How To Wear Grey Pants With Brown Shoes: 5 Styles That Always Work
Just about everybody owns grey pants and brown shoes, but what’s the best way to style them without coming across boring or predictable? Here's how to keep this classic pairing modern and interesting.
Both brown and grey are often considered to be very versatile colors on their own, offering a muted canvas upon which you can use brighter tones to really stand out. The difficulty of wearing them together is that you can sometimes risk looking boring.
Both colors work when they are applied to tonal looks, but how exactly do you pair them up together?
Here we’re going to show you how to pull off this classic combo in a variety of contemporary ways, using a variety of key shoe styles from more formal Derbies to rugged boots.
Grey pants with brown Derby shoes
Grey pants and brown Derby shoes make for excellent dance partners provided you get the tones and styles right. For example, some Derbies can come across as quite casual, which would really jar if you paired them with a smart pair of tailored grey trousers.
But balance the formality and you have a really versatile duo that works well across the whole smart to casual spectrum.
Light grey tailored pants with chocolate suede Derby shoes
With a beautiful light grey flannel suit such as this one, you could get away with almost any dress shoe, from black Oxfords to Chelsea boots, but what these chocolate brown Derbies bring is texture, namely suede, which nicely complements the nap of the flannel cloth.
The chocolate is dark enough to retain the right level of smartness, too.
Grey denim pants with brown suede Derby shoes
An easy-going business-casual look if ever there was one, this outfit combines denim in various guises to create a relaxed look suitable for dress-down Fridays in creative offices.
The addition of the tan suede Derbies offers an additional textural element and breaks up the denim. A tan suede belt would have wrapped up the look nicely.
Charcoal grey flannel pants with dark brown suede Derby shoes
Supremely sophisticated, this tailored separates look combines navy wool elements with a stunning pair of charcoal wool flannel trousers to create a very textured outfit.
We wouldn’t be averse to a pair of polished dark brown leather Chelsea boots here, but going with the brown suede Derby boots maintains the elegant softness of the look.
Grey denim jeans with brown suede Derby shoes
Another easy-to-put-together business-casual look or weekend outfit, the muted color palette helps maintain a degree of smartness despite the soft lines of the quarter-zip and button-down shirt.
The suede Derby shoes are a natural extension of the outfit, complementing the textures elsewhere.
Grey pants with brown loafers
Loafers are the epitome of sartorial nonchalance. Although we typically think of them as dress shoes, they had humble beginnings as a Norwegian fisherman shoe. These days we’re more likely to see them sidled up to tailored trousers and chinos than all-weather pants, but they are equally versatile with more casual looks too.
Leather and suede styles abound, with penny, tassel and horsebit iterations providing the old-school cool, while more modern variants come with chunky soles and metal hardware.
Grey flannel tailored pants with brown suede loafers
A super-sophisticated separates look if there ever was one, this outfit combines two slightly different grey shades in the tailoring, then uses the beige crew-neck knit to bind them together (if he went for a shirt and tie, it may have looked like he was wearing two parts of different suits).
The suede penny loafers complement the sweater tone nicely, bookending the look with a similarly soft texture.
Light grey chinos with brown penny loafers
These chinos are so light they’re almost white, which would have worked just as well. Nevertheless, they provide a nice bright canvas for the brown loafers and the stunning olive green suede field jacket.
Earthy tones are always a good option when played off against lighter ones.
Light grey tailored pants with dark brown penny loafers
The consummate tailored separates combination: navy blue blazer and light grey trousers.
The open-collar shirt instantly dresses down the look, making it decidedly more modern, while the leather tassel loafers are just the right balance of smart and casual to make the outfit feel both relaxed and polished.
Light grey chinos with brown penny loafers
When you want a summer look that feels modern and sophisticated, but not too casual, then grey pants and loafers become your best friends.
Grey pants with brown monk-strap shoes
Monk-straps shoes have always been a part of the sartorial dress shoe rotation, but it has not been until quite recently that they have staked a bigger claim on our formal wardrobes.
The definitive menswear trade show – Pitti Uomo, held in Florence – might have something to do with the resurgence as monk shoes seem more popular on the continent than they do in the UK or US.
Either way, they make an excellent addition to grey pants outfits, with the metal hardware offering something different. Whether you go for single monks or the double-strap variety, look for a good leather patina to make them stand out.
Tailored grey pants with mahogany double monks
Contrast is the essential element to this look, wherein light grey separates are balanced out by the dark mahogany double monks and dark brown turtleneck sweater.
Dark suede monks could have been a good alternative but smooth leather adds a nice punctuation mark to the end of the look.
Tailored grey flannel pants with tan double monks
As immaculately tailored as those grey trousers look, the hard work is being done by the subtle nuances of brown going on in this outfit.
The grey pants of course create the perfect light canvas to let the other tones shine, but it’s the interplay of tan, beige and chocolate brown in the turtleneck that makes this a really smart, cohesive look.
Tailored grey pants with brown double monks
Old-school sartorialism with a preppy twist – this separates look combines a good balance of nostalgia with the blazer (looking at you gold buttons) and preppy motifs such as the repp tie and OCBD.
The brown double monks keep the formality under wraps by bookending the outfit with a relaxed elegance.
Light grey tailored pants with brown suede double monks
This is a great summer fit for smart outdoor events or when you want to elevate your smart-casual rotation.
The pants are nicely tailored and provide a great canvas for the knitted blue polo. Polished leather shoes would just be a touch too formal, so the addition of the suede double monks punctuates the look perfectly.
Grey pants with brown sneakers
Brown sneakers aren’t for everyone, given that 99% of the sneaker market is dominated by white styles, and yet they can provide a nice injection of color and texture where nobody is expecting it.
Brown sneakers work really well with both light and earthy greys so you’ve got plenty of versatility at your feet. Whether you opt for suede, canvas or leather styles, brown kicks will definitely bring something different to your look.
Grey chinos with brown canvas sneakers
These dark grey chinos have a hint of khaki green in them, which makes them an excellent foil for the tan canvas sneakers.
Given that the T-shirt is crisp white, there’s a nice contrast going on from head to toe, but it’s the wide sole and toe cap detailing of the shoes that help to bring all the elements together.
Mid-grey pants with brown leather sneakers
What’s great about this smart-casual outfit is just how simple yet effective it is. The navy blue crew neck is bold enough to create a strong contrast against trousers, while the brown leather sneakers add a twist of casual refinement that plain white ones could never do.
But what’s perhaps most impressive is the sliver of white T-shirt that’s complemented by the white details of the shoes.
Grey tailored pants with brown leather sneakers
Similar to the look before it, only this time the contrast is less stark thanks to the cream long-sleeved knitted polo shirt.
The sneakers are the perfect balance of smart and casual, giving you plenty of options to style it in myriad ways: a tobacco linen blazer for a smart approach, or a brushed cotton shacket to keep things casual.
Light grey pants with tan suede sneakers
When you’re keeping your look minimal with just trousers and a plain tee, then you can afford to be a little more punchy with your footwear, which is exactly the direction this look has gone in.
The neutral tones of the outfit are given a confident lick of bright tan suede courtesy of the kicks – a great off-duty summer look for the city.
Grey pants with brown boots
One of the more versatile and easy-to-style combinations, grey pants and brown boots have a natural affinity, both offering interesting textures that complement one another, especially where wool and suede is concerned.
Whether you like rugged hiking boots or classic Chelsea boots, most grey pants, tailored or otherwise, will sit nicely against the nuances of tan, brown and dark chocolate tones, all of which make for a sophisticated look.
Grey wool pants with leather Chelsea boots
A great understated weekend fit, the combination of the dark neutral shades works really well here, using earthy tones in the shoes and crew-neck sweater to create a warm, comfortable attitude with the navy shacket.
The Chelsea boots are just the right side of chunky to give the look a relaxed finish.
Grey slim chinos with brown suede Chelsea boots
Although the tones in this look are all muted and dark, it’s the silhouette that creates much of the interest.
The grey chino pants are quite slim and tapered, which works really well with the shape of most Chelsea boots, while the shacket is oversized, creating a playful divergence in proportion between the top and bottom halves.
Dark grey chinos with brown suede boots
Straight out of the preppy handbook, this outfit gives the cream turtleneck top billing but only because it is contrasted with the dark grey pants and brown suede boots.
If you wanted to add to the look, then a suede bomber or field jacket would be excellent options.
Cropped grey flannel pants with brown hiking boots
The genius of this look is all wrapped up in the juxtaposition between the cropped grey flannel trousers and the rugged hiking boots.
For a start, the cropped length gives the boots room to shine, while that cable knit roll neck brings a tonne of warm texture to the outfit. The hiking boots lend it all a strong masculine finish.
It’s outdoorsy but undeniably elegant.