What to Wear With Brown Shoes at a Wedding

Not sure which color suits go with brown shoes? Find out which ones work best, plus the mistakes to avoid.
What to wear with brown shoes to a wedding.
Onelove Photography
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
Associate Menswear Editor
  • Tres writes and edits articles for The Knot, with a specialty in menswear and suiting.
  • He brings over a decade of expertise in the field garnered as a writer, editor, copywriter, and trend specialist.
  • Before joining The Knot he covered menswear for publications including GQ, AskMen, Men’s Health, Sharp Magazine, Highsnobiety, and Spy.
Updated Apr 28, 2023

When it comes to putting together a good fit, brown shoes can unlock a whole new world of wedding suit potential. The key to a good wedding outfit is in the details, and that includes which shoes you wear with your suit. With accessories like ties, pocket squares, and cuff links in play, it's easy to play it safe with your dress shoes. Black shoes are the standard—most guys reach for them because it's one less style decision to make. However, a pair of brown dress shoes can bring a ton of life to a great suit. They need to be paired with the right wedding suit and at the right time. But when those factors align, they unlock all kinds of swagger.

Tips for Pairing Suits With Brown Shoes

So let's say you've got a pair of brown shoes and want to figure out how to style them with a suit. Brown is a neutral color so the question isn't so much whether or not the shoes will match a suit (there's a good chance they will) as it is what sort of suit are the shoes going to look best with. You'll also want to take into consideration where it is you're wearing the shoes and how you're styling the rest of the outfit with accessories.

They're A Less Formal Option

First things first, right or wrong, a pair of brown shoes is seen as less formal than their black counterparts. That does not mean you can't roll up to a formal wedding in a pair of brown wingtips (we encourage individuality!), but it's best to stick with black shoes for a black tie or white tie affair. Shoes are also a key distinction between suits and tuxedos.

The Simpler, The More Formal

Like any other dress shoe, the style of a brown shoe is going to determine how it fits with your wedding suit more than the color. As a general rule, the simpler the shoe, the more formal it presents. Shoes with detailing like wingtips and oxfords are going to work better for semi-formal affairs while a simple brown dress shoe is better as a formal option.

Match With Your Belt

A great wedding look is all in the details, even the little ones. Matching your shoes to your belt is a small choice that makes a huge impact on your overall look. Don't stress the specific hues of either too much–it's not that complicated. What you really just need to avoid is pairing brown shoes with a black belt, and vice versa.

Grey Suit & Brown Shoes

Believe it or not, a classic grey suit is one of the easiest wedding outfits to pair with brown shoes. The neutrals contrast beautifully with the cool undertones of the suit. A pair of brown shoes adds instant character and creativity. No shade to a pair of black shoes—those work too, but brown adds an extra layer of style to your look.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Do: Pair lighter greys with lighter brown shoes. Darker greys play best with darker browns.

Don't: Break any of the aforementioned rules, but otherwise, this one is hard to screw up.

Blue Suit & Brown Shoes

Another dynamic pairing is the brown shoe, blue suit combination. And honestly, here at The Knot we're inclined to say it's a better pairing than brown shoes with a black suit (for what it's worth). As with grey suits, lighter browns are going to pair best with lighter blues, whereas darker browns will look great with a dark blue or navy suit.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Do: Stick with light blues and brown shoes for daytime affairs.

Don't: Be afraid to play it a little looser here. Neither bright nor dark blue suits are as formal as some other colors–have fun with how you style this look.

Charcoal Suit & Brown Shoes

Charcoal is a slightly more difficult suit color to pair with brown shoes, but it's not impossible. In fact, its difficulties are deceptively subtle. Being a darker shade of grey and still on the neutral side it isn't impossible. You just have a bit less range than you do with lighter grey suits.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Do: Be selective about what shade of brown your shoe is—too light won't cut it. You're going to want something right in the middle of the color spectrum, think an elegant oxblood or a rich chocolate brown.

Don't: Go too light or too dark. Light brown and tan shoes aren't going to pair with charcoal suits well (everyone's eyes will go directly to your feet). And if your shoes are too dark a shade of brown it's going to look like you've tried and failed to match the shade of your charcoal suit—oof.

Tan Suit & Brown Shoes

Tan suits have an inherently casual vibe (not a bad thing!) and can be a great fit for brown shoes. As with charcoal, the trick is figuring out which shade of brown to pair with the tan.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Do: Contrast is the name of the game. Because tan skews lighter on the color spectrum, a darker shade of brown is best for shoes. A range of hues makes the look dynamic and keeps it from being a monochromatic snooze.

Don't: Pair a light brown suit (aka tan) with a light brown shoe. It may look like an attempt to match the suit and shoes—fashion suicide.

Green Suit & Brown Shoes

Brown shoes are a given when it comes to green suiting. Both colors are from the same earthy palette and complement each other well. Black shoes should be avoided here, sorry.

Difficulty Level: Medium

Do: If you're rocking a brighter green suit, opt for a lighter brown shoe. Similarly, stick with a rich brown for dark green and olive suits. Subtle contrast in the name of the game here.

Don't: Mix dark greens with light browns and vice-versa.

Groom wears a tuxedo with brown shoes.
Social Shots Photography

Tuxedo & Brown Shoes

Listen, far be it from us to call an outfit impossible. Still, if you're looking to pair a tuxedo with brown shoes, you've got your work cut out for you. Tuxedos are traditionally only worn with simple black dress shoes. To make brown shoes work with them you'll need to be wearing a particularly untraditional tuxedo.

Difficulty Level: Hard

Do: Only wear dark brown dress shoes with a tuxedo. If you're going to go this route, pair them with a navy or brown tuxedo, never a black one.

Don't: Wear brown shoes with a black tuxedo. Seriously, some rules are meant to be broken but this isn't one of them.

Up Next
  • Leather derby lace up shoes in black
    The Best Tuxedo Shoes and Loafers