What Shoe Colours To Wear With Khaki Pants: 5 Foolproof Options
Shoes are the first thing people notice about your outfit, so make sure yours set the right impression. These are the hues that will perfectly anchor your khakis.
Khaki pants come in many guises but the typical style takes the form of chinos, whether tapered and slim or roomy and utilitarian. They are a workwear staple, loved all over the world for their peerless versatility.
Depending on the cut, they can be smart or casual, but it’s that muted khaki tone that makes them so easy to style, and in so many different ways. Khaki cargo pants are another great workwear silhouette that has been a critical element of streetwear aesthetics for many years.
Regardless of the cut and style, khaki pants are the pants you reach for when staring into your wardrobe with no ideas. You just know they’ll work with almost every shirt colour you’ve got hanging up. But when it comes to selecting shoes with them, the decision making is a little more fraught. Then you really do have to consider the cut and shape of the pants to complement the silhouette of the shoe.
What’s more, the colour of the shoe counts too, since it’s a really effective device to bring all the disparate elements of your look together. So we’ve compiled a guide to the most common shoe colours and how to match them up with your old faithful khakis.
Grey shoes with khaki pants
Light grey kicks are an excellent dance partner for khaki pants since they are both muted tones. This enables you to match them up with other grey elements of your look, such as a sweatshirt or hoodie, or create a minimalist look with other understated hues.
Where this colour combination is most effective is in creating a muted canvas to bounce much boulders colour off elsewhere in your fit. It’s rare to find grey dress shoes – the only exception being suede Chelsea boots – so most of the time grey shoes are going to mean a relaxed vibe in the form of sneakers.
Texture, such as grey suede, is where you’ll get the most bang for your grey buck, creating a bit more separation from the khaki strides.
Light grey sneakers with khaki pants
We love this easy, relaxed, yet well put-together off-duty look, which combines the workwear heritage of wide-leg khaki pants with a complementary grey hoodie and navy bomber jacket.
The sneakers are subtle, but the contemporary style gives the look that hint of modern edge and a step away from being overly preppy.
Matte grey sneakers with khaki chinos
Minimalism reigns in this look thanks to the flat-front chinos and zero-embellishment navy overshirt layered over the simple white tee.
Naturally, the sneaker style is a modern extension of the look, being all one tone.
Keeping it simple is always a recipe for styling success.
Grey suede Chelsea boots with khaki chinos
The aforementioned grey suede Chelsea boots are used to great effect here to accentuate the textural differences in the look.
Inspired by elements of Americana, not least the Buffalo check overshirt, it’s a rugged outfit anchored in classic workwear thanks to the khaki chinos doing the unsung labour.
White shoes with khaki pants
The default colour for virtually all of us, but have you ever wondered why the vast majority of sneakers are white? Well, from a styling point at least, white is clean, inoffensive and creates a nice contrast with every other tone in your outfit, even something light such as khaki.
Why no white dress shoes? Probably because formality presumes a more sombre and professional look, hence black and dark brown footwear.
With khaki pants however, no such formality needs to quell your desire for white sneakers. Minimalist pump styles have become the default smart-casual, even with a lot of suiting these days, so it figures that they’re a great option for khaki pants, too.
White/Cream sneakers with pleated khaki pants
A beautifully minimal off-duty look comprised entirely of two tonal hues: white and khaki. The flecked white crew-neck sweater brings a tonne of texture to the equation, while the kicks have a two-tone design to complement everything that’s going on above them.
The pleated pants provide a baggy silhouette that tapers nicely into the sneakers. The sliver of white T-shirt is the minute detail that provides a cohesive layer.
White leather sneakers with khaki tailored chinos
Depending on your work’s dress code, this look could be an excellent business-casual option. The tailored chinos ensure there’s a smart element to it, while the green OCBD brings the preppiness.
One could easily opt for tan suede loafers, but in this case the white leather sneakers keep the look feeling fresh and relaxed.
White canvas high-tops with khaki chinos
This simple combination is the perfect definition of Parisian style. The chinos are elegant and comfortable, while the white shirt provides structure but the front patch pockets keeps it relaxed.
The piece de resistance are the canvas high-tops, which add some laid-back flair. Two colours, one really chic look.
Blue/navy shoes with khaki pants
It’s very rare to find dress shoes in blue or navy but they do exist. Much more common is blue hybrid footwear, those semi-formal classic styles such as deck shoes, suede slip-ons and driving shoes, as well as canvas sneakers.
Blue shoes are best deployed with casual preppy outfits, with suede or cotton canvas being two of the best fabrics to add some texture to the blue tone.
Use them to create a contrast against the khaki tone of the pants, but it’s always a good idea to incorporate some other blue or navy in the outfit to tie it together, otherwise the blue shoes can sometimes stand out too much and take away from your clothing.
Blue suede slip-ons with khaki pleated chinos
If they were good enough for Elvis… Blue suede shoes are a bold step but these slip-ons are a nice touch when combined with the relaxed pleated pants and elegant blue turtleneck.
The white rubber soles offer a nice contrast detail which sets up the suede upper. What’s more, the tone of the footwear is quite muted, sort of a dusty blue if you like, making them that much more versatile than a brighter hue.
Blue canvas sneakers with tapered khaki pants
This is a great example of using a strong blue tone to inject some colour into an otherwise understated palette.
If you’re thinking the blue is too bold for you, one simple way to offset it would be to wear a tonal blue button-down shirt beneath the crew neck.
Blue deck shoes with khaki chinos
Blue deck shoes are a classic preppy motif, and have long been an essential piece of collegiate footwear for Ivy League types on the Eastern Seaboard.
Hence, khaki chinos are an excellent dance partner. This look teams them with a navy button-down shirt and a grey blazer with a navy thread running through it, all of which ensures that the blue tone ties the separate elements of the outfit together.
Brown shoes with khaki pants
One of the most versatile shoe colours, brown seamlessly traverses the smart/casual divide depending on the texture and tone you choose. Lighter hues in leather and suede are fantastic for anchoring khaki pant outfits, being tonally complementary, whereas dark brown shades provide a strong contrast.
From loafers and sneakers to driving shoes, deck shoes and leather sandals, you can get some serious mileage from brown shoes. And khaki pants are a versatile platform to showcase them.
Dark brown penny loafers with pleated khaki chinos
Smart, textural and with a dose of sprezzatura, this look is super simple to put together but extremely effective.
The tonal palette is a winner from the start, accentuated by the tactility of the wool long-sleeve polo, which complement the brown loafers perfectly.
We like that the pleated chinos are quite roomy rather than tapered – it creates a modern and relaxed attitude.
Brown canvas sneakers with khaki flat-front pants
Blue and tan are always great colours to combine together, and work especially well in summer looks.
The brown canvas sneakers thus pair nicely with the washed denim shirt, both bringing their own texture to the fit, while the khaki pants provide the soft tone background to let the colours pop.
Brown suede Chelsea boots with light khaki jeans
Brown suede Chelsea boots and khaki pants are like butter and toast. Chunkier round toe styles are best for slightly roomier cuts of pants, whereas narrower, smart suede Chelseas will be a better option for tailored khaki pants.
Generally, the darker the suede, the more formal they look. This particular outfit is nicely complemented by the textural knitted shirt, too.
Black shoes with khaki pants
The ever dependable black shoe carries with it an innately polished reputation as a smart piece of footwear, but today’s styles provide a much more versatile wardrobe demographic in which the shoe can operate.
Boots and chunky soles can be worn in quite casual ways, while classic silhouettes such as loafers and Derbies offer an edgy and stark contrast when teamed with khaki trousers.
Black is one of the easiest colours to wear, so matching your garments with black shoes makes for cohesive fits you can rustle up without much thought.
Black leather loafers with khaki cargo pants
This look is a great configuration of garments, and proof that smart black loafers aren’t just for smart black suits.
The loafers create a strong contrast to the rest of the look, accentuated by the cropped khaki cargo pants. These two seemingly disparate elements bring confidence and edginess to the outfit, which is then doubled down on thanks to the tucked-in cream fleece top.
Black high-tops with khaki tapered chinos
An excellent example of modern, urban streetwear that doesn’t require logos to give it cachet.
The tapered leg of the chinos runs seamlessly down to the slim contours of the black high-tops, while the addition of the casual black short-sleeve shirt creates a strong projection of anti-colour against the white and khaki base.
Three simple colours, but maximum impact.
Black Derby shoes with khaki denim jeans
Black is once again combined to great effect here thanks to the black leather Derbies and black crew-neck jumper.
They create a dark base upon which is layered the textural brushed cotton overshirt and khaki denim jeans.
Light and dark, AKA chiaroscuro, is always a really strong styling operandi to work with.