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Men’s Guide to Choosing the Right Shoes

  • By Anastasia Koko
  • Published 02/28/2012

It’s a fallacy that only women care about shoes – they can make or break an outfit no matter what your gender and quality footwear is something that many men value highly.

Most of the time I personally prefer shoes that bridge the gap between trainers and more formal options – brands such as Clae footwear are one of my favourite choices since they offer stylish yet comfortable designs that look good both at business meetings and down at the pub when relaxing with friends.

Whether you’re looking to know what shoes match with what clothes, or how to find the size that fits you like a glove, the following guide will give you some helpful advice on making the right footwear choices.

Top Tips on Choosing Suitable Men’s Shoes

Most males get a little leery of wearing a wide variety of shoes – to me this is less a case of disdain for shoes than an uncertainty as to what footwear goes with different outfits without getting a look of dismay from your girlfriend or wife.

To steer you on the right track, let’s take a look at some common rules for wearing men’s shoes:

General Rules

· Brown or light grey shoes with dark trousers are a no-go (wearing this might earn you a visit from the fashion police!).

· Only wear brown or tan shoes with other earth tones such as tan, brown, beige and greens.

· Your shoes should either match or be darker than your trousers.

· Black shoes are suited to any dark trousers, including navy or grey.

· Try to have your shoes matching your belt.

· When it comes to choosing socks, think of them like a tie – their colour need not match the shoes, instead they should compliment your outfit.

Now let’s explore the types of men’s shoes that go with different types of clothing:

Shoes with Jeans

Apart from comfort and effortless style, jeans are also highly popular because they generally compliment most any type of colour and style of shoe. The only exception is shiny shoes – these are only to be worn with more formal wear.

When wearing jeans, you can feel free to choose from a wide variety of different shoes according to your personal tastes, from loafers, sandals and trainers to boots and more formal black shoes.

Nevertheless, let your shirt guide you on what is most appropriate – for example, if you’re wearing jeans and a fitted collared shirt then more dressy shoes would be an option, whereas a hoody and baggy jeans with formal shoes would definitely not be a good combo.

Shoes with Casual Trousers

When wearing chinos or khakis, you’ll want to choose footwear that is smart-casual, such as loafers, sandals or trainers.

As above, the style of the shirt you wear should guide you on how casual or formal your footwear will be. Some tips regarding choosing the level of formality that different shoe designs dictate include:

· A woven pattern or heavy stitching generally spells casual.

· A buckle or tassel is definitely on the dressy side.

Shoes with More Formal Trousers

These days you can even get creative when wearing more formal trousers – although many offices still dictate the standard formal work shoes with a suit, media agencies for example have a more open dress code where you could wear stylish trainers with fairly formal trousers and a suit jacket.

As a general rule of thumb for a dressy look however, ultra formal shoes have less bulky heels and soles, plus they’re often shiny.

Do remember that especially with more formal trousers, you should always choose shoes that are the same colour or darker. Also wear a belt that matches your footwear.

What to Do When You’re In-Between Shoe Sizes

I’m sure it’s happened to everyone – you find an excellent pair of shoes, only to discover that the size 9 ½ is too tight and the 10 is a little too big. If you find yourself stuck between two shoe sizes, the good news is that there’s something you can do about it apart from having to scrunch your toes or wear two or three pairs of socks.

Firstly, choose the shoe size that’s a little too big, instead of too small. Then, the trick is to buy an inexpensive pair of insoles – these nifty items not only give you added padding for comfort, they will fill up the extra space in your shoe so that you no longer feel you’re swimming in them.

Insoles are affordable, and while you don’t need to get the most expensive ones at the store, don’t get the cheapest ones either as their foam will disintegrate after only three or four wears.

A final tip is to take the shoes home and walk about in them for a day to be sure they’re comfortable with the insoles – if you don’t wear them outside, you can usually still take them back to the shop if you find they still don’t fit right.


From stylish yet casually comfortable options such as Clae footwear to high end
Dolce & Gabbana shoes for those ultra formal occasions, by following the above tips, every man can feel confident in making the right shoe choice.

About the Author: Anastasia Koko is an independent men’s fashion retailer and Clae footwear enthusiast.



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