Over several decades, jeans have become an irreplaceable wardrobe item. What guy do you know who doesn’t own at least one pair of jeans? You can find them in any department store, and they’re made by hundreds of different brands at every price point imaginable. I’m willing to bet that you find yourself wearing blue jeans pretty often, right? That’s because they are versatile in a way that few other apparel items are. They’re not just for lazy Saturdays. With the exception of very formal events, you can wear jeans nearly anywhere. The keys to always making them appear appropriate are to pair them with the correct kind of shoe.
One factor to finding shoes and jeans that work well together is to know that you may need to commit to pairing a certain type of jeans with a certain type of shoe. For example, a boot cut pair of jeans that are longer in length may fit perfectly with boots that have a thick sole and a bit of a heel. However, they would drag on the ground with sneakers. Trendy skinny jeans are likely to look better with high-top sneakers rather than a loafer. So if your wardrobe is made up of several different styles of jeans, you will fare well with several styles of shoes, too.
This being said, my preference for jeans is a pair of dark denim straight leg jeans with brown brogue oxfords in suede or leather. Brown and blue is a classic pairing. For a nice Casual Friday look, pair these two items with a blue button up shirt, a burgundy sweater vest, and a camel sports jacket. Dark jeans are inherently dressier, so regardless of what shirt you wear, dark jeans and brown brogues are the foundation for a casual and yet still polished looking outfit. A nice bonus with the brogue oxfords is that this dress shoe works with so many outfits other than jeans. They are great to wear to an interview with a suit, and also go well with khaki chinos.
For a good look when you are running errands, grocery shopping, or maybe even just walking the dog, pair jeans with a fashion sneaker. This term, “fashion sneaker,” means that it is a sneaker that is designed for street wear, not for wearing to the gym. However, it will have the same comfort as an athletic shoe. As most sneakers are very flat, it is wise to wear them with jeans that are hemmed on the shorter side, to avoid stepping on and fraying the bottom of your pants as you walk. Boot cut jeans also look nice with sneakers. Just make sure they are not too long, as boot cuts have a little bit more volume at the bottom, and you do not want them to cover your shoe entirely. Wearing jeans with flat sneakers may also cause a break, or fold, on the front of your leg. This is perfectly fine. Nearly any color of the sneaker is acceptable with jeans. The color of the sneaker does not need to be the same as the color of your shirt. In fact, your outfit will have more interest if your shirt and your shoes are not too closely matched.
The bottom line for choosing both jeans and shoes is to make sure both components are clean and well cared for. While distressed jeans are a popular trend, they are not one that says “mature.” Skip the torn and distressed jeans in favor of ones that look a little more sophisticated. And regardless of the shoe style you prefer, clean and new-looking shoes will complement your jeans in every setting.