Matching Belt and Shoes | Look Sharp When You Dress Up

Matching Belt and Shoes | Look Sharp When You Dress Up

Putting together the perfect outfit is crucial. For many of us, our jobs require our clothes to have a certain aesthetic - a feat that is only accomplished by carefully coordinating our everyday outfits and that includes having our shoes look sharp.

So when choosing an outfit, should your belt match your shoes? It's an age-old question that we have the answer to. Read on to find out and check out our other guide on the different types of belts, as well as business casual sneakers to go with them.

So, Should Your Belt Match Your Shoes?

To answer the question in plain terms, no. They don’t technically have to match. However, matching these two clothing items together will almost always give you bonus points in the style department, like matching a blue suit with brown shoes. You may be able to pull off a non-matching look, but admittedly, it’s a lot harder than it sounds as styles, patterns, and colors can clash easily. So, we’d recommend always matching them if you have the means. 

Brown Belt Black Shoes 

brown belt black shoes

Have you ever been tempted to wear a brown belt with black shoes? Have you done it before? If so, you might be wondering if you should have or if you should in the future...unfortunately, the answer isn’t as cut and dry as we’d like to assume. 

If your bottoms are any kind of light color such as tan or khaki and you're wearing black shoes, you may want to avoid brown belts. Although all of these tones are found in nature, the combination of the three in one outfit is quite often too much. It can make you look like a sort of "patchwork." 

In addition, if your bottoms and shoes are black, you should still steer clear (most of the time) of brown belts. Most of the time, brown belts are on the lighter side of the color spectrum and, when paired with a primarily black ensemble, stick out a great deal. You may be able to get away with this if your belt is so dark brown that it appears to be black upon first glance, though, but it's safer to stick with black belts. 

Generally speaking, your belt and shoes should complement and not contrast. A brown belt worn with black shoes tend to contrast.

How To Match Your Belt To Your Shoes?

mens dress shoes matching with belts infographic

Match your metals

One important factor of matching your belt and shoes perfectly is the metals. Any metal components found on your shoes and belt should be the same - or as close to the same as you can get. If you have brass buckles on your shoes, you should try to ensure that your belt buckle is brass, as well. This rule applies to copper, gold, and silver as well. If your shoes don’t have any metal, this obviously doesn’t apply. 

Complimenting textures

Textures - there are tons of them on the market. You might not pay attention to textures, instead opting to focus on colors and metals, but textures are pretty important. The right pairing of textures can make or break an outfit, and belts and shoes are two of the most common places to find unique ones. 


For example, a stylish texture pairing is a braided belt and suede shoes. The distinct texture of the belt and the smooth, clean look of suede shoes are complementary and give you a touch of style without taking things too far. If both your shoes and your belt are to have noticeable textures, try to match the textures exactly. 

Consider the occasion of each item.

You probably have a few pairs of shoes for formal occasions and a few for casual everyday-looks. The same might be true for belts, whether you know it or not. 

By default, belts that are made of canvas are casual, whereas belts that are made of leather can be worn casually or formally. Shoes follow the same general rules; leather dress shoes are formal. Oxfords, loafers, brogues, monks and similar shoes can be worn either way, while sneakers and espadrilles are casual. 

Avoid mixing a casual belt with formal shoes and vice versa. Go for a casual-on-casual or formal-on-formal look to keep your outfit uniform. 

Match colors

matching belt and shoes

When deciding what color belt and shoes to wear, turn to the color wheel. You’ll notice that some popular belt and shoe shades are cool and others are warm. 

As a rule of thumb, don’t pair a cool shoe and a warm belt; stick to one tone. Consider wearing a dark brown belt with dark brown shoes, or a tan belt with shoes that no more than 1-2 shades darker, and always try to match as closely as possible to avoid any potential fashion nightmares. 

This being said, some shoes may have more than one color on them: these will almost always be casual shoes and, in addition to being flashy, they are very hard to style. Try to boycott two-toned shoes when you’re trying to match your belt with them. 


Do you match your shoes with your belt? Or, thanks to this article, will you start? If you do match these two together, remember to pay attention to color, occasion, and the type of metal present. Try your best not to wear a brown belt with black shoes, but, if you must wear this combination, go for a dark brown belt with your black shoes. Surprisingly people take very little consideration in matching their socks with shoes. Instead, they usually match socks with other pieces of their outfit.

As a side note if you decide to wear a leather belt it matches well with leather accessories such as a leather wallet.

Get Nimble dress socks here.

For more, check out this guide on how to clean shoes.



1. Do I have to match my belt with my shoes?

In the end, it comes down to your shoes rather than your clothing. If you are wearing formal shoes, the belt should match the shoes. If you are wearing casual shoes, the belt should complement, rather than match. With the exception of casual shoes, dress belts cannot be worn with them.

2. Why should your belt match your shoes?

The more formal the ensemble, the closer the shoes and belt should match. Your belt and shoes should match the color, leather quality, and texture of the suit you are wearing. Dress shoes must also be paired with a dress belt. A variety of brown tones are available with extremely minor variations.

3. Does a black belt go with brown shoes?

Wear a belt that complements the color of your shoes or trousers. When blending brown and black, the safest approach is to work with the shoe color. Wear a brown belt with your brown shoes if you are wearing black pants.

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