a huge variety of outfits – unlike dress shoes which are only suited to formal ensembles. We’d recommend pairing casual black shoes with:
- Jeans. Choose a darker denim – black or navy for black shoes. Pair with boat shoes, loafers or canvas shoes and a casual tee. While darker denim is better suited to black shoes, you can relax the look with a coloured T-shirt and lighter jacket.
- Chinos. You can dress chinos up or down. Pair them with black loafers for a more casual look. Go for a darker shade of chinos – such as navy blue, olive or burgundy with a subtle top to avoid colour clashing.
- Jersey shorts. These are often worn around the house, on the way to the gym or when spending those chilled afternoons with friends. This look is all about comfort, so jersey shorts are best teamed with trainers.
- Chino shorts. These shorts are a sophisticated yet casual outfit choice. Wear these with boat shoes or moccasins to smarten the look, or dress down with black canvas shoes or trainers.
- Denim shorts. Depending on the top you wear and the fade of denim, you can dress these up with boat shoes or down with canvas shoes or trainers.
What are black dress shoes?
Dress shoes come in more sophisticated styles often made from leather. Black dress shoes require polishing and maintaining to keep them looking good. Dress shoes include:
- Oxford shoes. These are laced up leather shoes with a pointed toe and slight heel. They have a closed lacing system and can be quite a narrow fit.
- Derby shoes. Often mistaken for Oxford shoes as they are very similar in design, Derby shoes are designed as a wider fit and have an open-laced design.
- Monkstraps. Similar to Derby and Oxford shoes, Monkstraps have a large strap over the surface of the shoe, instead of a laced design.
- Brogues. These are a low-heeled leather shoe with punching patterns on the vamp.
- Chelsea boots. A minimal slip on ankle boot with a round toe and low heel.
- Patent leather shoes. These shoes have a glossy coat creating a high shine finish and so they are quite the statement shoe. These should only be worn with very formal suits or tuxedos.
- Perfect for going to work and attending formal events such as weddings or job interviews
Which outfits do black dress shoes go with?
Black dress shoes are more formal so they’re better suited to work wear, restaurant dinners, interviews or weddings.
They should be worn for occasions, rather than everyday wear. There are a few different types of outfits that go with dress shoes – here’s a guide to pairing black dress shoes with:
- Jeans. Darker jeans tend to look classier than lighter ones. Pair these with a crisp white shirt or a black or navy jumper – this outfit will go well with black Chelsea boots, brogues, Derby shoes or Monkstraps.
- Chinos. A white shirt with Oxford or Derby shoes can smarten up your look when wearing chinos – perfect for an evening meal out.
- Tailored shorts. These shorts are perfect for warmer days in the office. Team them with black Oxford shoes or brogues. Socks can look odd with these shoes, so either wear without or opt for shoe liners (invisible socks).
Everyone needs at least one pair of black shoes in their wardrobe – they are a reliable staple that can complement most outfits and occasions.
Their versatility often makes it hard to decide what to wear them with – so make sure you pair them with the right colours and clothing to get the best out of them.