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What Footwear Goes with Cargo Shorts?

You might be wondering what footwear matches with cargo shorts, whether you're wearing them for a day at the park or on a hiking excursion. Continue reading for the solution to this and other questions.

A man in hoodie and short cargo pants on dock with sea horizon in background.

If you’ve ever worn these breezy, comfortable khaki shorts with an abundance of pockets, you’ll know that they’re a convenient, cool option for summer and spring. Cargo shorts are usually worn by men, but the ladies can also rock this comfortable cropped version of cargo pants.

Whether you’re wearing cargo shorts for a fun day out in the park or on a hiking trip, you might be wondering what footwear goes with cargo shorts. We’ve got the answer to this question and more below, so keep reading.

What kinds of shoes match cargo shorts?

In short, cargo shorts go with a variety of shoes ranging from casual sneakers to snazzier loafers. The type of footwear you pair with some cargo shorts depends largely on the setting and the rest of the outfit. For a dressier occasion like a graduation, match cargo shorts with a pair of shoes that will up the formal factor.

For a casual day at the beach or a family picnic, something comfortable and airy like sandals might be your best bet to pair with cargo shorts. We’ve compiled a list of the best kind of footwear that goes with cargo shorts for every occasion.


A pair of stylish sneakers hanging on color wall.

Since cargo shorts are already casual in nature, a pair of basic canvas sneakers or sporty high-performance trainers will go well with them. You can either match your sneakers with the cargo shorts, typically tan coloring, and stick with neutral brown or cream tones or give your outfit a pop of color against the plain cargo shorts’ background.

Keep in mind that since cargo shorts are so casual, they’ll look even more casual if you match them with a pair of sneakers. If you’re wearing the cargo shorts to a relatively formal event or family gathering where you want to dress to impress, consider stowing the sneakers in your car in case you need comfortable footwear at some point during the event.

Opt to keep a more formal pair of shoes on your feet until it seems safe to change into your comfier sneakers.


A photo of man wearing loafers.

Loafers are a great choice to pair with cargo shorts when you want to look put together but keep a casual vibe going. These flat, slip-on shoes are more convenient than sneakers and more fashionable to boot. Loafers come in a wide range of colors, but brown or neutral tones might match best with cargo shorts. 


A man's legs sitting on the rocks above the road near ocean.

Cargo shorts are casual, comfortable, and have an abundance of pockets, which makes them a great hands-free option for summer outings. When the temperatures rise and the sun beats down, you might want to pair your cargo shorts with sandals. Sandals with a thick strap such as slides will stand up to the sturdy structure of cargo shorts.

As an alternative, you can play off the military-style of cargo shorts and wear sandals with buckles for a nod to the history of this style of shorts.


NewDenBer Men's Flip-Flops Fabric Thongs Sandals Lightweight Slippers for Beach (10 M US, Brown Beige)

For a day at the beach or walking down the boardwalk, cargo shorts and flip-flops are a perfect, practical combination. Whether you go for basic plastic flip-flops in a neutral color or match the khaki cargo shorts with canvas and leather flip-flops, this classic combo will have you blending in with the crowd and enjoying all-day comfort. 

Work Boots

Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Medium Brown, 10

Cargo shorts are based on the World War II military-style of cargo pants. Since they were designed with practical working men in mind, cargo shorts naturally look great with work boots. They’re also an incredibly functional match made in workplace heaven for hot summer days.

Even if you don’t wear work boots to work, you can play off of cool streetwear trends by sporting work boots with your cargo shorts. As shares, “Cargo shorts and work boots like tan Timberlands paired with a t-shirt make for excellent streetwear that demonstrates flair and fashionable taste. You can also decide to style light suede chukka boots with an equally light-colored pair of shorts and a navy cardigan.”

Although summery cargo shorts and close-toed boots might seem like a counterintuitive pair, this combo has been tested by fashionable dudes everywhere and it’s considered a solid bet for street-chic style.

High-Top Sneakers

A photo of men's ankle sneakers white street style.

While short sneakers look great with cargo shorts, there’s something about high-top sneakers that takes any outfit to a whole new level of coolness. High-top sneakers like Chuck Taylors have been a coveted casual footwear style for decades. 

Currently, they’re still a wildly popular shoe choice for a variety of styles and aesthetics. Since cargo shorts are so casual, they don’t overpower high-top sneakers or clash. High-top sneakers are also easy on the feet. So, if you are wearing cargo shorts for their loose, relaxed fit, high-top sneakers will keep the comfy train rolling.

High-top sneakers are also unisex, so both men and women who like wearing cargo shorts can pair their favorite shorts with this style of trainer.

EspadrillesClose up view of men's espadrilles on a yellow background.

With an exotic name like “espadrilles,” you may be wondering what these shoes are and whether they’ll go well with cargo shorts. To answer your questions, espadrilles are “a type of casual, environmentally-friendly footwear typically characterized by a cotton or canvas upper with a flexible rope sole that’s flat yet firm. The sole is commonly made out of jute or fiber rope,” according to 

The canvas or cotton upper and jute or fiber rope sole pair well with the earthy look of the cargo shorts’ khaki material. For a complete outfit, match the color of polo or nice t-shirt with the upper sole of the espadrilles and let the cargo shorts complement the tan jute or fiber rope sole. For a splash of Spanish flair, espadrilles turn a humble pair of cargo shorts into a well-traveled look.