No matter your gender, style, or age, khakis are a stellar addition to any wardrobe.
Besides the fact that they’re frequently more relaxed than pants like slacks or jeans, khakis are also modular – since they’re neutral-colored. So, what color shoes match khaki pants?
When wearing khaki pants, there are five shoe colors you should consider. Dark brown, dark blue (navy), white, burgundy, and patterned shoes all work well with khaki pants.
The very word “khaki,” in fact, comes from the Urdu and Farsi word for “dust” and can be matched with seemingly any color. Still, it’s one thing to know the power of the khaki in theory and another to decide what shoes to wear with khakis each morning.
But fear not: in this article, we’ll break down what color shoes for khaki pants you should wear.
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What You Shouldn’t Do
Before considering what shoe colors pair well with khaki pants, it’s a good idea to first understand the shoe color options that are more controversial or less appealing.
One of the burning questions in fashion is: “Can you wear black shoes with khakis?” While it’s technically possible, it tends not to look very good. There are a few reasons for this.
First, khakis tend to be neutral tones, and black is also a neutral tone.
While it’s not high treason to pair neutrals together, black shoes will throw off the visual balance of the outfit by dimming the khaki pants. Additionally, the look of your outfit will be too bottom-heavy, so you won’t be able to pair your khaki pants with your top quite right.
Second, wearing khaki pants with black shoes evokes certain kinds of imagery.
The most common place people wear khakis with black is in the military, and while this is a fine look for the army, wearing khakis with black shoes can make it look like you’re playing dress-up.
For the same reason, you may want to avoid pairing khakis with dark green shoes or boots, as it can convey the same effect. With the caveats out of the way, let’s look at some colors to consider.
Shoe Colors to Consider with Khaki Pants
Thankfully, beyond black and green, the world is your oyster.
There is a whole suite of other shoe colors that work exceptionally well with khakis, whether you’re looking for something tried and true or something a little more experimental.
The one note we should make is that it is essential to study the color tone of your khakis. Some khakis tend to be warmer, others are cooler, and others are neutral.
To figure out the tone of your pants, note their undertone: is it warm and reddish? Is it cool and bluish? Is it simply white? This factor will influence which shoes look best with your khakis.
With that said, here are 5 shoe colors that go best with khaki pants:
1. Brown Shoes
The most common shoe color pairing with khakis is brown. While it might sound odd to combine two shades of brown (brown shoes with brownish khakis), it usually works perfectly fine.
The key, however, is to make sure that your shoes are a different tone than your pants.
If you are wearing a deeper, cooler shade of brown in your khakis, go for a lighter or warmer shade of brown shoes. If you have paler khakis, pair them with a darker brown loafer.
2. Blue Shoes
If you want to go for something a little more experimental with your khakis, try pairing them with blue shoes. However, you would want to go for a darker shade of blue, like navy blue.
Blue and brown have always been a solid color combination, but recently there’s been something of a renaissance in combinations of navy or royal blue with leather brown.
This includes khaki pants, which pair with blue shoes to create a soft academic look.
Judge based on the color tone of the pants. If they’re warmer, try darker blue; if they’re darker, consider something brighter. In either case, go with a deeper blue, not a lightly tinted one.
If throwing on a pair of blue suede shoes is intimidating, try out a pair of shoes with a little more color variation. For example, try shoes that combines brown leather with blue denim or suede.
This will help you get the best of both worlds, both experimental and conservative.
3. White Shoes
This option might sound a little funky, but it all depends on the season. If it’s spring or summer, white shoes can be a fun combination with certain khakis–though be judicious.
A pair of casual white sneakers can transform a pair of khakis from a formal option to a sporty or preppy essential. If this look sounds interesting to you, then be on the lookout for a pair of khakis with tapered legs and/or a pair that can be cuffed.
Besides giving a streamlined look, it will allow your skin tone to form a natural barrier between your pants and your white shoes. Give the color combination a shot, it will surely turn heads!
4. Burgundy Shoes
For a more autumnal look, think about pairing your khakis with a pair of burgundy suede or leather shoes. The main benefit of doing so is that, as a red that’s also a neutral tone, burgundy can maintain a good balance between neutrals and more vibrant colors.
Additionally, burgundy has an advantage over other red shoes in that it adds a pop of color to your outfit without making it too flamboyant. You might especially want that effect if you’re wearing a more eye-catching top–you don’t want the shoes to get all the attention, after all.
5. Patterned Shoes or Sneakers
So, you’ve conquered blue, worn white, and brandished burgundy along with your khaki pants. The next step is to try out a pair of patterned shoes! It will surely make your outfit pop.
These shoes are extra fun because they can do pretty much anything, depending on the pattern–they can be a flamboyant main attraction, or they can be the coup de grace on a loud outfit.
Don’t think that flamboyant means uncoordinated, though. You should pair patterned shoes based on the same rules we’ve discussed above: balance warm and cool tones well.
As a general rule of thumb, combine khaki pants with soft-colored sneakers. Try pairing your khakis with soft white sneakers with several accents, like Adidas Superstar or Nike sneakers.
If you’re unsure, follow a guide on complementary color pairings. You might also choose one color and have it appear in every piece of your outfit, whether as the main color or as an accent.
Now you know what color shoes go with khaki pants. Although it can be intimidating to pair khakis with a nice pair of shoes, we know that you have the style acumen to do it.
When deciding on what shoe colors to go with khakis, consider how the color combination will help each piece of your outfit look its best. Beyond that, you just have to experiment!