Jeans may be an iconic staple of casual wear, but the range of shoes you could potentially wear them with is surprisingly wide. The question is, can you wear black shoes with jeans?
Black shoes can be worn with jeans, with more casual dress shoe styles such as monk straps and loafers usually being the most appropriate. To reduce the risk of a formality mismatch, choose a pair of tapered, slim-fit jeans in black or dark blue to wear with them.
While that answer will serve you well, you’ll most likely need more.
After going through a few outfit ideas for you to try out yourself, we’ll zip through some essential tips to help you nail this combination every time.
Let’s get to it.
3 Black Shoe And Jeans Outfits To Inspire You
While the combo should only be worn in casual settings, there are certain casual ways to wear it that will inevitably look dressier than others.
There’s a difference between casual and smart-casual.
Here, we’re going from the dressiest way to wear it to the most casual one.
Items: Grey Blazer, White Chambray Shirt, Black Jeans, Black Monk Straps
Black jeans can be worn with a smart-casual pair of black monk straps and a grey blazer to produce a relatively dressy ensemble.
A white chambray shirt would look relatively formal, but the napped texture of the fabric wouldn’t look or feel quite as formal as a dress shirt.
A light or medium grey blazer would work well here, as long as the fit and fabric are casual enough to make sense when worn with a pair of jeans.
The grey blazer would produce a monochrome and greyscale color scheme with the white shirt, black jeans, and black monk straps.
Overall, the beauty of this outfit is that it’s dressy enough for a pair of black monk straps to not look out of place.
But at the same time, it’s casual enough to reduce the risk of a formality mismatch between the traditionally more “formal” items (i.e the black shoes and the blazer) and the casual-looking black jeans.
Items: White Polo (Tucked), Dark Blue Jeans (Cuffed), Black Bit Loafers
A white polo shirt is a surprisingly versatile item and can be worn in a variety of different settings ranging from casual to business casual.
As we’re dressing down a little here, it would make for a great alternative to a white button-up shirt.
Notice how we’ve chosen a pair of dark blue jeans here instead of a black pair. Black jeans will usually look dressier and more formal than blue jeans.
But as you can see, dark blue jeans can still look pretty dressy – depending on the other items you choose to wear them with.
Here, we’re cuffing the dark blue jeans by rolling up the hem to expose the ankle.
The black shoes in the image are horsebit (i.e Gucci) loafers.
It could be argued that loafers are the most casual dress shoe style you could go for thanks to their laceless, slip-on construction.
Because of this, it would usually be perfectly reasonable to wear black loafers with jeans. It’s unlikely that a pair of black loafers would look too formal to wear with them.
If you did want to go a notch more casual, consider a more relaxed loafer style. Gucci loafers are generally seen as the dressiest loafer style, especially when they’re in black.
Black tassel or penny loafers would be more casual alternatives you could consider.
Items: Light Grey Blazer Over White Tee (Tucked), Dark Blue Jeans, Black Suede Shoes
Sure, there’s a blazer here and yes – it’s definitely possible to go more casual than this.
Generally, however, it’s usually best to maintain a few formal elements to your outfit to prevent the black shoes from looking too formal for the jeans.
One way we’ve done this is by including a blazer. When dressing down, consider a blazer in a light and neutral color such as light grey, beige, or light brown.
Another way of keeping things dressy enough for black shoes to make sense is by sticking to jeans in dark shades of blue.
Of course, dark grey and black would also be perfectly fine.
However, to make it clear that this is a casual outfit first and foremost, we’ve gone for a white T-shirt under the blazer.
But instead of letting it hang loose, consider tucking it in for a more tapered silhouette. It isn’t essential, by any means, but can be a nice touch when wearing a blazer over it.
Finally, notice how the black shoes we’ve gone for are suede Derby shoes.
Suede shoes will always look more casual than shoes in shinier grains of leather. It’s definitely worth bearing this in mind.
5 Tips For Wearing Black Shoes With Jeans
Now that you’ve seen a few different ways of wearing it, here are some great tips for pulling it off no matter what you may be dressing for.
Ensure It Suits The Dress Code
No matter how dressy a pair of black shoes may be, jeans should only be worn in casual or smart-casual settings.
Avoid falling into the trap of believing that a pair of black dress shoes alone is enough to elevate an outfit above casual attire.
Avoid wearing black shoes with jeans in formal or professional settings.
In fact, avoid it in business-casual settings too and go for a pair of chinos or dress pants with those black shoes instead.
While it may sound restrictive, black shoes and jeans can be worn in a wide range of casual settings with some being dressier than others.
Think dates, parties, dinners at restaurants, and so on.
Stick To “Smart-Casual” Black Shoes
It’s possible to find a variety of different dress shoes in the color black, with some undoubtedly looking more formal than others.
In order of reducing formality, here are the main dress shoes you need to know:
- Monk straps
You’ve also got boot styles such as Chelsea and chukka boots which would fall somewhere between Derbys and monk straps.
Any of these shoe and boot styles could be found in black.
But given how black is widely considered to be the most formal shoe color you could go for, it’s important to be cautious when choosing black shoes to wear with jeans.
Black Oxfords, for example, would usually be too formal to wear with jeans. They’ll look odd and out of place.
Black Derby shoes would usually fall into this category as well, although they’d look a little less awkward than a pair of Oxfords would.
This is especially true when the Derby shoes are suede, as this would usually make them look casual enough to make sense with jeans.
In contrast, black leather monk straps and loafers often look casual enough to wear with jeans, given the casual-looking laceless construction of both styles.
The same would go for Chelsea and chukka boots.
Sure, Chelsea boots are usually considered the go-to “dress boot”, but they’re casual enough to wear with jeans without looking awkward.
You could say that black monk straps, loafers, Chelseas, and chukkas fall into the “smart-casual” category of footwear.
When attempting to dress up a pair of jeans, these are usually the best ones to go for.
Black And Dark Blue Jeans Work Best
Black shoes usually look best when wearing black or dark blue jeans, as these jeans will usually look dressy enough to wear with them.
Dark grey jeans would look good too.
When wearing jeans in dark colors such as these, there’s less contrast between the jeans and the black shoes. This is generally preferable as it’ll look less jarring.
However, this isn’t to say that you can’t wear jeans in lighter colors (eg. light blue or light grey) when wearing black shoes.
You can, but expect the contrast to be more attention-grabbing and striking.
It’ll usually look more casual and will lead to there being more of a risk of a formality mismatch.
In other words, when wearing light-colored pairs of jeans, there’s more chance that the jeans will look too casual to wear with dressy-looking black shoes.
Keep It Relatively Formal Up Top
Another way of reducing the risk of a formality mismatch between the jeans and the black shoes is by wearing formal items up top.
You saw examples of how this can be done in the pictures above.
Consider items such as blazers and button-up shirts to “dress up” a pair of jeans and make them look more in sync with a pair of black dress shoes or boots.
Picture the opposite to understand why this is important.
Consider someone wearing an oversized pink tee or hoodie with blue jeans and a pair of black monk strap shoes.
While the pink tee/hoodie and blue jeans would go hand-in-hand, the black monk straps would stand out and look out of place.
They’ll just look too formal.
Now try substituting a few items to make it work.
Instead of an oversized pink tee, consider a slim-fit pink tee and tuck it into a pair of black or indigo jeans.
Pop a navy blazer over the pink tee and round things up with the same pair of black monk straps.
All of a sudden, you’re left with an outfit that makes sense with minimal risk of a formality mismatch between any of the items.
Black Suede Shoes Work Very Well
Suede will always look more casual than shinier grains of leather due to the unmistakable napped texture.
It looks and feels great, especially when combined with the rugged texture of denim jeans.
It’s perfectly possible to find black loafers and monk straps in suede. In fact, they often look better than loafers/monk straps in shinier grains of leather when wearing jeans.
Black suede dress shoes just sync better with jeans.
So, consider getting yourself a pair of them, even if it was for this very purpose. The same would go for black Chelsea boots and chukka boots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s finish up with a couple of FAQs.
Can You Wear Black Shoes With Blue Or Light Blue Jeans?
Black shoes can be worn with blue jeans. However, they tend to look better with jeans in darker shades of blue (eg. indigo) as opposed to light blue jeans.
The contrast produced between black shoes and light blue jeans is often striking and attention-grabbing. Sometimes, this isn’t in a good way.
Dark blue jeans, on the other hand, will usually look dressy enough to wear with a pair of black dress shoes without looking awkward.
This is especially true when the jeans have minimal distressing – no rips, frays, or fading.
Can You Wear Black Tennis Shoes With Blue Jeans?
Black tennis shoes can easily be worn with blue jeans. The casual appearance of the thick rubber sole and the lightweight (often canvas) upper pairs well with the casual aesthetic of blue denim jeans.
It’s hard to go wrong with this combination. You’re simply pairing a casual item with another casual item – the color of the tennis shoes isn’t relevant.
Unlike with black dress shoes, the risk of a formality mismatch is non-existent here.
While it isn’t the easiest combination to pull off, it can definitely be done when the right pair of black shoes is combined with the right pair of jeans.
Go for a smart-casual pair of black shoes (eg. monk straps or loafers) and combine them with a relatively dressy-looking pair of black or dark blue jeans.
Stick to these principles and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.